The lockdown in South Africa has been quite trying for most of us. Months of isolation can have an upside though. Many artists around the world have been exploring new ways of keeping themselves busy and there has definitely been a dramatic increase in artistic output sprawled across the internet. But its a rather interesting take on the classic DJ mixtape that has caught our attention.
So we decided to ask Ivan Turanjanin a few questions around the motivation of his “Collecting Dust” series as he releases volume 3
Click play and continue reading!
Collecting Dust – A Brief History
MCBN: When and how did you get into collecting vinyl?
It wasn’t actually that long ago that playing records was the preferred performance medium for DJs in nightclubs and festivals here in South Africa. In fact, if you didn’t have the record you couldn’t actually play it at a party – hence the “I have this on vinyl” saying. It was a necessity rather than some sort of weird ego thing. It was around the mid-90s when I started collecting. I was in high school and it was near the beginnings of the rave scene. You had some really good record stores: Acid Dog, House Afrika, DJ Mix club and Soul Candi as some of my favourites. After high school I moved to Cape Town it was DJ Syndicate, Rugged Vinyl and Phat Beats. Stores were coming and going and I know I’m leaving out a couple – my memory of that time is slightly hazy but those were my haunts.
MCBN: Why were the record stores so important back then?
They were the backbone of the culture, it was a time before the mainstream internet so it’s where you would gather and share information, new artists, new labels, what was rocking. You literally relied on word of mouth. The stores pretty much always had the coolest people working there who would help point you in the right direction of the what you were looking for or very often turn you onto something you had never even heard of. It was a melting pot of culture and scenes as you had Hip Hop, House and Techno heads all hanging out together just talking music and vibing about the scene. Most of the time we were all just trying to get a glimpse of the records hiding behind the counter. The best records were always hiding just out of sight or had already been bagged. But yeah unless you were travelling internationally you relied heavily on the record stores and a few cool magazines like DJ Mag and Mixmag to keep your music collection and knowledge up to date
MCBN: What happened to DJs collecting vinyl?
From around the early 2000s the DJ technology really started to develop at a rapid rate. Ms Pinky was the first version I ever saw of timecode vinyl allowing you to control digital music off of a laptop which was mind-blowing at the time. This would later become very popular via Serato Scratch. Most clubs at the time were still geared up for vinyl so you could start including digital music into your sets via the system. Around 2006 Beatport really took flight and all of a sudden you had access to music that was getting released globally the very same day. This obviously had a massive impact on the record stores who struggled to push units as DJs slowly started to transition more into the digital realm. Over time the record stores slowly began to fade almost becoming extinct – well at least here in South Africa. But a few core collectors continued to import records via places like Juno.
MCBN: So at what point did digital actually take over?
For the longest time, CDJ technology was just not ideal, and most DJs still preferred the feel of mixing on vinyl. hence the popularity of Serato and Traktor – Most turntablist and Hip Hop heads still prefer this system which by the way continue to develop and push the envelope – check out the latest phase wireless DJ system. Personally, around 2008 / 2009 I made the jump first into Ableton and then onto CDJs. But ultimately it was a lack of new records. Compounded by the fact that clubs and festivals setups for turntables became harder and harder, also as the bass got louder in the venues it became harder to play off vinyl – so to sound good you need to play off CDJs – it was good and bad I guess. Fast forward to today and most clubs are set up for digital playback only. There are obviously a few exceptions but even those require a proper soundcheck to ensure everything is set to go and there is no feedback or hum on the vinyl when the system is cranking
MCBN: So why Collecting Dust?
Collecting Records and DJing kind of become two different things for me ultimately. I have always just loved the culture surrounding records. The love, labour and detail that goes into the final product, the colour of the vinyl, the obscure etchings on the records, the beautiful double fold-out artworks, there is just so much more effort that goes into the full experience. You can hold someone’s vision of the music, you can touch it, you can smell it. It’s tangible, it’s a piece of art. Thus collecting vinyl started to take a different direction. You didn’t need to purchase tracks for club use. You could go a lot deeper, and so it became a lot more personal. So when I travel abroad I tend to go after very specific items, things that haven’t been released digitally or things that pre-date the digital era as well as specific edits and bootlegs. There is still so much amazing music you can’t just go and download.
MCBN: Talk us through the series
The first Collecting Dust began about two years ago but was only finished last year. I had finally finished building my home studio and was able to get the rest of my record collection out of storage. At the time it was literally quite dusty and so I began the process of trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to digitize so I could play them out. Its a very detailed process recording them right. There is so much beauty in the actual process its-self that I wanted to try and preserve a lot of those records and try and put some of the older songs into context for newer audiences. The amazing thing with the older Electro and Techno is that still so much of it holds up to today’s production standards if recorded correctly. So by combining the classic rare vinyl with the newer stuff I had been buying I managed to complete the first mix. I sent off the recording to a professional mastering suite and was super stoked with the end result.
The first in the series was a mix of Dub Techno warming up into some House and Techno and ending off with some Electro. Volume 2 took more of a 4/4 approach once again starting with some Dub Techno and House but cruising up into some proper Acid and Techno. Volume 3 is just straight up Electro the whole way through, but like most mixes I do, there is always an arc. A beginning which builds to something and then veers off towards an ending.
MCBN: And the future of the series?
Its a labour of love so time permitting I will just keep going. I hope to also extend the series. There are a couple of people locally sitting on some amazing collections gathering dust at the moment so it would be great to get them involved. I’m also in discussion with Mødular at the moment about dedicating a quarterly night to the series. They have been really good at supporting the vinyl culture and have already hosted a couple all vinyl nights. After that, it would be trying to push a few l nights around the country
MCBN: And the future of vinyl?
The future is looking pretty decent, to be honest. There have been a couple of different reports over the past few years. Firstly it was that vinyl outsold CDs back in 2018 and then physical albums went onto actually outselling digital sales. Record stores are starting to pop up again. More artists are doing vinyl-only releases. We super lucky in Cape Town with Mabu Vinyl, Roastin Records, The Other Records and Voom Voom. In Johannesburg Afrosynth, Mr Vinyl and Record Mad are great with awesome selections. In Durban Khaya actually blew my mind the few times I was there (I believe they are currently relocating) and there is also the lovely South Store. Places like Musica have a pretty decent startup selection and more and more people are starting to buy so yeah I would say it’s about a good a times as any to start collecting
TRACK TITLE / ARTIST / LABEL
Diffeomorphism / Der Zyklus / WEME313.12
Melodius Thunk / Andrea Parker / MWR 099 LP
Mr Paris’s Monsters / Two Lone Swordsman / Warp 58
Dave (Heinrich Mueller Stanley Kubrick Vision mix) / Station Rose / WEME313.12
Bang Bang / Drexciya / Underground Resistance – UR-037
Think Like Us / Solvent / Ghostly International GI-38
New H / Roter Böfei / DJAX-UP-330
I Can Complete You (Silicon Scally Mix) / Luke Slater / Mute 9193
Describe Reality / Anthony Rother / Kanzleramt – KAAR 1
Improbable You / Transparent Sound / Electrix Records – Electrixlp001
Vortices / Carl Finlow / 2020 Vision VIS312
Le Monde / Blotnik Brothers / Satamile Records NYC – SAT023
Omnitronic / Anthony Rother / Onmidisc OMD-014
Electro / Techno (Microknox Remix) / Aux 88 / !K7078LP
Story / Oxia / GoodLife – GL04
R U Ready (Vocal Club Mix) / X-Ile / DB4W-033
Arabian Dreams / Dynamic Bass System / Gigolo 14
Digital System / Max Durante & Keith Tucker / Electrix ETRX017
Digger / Alden Tyrell / Clone – C#17
I Dance Alone (Silicon Scally Mix) / Swayzak / !K7 Records – !K7134 EP
Weave Your Web / Luke Slater / NovaMute NOMU70LP
Find Yourself / Percy X / SOMA 114
Uranium / Radioactive Man / Rotters Golf Club R.G.C.003
Techno City “95” / Audiotech / Metroplex – M-023
Andreaen Sand Dunes / Drexciya / Tresor 129
Journey Of The Dragons / Galaxy 2 Galaxy / Underground Resistance – UR 025
Recorded at Devil Speak Studios
Mastered by Refine Audio
2 x Technics SL1210MK2
2 x Nagaoka DJ-03HD High Quality DJ Phono Cartridge Headshell
1 x Pioneer DJM 900 NXS2 Mixer
*high resolution file available on request