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Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect, as well as a brief overview of the music itself. This time we’re scrutinising one of the most underrated albums of the year so far, David Nance’s excellent ‘Negative Boogie’.
Hectic and often uncompromising, David Nance’s vision is one where chaos and vibrancy coexist; at times viciously noisy whilst at others surgingly melodic, ‘Negative Boogie’ is a hugely creative record that sheds any one genre convention, in a class example of outsider songwriting that takes influence from an array of styles but never fully commits to any of them. The bombastic stomp of the title track has all the grievous bombast of punk rock’s most struttingly anthemic moments whilst the thumping ‘Trianglehead’ and strung-out frustrations of ‘DLATUMF Blues’ take that same energy and funnel it into something far less definable. With enough musical depth that repeat listens are richly rewarded, it’s an album brimming with fresh ideas and for that alone, it’s a thoroughly commendable record. ‘Negative Boogie’ is an album that can prove to be a lot to take in on first listen but it’s wild-eyed eclecticism lends it huge depth – and the pointed songwriting certainly doesn’t lack immediacy.
Released via the reliably excellent Ba Da Bing Records, this is a nice sounding, weighty slab of vinyl that definitely feels like a quality product. From new, it’s a clean record with no signs of factory handling on our copy and, with a decent weight behind it, initial signs are certainly promising. Playback reveals a soundscape that lives up to its visual potential – even from the run-in grooves, surface noise is very minimal and, while there is some light whooshing present at points, it’s only audible when played at volume between a couple of tracks and even then can’t be heard during the songs. ‘Negative Boogie’ is an imaginatively recorded album, with an analogue charm perfectly suited to the vinyl format; while it does sound good digitally, this vinyl issue arguably has more presence and the stereo panning comes alive here, especially on headphones. There’s an off-beat charm to the album’s sonics and this excellent vinyl pressing only accentuates that.
Sides are fairly lengthy (the album as a whole clocks in at 54 minutes) and some labels would have chosen to press it as a double album, doubtless not inconsiderably raising the cost for the buyer. Ba Da Bing prove they made the right choice issuing ‘Negative Boogie’ as a single LP, however, with both sides sounding great and free of ill-effects from the sheer length. The price point is pretty low on this release ($18 from the label’s webstore) and that’s definitely a big plus – especially when so many new releases command wallet-crushing price-tags; given the low cost of the release (one that doubtless would have been inflated had the label taken the largely superfluous decision to release it as a double, as some would have), this is a really nice pressing and one that definitely does justice to the dynamic music it contains.
The album’s packaging consists of an attractive if structurally simplistic sleeve, but the eye-catching art style lends it a real presence. The included inner sleeve is a non-polylined generic one, so swapping it for a polylined sleeve of your preference is recommended – but aside from that, this is a visually coherent package, with a distinctive art style and clearly printed spine that allows it to stand out well on the shelf. Top marks on the label design, too, which manages to clearly highlight the A and B sides in a discreet and artistic way – a small but convenient touch that surprisingly few modern releases observe. ‘Negative Boogie’ is an album with a clear musical aesthetic and the presentation on the vinyl release provides as a clear visual representation of that unique artistic bent.
‘Negative Boogie’ is a fantastic album that so far seems to have slipped under the mainstream radar; whilst the album’s fringe-rock approach and dissonant electronics certainly aren’t for all, it’s definitely an album that needs to be heard and this Ba Da Bing vinyl pressing is a great way to go about doing that. Well pressed, quiet and visually attractive, it’s a really nice package and the pricepoint is spot on given what you get; it’s a release that’s easy to recommend to those with enough of an adventurous ear to try it.