Pure Virgin Vinyl contains six vocal tracks and seven instrumental tracks that deliver a hard-driven rock, and pop rock, pallet of sound. Many of the songs on Pure Virgin Vinyl are framed around pulsing rhythmic and lead guitar work via melodic phrasing – in both the vocals and guitar. The album’s vocal tracks compliment one another throughout and sit nicely within Pure Virgin Vinyl’s instrumental guitar tracks. Together they compliment the overall vibe of the project.
As with my other releases, I created a theme for this project as a framework for tying together the music and accompanying artwork. To put this into perspective, after guitar and American muscle cars, one of my favorite “things” growing up was vinyl records (and all three still are!). I fondly remember buying old albums by my favorite rock bands and waiting to buy new releases. Each vinyl record had different types of packaging and design elements, which added to the overall artistic richness of the release. These qualities also added to much of the interest and excitement in owning music on vinyl.
One of my favorite things outside of listening to music on vinyl was poring over the front and back cover artwork, liner notes, album sleeve, vinyl center label beyond the vinyl center dead wax, and art and/or photos in albums with a gatefold. The sound, sights, and smell of vinyl LPs was something you associated with each record, which made each release more and more special and unique.
For Pure Virgin Vinyl, I wanted to capture some of those memories from beginning to end. From the sound of the stylus scraping across 180-gram virgin vinyl to deliver a sonic boom to the “noise” and “pops” between tracks. I worked to include these dynamics, down to the titles of the instrumental tracks themselves.
Although music, like other performing arts, has progressed and evolved into a more digital presentation, some of the beauty of music on vinyl has been lost. Owning albums on vinyl was like owning art. On long play albums (33&⅓ LPs), there were many vinyl “deep cuts” – songs sequenced between those that made it into the top 40 on the radio, You would have never heard these songs were it not for the LP. Some of these deep cuts by some of my favorite bands ended up being some of my favorite songs. Listening to albums on vinyl created a natural avenue for owning other songs across the record you would not have been exposed to was it not for the physical format of the vinyl record itself. This quality has been lost in the age of digitally selecting and downloading only specific songs on albums. You cannot delete songs from a vinyl record. Once you own it, they’re all yours.
Also gone are the liner notes that provided specific information regarding where, when, who, how, etc. the album was recorded. These bits of information are not included in the bits of data that are included in specific song downloads (or in most album downloads). These are changes that do not really matter if you never owned a vinyl LP but they were part of the experience. On the plus side, however, band websites now allow the ability to provide access to artwork, photos, notes, etc. but the tactile experience is different.
Evolution affords continual development but also creates some natural loss. With all forms of progression, there is always some form of regression. Pure Virgin Vinyl captures some of the elements of 180 gram virgin vinyl and celebrates sound captured on wax.
Produced, Engineered, and Recorded by Chris Dignam at Red Cell Studios Chicago, Illinois for Gram Theft Audio Sound and Production
Published by CANE Dubh Music (ASCAP)
Equinox Management / 606N Entertainment Group
All songs written and arranged by Chris Dignam
Photography by Damir Ara
Art direction, design, and layout by Chris Dignam
Chris Dignam – Electric, acoustic, and classical guitar, harp guitar, synth guitar, hammer dulcimer, psaltery, bass, and keyboards
Jeff Moehle – Drums and percussion on Song of the Siren, Gram Theft Audio, Digs’ Dynagroove, Triskelion, XXX3third, Main Street of America, Flipside, Feel the Pain, Always on My Mind, and Matrix Number 12
Erik Martinez – Lead vocals on Song of the Siren, Triskelion, Main Street of America, I Cry 4U, Feel the Pain, and Always on My Mind,
Bob Repin, Jr. – Drums on I Cry 4U
Domingo Castillo, Jr. – Bass on Gram Theft Audio, XXX third, Flipside, and Feel the Pain