Soul Music

Andvinyl Records

If you have been following this blog then you will know that there are people who will pay good money to have their mortal remains turned into objects to leave behind. Some of these are useful like eco-friendly artificial reefs. Others are more personal, like the diamonds that can be created from cremated remains.

One enterprising UK company, has gone for the yooof market – or at least those who appreciate vinyl records. For £3,000, you can have your ashes pressed into a vinyl record, as well as any last message or favorite tunes. With lots of gallows humour (something that I am quite partial to) you can choose suggestions from the “raveyard” or just leave the record blank so that loved ones can listen to your “pop and crackles” – the unique quality of vinyl that purists enthuse about.

For an extra £3,500, you can have you portrait painted by either James Hague (National Portrait Gallery) or Paul Insect (street artist) for a cover design. One wonders if they do death bed sittings, though the fact that they will mix your ashes into the paint does suggest that you should be dead first.

Still good luck to them. It all smacks of essentialism again – that core of human cognition that needs to keep contact with the material essence of others. It just wouldn’t work with a digital recording – that’s too artificial!


Filed under Essentialism, In the News

7 responses to “Soul Music

  1. jacarandamimosifolia

    We’ve discussed this before, but I do think it’s interesting that digital files (music, films, books) simply lack the essentialist nature of analogue things. As you say, vinyl records, yes – USB sticks, no. John Lennon’s piano – valuable, P. Diddy’s vocoder synth – not really.

    Given that our children are likely only to be familiar with digital versions of things (which can, of course, be exactly replicated), will their perception of essentialism be different to ours?

  2. Given that our children are likely only to be familiar with digital versions of things (which can, of course, be exactly replicated), will their perception of essentialism be different to ours?

    Interesting thought. It seems like essentialism more readily “adheres” to things that are old, anyway, and trust me when I say vinyl is not going to escape the public consciousness anytime soon. But in general you may be right — future generations may have less analog stuff in their cultural consciousness with which to attach essential properties.

  3. jacarandamimosifolia

    Yes, agree. I think it’s not just that things are ‘old’, it’s also that they’re not obviously or easily replicable. In our (my) day, the vinyl album was more special than the cassette copy – not just because it was more essentially ‘of’ the artist but also because, on a practical level, it was clearly a better reproduction of the music. The same would have held true for an artist’s original written lyrics versus a photocopy of them.

    But now and in the future, the nth PDF printout of a word processed song lyric, or the nth MP4 copy of the song itself will be genuinely identical to the first.

    So maybe the analogue things we have now – printed books, vinyl records, VHS cassettes (?!) will accrue huge value in the future for our children. Which is all a bit Bladerunner…

    • brucehood

      This is indeed an intriguing line of thought. Presumably it really requires the capacity to identify some unique component. So even if the recording can be digital, then the original guitar becomes essentialized…. even if there could be another absolutely perfect duplicate guitar etc…

      • jacarandamimosifolia

        Bruce. You may be right…but this presumes that, at some point in the creative chain there’s an analogue stage that can be essentialised. As you say, this works for the guitar or piano or whatever, but what happens when the music is made using a series of samplers and a Mac laptop? Or, for that matter, a book is written entirely on a computer. There is no original instrument and no original manuscript. The copies of what has been created are in fact genuinely identical to the original – to the extent that the concepts of ‘original’ and ‘copy’ become meaningless.

        In a future where this is the norm (say in 5 years), I wonder whether some of your experiments with the apparent replication of attachment items will, by extension, become meaningless for children?

      • Heh, so it just occurred to me… One of my hobbies is songwriting and playing in a band. I write most of my song lyrics as an e-mail to myself, because then it’s just right there if I think of some change for it while I’m at work or whatever, and it’s permanently archived.

        Occasionally, though, they’re on a scribbled piece of paper as an idea strikes me late at night with the computer off and the laptop not handy or what have you. When I rediscover the crumpled frequently-crossed-out letters-jammed-together original scrap of lyrics, there’s always a touch of sentimentality for me. That can never happen with the way I normally compose them though. Never thought about that…

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Soul Music « --

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s