Do you remember the smell of them, the whiff of cardboard? How they felt in your hands—slick, to be handled only by their edges?
Vinyl records—no one called them 'vinyl' at the time, just 'records'—are so 20th Century. But they're coming to the Oakland Museum of California—and the exhibit is not about nostalgia.
"The record is part of the mix of the digital age. The exhibit is not about looking back but looking to the present," says curator René de Guzman. "Records answer needs that people have today."
'Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records,' running April 19 (Record Store Day) to July 27, will be filled with records, on display, in boxes, to be listened to, to be shared. DJs and turntable artists will spin them, collectors will play rarities, folks may even dance.
Despite iPods, LPs are having a resurgence, and de Guzman knows why. It's a response to the depersonalization of the digital age, and the reemergence of physical objects into our increasingly virtual world.
"Records evoke social interaction," he says. "Records get handed from one person to another. You ask people what records they are listening to, versus getting information about music from an algorithm on Pandora."
"Today," he says, "people listen to music in isolation. People are finding that unsatisfying."
"People are really tired of feeling alone."