I admit it—the Internet has almost destroyed my love for the record store. I go. I pad around. I thumb through the vinyl section. I wonder why that Soul Jazz compilation is so expensive. And then I usually walk out empty-handed. But the stores in Baltimore always seem to blow me away. Even with the great mail-order friendly sites like Dusty Groove and Other Music, I can still find surprises among the racks in B-more.
One of the best places is True Vine. It’s a small, creaky shop crammed with a solid selection of used vinyl (i.e. no Come Dancing or Wes Montgomery best-ofs), out-there Kraut drones, and cheap prices on the new releases. Now the store can add one of its own cool records to its racks.
Ian Nagoski, co-owner of True Vine, has just released The Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Music 1918-ca. 1955 on Dust-to-Digital. Taking inspiration from great compilers like Harry Smith, Nagoski found 24 tracks from—according to the label—”Bali, Burma, Cameroon, China, England, Germany, Greece, India, Japan, Java, Laos, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia.”
“This is the sound world that I have occupied,” Nagoski told the Baltimore City Paper. I didn’t make these myself, but this is my life, this is a manifestation of this behavior that causes these problems in my life and creates all this joy in my life, too.”
The compilation is filled with old-timey spun far from the usual blues, gospel, country sounds. I refuse to use the words “other worldly” or “exotic” to describe this record. It just all feels like a labor of love by an obsessive willing to share. Just listen.
You can check out four tracks from the set here.