Finding Its Groove: Detroit's Vinyl Legacy - Atlas Obscura
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Finding Its Groove: Detroit’s Vinyl Legacy

Detroit’s place in popular music history is not merely one of homegrown artists making it big through well-established inroutes, but one of literal creation.

In the 60’s and 70’s, the MC5 and the Stooges pioneered what would become known as “punk” music. The 80’s saw the Big 3 – Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, and Juan Atkins – originate the industrial, mechanical sounds of Techno against the backdrop of the city. Then, during the 90’s and 00’s the late, great hip-hop producer J Dilla crafted drum sounds and styles that since have spawned an entirely new generation of beatmakers worldwide.

 

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Throughout such a rich musical history, Archer’s Vinyl Pressing has been a key thread uniting this legacy. Since 1965, the family-owned vinyl pressing plant has been the go-to source for artists – both local and nationally renowned – seeking to produce the pinnacle of music in its physical form.

When Motown artists of the 60’s and 70’s wanted to press independently released tunes, this is where they came. Though hip-hop has yet to stray from its vinyl-centric roots, techno pressings became the bulk of the business from the 80’s onward. Ironically (and perhaps to come full-circle) it’s now rock artists that have found their groove in vinyl.

Detroit Vinyl Legacy - Record Pressing - Atlas Obscura

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My theory is that an overwhelming nostalgia for the physical in a digital age has played a role in vinyl’s resurgence, but regardless of the cause, vinyl sales have skyrocketed in the past few years thanks to rock pressings. Perhaps there’s something to true coinsasodifansd assertion that there’s no substitute for the indescribable sound quality emanating from a needle on vinyl reverberating through stereo speakers.

The video below offers a look into the pressing process at Archer, while plugging two of Detroit’s best current hip-hop artists: Waajeed and Invincible.

 

 

Invincible + Waajeed: Manufacturing “Detroit Summer” 7” @ Archer Record Pressing from EMERGENCE Media on Vimeo.

While most of Detroit’s vinyl pressers have gone out of business, Archer continues to hold down the fort. Thanks to third-generation presser Mike Archer, it’s here to service a new generation of artists discovering the true sound of Motown and beyond.  

Guest blogger Greg Brown is a Midwest-enthusiast and purveyor of fine music. Contact him over yonder.

 

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