Today’s digital music files and wireless audio have made listening to music such a hands-off affair, it’s easy to forget all the different tangible forms music once took. To bring back a bit of nostalgia for the days when you could hold an actual recording in your hand, artist Trevor Jackson has released his latest album in nearly every physical format that exists.
Appropriately titled Format, Jackson’s first album in 14 years will be released for a limited time across 12 different mediums, with each getting just one of the album’s 12 tracks. The formats at play will include all three vinyl sizes (33, 45, 78), 8-track tape, reel-to-reel tape, cassette, DAT, CD and mini CD, USB, VHS, and even Sony’s failed Mini Disc.
According to The Vinyl Factory, the music spread across all of those mediums was culled from around 150 previously recorded works from Jackson’s backlog. The tracks have been re-edited and remastered for Format, and hail from a wide variety of electronic music styles. The songs will later be released all together, both on vinyl and in digital form.
When asked about the impetus for the multi-structural project, Jackson reportedly told The Vinyl Factory, “Every copy of a physical recording is different, a real object that has its own little story … personalized by the effort you put in to purchase it, each time you touch it, and the unique ritual that goes along with playing it.”
Indeed, ritual is something that is almost entirely lost in the modern age of streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, MP3 files, and wireless Bluetooth streaming. Apart form the benefits of analog sound, and the aesthetic experience album covers and artwork bring, the vinyl ritual is theorized to be a major factor in the medium’s recent resurgence. Vinyl record sales have skyrocketed in recent years, shooting past 9 million copies in 2014 for the first time in two decades.
While Jackson’s artistic homage is an intriguing feat, seeming to channel equal parts Andy Warhol and Jack White, one imperative question remains: Who’s got a Chrysler Cordoba with an 8-track deck in it?