For The Love Of Vinyl … The CapeTowner, August 20, 2009

With everything going digital – including television transmissions – it is refreshing to know there are still stores who are “kicking it old school”. While many DJs are choosing to “travel light”, leaving behind their huge bags of vinyl, in favour of using software like Traktor to mix MP3 tracks on their laptops, the CapeTowner found three stores in
the city centre that are among the few which still stock vinyl.

The first stop was the recently revamped Hi Five in Kloof Street. Hi Five was opened by Kevin Phipson and Kurt George eight years ago and offers a wide range of collectable rock vinyl albums, among other genres. The store is visibly stocking a lot less vinyl since it re-opened, and store manager, Rob Scholtz, agreed that vinyl is “dying out”. But, he said, the store is currently attracting a different clientele. “Vinyls are definitely dying out due to all the software available for DJs, but the clientele is starting to change; we are starting to see more listeners come into the store as opposed to DJs,” he said.

The second stop was a charming store in Rheede Street called Mabu Vinyl, which offers a wide range of second hand records at reasonable prices. Unlike the other stores visited by the CapeTowner, the majority of the stock at Mabu Vinyl was, in fact, vinyl and not CDs. The store first opened its doors eight years ago, said store manager, Stephen Segerman, when it operated out of the well-known Kloof Street bric-a-brac store Kloofmart.

“Kloofmart was owned by Johan Vosloo and his son, Jacques Vosloo started the record shop in the back section,” Mr Segerman said. And who could ever forget the iconic corner that housed Mabu in those days, bursting at the seems with crates of records, windows plastered with flyers for various parties, and all types of music lovers popping in for a tune. Despite it’s new swanky location just off the must-be-seen-in Kloof Street, Mabu has maintained its charm and seems to have maintained its loyal clientele.

The last stop was Soul II Soul records in Bree Street, formely known as Syndicate Records, which was started by Dino Michael almost 19 years ago. The store’s selection is mainly new records, including house, hip hop and old school music. They also run workshops, including the DJ school, where young aspiring DJs attend individual lessons conducted by Tony Smith. It’s been more than 20 years since the industry first started phasing out vinyl in favour of CDs, but there are still those who prefer the older medium. Unlike the abrupt and certain death suffered by cassette tapes, records have managed to maintain their popularity, perhaps because of their charm and – if your vinyl is in good condition – excellent sound quality.

Still, for many reasons, portability high on the list, digital music is gaining popularity and it’s now, possible to carry hundreds of songs of a fairly decent quality on some thing as small as your little finger. So, while vinyl may have survived the CD revolution, it remains to be seen whether it will outlive the age of digital music.
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