18 Apr The Collector Series: Diana Biernat’s vinyl records collection
The Collector Series: Diana Biernat’s vinyl records collection
The Collector Series is a photograph
Location: North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany
Size of records collection: Around 1200 records
Tell us a bit more about yourself:
I’m 28 years old and I live together with my awesome husband (who thankfully is as crazy about music as myself) in a small, quite rural town in the north west of Germany. In my free time you will usually find me listening to music, painting portraits of my favourite artists with coffee, roaming through the woods, trail running in the nature or being curled up on the couch reading a book. The rest of the time I work in the IT business.
What started your interest in music? Is there any interesting story or history behind it?
When I grew up, my parents did not have any interest in music at all. In my early teenage years I got into graffiti and as a natural consequence of it I got in touch with the Hip Hop culture and instantly fell in love with it. So my first record I ever bought when I was 14 was Nas – Illmatic – I did not even have a record player back then, but I was already drawn to vinyl as music format and found it fascinating. I kept on buying music on CD for quite a long time, and loved everything that came out in the “Golden Era”/ Boom Bap era of rap. After some time, I wanted to explore the samples used in the Hip Hop tracks and so I started to listen to Soul and Funk on a broader level. Over the years, my musical horizon has broadened widely and also started to branch out into more obscure parts.
I started discovering the YouTube vinyl community a few years ago (people are talking about their record collections and vinyl recommendations) and this also contributed into exploring music and genres I never had heard before. A year ago I decided to be an active member of the community and also started a YouTube channel rambling about my record collection 🙂
My preferred era of music would be the 60’s and 70’s. Right now I am listening to everything like Psychedelic Rock, Krautrock, Ambient Kraut, Progressive Rock, Canterbury, Folk, Singer-Songwriters, Jazz – especially a lot of Free and Spiritual Jazz -, Zamrock (Rock music from Zimbabwe from the 60’s & 70’s), African Rock in general, Psych Rock from Indonesia or Japan, Anatolian Rock, a lot of Brazil stuff, Funk, Afro Funk, Soul.. and sometimes still Hip Hop.
How long have you been collecting? What does your records collection mean to you?
I started collecting records around 6 years ago. We always had a small staple of records even though we decided to buy a record player only then… Through the expanding of the musical horizon to other genres and digging in record stores, visiting flea markets and records fairs the collection grew quickly.
My record collection is a vital part of my life – I cannot imagine living without music. A huge part of my daily life revolves around music in all forms. For me, putting on a record is cherishing music on a whole other level – the feeling I get from that could never be achieved with listening to MP3.
What’s your philosophy behind collecting records and how has that evolved since you started collecting up until the present day?
I am really curious and love to discover “new” music. I discover new (new to me at least, even if some of the music is 40-50 years old) artist on an almost daily basis and there is so much interesting old and new stuff to listen to – every day, for every mood and every occasion – but it is also still important to me to appreciate all the music in my collection and actually listen to everything on a regular basis. I do not concentrate on having a huge amount of records, to me the quality of the music is more important – I do not see the point in buying records I know I won’t play that often, just for the sake of having them.
Therefore, I am not too picky about the condition of a record – if it plays properly, I do not mind some scribbling on the cover. I am also not the type for only buying first presses – I am happy if I am able to find one, of course, and I really cherish the original records I have in my collection. But I am also satisfied with a decent(!) repress as well.
I am now more selective in buying records than I was at the begin of my collection, I also do enjoy the thrill of blind buys, but I like to do some research before I invest in some new records. There are some labels I always love to see in the crates, for example Impulse!, Strata-East, India Navigation, BYG Actuel, Light In The Attic, Mr. Bongo and Now-Again (a great reiusse label putting out the most amazing obscure stuff), but it still depends on the music itself if I am buying it.
Share with us your top 3 records and why?
Uh, that’s a tough one! It’s almost like asking a mother which of her kids is her favourite child, haha.This is hard to pinpoint and ever-changing, if you would ask me this question again in a few months, there will probably be different records in the list 🙂
Jefferson Airplane – Crown Of Creation (1968, RCA Victor)
Pharoah Sanders – Pharoah (1977, India Navigation)
WHY? – Elephant Eyelash (2005, Anticon)
It’s hard to pick a favourite of one of my all-time favourite bands Jefferson Airplane, but right now it is Crown Of Creation. Jefferson Airplane was one of the first Psychedelic Rock bands I discovered and I absolutely adore Grace Slick. This record is amazing from start to finish, with “In Time” being the song I probably played the most in the recent years. The band just harmonised so well together, their records were always full with love to the detail.
Pharoah Sanders is one of my favourite Jazz saxophonists ever. For me, “Pharoah” is a pure masterpiece and perfect from start to finish. The side-long track “Harvest Time” is giving me goosebumps every time I listen to it. “Love Will Find A Way” is such an adorable song with Pharoah singing over it. A beautiful Soul Spiritual Jazz record with some psychedelic influences to it. I love all the other records he made (until ’77) and some of them are still on my grail list since they are usually not that easy to find in good condition.
“Elephant Eyelash” has a very special place in my heart – I can play that record in every mood and it will always improve my day. Why? makes quirky indie singer songwriter music with Hip Hop influences, it is really hard to describe how this sounds but it is absolutely brightening up every day. Overall probably the most played album in my collection over the course of time.
Any tips for other record collectors out there?
Stay curious – there is so much amazing music out there to discover, which might totally blew you away even though you never had heard of it before.
I am always critical of reviews – just because everyone says you just have to have this record in your collection, it does not necessarily mean it floats your boat and vice versa – a lot of records I love the most were absolutely savaged by critics. (I just came across a horrid review for Pharoah, hence the point, haha)
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