Quick heads up: I was provided a complimentary product from Vinyl Moon to review, but all opinions are my own, and no compensation was received.
Vinyl Moon claims to be The Planet’s Only Mixtape Record Monthly. That’s a weird concept – a limited edition record with different mixtapes every month – and every record sleeve is designed by a different visual artist. Each of the seventeen records in the series prior feature different art and vinyl colors to boot. This already separates itself from the pack. Most vinyl subscription services consist are special editions of existing records or often just represses of different colors. Maybe some limited edition artwork, but more or less you know what to expect.
So, when Vinyl Moon’s Volume 18: Intrepid Curves edition arrived in my mailbox, I have to say that I felt their claim was a bit dubious. After opening the packaging I am happy to report I’m very wrong.
In short, Intrepid Curves blew me away. The packaging is curated by French cartoonist Samplerman. Based on collages of vintage American superhero comics, the art blends familiar elements of art that’s existed in your mind for years and repurposes it for this collection. It’s staggering.
The gatefold cover features original art both on the front and back covers, and inside the gatefold image that’s just so cool it’s hard to photograph and do it justice. The full page booklet (seen below) contains no credits – it’s just pages of full 12×12 comics. I’ve spent hours looking at them. You can see some of the detail here with the colored vinyl called “used Silly Putty”. Apt, I think:
It almost feels weird to say that reviewing a vinyl subscription service that the music almost feels secondary. That it isn’t, exactly – the playlist feels seamless, synth pop wonders like “Lauren” by Men I Trust and the sunny buoyancy of “Cigarette Buzz” by Jane’s Party fit really well with this collection. None of the songs here are ones I’ve ever heard, but they almost seem to enhance the experience of just sitting on your floor and listening to your records. My only criticism here is that I wish there was a download card to listen to the songs on the go.
Vinyl Moon of flips the idea of a vinyl subscription service on its head. It calls to attention of music as art – or art as music? Either way, the roads intersect in a really unique way. You WANT to spend time with this collection – there’s so much to look at. Also, each record comes with a mini booklet and artist information and some postcards.
Vinyl Moon made me feel approach listening to records differently with this release. It’s to slow down, step away from whatever else you’re doing and to immerse yourself and pay attention the nuance. There’s so much here and it feels like you’re getting something special. Hopefully this immersive, major attention to detail experience will move towards whole albums by bands or reissue projects. This is an excellent place to start.