There are certain music albums that are not just iconic, not just culture influencing, but are part of humanity’s history and will be known by every generation. The Beatles White Album is one of these. It is difficult to say why an album reaches such a monumental role in culture and history. Perhaps is it the role that it played in that point in history, perhaps it is the representation of the Band’s role in culture, perhaps it is the uniqueness and shock-value of how it was presented. In the case of the White Album, I would say all of the above and likely more.
To celebrate the influence and cultural power of the White Album, the artist Rutherford Chang set up a pop-up record store (in the Recess Gallery in Soho) dedicated solely to the White Album. The “store” contains close to 700 copies of the 1968 classic. Each album is marked with its own serial number so that it becomes a unique part of the 3 million collection that is out there. In other words, each album in the “store” is treated like a print from an artist’s collection. Richard Hamilton, the original artist, would be proud.
The beauty of the collection is that the personality of each album is brought to life. Over the years, many copies of the album have gone on journeys with their owners, and in doing so have developed a very unique character and personality. Some albums have been drawn on, some have been stained, some have been very weathered, etc. As such each has become its own entity, very much at odds with the original design.
Throughout the tenure of the pop-up “We Buy White Albums” store, as many of the records in the store will be played and then combined to create the ultimate “master recording”. It will reflect the sounds of aging and become a proper generation version of the record giving new flavor to some of the classic tracks such as “Back in the USSR”, and “Helter Skelter”. The new “master recording” will be pressed into a double LP (reflecting the original format) and people can come in and pick out a copy. Very very cool.