There are record collectors and accumulators that director Alan Zweig distinguishes one from another in his new documentary Records, a self-styled follow-up to 2000'sVinyl. Records had its premiere at TIFF back in October.
Each music lover has a personal relationship with how music is delivered. I sold off my collection twenty-two years ago in favour of the compact disc. It was a space issue. I'd been carting from coast to coast 1,200 plus vinyl recordings, many of which on playing popped and wheezed. That copy of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Tarkus sounded as if it survived one too many campaigns on the front line of war.
Zweig goes about exploring in a positive tone the human relationship with vinyl through numerous on-site interviews with those most attached to the physical presence of the beloved 12-inch LP.
As a '60s generation student of recordings, I knew the LP was all about what played between the grooves. I was trying to master the notes and artistry—the technique and knowledge of those making those records. Today, I'm content with YouTube and Spotify. One song at a time. Not the case for those interviewed throughout this caring documentary.
Records is a film about music. It’s not about a particular band or artist or a genre of music. It’s about the power of music and the people who live for it.
These folks - call them collectors, obsessives, or geeks - use music as a drug, as inspiration, as a connection to the world, to get in touch with their emotions, or as a way to modify their emotions.
Often referred to as a "national treasure", Zweig is one of Canada's best-loved filmmakers and perhaps the country's best interviewer. With his first documentary, Vinyl, Alan made an indelible mark, a portrait of compulsive record collectors that quickly became a cult classic.
Twenty-one years later, Zweig returns to the topic of compulsive record collecting with newfound introspection and a sunnier disposition.