We Buy White Albums by Rutherford Chang

Dust_and_Grooves_3332Last March the NY Times ran a story about a guy named Rutherford Chang, whose art installation called “We Buy White Albums” was open in Soho of New York City. Chang had collected more than 600 first edition copies of the Beatles album The Beatles, with the embossed lettering, more commonly known as The White Album.

The White Album, Chang found, was something of a tabula rosa, a canvas for stains, drawings, accidents and art, and from the Times story is appears that was part of the plan of the cover’s designer, Richard Hamilton.

Chang created a record store stocked with his White Albums, and spent his time at the store playing each one. They are ordered by the serial numbers that came on the albums pressed before 1975.

Another plan was to play all of them at the same time. Now the record store has opened up in a museum in Hamburg Germany, and Chang has released his overlaid performance of 100 copies of Side 1. It seems record pressings are not all the same, and while this starts out sounding like a somewhat boomy version of side one, by the end of Back in the USSR there is a real loopy dreamscape at work. I learned about this from a story in Slate.

Have a listen here.

2 thoughts on “We Buy White Albums by Rutherford Chang

  1. This is great. I have turned off While My Guitar Gently Weeps for decades, now I get it. From Bungalow Bill on, a song I never liked, it’s beautiful. I just wish the fidelity was better, why use old copies? Old turntables of course. The possibilities are endless.

  2. I love this. I personally had three copies of the album, one original, one i replaced when the original wore out, and then a copy on white vinyl. then i had it on cassette, and now of course i have it on CD. hmm, that means i bought the rights to it six times (talk about rackets).

    but, i would love to see the exhibit.

    and, i always loved the white album. so experimental. they were just trying shit. and most of it worked.

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