The Dark Side of the Moon
Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.
The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.
A3 Pencil Print-Price £60.00-Purchase
A4 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase
*Limited edition run of 250 prints only*
All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.
P&P is not included in the above prices.
It started as a private commission and I felt sure the customer would want a portrait of the Pink Floyd band members holding the album cover; after all that’s precisely what I promote myself as – a portrait artist! But no – what was required was a replica of the iconic album sleeve only. As always, I was happy to oblige……………..
The Dark Side of the Moon is the eighth studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd, released on 1 March 1973 by Harvest Records.
The Dark Side of the Moon became one of the best-selling albums of all time and is in the top 25 of a list of best-selling albums in the United States. Although it held the number one spot in the US for only a week, it remained in the Billboard album chart for 741 weeks. The album re-appeared on the Billboard charts with the introduction of the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart in May 1991, and has been a perennial feature since then. In the UK, it is the seventh-best-selling album of all time and the highest selling album never to reach number one.
Analogue vs Digital and how to clean those precious grooves.
Just where does one start with an article on cleaning vinyl records? There are hundreds of them on the internet and I’ve read more than my share. Fortunately, since I’m not interested in acquiring vinyl that hasn’t been lovingly tended to, I never have to consider some of the more extreme methods promoted on various websites like the wood glue method.
I’m a great devotee of the cleaning regime as detailed in the following link.
I don’t slavishly follow it – I’ve long since settled for de-ionised water rather than the distilled variety – but outside of this, it works for me as part of a three stage cleaning process. In my opinion, isopropyl alcohol is absolutely harmless to common record vinyl. Its PH is essentially the same as water and it leaves no residue. It sucks the water out of the oils, dirt, organic matter, and micro biology that live down in the grooves, weakening or making them brittle and easy to flush or remove. Its safe for human tissue and electronics, and used by professional archivists and restorers who clean and/or preserve different materials. It needs diluting of course and once applied, I favour using an electric Shaver Razor Cleaning Brush for a Philips Braun Remington whilst the solution is still wet and the disc is spinning in the turntable. Work the bristles over the groove without applying excessive force and you will hear the faint sounds of the musical information stored at that point. Lifting and re-applying the brush tip in rapid succession also helps. It’s possible to “feel the resistance” that comes from the dirt embedded in the groove. Once you can freely associate the effect of this impediment on the diamond tip of your stylus with testing your car suspension to its limit on the worst pot hole imaginable, then you’ll have all the inducement you need to persevere with your cleaning regime. Don’t expect a perfect result at the first, second or even third pass, but a gradual improvement should become quite noticeable.
I then move onto stage two of the four stage process. The recommended formula here is 2% L’Art du Son to 98% distilled/de-ionised water, so I add 15ml of concentrate (it comes with a handy measuring cup) to the 750ml bottle and fill the rest with de-ionised water. I then transfer some of the mixture from the bottle to a small plastic squeeze bottle, also with a smoked tint, for actual record-cleaning use. I don’t recommended trying the vinyl album straight after stage two. Experience has taught me that L’art du Son will leave the playing surface akin to an ice skating rink. Provided your tracking weight is correct, the cartridge will not damage the playing surface as it rapidly veers to the right but it’s a disconcerting experience nonetheless. No, leave well alone to air-dry for several hours and the cartridge will track correctly. There are those who believe L’art du Son (a German product with a French name) is very expensive. £30.00 for an effective product that will last (after dilution) between 2-3 years with regular use hardly strikes me that way.
For the penultimate stage I use my Spin Clean machine, filling the tank to the recommended level with only de-ionised water and a few drops of Ilford Ifotol. I do five full revolutions in both a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction, and this process removes any last remnants of the alcohol and L’art du Son.
Finally, I vacuum up the loosened grime using a Vinyl Vac; at $29 a considerably more affordable purchase than a RCM (Record Cleaning Machine.) I picked mine up whilst holidaying in the States. My vacuum cleaner is an old Dyson which I elected not to discard when it ceased operating effectively as a carpet cleaner; after all, the hose and attachments still worked. Admittedly, a Dyson isn’t the recommended vacuum type for the Vinyl Vac – the instructions explicitly mentioning that a Wet/Dry vac is preferred – however, Dysons are notorious for their great suction, and my old model provides more than enough for this purpose. I’ve read comments on forums that the the Vinyl Vac does not form a tight seal over the Dyson’s vacuum hose, but it does if you simply dispense with the detachable end. The unit also comes with reducers in case there is too much suction but I’ve found no need for these. If there’s still an issue with deeply embedded dust and grime, I favour wooden cocktail sticks dipped in cleaning fluid. Used with the correct amount of pressure, they will move the most stubborn of particles, without scarring the playing surface. The ultimate test of course, is playback on a turntable with an elliptical cartridge. Conical carts are more forgiving as they pick up musical information from the groove wall whereas ellipticals (being diamond shaped) forge a pathway at the bottom of the groove and retrieve even more musical information. However, the cleaning process needs to be fully effective to reap the benefit of higher end cartridges.
Using a Dyson vac initially presented problems. It can be a bit challenging to position the hose at a usable angle, so that it remains properly connected to the appliance. All this is necessary to avoid the Vinyl Vac from popping off the spindle during the vacuuming process. Once you’ve worked your way around this problem, the results are excellent. I am perhaps better qualified than many to make this statement since I am only interested in purchasing good quality second hand vinyl. After deep cleaning and vacuuming, one might therefore expect any improvement in sound quality to be barely discernible. I have not found this to be the case and on the contrary, the Vinyl Vac remains the all important cog in the wheel.
Ably supporting these deep cleaning endeavours is my Milty Zerostat 3 gun which removes static electricity that sits around vinyl records which, in turn, draws dust and grime to the grooves. When you remove your record from its inner sleeve, if you hear the crackle of static as you do so or your sleeve clings to the vinyl then you are in real need of anti-static tools. Never needs replenishing, it’s a one-off purchase so I’d highly recommend the cost (£48-£60 depending on your source.)
“Dear God” I can hear you say “Is this all really necessary and why bother?” I would answer “yes” but only if your ears and turntable can support an extremely rewarding end result. This listening experience is noticeably more engaging where the fullest dynamic range of the recorded sound is exploited, and the overall effect is akin to a ‘live’ performance. MP3 compression and digital binary information on CDs may generate super clean playbook unadorned by periodic pops, clicks and crackle but it often feels flat, sanitised, and lacking in energy. In any event, a thorough vinyl cleaning regime will remove those irritating audio distractions to fully emphasise a sonic experience that has enthralled generations since 1948. I still buy CDs since I don’t believe the need to wholly support either camp in the raging analogue vs digital debate BUT – and this is key – where a pressing is highly rated (and “Hot stampers” clearly are) I’d always favour the vinyl route.