Vinyl collecting in Tokyo – Prog Rock heaven!

I love being an airline pilot.

Currently in Japan, I’ve just had a *Sensational* run around the branch of Disk Union which specialises in Prog, in Shinjuku. It’s a 90 minute train ride from where we stay but always worth the trip. I use my job as a pilot to trawl record stores worldwide, and Japan is still far and away the best country for record collecting.

There are a number of reasons for this.  Japanese stores tend to have little online presence, so they hang on to their best stock rather then sell it off on eBay and Discogs.  As a nation the Japanese seem to be really careful with their possessions, so their “used” vinyl is in generally much better overall condition thatyou would find elsewhere.  Finally, Japanese buyers came over to Europe buying up masses of hard-to-find vinyl in the 80’sand 90’s and a lot of this stuff is now coming back onto the market. As a perfect example, the stock in this small store has to be seen to be believed.

I’ve come back with original and almost mint copies of:

Nuova Era – L’Ultimo Viaggio (interesting Neo-prog from Italy)

Malibran – The Wood of Tales (Signed copy on red vinyl, limited to 300 copies)

Ezra Winston – Ancient Afternoons (Prog classic, I bought both copies of this as I know someone will bite my arm off for one of them!)

Uno – Uno (The Osanna offshoot band on Fonitcetera)

Triana – Hijos del Agobio


plus Japanese pressings (all with OBI stip) of:

Isotope – Deep End (I have a first UK pressing already but I love the sound of the Japanese pressings)

Darryl Way’s Wolf – Saturation Point (as above)

Darryl Way’s Wolf – Canis Lupis (as above)


plus brand-new copies of (drum roll ….):

Devil Doll – The Girl Who Was … Death (paid about £25 for this, a complete bargain. Still sealed, rare as hen’s teeth)

Eno/Holland – Panic of Looking

Eno-Holland – Drums Between the Bells


The most surprising thing about all of these were the prices; all were less than a tenner and most were around £5.  Had a smug aura on the train back to the Crew Hotel!

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Vinyl collecting – poacher turned gamekeeper!

A warm welcome to Plane Groovy; this is my chance to give something back to the hobby which has consumed me for most of my life!

Here we are in 2012 and I own and run a record label! How on earth did that come about, and why? Well, the answer to the first question is pretty simple. I’d been trying to persuade my friend Francis Dunnery to put out his albums on vinyl for years – the clarity of his performances and recordings lend themselves perfectly to the vinyl medium. After endless phone calls to labels various it became apparent that he would have to actually pay someone for the privilege of getting his own music released on an existing label and that made no sense to me.  I did a bit of overtime at work last year, and rather than put the money towards the mortgage I decided to do something memorable with it … and thus Plane Groovy was born with the release of Francis Dunnery’s “Man” on double heavyweight vinyl.

I learned how to put together the artwork with our second release, the first solo album by Chris Difford who has been a great friend for many years. Echolyn – a band I have admired since the early 90’s – came onboard next; I think Francis told them that they could trust me! This and the upcoming DBA album are milestone releases for us because they are brand-new recordings rather than reissues and thus they give us a new level of credibility. Henry Priestman is someone I’ve followed since my University days; amazingly talented and when I first heard his solo album I thought it would be perfect on vinyl; turns out I was right!

There are more projects in the pipeline; we’re putting out “Songs from the Mission of Hope” by Stephen Harris in September to celebrate its’ 10th anniversary; this will be a very special edition with all sorts of added extras included with the first 100 copies.

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