Playing With Scratches CoverUnderground DJ, producer, and remixer extraordinaire Ruckus Roboticus released his playful debut Playing with Scratches nationally last month. A masterful collage of samples, the album (like his similarly-themed last CD-R mix, Music Machine) fuses children's music with hip-hop in a cornucopia of ‘70s TV themes, underground funk, hip-hop, and random rarities. Boasting an impressive vinyl collection with thousands of off-the-beaten-path records, he was kind enough to take some time away from his turntables this week to show AMG some of his most treasured finds.

Ruckus Roboticus discusses his secret stash after this break:

Honky Tonk Percussion Cover
Artist: Fred Burton
Album: Honky Tonk Percussion
Description: Thrift stores in Ohio are littered with strange percussion-oriented records (with titles like Percussion in Hi-Fi, Ping Pong Percussion, Bongos Flutes and Guitars, etc.). This one in particular caught my eye because of the cool cover and unusual theme. To my surprise, the music and sample material was better than I expected. It has lots of useful unusual percussion and oddball sound effects.
Where it was found: A thrift store in Dayton, Ohio
How Rare: It's the only copy I've ever seen in person, but an internet search reveals several copies for sale online.

Oscillations Cover
Artist: Don Voegeli
Album: Oscillations Vol. 1 - 5
Description: This is a collection of sound library records, for radio and television stations to use as music beds and station ID's. The cover definitely caught my eye, and so did the electronic music theme. The music is okay, but unfortunately most of it is not very useful to someone like me. However, there are a handful of tracks that are just wild electronic sound effects, and those are great!
Where it was found: I got lucky and was able to raid the remains of a Public Radio station's vinyl collection.
How Rare: These are the only copies I've ever seen, and library records seem harder to find since they were not produced for the general public.

Silver Burdett Music Cover
Artist: Various Artists
Album: Silver Burdett Music (One of various volumes in the series)
Description: God bless Silver Burdett records! These records were made for kindergarten and elementary school music teachers to use in the classroom (I can even remember them being used in my music classes back in the day). Most of them are full of random songs that demonstrate certain music principles (pretty boring stuff). However, once in a while there is some unbelievable dialogue about the principles of music, or an interview with people who work in the music industry! A total goldmine for an audio collagist!
Where it was found: A Boy Scouts' rummage sale
How Rare: I'm not really sure... I have close to 20 different Silver Burdett records, but I rarely come across them. Probably semi-rare.

Hello, I'm Music Cover
Artist: (None)
Album: Hello, I'm Music! (Six Record Set, with filmstrips)
Description: Arguably, one of the rarest and most treasured records in my collection. Six records over-flowing with dialogue that teaches kids the fundamentals of music! For a sample-based artist and DJ, finding a set of records like this is like hitting the jackpot. When you see a record like this -- one that shows all the signs that it will contain incredible content -- you get very excited about what you're about to hear come out of the grooves. About half the time, you end up being disappointed because the content doesn't live up to your high expectations. However, this set was better than I imagined it would be. So many phrases in this record are ripe for the picking! And the filmstrips are bonus. They contain amazing visual material to display at a show, or work into a video.
Where it was found: At the same magical Boy Scouts Rummage Sale
How Rare: Super Rare. I don't know anyone who has ever seen it or heard of it.
The Hooked Generation Cover
Artist: Dr. Jack Van Impe
Album: The Hooked Generation
Description: This record is crazy! It is definitely one of my favorite spoken-word albums ever. Jack Van Impe is great. He has a unique voice and interesting inflection when he speaks. He is also pretty kooky, which makes this record even better. (A funny side note: Jack Van Impe currently has a TV show, which often gets made fun of on Jimmy Kimmel Live). But the thing that puts this record over the top is the topics he covers: Sex, drugs, rock n' roll, and...the miniskirt! One prominent DJ/producer, who shall remain nameless, used it heavily in one of his remixes. I personally haven't used this record much yet, but I have big plans to put it to use live and in my productions.
Where it was found: A thrift store in Xenia, OH
How Rare: It's hard for me to say for sure, but in my opinion, pretty damn rare.

And Lastly, Some Random Record Collecting Tips...

  1. Become friends with other collectors. They're your best resource for knowledge, records, and new places to find records. Try to team up with them in your search, instead of competing with them.

  2. If you see an amazing record that you already have and it's reasonably priced, buy it. You can trade it to someone for a record you want. (Many DJs & collectors would rather trade than be paid).

  3. No place is too obscure or off limits from your search to discover a stash of records. It helps to look beyond record stores.

[Visit Ruckus Roboticus at myspace, stream his Music Machine mix and interview from Beat Oracle here, and be the first kid on your block to get a copy of his new album here.]