Dazed Digital


Sub-Culture's Shanghai Vinyl Adventures Pt. 2

September 2, 2011

Our Shanghai Guest Editor documents the underground Chinese vinyl scene in an exclusive two-part feature

  • Text by Satellite Voices

Gaz Williams is the Manchester-born, Shanghai-based music promoter behind some of the most innovative new electronic bass music to come out of China. Founding Sub-Culture as an event that straddles music, art and film, a blog of the same name as well as the reggae collective Uprooted Sunshine and PAUSE - a collective group of Shanghai’s independent promoters, musicians and artists, Sub-Culture will be our invaluable insight into the bass heavy sonics of the city.

"Mainly from Japan but also Europe, these records seem to come from bankrupt record shops, radio stations clearing out their un-played tunes, unwanted private collections or factory mis-presses and are anything from old classical and jazz records, straight the 70’s and 80’s pop and rock, through to modern day dance music and pretty much everything in between. Although intended to be melted down, a few entrepreneurial individuals have realized there is a growing demand for these discs in China and have been buying up these boxes of vinyl by the ton and shipping them to various markets and stores around major Chinese cities.

In Shanghai there are a handful of these ‘record spots’ scattered around the city. Often hidden away in electronics markets, the selection of records for sale is usually completely random and in no order what so ever. Some places seem to cater towards collectors of older records, with a lot of classical or old rock LP’s, whilst other places will have endless amounts of commercial hip-hop and RnB 12’s. One thing for certain though is that if you look hard enough you will find something you want.

During my five-or-so years in Shanghai I have come across some real gems when digging through boxes of crap Euro-Trance and Barbara Streisand records. Original Jamaican pressings of Studio One LPs, brand new copies of long-out-of-print electronic albums, mid 90’s jungle 12s which are impossible to find, old funk 45’s… its very rare I go away from a session empty handed.

With the music scene growing rapidly in China, and certain groups of young peoples disposable income rising, more and more people are catching the vinyl bug and the culture of collecting ‘physical’ music is growing. Kook records, a shop which was once mainly imported cds (from the very same warehouses) now pretty much only sells vinyl, and the newly opened Uptown Records has taken the next step and is Shanghai’s first solely-vinyl music shop. As a vinyl collector it’s a great thing to see the culture growing here. Well, as long as I get to the new shipments or records first then it’s a great thing."
Uptown Records @

115 PingWu Lu

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