Known to hip-hop heads and vinyl connoisseurs as Peanut Butter Wolf, Chris Manak is a DJ and producer who is also the founder of influential underground label Stones Throw Records. The new documentary Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton tells the story of this nearly two-decade-old Los Angeles record label through Wolf, starting back when he signed a toxic major-label deal along with his best friend and musical soulmate, the late Charles Hicks, aka Charizma.
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Even if you’re unfamiliar with Stones Throw releases, the film is an excellent look at the importance of curation and art direction at a smaller record label. “It’s certainly an artist-first label; traditional labels are much more concerned with how they are going to market an artist,” says director Jeff Broadway. “Stones Throw doesn’t make artists; they find artists.” With everyone from Kanye West to Questlove discussing the label’s influence on their own work and Madlib sharing his contribution to the Stones Throw discography, Vinyl is a seamless blend of storytelling, music, art and archival footage. (Fans of late label superstar J Dilla will be especially pleased to hear more about the life and work of the rapper and producer.)
Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton screens at 7 p.m. tonight at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets are $12 to $15 and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 303-595-3456, or at denverfilm.org.
Sat., April 12, 7 p.m., 2014