As compilation albums go, the new Black in Bluhm studio-curated Farm to Turntable is a bit of an anomaly. Where most comps start with a concept and gather corresponding music to fit the mold, the impetus for Farm to Turntable was a single tune without a home.
“We were right in the middle of writing a song that happened to be eleven minutes long,” says Ty Breuer, guitarist for Denver’s the Knew. “It has lots of tempo changes and could only really be recorded live.”
Enter local music legend and recording engineer Chris Fogal, who approached the Knew with an offer the band couldn’t turn down.
“Fogal reached out and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got some new gear I want to try out,’ and offered to record a song for free.”
Despite the song's length, Fogal also proposed knocking out the entire recording in one day. For the band, Breuer says, it was a no-brainer. The Knew camped out at Black in Bluhm with Fogal and cranked out “Decade Diamond or Drag” in record time. Now the band just had to figure out what to do with it.
“We did a couple takes and chose the best one,” says Breuer. “It ended up working great. About a month later, we were like, ‘Great — what are we gonna do with this thing?’”
That’s when the idea of a comp came about. Fogal proposed hunting down other stray tracks from local bands to create a full album of unreleased music. As icing on the cake, the project would be released on vinyl, an appealing strategy for Black in Bluhm co-owner and avid record collector Dan Fox.
“I’ve always been a fan of vinyl,” says Fox. "Records look cool. There’s always sweet artwork, and they sound great. As a young punk-rock kid, local bands always released those little seven-inches for five bucks or whatever. It’s just something different.”
Breuer says the length of the songs also worked out so that, at 45 RPM, the assembled tracks fit perfectly on a twelve-inch LP. Sonically speaking, most record collectors agree that a 45 simply sounds better than the traditional 33 1/3 LP speed. It’s also nice for fans to have a physical piece of music rather than just a download or stream, he adds.
“I think [releasing the record on vinyl] gives it a little bit of staying power. We’re not vinyl snobs, but it’s what we like to listen to music on. Now we’ve got an awesome record, and an awesome relic of this time in the Denver rock scene.”
And while creating a snapshot of the Denver scene was important, Fox says just creating something new and fun was reason enough to do the comp.
“Something like this, if I was in a band and someone asked me about it, to be part of a Denver thing with other Denver bands, I think it sounds like a pretty sweet deal,” he says. “It’s different as far as bands go, but there’s a kind of power/energy/rock to the whole thing. Everybody will be pretty pumped by the songs on this record.”
The album includes the following:
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The Knew – “Decade Diamond or Drag” // Engineer: Chris Fogal-Black in Bluhm Music
Dirty Few - “Sinnin' and Winnin'” // Engineer: Bart McCrorey-Crash Pad
SPELLS – “I Don't Feel at All” // Engineer: Tarvis Magnum-The Space
Colfax Speed Queen – “Ole Nessy” // Engineer: Wes Bane-Highly Recommended by Owner
The Outfit – “Contemporary Adult” // Engineer: Spencer Alred & Stuart Confer-Sad Pad Records
Major Sports – “22:36” // Engineer: Chris Fogal-Black in Bluhm Music
The Sound Collapse – “Getting Old is a Young Man's Game” // Engineer: Chris Fogal-Black in Bluhm Music
Muscle Beach – “When Horns Grow Teeth” // Engineer: Todd Wilcox-Halogen Sound
Bud Bronson & The Good Timers – “Victory Lap Through a Memory” //Engineer: JohnnyWilson-FtLP Studio
The Farm to Turntable vinyl release party, hosted by Black in Bluhm Music and Ratio Beerworks, with Major Sports, The Knew, Colfax Speed Queen, Dirty Few and the Sound Collapse, 8 p.m. June 23, 3 Kings Tavern, 60 South Broadway, $25 with the record or $8 without.