Back in April, tQ’s Lauren Martin visited GZ Media in the Czech Republic to see how the manufacturing plant handles the increasing demand for vinyl records. While GZ Media pressed 13.7 million records last year, at the opposite end of the scale lathe cutting operations like Phil Macy’s 3.45RPM turn out one disc at a time. Instead of the rapid industrial process of pressing records from a metal master stamper, lathe cutting involves etching each record by hand in real time, a diamond stylus carving its spiral groove through warm, blank plastic.
A compulsive record collector and dealer, Phil counts New Zealand’s Flying Nun label among his obsessions, and it was lathe releases on The Dead C guitarist Bruce Russell’s Xpressway and Corpus Hermeticum labels that stirred his interest in the process. In 1998, he got in touch with the man responsible, lathe pioneer Pete King, to cut 37 albums by his then-band Kashmir Twist. Before our interview in his Seaford home begins, we squeeze into Phil’s spare room for a cutting demonstration.
Read the rest of this fascinating article via The Quietus | Features | A Quietus Interview | Close To The Etch: 3.45RPM’s Cottage Industry Lathe Cutting.