Nina Kraviz

Abandoned Until Better Times

Photo: Mike Guesty (Nina Kraviz)

Read all of Nina’s previous Groove columns here.
A German translation of this text has been published in Groove 161 (July/August 2016)

For the past 5 years I have been living a life of a gypsy. That means there is no really a place that you can call “home” in a true, precious meaning of this word. There is only a temporary base where all your stuff is resting while you are in a transition of proceeding to a next one. Following this rule endless amount of clothes, hard drives, microphones and synthesisers had been, how I call it, „abandoned until better times” at rented apartments and friends‘ studios or hotels all around the globe from Berlin to Reykjavik. Many people would find such a nomadic existence unimaginable but for some individuals like myself such life can also be inspiring and liberating because it leads to no attachment to material things. That being said there still should be something that is grounding. It could not only be one thing but a conglomerate of several little things or secret routines that suspend your core while you are enjoying a free ride.

“The festival is cancelled. You can stay home one extra week”- a familiar voice tells me on the phone. Home? My current home is beautiful. The spring has arrived and everything feels happy without any particular reason for it. I smile and feel motivated to finally go through my records and put them in order. Some of them have been here for a long time. Some arrived recently from a previous “home” and are now trapped in faceless boxes. Dust has covered piles of unsorted new and second-hand vinyl that were bought but not revisited in months. Some of them I bought just for those few minutes on a B-side or just because the record cover looks original. There are many. A week might not be enough but I light a cigarette and proceed to the first line. It feels wonderful and calming. The time doesn’t run as fast anymore as it did an hour ago before the phone rang.

I am in no rush and I am enjoying every minute of this new rhythm where I am all alone at the apartment with the open balcony and couple of finest Nagaoka needles that are so sensitive that you can feel every little crackle on the record. I put a needle on a first one and slices of the past are now passing in my mind with every melody that I recognize. Some of them bring so much memories that I could almost almost smell the memory. Audio-visual sensory effect. A flashback. Not always a nice one.

I like that my records are a little bit fucked up. One by one I am slowly coming to the end of the first pile – Polarius‘ „Winter in Polarius“! First copy of it. I remember it has a scar – a little curve covered with a big white mark that it caught from the sun on the beach where I played it the last time. I feel like some records do not belong to my collection anymore. Tomorrow I will give it away. Suddenly I stumble upon a pile that is full of unsorted second-hand records. In no particular order I start listening to unknown records and it feels like a gold mine. One record is better than the other. Gems. Some of them are very low-quality which only adds to their charm, some are weird 3-minute-cuts on a B-side. Some of them are so good that I catch the groove and start blending them in the mix. One more and then another one. 4 o’clock in the morning. Its starting to get bright but the flow is very strong and I am feeling energised and inspired. I am still mixing records and checking those I don’t know on discogs. I am wondering how can this gold be worth 2 euros only?

I read a little title encrypted in a record from 1996. Cute airplane on the silver soft cover. I read they have a website. I check and it actually still works! “You can order our entire catalog – just call this number’. I am calling the number and somebody says “Hello”. Silence. The clock shows 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The day is in it’s full action now. The records are still playing but I don’t feel tired. Instead I feel energised and inspired. I have noticed that the texture and the nerve that I have been looking for in the music hasn’t really changed since the very beginning. These records and strong memories are glued to it like a giant archive documented what I have been feeling for the past years. These records and strong memories are glued to them like a giant archive documented what I have been feeling for the past years. I managed to put my collection in order in a weeks time. I selected some for the road, packed them in a bag and went on a 3 week long tour. I don’t know when I see them again but I know that they will wait for me here safeguarding my memories and musical core no matter what and it feels very much like home.