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July 19, 2017

A short walk down Braamfontein's Juta Street, right next to TOMS is the Aware Record Store. Aware is a music retailer specialising in and exclusively stocking vinyl records. They've got a wide selection including brand spanking new pressings still covered in that plastic film that's always lovely to stroke and previously loved records that speak to quite a weird and wonderful diaspora of music history. 

The vinyl revolution is over and we've all been its victims, whether you like it or not. Vinyl made a comeback a couple of years ago and ever since then it's gone from strength to strength. Everywhere you see clubs having vinyl only nights and music retailers have restocked not only old classics but brand new artists releasing their work on vinyl, and it sells, probably more than CDs to take a flying guess. If you're going to buy your favourites artist's work of art rather have it immortalised than packaged in a plastic CD case that's almost bound to snap and break, the CD scratched and your hopes and dreams crushed to smithereens. 

A brief browse around Aware and you'll see relatively new albums and artists such as Mumford and Sons, Radiohead and Eminem clashed together will some of the most enigmatic and legendary musicians of all time in the form of Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Iron Maiden, Nirvana and Kenny Rogers. And yes, it feels like a real life browse, no half measures here, you're here to discover. I even found an LP The Jesus and Mary Chain which I almost bought but thought I'd be trying a bit too hard. Arf. It doesn't seem like the records are in any particular order, just split up if they're second hand or new, and it adds to the magical reality of the record store. Finding something unexpected, something surreal, something strange and taking a gamble all based on the cover. The covers are hypnotic. Like a siren's song they call and beckon you closer. This is your time. You need this. Now. 

The store isn't big but you can get lost in it, that's for sure. Lost in the unspoken words of song titles and bands, smooth, pressed covers and psychedelically-inclined artwork as Radiohead's King of Limbs plays faintly in the background, making you want to stay forever. Aware really has an identity to it that I can't quite find the words for. It's more of a personal experience than anything else. They'll even make a plan to get your busted record player fixed so ask your parents for their old one that they pretend to still use and experience sonic wavelengths through the eye of a needle.

Where? 82 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.



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