Collector's Corner: Rui Miguel Abreu

Rui Miguel Abreu, influent music journalist, producer, DJ and record digger extraordinaire, unravels some of the reasons behind his passion for music and talks about cosmic coincidences in the 2nd edition of Collector's Corner.
What led you to become interested in music and records?
Well, there was never music at home when i was growing up. My grandparents had an old valve radio, but that was it. No record player, no tape recorder and certainly no records. But that valve radio fascinated me: at night i could tune into exotic stations on the far regions of the dial and hear strange sounds. I guess that's what first draw me to music. I was 11 in 1980 and that was an exciting time for music discoveries. Soon I was talking to slightly older friends that had records and I was hooked. When I turned 15 my parents offered me my first record player and that was it...

What warms your heart the most: playing music or writing about music?
Writing about music has always been my greatest passion. Everything else I've done in music - working on record labels, producing shows, managing artists, doing radio, playing records as a dj, even making beats - has spawned from that activity and the necessity of thinking about music. I am, above all, a music critic and a music journalist.

What is the size of your collection?
I never measured it and the collection has known periods of expansion but also underwent several trimming efforts through the years. A collection is a living thing, that grows and contracts. Right now it's growing. I would say I probably own around 20 thousand titles, the majority being vinyl, maybe 70 per cent.

Don't you ever get tired of digging record crates or ordering new stuff? Will there be a moment when you'll say "that's enough"?
Well, I love music above the object. It's the act of listening to music that drives everything that I do, so it was never about getting the first edition or the rare issue of a certain record. So, as it's easier now to listen to whatever we want I find myself increasingly questioning the necessity to have a physical object of everything i want to listen to. But questioning does not mean i have given up on buying records. I am still not at that stage. So I keep buying records. But I kind of wish that the day will come when i will be cured of that urge...

Format of choice: vinyl or CD?
I love vinyl, but i am not a fundamentalist. Actually, there's lots of current music that's produced digitally, mastered digitally but released on vinyl. I still buy the vinyl but i'm increasingly wondering why... And i am a sucker for expanded editions, so i always pay attention to cds. Whenever possible i like to have both formats, but if you twist my arm i'll admit that i prefer vinyl.

What is the most important album of your life?
I don't know... honestly, I don't! John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, The Clash, The Velvet Underground, Nas, De la Soul, John Carpenter, Goblin, Tom Waits, John Martin, Talking Heads, James Brown, Parliament/Funkadelic, Juan Atkins, Prince, Pierre Henry, François Bayle, Kraftwerk, Lee Perry, Mark Stewart, Can, Neu!, DJ Shadow, Demdike Stare... they have all released amazing music that marked me deeply. I'm not sure I could choose a single one.

What was the last record that amazed you?
Hmm... This young producer called Arca amazed me recently. But I am easily amazed. Music is a wonderful thing, a never ending source of amazement. Legowelt amazes me. Andy Votel amazes me. The amazing releases on Recollection GRM amaze me. It never ends...

What is the one record that you don't have and you're most looking for?
There are tons I'm looking for, but i am currently kind of obsessing over original releases on Prospectives 21 Siecle, a series on avant garde music released on the 60s and 70s on Philips.

Tell me an interesting story about buying records, either because of the purchase process itself, or for the importance (commercial or emotional) of the records in question.
I wrote a small book on house music for the Dance Club magazine. I was researching material for my book and reading Last Night a DJ Saved My Life by Bill Brewster. This Sunday morning i was reading the chapter where Bill retells the story of the first house 12 inch, On and On by Jesse Saunders and how he made that record after losing a very rare disco bootleg [also titled On and On] by an artist called MACH. I read that part of the book, put the book down and as it was still two hours until lunch time i decided to walk down the street from my house and hit the monthly flea market. And in a box with 50 or so shitty records i found a copy of the same On and On [MACH] bootleg Jesse Saunders had lost. It's incredibly rare, only 500 copies pressed in 1980, and somehow a copy made it to my local flea market on the same day i was made aware of it's existence by reading about it in a book. Cosmic coincidence?

You can find RMA's writings on Blitz magazine and on his own megablog, 33-45 (in Portuguese). Check also the releases of his record label, Loop:Recordings.

Have you enjoyed this article? Then take a look at the previous edition of Collector's Corner with Paulo Coelho.