22 September 2010

BYG Actuel on a budget

As XTRA is to Folkways, so Affinity is to BYG Actuel and its heavyweight run of classic free jazz. That is to say, surprisingly unloved and affordable licensed represses. BYG Actuel, set up by Jean-Luc Young, Jean Georgakarakos and Ferand Buros, was short-lived. Affinity was an imprint of Charly, the reissue label which Young subsequently ran. Comparing the two labels to see which BYG releases Young went back for is intriguing; was he trying to rescue things he thought especially deserved re-release, or what he thought was commercially salvageable?

Again to a Record Collector reader the paltry sums these records have cost me are probably just list price, but a) the original pressings really aren't cheap, b) the more recent vinyl reissues feel a bit too much like buying fake antiques and c) I like the peculiar typography. The layout is, I guess, meant to be stark and austere. The rule goes:

given name
[pic] surname
album title

...and I can imagine the designer being vaguely pissed off that 'Lacy' was going to mess with the usual pattern.

There's also the mild buzz of finding entries from this list in charity shops – a list which on publication way back in prehistory seemed impossibly unobtainable, but can now all be downloaded from a single site.

Although this is my favourite Affinity find, with its not-exactly-common atonal twin harmonica attack (!) and some absolutely scything spoken word by Jeanne Lee. (Video below).

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