About PIAPTK Recordings
Michael Dixon lives and breathes vinyl recordings. He runs five vinyl-record based companies – based on his longtime love of making records by hand, one at a time, on vintage record cutting lathes.
PIAPTK - People In A Position To Know
Limited Edition Vinyl Recordings and Handmade Musical Artifacts
Since it's inception in 2006 PIAPTK has issued over 150 releases - hand cut using vintage record lathes onto upcycled plexiglass, laserdiscs, picnic plates, cd-rs (playable on both turntable and standard CD player), mirrors, placemats, x-rays, and even 90% cacao chocolate. The label has released ultra-limited records by luminaries such as Ariel Pink, Microphones, Jason Lytle, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, Southerly, Little Wings, R. Stevie Moore and dozens of others. Many releases are carefully lathe cut (although some are pressed using traditional record pressing plants) and the packaging is always unique. The records often featuring handmade covers assembled from upcycled materials found at thrift stores and garage sales. The packaging concept regularly drives the record making process itself, and contributes to the overall concept behind each release. The artwork featured on PIAPTK releases are printed using silkscreening, letterpress, linoblock printing, unique paintings and drawings, and are often usually by the recording artists themselves. The microruns seldom make it to release date before selling out via preorders. The typical PIAPTK release's monetary value, on collector sites such as discogs.com, rarely remain it's original retail price - usually increasing steadily as time passes. PIAPTK has received enthusiastic coverage from outlets such as Pitchfork and NYC based 7 inches Blog.
Soild Gold (pronounced Soy-uld)
The PIAPTK subsidiary Soild Gold is co-run and curated by Dimitri Manos (of Dr. Dog and Golden Boots). While PIAPTK's releases are focused on unique (and complicated) format and packaging, Soild Gold finds its’ identity in consistency and a tightly defined minimalistic visual aesthetic. Every Soild Gold release is limited to 200 copies on gold colored vinyl and 100 tapes on gold colored cassettes. The packaging for the label always features a 1970's bootleg style record sleeve and a full color poster. The label issues these releases in the analog formats only - the music is too big to fit on a phone.
Bands, musicians, or anyone wanting audio on a record can have their audio cut onto a playable plexiglass disc with Lathecuts.com. Founded in 2010, Mike has made records for over 400 artists to date. Available in picture discs, unique shapes, standard circles, and runs as low as 20, the ability to purchase tiny quantities are a major benefit for new artists and touring acts that cannot afford the minimum order of 500 required by most pressing plants. Lathecuts.com has cut records for tours, Kickstarter campaigns, art shows and even weddings.
A partnership with Seattleite Kris Dorr, MobileVinylRecorders.com specialize in hand cutting records live in front of fascinated audiences. The duo have traveled the globe cutting vinyl on vintage Presto 6N lathes for acts such as The XX, Cut Copy, Of Montreal, Sebadoh, Half Japanese, WHY? and many more. MobileVinylRecorders.com have been employed to create their unique vinyl artifacts at parties and festivals such as Sundance Film Festival, Pitchfork Festival, Coachella, SXSW for clients such as hitRecord.com (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Fools Gold Records, Joyful Noise Records, LomaVista Records, Burger Records and many more. In the spring of 2014 MobileVinylRecorders.com participated in Converse's #Sneakersclash with a one month residency cutting records in front of onlookers in Paris, France.
The Science of Sound
Utilizing his skills as a former high school vocational educator Mike travels to libraries, schools and after-school programs with a 1940s Presto 6N disc cutter in tow. His program features a fun audio-visual and kid friendly presentation covering the science of sound and the evolution of sound recording from early devices such as music boxes to the modern forms of lossless digital audio. Hands-on demonstrations include making a homemade record player using only a paper cup, pencil and cactus needle and , of course, the kids make their own record . Recording directly to vinyl through vintage microphones the kids are thrilled to hear their voices played back on the disc and the record is left with the school or library as a keepsake.
In a world of ubiquitous digital files and streaming audio the lathe cut record is a unique and precious artifact catering to the deep human desire for the tangible. The preciousness of an object that is not mass produced or effortlessly duplicated is becoming more recognized by folks looking for something beyond the hollow take-n-toss culture propagated by big business. All five of Michael's companies PIAPTK, Soild Gold, LatheCuts.com, MobileVinylRecorders.com and Science Of Sound create these objects, with art and care - and they can play the music forever.