Absolute Belter


2010 release. In the realms of the music business, the overused term "indie" has become somewhat convoluted within the last three decades. Bandied around as a stylistic statement, an ethos or a genre in its own right, there are very few successful popular music labels that can truly claim to be independent of those major corporations that, in time, plan to dominate the entire recorded output of the global music community. At Finders Keepers, these seldom-championed self-sufficient industries have always been truly inspirational sources. Labels such as Kuckuck in Germany, BYG in France and Sain in Wales have all maintained utmost artistic integrity and broke truly experimental and successful careers without having to surrender their creative loins to the ravenous bottomless stomach of the major music industry, and for this reason the music flies freely amongst us, adding new life after life to musical misfits as free music lives, breathes and procreates. By the start of the new millennium, the revival of the vinyl record-buying market had reached a level that turned second-hand shops and auction web sites into train spotters' sports arenas. The competitive nature of record digging, trading, sampling and DJing took misplaced-pop aficionados out of their comfort zones in search of black 12" and 7" medals that might outsmart their fellow collectors or tantalize the fresh ears of a well-adjusted, freak-fuelled audience. Throughout the 1990s the rise in popularity of indigenous European genres such as Krautrock and French yé-yé saw American, English and Japanese collectors re-invent the concept of world music, pondering un-raked territories. Europe, of course, would provide the central co-ordinates to start the global trophy treasure hunt. The neatly arranged and numbered racks of laminated 7" sleeves that originated from Barcelona in the '60s and '70s have provided many of these vinyl vultures and portable record deck wielders with enough random and varied music to justify week-long pop-pilgrimages to Spanish flea markets and thrift shops. Belter records, with their familiar yellow graphic bands and blue/silver or brown/yellow labels punctuate racks of other Spanish delights in a country whose habitual record-buying market was initiated and facilitated by a self-made home-grown institution. This is where you'll find hip-hop producers rubbing shoulders with mods and proggers, shying away from the sun, contemplating a supposedly-authentic paella supper and repeatedly flipping over the endless rivers of 7" circles and squares in search of another Absolute Belter. The year 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most recognized independent commercial music companies of post-war Europe and, with a back catalog of magnetic tape that could circle the planet, the legacy of Barcelona's Belter repertoire has touched each continent, proudly defiant in the face of fascism, technology, revolution, capitalism, patriotism, bad fashion, good vibrations and dubious humor. Includes 20-page booklet with notes and photos.