An endless quest for 12 inch treasure.

The term crate digger is used to describe a very select breed of individuals - an obsessive group of musical hoarders, the audio archaeologists of our known world in pursuit of the unheard. In the traditional sense, a crate digger can be found periodically searching the mould-ridden shelves of back alley record stores, crumbling warehouses and the dust infused loft spaces of private collectors. Typically, they search for unique and often forgotten records. Exclusivity is key here, the rarer the better. Uncommon amongst the uncommon. 

As of today, the profession has evolved. In the age of information and accessibility we are no longer bound by our geographical handicaps and collector networking limitations. We live within an ever growing and seemingly infinite spiderweb of alternative vinyl sourcing possibilities. With virtually every record in existence catalogued somewhere, deep within the cyberspace, the physical act of leaving home to search for music seems almost a thing of the past. The internet has given birth to a new wave of seekers. The skilled art of clerk recommendations has become close to obsolete, paving way for a new type of suggestion, one that lives within the realms of the computerized and robotic. From dust to Discogs, advisor to algorithm, a world of uninterrupted convenience. 

For the most part, diggers search solely for the purpose of DJ’ing, the presentation of our latest catch, a simple act of sharing. We compulsively hunt, gather and organise in the hopes of showcasing our discoveries to others. We spend weeks trying to understand the music ourselves, trying to make some sense of our selection, justifying our decisions and praying others will recognise our vision. Eventually, we begin a process of experimentation, subtly teasing unfamiliar fragments to any awaiting listeners, anxiously scanning their every facial expression for the hope of some gratification. We hunger for external appreciation as much as we are driven by our own internal obsession. We are narcissistic in our need for approval.

The others, dig simply for the love of experiencing new and obscure music. An act of rebellion against the force fed commercialities of modern entertainment. These seekers are in the business of rarities only, refusing to swallow the Post-Pop plastic feed of a Simon Cowell induced Foie Gras. Their collections are vast and varied, a life-long journal of their fluctuating tastes. These diggers are educated, not only obsessed with the music itself but entranced by the back stories behind it, mesmerized by the history of each and every record. They practice a more compulsive style of accumulation, gradually perfecting the art of true audio administration.

The music represents immortality, each record a real-life relic of a time before our own, an artefact bridging two lives often decades apart. The magic lies buried within the unknown and difficult to obtain. A records elusiveness can make it appear mysterious, leaving us to romanticise its enigma inside our own imaginations. Our constant hunger for more propels us to continually dig deeper, to look further beyond our previously recognised areas of exploration. Our discovery methods grow increasingly creative yet consistently irrelevant.

What starts off as a hobby, soon transpires to an addiction. The addicted not only obsessed with the music itself but infatuated by the hunt, hypnotised by the desire for undiscovered treasure. The dig becomes a way of life, an eternal quest. As long as we are open to the potential possibilities that lie within each and every record, the chase is never ending, the search is infinite. We pray that one day our fulfilment will be satisfied, our collection enough, hoping to finally feel comfortable and content with what we already have. But, deep down, we know this is impossible. So, we keep on searching forever, for a treasure that we know does not exist.

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