For The Love of Vinyl: Izabel Caligiore
For The Love Of Vinyl is a blog interview series with record collectors from across the Globe. Up next: Izabel Caligiore. Founder of the wonderful radio show turned vinyl label, Lullabies for Insomniacs (a label That Special Record is happy to support via our record club), Izabel Caligiore is one of my favourite selectors in the game today, so it was a true pleasure to interview her.
1. Where did you grow up? And who or what sparked your love for music and vinyl?
I was born and raised in Melbourne. As a kid I never enjoyed going to my music classes and I reluctantly took part in a girl’s choir for a few years because my parents forced me. I was more interested in sports and preferred dancing. Throughout my teenage years this changed, some of the pivotal moments for me were when a friend introduced me to La Monte Young and first listening to Phillip Glass and Ravi’s Shankar’s ‘Passages’ after buying the CD in a thrift store. Both opened new worlds and changed that way I was thinking about and experiencing music. Whilst working at an art gallery some of the artists pointed out my passion for music, encouraging me to start exploring this fascination. I ended up studying sound and music for 4 years.
2. How did Lullabies for Insomniacs get started and what really sparked you into getting the label going? It actually started as a radio show, right?
I started an online group in 2013 as a forum to share music. At the time a close friend Ed Fisher was hosting a show on the community radio station 106.7 PBS FM, he encouraged me to volunteer. After a few months I was given a graveyard slot from 2-6am which I aptly called Lullabies for Insomniacs. The show went on for 2 years with a break in between for when I travelled. During this time the idea to start a label emerged, I was discovering vast amounts of new music through the radio show which was a main inspiration. 2017 will be the 4th year of LFI, over 60 people have contributed to the guest mix series and the label launched with releases from Sugai Ken, Unearth Noise, Life Garden and Air Cushion Finish. I am looking for to sharing what’s coming up next.
3. What attracted you to vinyl as a record collector? And as a record label owner?
I have always been surrounded by music fanatics. These people have inspired me, my first record was a 12” given to me by a friend who had a remix on the B side. By the time I got my own record player I already had a small collection that I hadn’t been able to listen to, each record that came into my possession opened a new door of endless ideas, my curiosity was watered and I began to dive deeper.
4. When did you start collecting records? Do you remember the first record you ever bought? Would you still buy it today?
As mentioned above, it was a 12 inch given to me by Christian Vance who remixed Etienne Jaumet, 7 or so years ago. This year I went to the Versatile labels 20th anniversary celebrations here in Amsterdam where I saw Etienne perform live. I am a big fan of the what Gilbr does with his label (they just released their 100th release) so yes I would still buy this today.
5. How big is your record collection and how do you organise your records?
Right now it is split between Melbourne and Amsterdam. I have most of it stored in a warehouse although I brought a selection of special records with me that I couldn’t part with, the rest has been collected during my time here. I am rearranging my records every few weeks, organizing them in musical styles as well as the country where the recordings were made. It’s about quality, not quantity. I buy things that I can imagine listening to for many years to come…
6. What are your personal “holy grails”?
Some of my favorites were included in a recent mix I did for the Liner Notes series.
Geoffrey Landers – Breedlove.
A 7” I took a guess on as there were no sounds clips online. I was familiar with Mr.Landers LPs that had quirky experimental electronic pieces. When it came in the mail I was very surprised to find this anthem.
Felix Hess – Frogs 4.
Recordings of Frogs in Australia and Mexico by a Dutch nuclear physicist turned sound artist. I found this record the last time I was in Japan and was aware of Felix’s semi autonomous sound machines but didn’t know he had self released a series of frog recordings. Frogs 4 was the only one he pressed to vinyl. My guess is it was pressed in a really small batch.
David Chestworth - Layer on Layer
I found this record while searching in Melbourne store Licorice Pie. It’s an integral piece of the 80’s new wave / experimental scene in Melbourne.
7. You mentioned that you recently went crate digging in Tilburg. Any interesting finds?
Yes a few months ago I made a trip to Tilburg, since moving to the Netherlands I am finding these digging trips to be a nice way to visit new places. I found a bunch of records, including 12” s by New Jersey duo Smersh and Italian outfit Kirilian Camera. A new discovery for me was a percussion record by Slagerik Van Kampen titled ‘Out of the Doldrums’ that was recorded in the 1980’s in Eindhoven. My friends at Okonkole Y Trompa just posted a piece on this record you can view at their website. The surprise find was an LP by Makoto Moroi titles ‘Spacephonic Music for Japanese Traditional Instruments’. The record has two beautiful compositions, my favourite was inspired by Alvin Toffler’s ‘Future Shock'. The Koto, gongs, flutes and processed human voices are mixed with incredible spatialization.
9. You play a lot of incredible weird ambient, experimental records. If you'd had to pick two LPs - one ambient, and one more experimental - to recommend to a friend, which ones would you pick?
Susumu Yokota - The Boy And The Tree (2002) ticks both boxes and it’s a double LP. Susumu is more known for his other LP 'Sakura' which is in the same vein stylistically. Both are great.
Claudio Rocchi – Suoni Di Frontera (1976). This Italian producer is famed for his work in various rock pop bands. In 1976 he released Suoni Di Frontera which translates to borderline sounds, the short sincere pieces are unlike anything else he had made.
Rocchi describes this album as “diving deeper into psychoacoustics, a practical theory on healing music, mind resonances, inner flows“.
10. If you could curate a movie soundtrack, which movie would you pick and which tracks would you select?
I would love to curate the soundtrack for the new Ghost in a Shell movie. Set in 2029 in a world that is controlled by an electronic network, "regardless of how much biological material is replaced with electronic substitutes, as long as individuals retain their ghost, they retain their humanity and individuality." There is a nice correlation between the ghost and the shell and electronic music that would inspire my selections. The original OST by Kenji Kawai would also be a big inspiration.
I would ask the following artists to work on the soundtrack…
Nissennenmondai. Their rhythms are so tight it sounds like they could of be programmed by machines.
Kaitlyn Aurelia smith. Kaitlyn’s music creates a beautiful dialogue between electronics and human gesture.
Georgia. I have been a fan of the boys of Georgia for some time now, their new release on Palto Flats is great.
11. What’s your current setup at home?
We have a simple set up, the turntables are most important. When we head to Japan in January we will be picking up an Alpha ARS 9000 mixer that we just ordered.
12. Which artist makes you want to have their whole discography? Why?
Mitar Sibotnic aka Rex Illusivi (Novi sad , Yugoslavia) was a classically trained musician who used synthesis and sampling in an incredible way. He worked at Radio Novi Sad as a freelancer in the 80’s, where he had access to state of the art sound studios and equipment. He explored ethnic and folk roots, sampling sound recordings from his father’s world travels. He died tragically during a studio fire in Sao Paulo in 1999, the majority of his music remained unreleased up until recently. Vladimir Ivkovic of Offen Music has been in touch with his family for many years and was given access to the entire discography of Mitar. Thanks to this connection his music has been granted a new life, everything I have heard is phenomenal.
13. Favourite record shop Worldwide?
Red Light Records in Amsterdam and Licorice Pie in Melbourne for secondhand digging. Tactile in Frankfurt for their selection of new releases.
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P.S.To find out more about Izabel Caligiore, upcoming gigs, mixes and releases, check her Soundcloud page.
Photo credits: Izabel Caligiore
Posted by: Miguel Ferreira
Founder & Selector at That Special Record. Miguel loves writing stories about outsider electronic music & vinyl culture.