(NSC) - RIP Ron Murphy, master vinyl cutter.
February 13, 2008 2:55 AM   Subscribe

Ron Murphy cut records, but not just any records. Responsible for cutting the actual vinyl master plates of much of the now revered Detroit Techno including Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Underground Resistance's seminal Knights of the Jaguar, and much more - he demonstrated impeccable craftsmanship and skill in both mastering records for sound and aesthetics at company known as Sound Enterprises source link AKA National Sound Corporation. Schooled in Motown, dubplates and jukeboxes, he is the bespoke-crafted, analog link between the digital future and analog past that is the roots of Techno music and modern techno DJ culture.

One hour interview here, in mp3 format. (Coral Cache link. Original link here. Which includes gems such as "Richie Hawtin? Well, here's the Elvis of Techno!". He's a lovely curmudgeon, I promise. It's worth the download just for the tracks they play in the background and breaks in the interview, all NSC-cut tracks.)

Are you a DJ? Own any older techno, club or pop-remix club vinyl? Look for the handwritten (NSC) tag on the run-out spiral on the inside of the record, nearest the label. Ron Murphy cut the plates for that record.

Ron Murphy also pushed the the boundaries of plate cutting with his NSC-X2 technique, spiraling two separate tracks together in a paired helix on the platter. He also experimented with reverse spirals, locked ending grooves, and hybrid platters where the outside track spiraled in normally, and the inside track spiraled out and they met between mid-record in a locked groove.

Thanks, Ron, for making it sound so good, and caring.
posted by loquacious (15 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
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posted by loquacious at 2:56 AM on February 13, 2008

He will be missed by a lot of vinyl enthusiasts and Detroiters. RIP Ron (for those who didn't click any links above, he passed away a month ago from a heart attack).
posted by p3t3 at 3:10 AM on February 13, 2008

Oh, and I first heard about this last month where a lot of oldschool techno guys hang out - in the discogs.com forums. Not much more info over there but some kind words from the likes of Frankie Bones, Adam X, etc.. And a few words on the funeral from one of the Submerge guys.
posted by p3t3 at 3:21 AM on February 13, 2008

Vinyl records are in the news at the moment. Just this morning I spotted on the London Stock Exchange website that old vinyl records are rapidly emerging as a high yielding alternative investment.
posted by born4thesurf at 5:21 AM on February 13, 2008

Wow. Thanks for this post. Beautiful.
posted by Thoth at 5:31 AM on February 13, 2008


I probably have alot of his work in my collection without knowing it
posted by Spacelegoman at 5:51 AM on February 13, 2008

Knights of the Jaguar fucking rocks.
posted by chunking express at 6:35 AM on February 13, 2008

I'd never heard of him until now, but I've got plenty of records he's had a hand in.

Every time I read about someone like Ron Murphy, I wonder how many others there are out there – mastering engineers, shit-hot studio tape ops, kit builders, and all the rest – working behind the scenes of the music I love whose names will never be known by more than a few insiders and obsessive collectors, and how long it will be until they get their dues, or even if they'll get them.
posted by Len at 6:44 AM on February 13, 2008

posted by yertledaturtle at 8:02 AM on February 13, 2008

If you love dance music, you really owe it to yourself to listen to that interview.

Here in Tokyo a number of major dance music/vinyl record stores closed in quick succession last fall. It's getting harder and harder to find vinyl. Vinyl has been predicted to be dead for decades and yet it's still around. I hope that vinyl will be around for decades longer.

*goes over to his Technics, puts on headphones...*
posted by gen at 8:21 AM on February 13, 2008

Classic linking to Knights of the Jaguar...

I thought I was all cried out when my ex came and got the 700 records we collected together last year, but I was wrong. Earlier this week on the 313 list, someone goes and sells the last batch of unopened Drexciya records in England (which I cursed myself for missing, 3 hours later and they were all gone!)... and now this.

I cried one more tear for Ron. I wish I could remember which reverse-playing record I had that was so amazing looking; it was a series of red, black and white spirals.

Thanks for your ingenuity and hard work. You will be missed.

posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:11 AM on February 13, 2008

Looking at that list, I'm amazed at how many Down Low records he did. I owe Minto a phone call.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:18 AM on February 13, 2008

Awesome. I *really* enjoyed the interview. Smart, interesting with great music.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:38 PM on February 13, 2008

I wish I could remember which reverse-playing record I had that was so amazing looking; it was a series of red, black and white spirals.

Probably this one from Brendan Gillen and Gerald Donald, no? I used to host a radio show with Brendan; nice guy - one of those musical encyclopedia types, so I learned a lot from him :)
posted by p3t3 at 2:45 PM on February 13, 2008


Thank you so much for finding that. I probably will never be able to rebuild the collection we had together, but it's nice to see that this is still a valuable record and if I had $60 or so to spend I could get it again...

Anyone who says vinyl is dead just doesn't understand.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:13 PM on February 13, 2008

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