Readers will excuse my ignorance, but flexi discs sound like something that should be featured in a television infomercial: the creepily enthusiastic host dressed in khakis and a shirt with no tie explains to the audience how the commonly-used recording mediums are just too damn (sans explicit language) fragile and prone to ruination. He feels the need to demonstrate this by destroying CDs and traditional vinyl records in a variety of innovative of ways: breaking them in half with his bare hands, running them over with his car, placing them in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and so on. Eventually, the host introduces the spotlighted, magnificently indestructible flexi disc — capable of bending as though it were made purely of rubber, and available for purchase at the absurdly low price of $19.95!
But what’s in a name, really? So long as flexi discs faithfully serve the purpose of accurately reproducing the recorded material, the fact that it’s somewhat cheesily-named shouldn’t even matter, and the fact that it’s a relatively obscure medium might even be a point of attraction. Such is undoubtedly what the Indianapolis-based record label Joyful Noise is counting on with the announcement that, for 2012, they’re offering a monthly subscription of “exclusive” flexi disc recordings from 12 different artists, including of Montreal, Tortoise, Akron/Family, Danielson, and Deerhoof. Subscriptions to the series cost $4/month, and each release is limited to 500 copies. Furthermore, every song featured is entirely new, and according to a press release, “will never be released in any other format” — not officially, anyway.
If you’re still wondering what the hell a flexi disc actually is and whether or not your current system has the capacity for playback, check out Joyful Noise’s brief description of the medium on their subscription page. Apparently your standard turntable will do the job just fine.
• Joyful Noise: http://www.joyfulnoiserecordings.com