Numero Group: By The Numbers


The Numero Group Visits United Record Pressing
November 23, 2011, 9:43 am
Filed under: Methodology

Last week, en route to the Eccentric Soul Revue in North Carolina, we stopped by United Record Pressing in Nashville, foundry at which all Numero releases are pressed. It was a fascinating Mr. Wizard-meets-Mr. Rogers field trip, as our leisurely stroll through the plant was punctuated with lessons in chemistry and physics. We also got to see bits and pieces of our catalog at various stages of completion, which revealed—even to us—how much goes into each Numero release.

Amongst rows of metal stampers (the negative to each record’s positive) Syl Johnson peeks out from the pack. Do we know what love is? Yes! We’re at a record plant, after all.

Each record begins its life cycle as tiny pellets, which are then molded into patties like the ones above. These particular patties were destined to become colored-vinyl 7″s.

In the case of 12″s, a hockey-puck of plastics is placed between labels, which themselves are heated to assure adhesion (no glue is used). Seconds later, the whole affair is flattened in the presses. As we pan around, you see a record (one step ahead in the process) being dropped onto the spindle. As the previous platter is released, the excess vinyl is trimmed, and spindly pieces of licorice vinyl collect in barrels below.

Each Numero release must be hand collated and inserted. Austin was in a truly Zen-like state when we approached him assembling Boddie box sets. The shrink wrap machine had itself wrapped for the day, so we were unable to film boxes at high speeds, getting flung through gooey plastic. Shame.

Meanwhile…

The sticker bay had all manners of stickers, from major to minor releases in all configurations. The best in show?


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