'I cut a record at London's Riflemaker gallery. Literally'

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The Independent Culture

I'm singing into a microphone that resembles a flattened colander, while, at waist level, there's another one picking up my guitar. In front of me is a battered, grey-green, four-foot wide control-desk like something out of an early nuclear power station, with trembling meter-needles over words like "attenuator" and "kilocycles".

With this 1950s mixer and a 1930s record-cutter, vinyl nut Lewis Durham has, for London's Riflemaker gallery's Analog show, created a studio not unlike the one that Elvis Presley would have walked into in 1953. And I'm making a record in it. Literally, the way everyone once did. There are no tapes, no effects, no second chances. Here, as I sing, my record is gouged. It's a little stressful. And it's unique.

"It's the only place where you can just turn up and cut a disc from playing live," Durham says. He is 20, his passion fired by wanting to recreate the sound of old 78rpm discs on equipment he salvaged and that otherwise would have ended up at the tip.

"Doing it this way is the only way to get the old magic, to get something that sounds like a record," he explains.

Analog studio at Riflemaker, London W1 (020 7439 0000) to 17 March. Listen to Simon Hardeman's song at www.simonhardeman.com/independent.html