Various – 101 lock grooves

101 Lock Grooves LP
101 Lock Grooves LP
101 Lock Grooves LP side 1
101 Lock Grooves LP side 2

Apart from musical content, the laws of physics cause two emotional moments during vinyl replay: when the needle is cued on the so called “outer groove” – producing a sound that’s akin to lighting a cigarette (hence the vinyl addiction), and when it reaches the end of the inner groove, when it locks upon itself to form a circle. At this point the music has usually ended, but on some records, sound continues, or re-appears, in an endless “lock groove”, like at the end of The Beatles 1967 Sgt. Pepper‘s LP. The lock groove’s musical potential has been explored by avantgarde artists, but also taken up by techno DJs who use it in their mixes.

♫ The 101 Lock Grooves LP, from Australian electronic label Clan Analogue, collects lock grooves from the label’s artists. Though the latter usually operate in beat-oriented productions, they obviously decided to have fun with the project and to use their allowance of 4 lock grooves (on average) as a playground for experimentation with repetition, loops, samples and plunderphonics. The music thus created often sounds like regular minimal techno raised from a trusty old TB 303, while some other tracks appear like breaks lifted from dance music records. Other contributors use loops from film dialogues, vocal cut-ups, ambient synth (Kazumichi Grime), pseudo-symphonic loops (The Loop Orchestra), etc.

Each listener has to find his own path into this beast of a record, but I found playing the tracks on shuffle mode with a 3 sec. cross-fading to be the best option for me. The 96 tracks thus play like an unpredictable radio mix, revealing the lock grooves’ incredible potential.  Yes, 96 tracks: I must have skipped some lock grooves in the recording process. Apologies to whom it may concern.

(almost) 101 Lock Grooves
96 tracks, each 45sec. long
Total time 61:50

LP released by Clan Analogue, Sidney, Australia, 2001


.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

16 Lock groove essentials:
1966 John Cale “Loop” flexidisc with Aspen Magazine >
1967 The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper” LP (UK Parlophone mono version) >
1975 Lou Reed “Metal Machine Music” 2xLP (end of side 4)
1978 Non (Boyd Rice) “Pagan Muzak”, 7” >
1986 Sonic Youth “Evol” LP (end of ‘Expressway to yr skull’)
1987 Lee Ranaldo “From Here to Infinity” LP, SST
1988 The Hafler Trio “In Out Of”, KK Records (end of side 1)
1993 RRR-100, 7”
1993 Stereolab ‘Lock Groove Lullaby’ from “Transient Random Noise Bursts With Announcements” LP, Duophonic, UK
1994 Vertonen “Lock Up! 1-15/Seizure”, 7”, Crippled Intellect Productions
1998 RRR-500, LP
1999 Stock, Hausen & Walkman “Buy Me/Sue Me” 7”, Hot Air
1999 Crawling With Tarts “In Their Sleep They Are Free”, 7”, Povertech Explorer Series (various hand-cut and incomplete grooves)
2007 Lee Ranaldo “All The Stars in the Sky” (lock groove/etched record)
2009 RRR-1000, LP
2009 Warp20 Infinite 2xLP (locked-groove loops from Warp tracks)

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Into Infinity

I realize I’ve been listening to a lot of extremely short tracks as of late, the most radical example in the digital domain being the Into Infinity project that collects 276 eight-seconds loops, which proved immensely listenable and even, to some extent, addictive for this listener. Free release here.

* *


19 Responses to “Various – 101 lock grooves”

  1. 1 La Fresto January 17, 2011 at 6:38 pm


    This is a very interesting project. The good sounds for a week’s beginning.

    Thank you so much…


  2. 2 continuo January 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    You’re welcome, my friend.

  3. 3 Zepelim January 17, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Great stuff for radio.
    Thank you.

    warm wishes

  4. 4 continuo January 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    For radio and for future mixes, as well. I’m tempted to use some of these lock grooves on loop mode and play with extraneous noises. The lock groove is so playful!

  5. 5 Jan January 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Nice introduction. Wasn’t aware SY and Lee did those experiments ;-) Thanks!

  6. 6 continuo January 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    SY members are trying to be where no one expects them, I guess, which is a good thing, if a little infuriating for their fans. They published xeroxed fanzines in 2010, for instance. Nice!

  7. 7 Jan January 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    A fan of their regular output since Sister, I’m very very glad their ‘Andre Sider Af Sonic Youth’ introduced me to a whole new world of sound and listening.

  8. 8 caryaamara January 18, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Ripping a locked grove compilation properly (and tagging the files!) is no mean feat; well done.

  9. 9 continuo January 18, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Thank you. Hopefully you recognized your own lock grooves in my mp3s!

  10. 10 Art Of Losing January 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Very interesting post indeed.
    I have 1998 RRR-500 => impossible to digitalize !
    On 1987′ Lee Ranaldo “From Here to Infinity” LP, each track ends into lock groove, you have to change track manualy.
    Also a Nox lp (I don’t remember wich one), the last Melted Men and the first one I’ve heard is a 7″ by french punk band Les Cadavres.
    You need a non-automatic player, I love loop and don’t understand why there is not more record wich end into lock groove ?

  11. 11 continuo January 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Well, actually all records end with a lock groove. It’s just that the music ends far too early.

  12. 12 Art Of Losing January 26, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    You’re right !)
    “Et le sens de la formule”

  13. 13 Shannon February 14, 2011 at 2:05 am

    Thanks for posting this. I didn’t have a digital copy until now.

    Shannon (Wake Up and Listen)

  14. 14 continuo February 14, 2011 at 7:09 am

    This blog is almost a public service ;D

  15. 16 continuo October 25, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Looks interesting. Thanks.

  16. 17 Minnemooseus December 30, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Another locked groove album: Carla Bley’s “Escalator Over The Hill”. Side 6 of LP version end with a drone and a locked groove. I was doing a late night radio show back in the 80’s. The show was the last of the broadcast day and I would often go up to several hours extra. I would put on an album side at the end, and file my records (this was pre-CD). I got done filing and sat back down in the control room and listened to the thing drone on (I was pretty tired and fried at that point). Eventually, I noticed that the thing was just spinning away on that last groove. This is the only locked groove I have personally encountered.

    Bruce the Moose

  17. 18 continuo December 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I didn’t know that, thanks for the info.

  18. 19 Fletcher Munson November 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Hah, I have a set of four grooves on that release :)

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