Decades-old machines turn used CDs into playable vinyl at Afropunk music fest


Every year during the last weekend of August, every inch of the 10 acres of Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park — including the baseball field — is taken over by the annual Afropunk Music Festival and thousands of people who wear the creative core of their identity on their sleeve, hair, and sometimes even their face. At this year’s Afropunk, Toyota Music’s tent included the UpCycle Record Lab, an installation where concertgoers could watch vinyl records get made out of used CDs.

The live hand-cutting process was handled by Mobile Vinyl Recorders (MVR), a company that for six years has been making vinyl records out of used CDs from more than 600 artists including The Flaming Lips and Jamie xx. MVR is a partnership between two Seattle sound engineers, Michael Dixon and Kris Dorr, both of whom donned white lab coats as the pair turned CD singles from Sir The Baptist and Benjamin Booker into playable vinyl in front of inquisitive spectators. Under the Toyota Music tent, MVR’s vinyl cutting was one of four installations, but it was the only one where people could spectate without actually entering the tent.

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