Every vinyl has a locked groove, the main purpose of which is to stop the stylus from crossing over the paper label area at the end of the record. But they’re also an opportunity for artists to use them creatively by pressing a small amount of music into this section.
For vinyl DJs, locked grooves are powerful, creative tools. Think of them as an analog version of a digital loop; an endless series of bars that can be mixed with other records, creating additional textures and layers, depending on the sound loop you have set as your locked groove.
To understand more about this fascinating technique, IRRUPT – the team behind the industrial techno Expansion, CARBON DECAY – visited one of Berlin’s seminal mastering studios, Manmade Mastering. Mike Grinser, one of the co-founders of the mastering plant, talks about the processes of cutting locked grooves, having mastered the sounds featured in the Expansion. All 729 loops and samples were sourced from analog synths and drum machines then pressed to vinyl and then expertly resampled to create a deeply authentic sound.