Vinyl: Locked Groove

By soulchap soulchap
updated 3 days ago

All vinyl records (at least as far as I know) end in a locked groove. That is done to protect the stylus from drifting onto the label, etc. A locked groove simply never advances; the groove changes from the spiral it was on the way in to a closed circle. Many of us have experienced the heartbreak of a home-made locked groove, a.k.a. a "broken record" that repeats a phrase ad infinitum until one gets off the couch and picks up the tone arm and manually advances the needle.

Along the way, someone figured out that the "runout groove" was arable land waiting to be seized.

Why, then, would anyone do this on purpose? One finds albums of locked grooves in the "Library Music" world; discs of sound effects were manufactured for the purpose of providing the sound of a continually dripping faucet, say, for a radio drama, etc. DJs building dance tracks live, on the fly, in clubs or while recording, found that infinitely looping snippets were useful and worth stockpiling. Others were more playful.

I think that the recorded locked groove came, at some point, to represent the medium itself; one need only hear the reference to this experience on the Monty Python track which ends with the loop, "Sorry Squire, I scratched the record. Sorry Squire, I scratched the record. Sorry Squire, I scratched the record..."

A list of records with (recorded) locked goove(s)..

See also these lists:
Infinity by MajorDark
Locked Grooves by Habitak_Berlin

And these:
Continuo blog post
Wikipedia article

My list of various treatments of vinyl:
Vinyl Variations

Please contribute (message me.) Thanks.

Special thanks to all contributors, including:
benopie
CykoMF
Earjerk
elchicofritto
elliwj
ForkMe
FromLondon
hevnbsideu
Luis_Cebola
MediaMonarchy
mohammedpuss
Willow.the.Wisp
Mr.Slut
mendali

  1. Alva Noto - Transrapid

    6 For Sale from $24.00

    Both sides end with a locked groove.

  2. Various - BPitch Control Volume 003

    20 For Sale from $2.47

    "Springshock" (B1) ends up in an untitled locked groove.
    A second and a third untitled locked groove are located between "Springshock" and "Stalker" (B4) on the B-side.

  3. Kindness (2) - Cyan

    11 For Sale from $4.00

    3 locked grooves on B-side.

  4. Various - Tape Projects (Locked Groove)

    4 For Sale from $8.63

    62 x 10 second tracks all end with a locked groove.

  5. Genesis P-Orridge - Painful 7 Inches

    11 For Sale from $5.00

    23 locked grooves on B-side.

  6. Ricci Rucker - The Utility Phonograph Record 2

    5 For Sale from $14.00

    Last track on both sides are locked grooves.

  7. Ricci Rucker - The Utility Phonograph Record 1

    5 For Sale from $35.00

    Last track on Side B is locked groove.

  8. Jana Winderen - Surface Runoff

    A side @ 45 RPM, ends in a locked groove.

  9. John Dark & Stupid Girl - Stupid Girl 2

    6 For Sale from $4.92

    Side B ends in a locked groove.

  10. Pansy Division With Jello Biafra - Average Men

    12 For Sale from $3.00

    Side B is a non-album track which ends in a locked groove.

  11. Peverelist - Clunk Click Every Trip / Gather

    12 For Sale from $5.26

    A-Side ends in a locked groove.

  12. Melvins - Foaming

    15 For Sale from $8.50

    "White Punks On Dope" (B2) is not listed on the sleeve. The track ends in a locked groove.

  13. Nathan Fake - The Sky Was Pink

    5 For Sale from $23.42

    B2 ends in a locked groove.

  14. Monolake - Linear Atomium Reminiscence

    10 For Sale from $13.56

    Reminiscence (Side B) ends in a locked groove.

  15. Boards Of Canada - Geogaddi

    4 For Sale from $12.33

    A2 includes a locked groove.

  16. Monolake - Polaroid

    7 For Sale from $3.08

    The b-side finishes in a locked groove.

  17. Beach House - Bloom

    50 For Sale from $12.00

    On the vinyl version, the last titled track 'Irene' (D2) ends in a locked groove before the bonus track.

  18. Trans Am (2) - Trans Am

    Track A6 is a locked groove.

  19. Micachu - Golden Phone

    1 For Sale from $61.52

    Side B ends with a locked groove.

  20. People Like Us / The Fuckest Uppest - Blundersonix / Special Mix

    Side A contains a locked groove with a few seconds of harsh noise at the end.

  21. Richie Hawtin - Minus / Orange

    Track B2 ends in a locked groove.