Kamasi Washington’s Heaven & Earth was already the album of the year for me, well before I walked into a record store on the weekend and saw a sign on the wall next to the album, saying there was a secret record hidden within the packaging.
WHAT??! How had I missed that?
I’ve never run so fast from a record shop.
The vinyl version of Heaven & Earth is an absolute BEAST of an album release as it is—a double gatefold sleeve holding four (yes, 4!) records. It’s a treasure. It’s the sort of album you go to sleep holding to your bosom. If you’re weird, that is. And what’s wrong with being weird? Eh?
I’d seen the perforation at the top of the middle section of the album cover already. I’d even wondered about it. It seemed so out of place. I’d never for a second thought to take a box cutter to it. I mean, you wouldn’t would you? But it turns out someone did precisely that. And inside, they discovered hidden treasure, which we all know is the BEST sort of treasure there is.
As a kid, on holidays in Cornwall, I used to scour the beaches and the cliffs and the caves looking for treasure the wrecking men had left behind in dark days past. If I’d found just a coin I would have hyperventilated with delight. I imagine that’s how the weirdo felt when he became the first person in the world to discover Kamasi’s hidden record secreted within the gatefold sleeve.
If you’re into Kamasi, you’ll know by know that the hidden record is the EP The Choice, which in the past few days was released digitally. So yeah, everyone can download it now. Big deal.
The real thrill—worth paying the extra bucks for—is taking a blade to the perforation at the top of your album and digging it out for yourself. As I did, the minute I got home, breathless and giddy like a privateer with a treasure map. Half an hour later, after hacking at those tough perforations with the skill of a battleground surgeon, I had the disc in my hands. Covered in bits of paper from the hacking, but otherwise perfect.
A warning, if you’re yet to do it for yourself—the EP isn’t in a protective sleeve, so if you go at the packaging too vigorously you might damage the vinyl. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
But anyway, why are you still reading? Go dig!