Heliocentric Records

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Heliocenter Records was a record store in Newbridge run by Charles R. Martin (aka The Music Scholar). The store's name is a reference to The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol. 1. The store's name was originally set to be Bitter Music, a reference to a Harry Partch piece. A friend of Martin's advised him against it since it would likely be too obscure and confusing to most customers.

Motto: "The store that educates."

Key Inventory

  • Cooler Euro Prog
  • 1970s Ethiopian Groove vinyl
  • Greek Rembetika vinyl 78s (best selection in North America)

The Rise and Fall

Business was booming (boosted by brisk sales of teenybopper fare like The Fall, The Residents, and Kraftwerk) for the store's first two months, but it dropped by 80% after the music editor ofThe Independent, the local free weekly, wrote a column on snobbery in music. He singled Martin out, citing offenses such as ordering a teen wearing a Black Flag shirt out of the store because he had nothing for him and reducing a woman to tears after she expressed interest in the ear-candy, guitar-pop band X. Martin also once laughed the editor out of the store because he had not heard of Conrad Schnitzler or Karlheinz Stockhausen. Martin was forced to abandon the traditional brick-and-mortar retail format and switch to a mail-order business run out of his basement apartment.