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From Indus Creed and Susmit Bose to Arinjoy Trio, A New Record Label is Bringing Indian Rock to Vinyl

Kolkata’s Free School Street Records is founded by Aveek Chatterjee and Rajiv Pandey and have partnered with Manu Trivedi in Mumbai

Anurag Tagat Jan 25, 2022

Free School Street Records co-founder Aveek Chatterjee with folk artist Susmit Bose, holding their vinyl of the latter's 1978 album 'Train To Calutta.' Photo: Courtesy of Chatterjee

To say that Kolkata resident and entrepreneur Aveek Chatterjee is a vinyl collector would be an understatement. He owns over a thousand LPs, some of which he inherited from his parents’ collection. “We had a vintage Garrard record changer made in the U.K. in 1975. It could stack up to seven 45s and it was fun to watch them drop one by one from the changer and the forward & return functions of the tone arm,” he told The Revolver Club in an interview.

Although Chatterjee got swept up in the cassette tape and CD waves through the Eighties and Nineties, he continued to build his record collection. After all, Kolkata had its share of marketplaces for vinyl collectors. The most notable one through the ages was Free School Street, a locale that Chatterjee frequented and credits as responsible for shaping his love for music.

In 2019, Chatterjee and his fellow music aficionado Rajiv Pandey (based in Dallas) began Free School Street Records, a label dedicated to “bringing out high-quality reissues of classic albums on limited deluxe edition vinyl LPs and CDs.” They started with seasoned folk hero Susmit Bose’s 1978 album Train To Calcutta, which was coincidentally an LP that the duo originally found difficult to trace and add to their respective collections. A press release notes, “Their long search had ended when they contacted the legend, Susmit Bose himself and received two pristine copies of the original LP from him, one each for them, in 2018.”

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Within a week of launching the Train To Calcutta LP in August 2021, they sold out all 200 copies. Chatterjee retained a few for international collectors. Pressed in Poland, the 180-gram vinyl includes an LP jacket, plus a four-page color insert featuring photos, newspaper clippings and an interview Bose did with Rolling Stone India’s Sunil Sampat.

With the resounding success of Train To Calcutta, Free School Street Records also found a new partner in Mumbai vinyl store The Revolver Club’s co-owner Manu Trivedi. The trio lined up the release of Canadian prog rock band Wanka’s “lost 1977 classic” album The Orange Album in India, via Greek label Cult Rock Classics.

Closer home, there’s an upcoming release of Kolkata blues act The Arinjoy Trio’s 2019 debut self-titled album, which the label terms “the first ever blues album by an Indian band on vinyl LP.” The record — slated for release in May/June 2022 — will also include two bonus tracks recorded live at Kolkata Jazzfest in 2020.

Also in the pipeline is vinyl pressing of rock veterans Indus Creed’s 2012 comeback album Evolve. Chatterjee counts himself as one who grew up listening to Rock Machine and Indus Creed. “We’re presently working on mastering the audio for vinyl pressing and artwork design,” Chatterjee says.

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