Minneapolis-based record club invites patrons to sample sound, visual arts

Pieces of art on a table or held by hands-1
Volume One, “The Xenophile” of Dada Duende Record Club. Volume Two will be released in the upcoming weeks.
Courtesy photo

Updated 9:15 a.m.

Dada Duende isn’t your classic record club. 

The offbeat production comes from Minneapolis residents Hannah and Chris Lynch, Luca Gunther and Steve Price and aims to pair the lost tradition of mail-order records with visual art in a subscription box service.

Every quarter, subscribers receive a lathe-cut record, handmade by Chris Lynch, along with a theme-inspired book and an 8x8 print. It goes beyond just sound, and that is purposeful.

“We just thought it would be best to make something that was multidisciplinary,” Chris said. “I love the magic of little sets of things. It’s not super music-centric — we just wanted to create. We called it a record club, but we wanted the music to be an audio artifact that went with the theme.”

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Pieces of art on a table or held by hands-3
Volume One, “The Xenophile” of Dada Duende Record Club.
Courtesy photo

They debuted in Spring 2023 with Volume Zero — “Maquette.” Volume One, “The Xenophile” came out in the summer, and Volume Two, “Duende” will be released in late November/early December.

Hannah and Chris both have day jobs and they say the goal is not to make money off of the project. 

“We put this really nice, beautiful thing out into the world and facilitate other artists into meeting each other and getting to work together and introducing them to our audience,” said Hannah.

Each volume is designed with such care and precision; you almost feel bad unwrapping it. In “The Xenophile,” which Dada Duende allowed MPR News to sample, local and national artists such as ellbeedee, Jenna Hamed and Alayna N. Pernell are featured.

Intoxicats, a Minneapolis/Hawaii-based group, sings two songs: “INTERNATIONAL GUY” and “Short Walk, Long Pier.” While the songs sound like they should be from different bands, Intoxicats blend them seamlessly as an introduction to “The Xenophile”

Pieces of art on a table or held by hands-2
Volume One, “The Xenophile” of Dada Duende Record Club.
Courtesy photo

The sleek book begins with an introduction by Hannah explaining the theme. It wasn’t chosen lightly. Instead, Hannah asked, what is the opposite of a xenophobe? Xenophile. But, how could she and other artists share this appreciation without crossing into appropriation? She posed that question to other artists.

Submissions range from photography, prose and other visual arts. There are only 100 copies of the record made for each volume because Chris hand-makes them and they have to listen to each one to ensure it works. Currently, there are not enough subscribers to bump the count up but if the influx grows, Chris is not opposed.

He uses a presto 6N record cutting lathe and embosses them on polycarbonate, a similar look to thin plexiglass. It’s a labor of love. 

“When I finish one, I feel like I’ve made something that has a little bit of an aura to it, rather than just something off the rack,” Chris said. “A lot of this is made by hand and I love the vision there.”

For now, Chris and Hannah are thinking about the future of Dada Duende and they don’t have any plan on slowing down.

“The goal for now is to keep doing it. I’m 55, Chris is 60, it would be great if we could retire and do this,” Hannah said. “It brings us joy and hopefully joy to other people. I feel like I can’t overstate that enough for myself, but it feels really good. It’s the specific aspect of something I make that isn't about me.”

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.