With the , container practice spaces at , galleries and on Myrtle Ave in Bushwick and , the reclaiming industrial space for underground art and commerce is seeing a global resurgence in areas more densely populated than the abandoned factory raves of yore.If living in a shipping container seems uncomfortable (“space heater in the winter, fans in the summer,” another shopkeeper told me), living off of one would appear impossible but that doesn’t dissuade the Klein and Alvariño from their digitized vision. Keeping their day jobs, Alvariño seems optimistic about the project regardless of its success, “worst case scenario, we have a bunch of records we really like.
Along Broadway, between Belvedere and Locust Streets, at the end of an alley lined with old books, pins, crash cymbals ($15), used bikes, and religious paraphernalia, lies Primitive Languages. Founded by NYC-area musicians Nick Klein and Miguel Alvariño, Primitive Languages is a record shop specializing in techno, noise, and experimental music and it runs and operates out of a shipping container. “It’s essentially the price of having a studio,” Alvariño told me when I visited him last month. “With rent this cheap, it’s easy enough to split it between the two of us,” Klein told me over Facebook. In an area of Bushwick with soaring real estate costs, a shipping container of commercial space is an investment in the future.
The shop resembles an art gallery as much as a record shop, with rare vinyl and tapes that any gearhead or outsider art aficionado would quickly snag up, including “Dipped in Gel” a new double cassette by Providence, RI’s slime garager Russian Tsarlag ($10) and the latest tapes from Los Angeles mutant electronics label Nostilevo ($6).Klein and Alvariño pride themselves on recording artists in their crate, “not as much a performance but a live recording,” sipping tall boys and putting the recordings straight onto tape, distributing them under the imprint of Primitive Languages. Thus far, the “in-house” project has successfully recorded sessions with Profligate, Balloon Movement, Pure Matrix, and Hubble.
Primitive Languages is one of many record shops and miscellaneous shipping container stores in the Broadway Flea Market including punk shops Dripper World, Street Fever, and Rebel Rouser, the Ryd Eva Bicycle Shop with a comically unsettling sign in front that indicates the “shack in the back,” (bikes go between $100 and $150), and a bookstore Better Read Than Dead (books go for $3 to $8).
Better Read Than Dead is a tiny but well-stocked bookstore.
Anyone up for a new bike? Check out the shack in the back.
Punk shop Rebel Rouser.