April 2022 update: currently in hibernation

Dear customers,

Due to the rising costs and complexities of international shipping, our current model for lathe cutting vinyl records has become unviable. We're thus taking a break until such time as the exchange rate, overseas shipping and other input costs stabilise. If you'd like to be notified of updates, you can drop us a mail at contourvinyl@gmail.com. Thank you to all our loyal customers for supporting our little project over the past six years.

get your music cut to vinyl locally in SA. No minimum order.

small batch lathe-cut vinyl

about contour

Contour Vinyl is a lathe cutting collective based in Johannesburg, South Africa. We hand cut 7" and 12" records for artists who would like to have their music on vinyl but do not need hundreds of copies. Lathe cutting is an artisanal process best suited to runs of between 1-50 units. Lathe cuts are perfect for up-and-coming musicians or established artists who would like to create collectible, limited edition releases.

Want to give away some signed singles at your next gig? Need 10 white labels of your latest track to give to DJs? Have an idea for a novel gift? Have a look at our quote generator and then get in touch to arrange a test cut.

We also run a small label specialising in alternative, experimental and forgotten music. You can see some of our releases here.

NB: In keeping with our values we do not cut records that contain racist, sexist, homophobic or similar material.

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Our releases

We release a number of highly limited 7"s and 12"s, in editions of 1-50 copies. To purchase any of the below releases, drop us a mail.



Counterhistory is a series of collectable 7” singles on lathe cut vinyl documenting lesser-known alternative/underground bands from South Africa’s musical history. Each release in the series comes packaged with liner notes written by the artist(s), as well as artifacts like lyric sheets, button badges and reproductions of old gig fliers.

Vader Jakob
Death Carol/Abel's Fable (1987)

Catalogue #: CONH1
Release: 2017


Edge of Wrong

We work extensively with the annual experimental music festival Edge of Wrong, a cultural exchange program between South Africa, Norway and various other countries. From 2017 this has included releasing an annual collectable 7" series of compositions by artists performing at the festival.

Justin Allart

Catalogue #: EOW2017.12
Release: 2017


Healer Oran
Carrying Personii with Me

Catalogue #: EOW2017.11
Release: 2017


As Is / Lliezel Ellick, Nonentia and Örpherischt
Save the Last Dance/Risk split

Catalogue #: EOW2017.10
Release: 2017


Liminalities in memory of Mika Vainio

Catalogue #: EOW2017.9
Release: 2017


Chantelle Gray
From An Infinity of Constraints

Catalogue #: EOW2017.8
Release: 2017


Jacques van Zyl and Belinda Blignaut
Working from the Inside/Wild Vinyl

Catalogue #: EOW2017.7
Release: 2017


Mattias Cantzler
Ravel on top of Werle,Shostakovich above Händel...

Catalogue #: EOW2017.6
Release: 2017


Daniel W J Mackenzie
Displacement Records: India

Catalogue #: EOW2017.5
Release: 2017


Dolly Dollycore
Surrender/Do It All

Catalogue #: EOW2017.4
Release: 2017


Thomas Holme

Catalogue #: EOW2017.3
Release: 2017


Datsrok & Monomort

Catalogue #: EOW2017.2
Release: 2017


Hanan Benammar
De L'Autre Bout d'un Monde

Catalogue #: EOW2017.1
Release: 2017


Algorithmic releases

Contour collective member Aragorn23 works extensively with algorithmic music - code generated compositions that sound different each time they are played back. The handmade nature of lathe cut vinyl allows us to release a copy of each variation of a composition, meaning that each copy of each release in our algorithmic series is essentially an edition of one. Click on each release to read more about the various algorithmic composition processes employed.

Factory Farm Studies

Catalogue #: CONA3
Release: 2017



Catalogue #: CONA2
Release: 2017


Sound of the Eye - algorithmic vinyl

Catalogue #: CONA1
Release: 2017



If you have a question that isn't answered here, please get in touch.

  • What does lathe-cut vinyl sound like?

    A lathe-cut sounds similar to a commercially pressed record. As we hand craft each record in real-time, however, they will all look and sound a tiny bit unique – you can expect a couple of crackles and some surface noise, and each runout groove sounds different. Vinyl also changes the character of the music, subtly in some cases and substantially in others. Please make sure you're happy with your test pressing before placing an order.

  • How do I master for lathe?

    Everything under 300Hz must be mono. You cannot have any stereo bass effects. Use a de-esser on vocals. Cut off everything under 40Hz and above 12kHz. Not everything can be cut onto vinyl, even with good mastering. If you compose unusual/experimental/noise music, send us some sample tracks first and we'll advise you further.

  • How do I place an order?

    First you email us to order a test cut. Upon receipt of payment we cut and post your test cut within seven days. If you're happy with the test cut, we charge a 50% deposit before commencing work with the balance payable on completion, before delivery. We will liaise with you about sound files, artwork, etc.

  • Can I send you mp3s, FLACS or CDR's?

    No. We only accept uploaded 44k 16 bit stereo WAV files, no exceptions. Please use WeTransfer to send us your files.

  • Do I have to get a test cut?

    Yes. We will only process orders once customers are 100% happy with their test cut, no exceptions. We subtract the test cut cost from any subsequent order of 20+ units.

  • Can you cut a copy of my favourite album?

    Under no circumstances will we cut material that you do not hold copyright on. Please do not ask us to bootleg other people's records.

  • I want the loudest record ever

    We err on the side of quality and prefer clear, well-balanced cuts to +9dB club bangers. If you really, really need your record to live in the red, we will cut it for you but we will charge additional fees as high volume cutting increases wear and tear on our equipment.

  • Can you not do larger runs for me?

    We usually limit orders to 50 units as our focus is on small, limited edition runs. We are open to discussing this in special circumstances. For runs of several hundred or more, we would suggest commercially pressing your vinyl.

  • Can you cut full length albums?

    We specialise in the creation of singles and EPs. We will consider cutting full length albums but only in very small runs and at a higher cost per unit.

  • Do you provide colour vinyl or picture discs?

    We are currently only able to provide black and transparent vinyl. If this changes in the near future, we'll let you know.

  • How long will it take to get my order?

    When you place an order we'll let you know roughly how long you can expect to wait. We try to get all orders posted within 2-4 weeks of receiving the original tracks, depending on our backlog. Test pressings are completed within 7 days.

  • How do you ship my order?

    Our standard shipping is Postnet to Postnet, which costs R100 per package (a package is 1-10 12"s or 1-20 7"s). If you would like to discuss alternative shipping arrangements, or collect from us, get in touch.

  • How do you package your records?

    All records come with paper inners (plastic lined when we have stock) and clear plastic outers. We don't offer printed covers but can put you in touch with suitable printers for these.

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