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MoreSpaceEcho
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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:52 am

well, here's some interesting music you probably won't like. :D

all these people are friends/clients of mine:

white laces. if that first tune doesn't put a smile on your face i dunno what to tell you.

hex map. i dug their record so much i'm playing drums with them now.

neptune make all their instruments out of scrap metal, contact mics and the like, and have been together for like 20 years now...

pretty much everyone i know in town plays in this thing on occasion. it's incredibly fun and not yer typical rock band...

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ubertar
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Post by ubertar » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:02 pm

I saw Neptune live, in '02, I think. So maybe I'm not completely living under a rock. Cool instruments. The rest of it I'll check out. My guess is I'll probably like most of it, to varying degrees. My liking something or not has nothing to do with something being groundbreaking or culturally important, though. Those are entirely different things which may or may not overlap.
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Post by donny » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:46 pm

chris harris wrote:I deleted my snarky response and will just say this: Most of the things you're talking about are already happening.

I'm not sure if it hasn't landed on your radar because it's TOO underground, or what. But, there are plenty of labels right now that only release vinyl or cassette tapes. There are plenty of bands who don't have Facebook pages. But, it is exactly what you suggest... It's multiple small, artistic, underground movements. It is that way by nature and by design. And, it will always remain that way. That's probably why you're not aware that it's already happening.

It's definitely interesting. I'm happy to participate in the movement. I have actually released multiple vinyl/cassette-only releases in the last few years. It's fun. And, some fans definitely gravitate towards that exclusivity. Forgive me for tossing out some advice that's primarily relevant to "children", but if you're in a young, touring rock band, playing good small venues in the U.S., you HAVE TO HAVE VINYL WITH YOU. Nobody at those shows gives a damn about your CDs. They already have your mp3s and listen to you on Spotify. If you put on a good show, and have some good looking merch that looks like some thought went into it, you'll sell some of it.

So, yeah, I do get the appeal of your idea. As someone who owns a record label, I also have to realize that the market for that type of ethic/aesthetic is substantially smaller than the market for vinyl/cassette AND digital downloads. Sometimes the internet sucks. And, I'm sure that given an opportunity, there are people and corporations out there who would drive it into the ground. It's just hard for me to imagine that there won't be some kid somewhere who can engineer a way around most of the inconveniences. It might drive more people to alternatives, like vinyl or whatever... But, it will still remain a very specialized and very small market.
I was going to post something similar. I'm into the idea ... but yeh, it's already happened / happening. I've released a vinyl only 7 inch (songs not digitized or available in any other format) ... though I do sell it online. I have no Facebook for the band ... mainly because I don't think the format works very well for a band or music. Also, there is a little bit trying not to be in people's faces so much with 'updates'/promotion ("hey everybody! we just laid down a new guitar track!"), which is kind of the point of sites like that.

I think part of the 'problem' is that many bands and music these days is kind of boring because there's no mystery or intrigue.

I've also made promo cassettes. I'll go around to different record shops, thrift stores, etc. and put out the cassettes and sell the records.

My stuff is all-analog recorded as well though -- I think that's just as important. I also released an album in open reel format in 2008 (only sold a few of course).

BUT the thing I kind of take issue with is it's not really an underground thing for me for the sake of it ... it's more like -- this is how I like to make music and how I like to listen to music, and the physical element is important. I'd be more than happy for it to become a big mainstream trend.

The idea to me is that people engage more with music when they have a physical interaction with it.
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Post by kayagum » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:16 pm

IMHO, the real discussion is how music is curated (to use a high falutin' academic word). The online world has changed how music is (or isn't) curated.

Pre-internet, your choices to find out about new music boiled down to word of mouth, record stores (and clerks), the radio or maybe a music magazine (or zine). To get your music out to these channels took a lot of effort, a lot of time and (for radio and record distribution) a lot of money. Even to get music recorded took a lot of resources. In order to justify the risk of putting in thousands of dollars (or even hundreds), a lot of thought, practice and (often) gigging needed to take place.

Now, anybody can put stuff out for everyone to hear for effectively nothing. Good for expediency and efficiency, not necessarily good for filtering and editing.

Purposely choosing a medium to slow down instant criticism or exposure could work for development and curating, but that can be managed digitally too, if it's a priority for the musician. But if it's good or bad, it's good or bad. To make something bad better, you still either need personal (i.e. real people like a live audience) feedback, or more iterations that may or not involve public exposure.

Not everything ever recorded is good. It's like publishing every draft you write for a book before the book comes out. If you write a masterpiece, *maybe* it would be worth reading the drafts, but maybe not. Same for music.

I almost went into print journalism, and tried my hand at editing at my various school publications. I find that rediscovering that editing hat has been the most helpful analogy in this day of web enabled chaos. Choosing *when* to publish was as important as *what* to publish.

Whatever the medium you choose to record or distribute, MAKE SURE IT'S GOOD AND READY.
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Post by Electricide » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:41 pm

I think some of the flash mob stuff does this. "we are doing something coordinated and live at xxx time, and if you miss it, you missed it". People record the stuff and you can watch it later, but were you one of the COOL FEW who were IN ON IT?

To me though, ok so you have an underground music scene that is only word of mouth and avoiding corporate internet corruption. Great, cool. If 98% of people don't know about it, then it's only really cool in your mind. and to the 20 other people who inbreed in this community.

"cool" only becomes cool once enough of the population agree that it's cool. Same with being subversive. You can't define something as subversive just by telling other people "it's subversive!" You need a mostly ubiquitous response from a majority of the population, or some defined response from people and institutions in power, before you have any actual subversive recognition.

I think more generally, people will start meeting in communities again, buying locally, getting rid of bank accounts, refusing to create online profiles, and just generally staying off the grid as a worldview. Maybe they are hippies, maybe they are right wing militia members, but whoever they are will probably create some music as part of their overall experience, and that music may end up matching your description.

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Post by ubertar » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:23 pm

Electricide wrote:If 98% of people don't know about it, then it's only really cool in your mind.
Anything that's cool is really only cool in your mind. It doesn't matter how many people know about it. Everything is ephemeral. In the vastness of time, Bach means little more than Herman's Hermits. It's like ants arguing over which one is taller. When you consider the size and age of the universe, nothing we do means much of anything. It's all what you make of it. To that end, it doesn't matter if it's 20 people or 200 million.
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Post by Electricide » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:03 am

there are two types of underground here.

Type 1 would be a band or group or community of artists, etc, keeping stuff off social media, off itunes, off filesharing, as an aesthtic, as a purposeful feature of the art. The exclusivity is part of the experience, and you'd like it more that way than you would if you just saw the art posted on your friend's friend's facebook wall. I get that, but it's an end to itself. For me, either the art is good or not (subjectively) and whether it was hard to find or easy, well-known or underground, shouldn't really matter (although it always does to a small degree).

Type 2 would be art that is underground because it could not exist otherwise. A slave in a forced labor camp somewhere cannot take his cassette recording down to the local record store and start shopping it around. That would only result in a possible violent backlash. Or, maybe something like Pussy Riot, which cannot exist in Russia in any mainstream capacity. Or, maybe all the Saudi women who were going to drive around. They can't form a musical street performance group extolling the virtues of sexual self discovery. not without, like, getting slaughtered. So the only way to get art from those artists is on the down low, outside the purview of establishment power.

I could forsee an american future where anti-internet-control anti-"anti-privacy" groups are trying to influence and motivate people using underground word-of-mouth art. But for the time being, I'm thinking some hipsters in brooklyn just do this to make their art seem more interesting than it would be otherwise. because if people have to work for it, they are predisposed more toward liking it.

I'm not sure I had a point! just rambling.

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ubertar
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Post by ubertar » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:36 am

I think you summed it up well, Electricide.

The latter type is mainly what I'm talking about, and type 2 also gains from the mystique of unavailability-- actually more than type 1, where it's just an affectation rather than a response to real circumstances. Who, outside of Russia would know about Pussy Riot if it weren't for the politics? I'm sure they have a much wider audience than they would have otherwise. Obviously they're not a part of an anti-online movement, and no such movement exists, as yet. I don't think it's gotten to a point where it's necessary. Yes, there are people who do things offline exclusively, but either they're reacting pre-emptively, or they're type 1.
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Post by Electricide » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:31 pm

how is there not a "I don't know what I'm saying" George Michael GIF yet.

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:37 pm

>>>>not without, like, getting slaughtered. So the only way to get art from those artists is on the down low, outside the purview of establishment power.<<<<

There are bands doing this sort of thing, but sort of straddling the "slightly above ground" vs. extremely underground stance, in places like Iran. So far, they've been allowed to make some noise, and even garner a bit of an international audience via the Internet. But if they make too much noise, they're liable to get their cables (and some body parts) cut...

Interesting position to be "underground" in, you'know, like actual "resistance" underground, rather than "faux hipster 'death to the imperialist pig dogs' while I sip my Starbucks" underground...

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Post by vvv » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:42 pm

ubertar wrote: And just fusing together elements from different sources isn't enough either-- I'm not interested in a stew-- I like a melting pot-- borrow the concepts and fuse them at that level, rather than taking the outward forms or complete elements and putting them together. I hope that makes sense.
It does for me; when I speak of this kinda thing, I often use Talking Heads as an example, Fear of Music and Remain in Light, especially.

A more recent example, altho' I don't particularly like them, might be Vampire Weekend.

A more universal example could be Tom Waits, or John Scofield.

Or, in the midst of my martoonie, did I miss the point?
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Post by dfuruta » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:30 pm

The black metal scene in the middle east is interesting in this light - Iran, among other places, has a number of pretty good black metal bands that, for obvious reasons, have to remain entirely anonymous.

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Post by vvv » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:06 pm

That ain't no party, it ain't no disco, it ain't no foolin' around ...

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ubertar
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Post by ubertar » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:10 am

dfuruta wrote:The black metal scene in the middle east is interesting in this light - Iran, among other places, has a number of pretty good black metal bands that, for obvious reasons, have to remain entirely anonymous.
I'd love to hear some of that. Where can it be found?
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Post by ubertar » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:19 am

Vvv, I think you've got the idea. An example for me would be Alice Coltrane's "Journey in Satchidananda". That's reaching back a bit, though... I'm sure there are more recent examples. There are quite a few that spring to mind from around that time... there was a lot going on then. The more recent stuff I can think of tends toward the "stew" rather than "melting pot" approach... that's the impression I got from Secret Chiefs III, for example, though I'd have to give them another listen before committing to that.
get a hammered sound from guitar or bass! http://www.stringhammer.com
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