DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENTS
HOME - MY NIGHTLIFE - BEATCONSCIOUS SET-LISTS
The content on this page was originally posted as a forum thread on beatmixing.com, the home of the MixMeister users' community. An irregular feature, it was intended to provide background and links for mixes uploaded to the BeatConscious stream, one of the five musical genre stations hosted by mmRadio from November 2001 thru December 2010. I'm archiving my posts here at least until the ultimate fate of the community forum is settled, because of the value of the information to fans of the show and because, you know: I wrote it and I mean to keep a record of it. (There are occasional comments from other forum regulars, which I've left in place for the sake of completeness, along with the link to the original thread on the forum.)
Note to those who care about this stuff: this page is whack HTML, and it's unfortunately likely that it may not be ready for Opera or whatever ... the intention was that the links should stay live without a nightmare of retrofitting on my part (it's not so much that I'm lazy as that I pick my battles) ... if any questions arise, feel free to contact the author using the talkback at beatconscious.org option. As the future stream protocols get sorted out, now that mmRadio has gone silent, a new version of this page may be created (in decent HTML) to accompany future sets. We'll see. The thing is, when I started this page in 2004, searching out music and artists wasn't yet the total breeze for civilians which it has since become ... my feeling is that most people listening to music online in the ripe old 2010s are generally capable of dropping a name or phrase in a search box and getting all the connections they need. But if I've over-estimated the capabilities of my audience, I'm always happy to help hook you up with some particular artist or tune, to the extent they can still be found online.
And so here it is:
Posted Oct 02, 2004 16:53
The month of August 2004 was incredibly rich in new music, as I heard from numerous artists who invited me to listen to their independent releases. I was knocked out by the overall high quality and many of these excellent tracks were incorporated into the BeatConscious mixes on mmRadio and the Live365 stream ... here's a short rundown on the new stuff:
The Modus Vivendi Music Collective. Their first CD sampler, "Vol. 1", is a solid collection of complex and absorbing tracks ... no fluff here, no moments when the mind wanders ... this is music to attract and hold your attention. Label-mates B.N. Loco, Sanchez Dub and Julian Brody all distinguish themselves, top tunes (to my ears) being B.N. Loco's "Buen Ambiente" (a slight return of Basco's "The Beat is Over" is audible in there), Brody's "Greensleeves" and "Soula" from Sanchez Dub -- gorgeous downtempo vibes goin' on here. More information available at ModusVivendi.com and the above-mentioned tracks soon to be featured on the BeatConscious streams.... In addition to the sampler, there is a Sanchez Dub EP, and trust me, ya gotta hear "DVDs (Through the Wind Mix)". Also part of the Collective is Plan B ...
Dr. Echo. Dub today with deep respect to the dub foundations of yesterday ... this all-organic set (live percussion, trumpet and vocals, no samples) looks back to the legacy of King Tubby and Lee Perry while creating timeless sonic imagery that is deeply sensual and strongly spiritual ... In addition to including the Dr. Echo tracks on upcoming dub sets for the BeatConscious streams, I eagerly anticipate the chance to see a live performance when Florida hosts them in December. You can check the web site: Dr. Echo for performance news and also for purchasing the Doctor Echo CD.
Luke Etyrnal. A solo artist spinning ethereal, deeply moving melodies, Luke sets the controls to GLIDE and invites you to join him for the ride. Do it ... your mind and your body will be delighted. In a jazzier vein, Luke's Brise de soiree d'ete opened a recent BeatConscious set (VooDoo Child's Slight Return) ... catch that one on mmRadio.
K. Remixes of extraordinary vision and originality ... not available commercially -- due, no doubt, to the difficulty of licensing all the elements used to create these amazing tracks ... simply a record of one musician's skill and devotion. Listen at K's web site or you can hear his JimE close out the above-mentioned VooDoo Child's Slight Return on mmRadio....
Afternoons in Stereo. Nom de musique of Greg Vickers (see below), an exceptional talent ... just about every set I've done this summer has included an AiS track (or two) because Greg's inventions are among the best: wickedly intelligent, solidly rhythmic, captivatingly melodic -- totally absorbing.
Tokyo Dawn (label). Not sent to me personally, but a regular update on their new releases is supplied to the downtempo.com list ... this label is shockingly hot ... Check out their freely-downloadable mix sets and ponder this: all selections used on these mixes are by Tokyo Dawn artists, and there's not a bad track in the pack. Hiphop, downtempo and basically any other style that catches their interest ... stellar production and a distinctively fine web site in support of it all -- this German label has the juice ... can't recommend them too highly. Because of their generous download policy, you will hear numerous tracks from the Tokyo Dawn catalog on the October 2004 BeatConscious set You Know Me Now ... a compendium of recent independent music featuring music from the artists in this review.
And that's just a sampling of the very fine music people have been sending my way this summer ...
Posted Oct 03, 2004 14:25 IP
Excellent reccomendations Madame....I've gone to the Tokyo Dawn website and started to snap up some free goods....eventually i'll be going out to buy the rest of their stuff...
And speaking of mister Vickers...he's dropped an independent album tittled Aural Pleasures...it's available at CD Baby. I've had the pleasure of hearing most of his stuff....and i'll be picking this bad little puppy up soon
Brilliant thread here MmFly...keep 'em coming .
Posted Oct 30, 2004 05:05 IP
While searching recently for a a track that Pepehouse had mentioned, I found myself on the Besonic site -- they have been the European equivalent of mp3.com but without the drama (or if they've had a struggle to stay on the web, I haven't heard about it.) It was good to see that they are still offering a venue for new, independent artists to be discovered....
While there, I found new material by Sub City, a group from Vienna that I first heard about 3 or 4 years ago. They excel in moody, rainy-day trip hop tracks and the latest tunes available on their Besonic page were no exception ... just more polished than the work of 1999. Haven't yet discovered a personal web site for them, but will post the link here when I do....
Posted Nov 20, 2004 13:32 IP
One more new name: The Pulsated mix features a fine track entitled "Keep Your Soul" from NickNack, and you can read all about him and his music HERE (on the nav bar, click Artists, then select NickNack from the menu on the left.)
Posted Nov 28, 2004 16:40 IP
Add Clayton & Fulcrum to the Declaration ... in their own words:
We'd like to introduce ourselves. We're Clayton & Fulcrum, a funky
downtempo group from Philadelphia, PA, USA. You can dowload some free songs as well as check out our debut album, The Soul Purpose, at www.claytonandfulcrum.com .
Posted May 17, 2005 17:12 IP
Tokyo Dawn fans, please note: The Comfort Fit "Forget and Remember" release is available on the TD site for free download ... Comfort Fit is the group whose track "She Knows Me Now" was the inspiration for a BeatConscious set that's gotten some good reaction lately: You Know Me Now (I even remixed the title ) If you like their flava, check out the new release....
Posted Aug 14, 2005 12:00 IP
When I first started the Declaration of Independents thread, one of the musicians mentioned was K who contacted me about this time last year ... since that time, I have used a number of his tracks, downloaded from the digitalEvolution website. By this summer, most of these new tracks had been gathered together for release as KRYSALID which is available online as I write (details on digitalEvolution.)
What kind of music ... hmmmm, well ... the musician declines to accept a genre label, so the best I can say is: spacey, rhythmic, often gorgeous, often dark and very cinematic. But you can make up your own category ... the tracks are all available to be streamed from the website.
We've had a conversation or two about possible projects we might work on together ... those ideas are for sometime in the future. In the meantime, enjoy the set I've built around a handful of the Krysalid tracks ... it's streaming on the BeatConscious station as Backbone
Posted Oct 26, 2005 14:31 IP
Since I posted the last note about Krysalid, the album has had it's official release (e.g., available at more sources than just the artist's website) -- but there's a twist in this release ... here's how K puts it:
it is ironic that a die hard mac user who started this whole release process to get on itunes got on MSN first.
So, if you are a subscriber to the MSN music download service, you can check this album out for yourself ... and, eventually, the iTunes user can do the same.
Posted Nov 24, 2005 05:39 IP
I've uploaded a new mix for Thanksgiving ... thankful as I am for all the excellent independent music I've been hearing this year
Among the new discoveries this year has been the French group Shine whose One Day (lyrics in English, actually) is part of The Warm Up.
... here are some links:
One Day is a sweet downtempo tune, reminiscent of work by Bliss or something from Afterlife.
These folks have impeccable downtempo instincts ... you will hear more from them on future BeatConscious sets.
Posted Dec 30, 2005 17:06 IP
In 1995, I had been relocated to FLA for about five years and hadn't found a lot to like about the change in culture. I was buying mostly trivial music in the local stores with an occasional score based on a review in a national magazine ... but basically just marking time.
Then, on a vacation to Key West, I got turned around and turned out ... I heard my first acid jazz / electronic dance music in a restaurant where the bartender / DJ was spinning the Electric Hush album by Heights of Abraham ... we got to chat a little, he gave me a list of recommendations and I bought a couple hundred dollars worth of CDs before I left town ... I was off and running.
Shortly after that, I got my first home PC and an internet connection, and started finding out just how much great music there was in the world (not a lesson I could learn at the local stores.) From there, it was just step to building the BeatConscious site and becoming MadameFLY and then discovering MixMeister and internet radio.
As for that first great album, I did eventually find Electric Hush and the 2nd release from HoA entitled Humidity ... but then the trail went cold ... as far as I could tell, there wasn't going to be any more music from this group.
Fast forward 10 years ... 10 years almost to the day since that magic night in Key West ... and I receive an email from Sim Lister, sax player for HoA ... who had apparently discovered the BeatConscious site and my mention of their music. That in itself would have been utterly cool and a tribute to the power of the internet to make human connections happen ... but even better news was forthcoming: there would be a new release from the group in late 2005.
And so it was: the album Two Thousand and Six appeared in November, and you can hear my first pick from this set, As the Night Descended, on Melt, the latest mix to stream from the BeatConscious show ....
And you can learn more about Heights of Abraham and a few other excellent groups like Fila Brazillia and The Solid Doctor at the 23records website.
Posted Mar 10, 2006 03:51 IP
In the Long Overdue department, I realized I have used the Nick Malkiewicz ("NickNack") track "Keep Your Soul" yet again in a mix and have yet to post about this prolific artist in the Declaration of Indpendents section ... so here ya go
The website for Nick's imprint, Crowd Control Records offers music, art and photos plus info updates on the famous Austin TX music festival SXSW which is happening in mid-March this year ... check it all out, it's worth your time.
Posted Jul 29, 2006 12:17 IP
The mix for July 2006, Indie Summer features a full roster of independent artists and/or labels that merit your attention ... and most of these are easy to find, thanks to Myspace and the internet in general.
Nontourist is the musical persona of Andrew Kamm, who works in the audio/visual arts ... if you are a myspace person, you can check the Nontourist tunes out here also: http://www.myspace.com/nontourist
And his album is available on CDBaby.
Also worth checking out on myspace is the work of Jacques Peretti, who works under the nom du musique Compulsive Behavior ... find him here. The Compulsive Behavior music output is downtempo/brokenbeat/hip hop-oriented stuff, but on his website, I found Jacques also had some French language ballads, if that's your cuppa....
I have mentioned the good folks at 23Records before (see post from Dec. 30th, above, where you can also find a link to their site.) This time they are back with four advance tracks from J*S*T*A*R*S -- awesome jumpin' tunes that really had me rockin in my chair (no, it's not a rocking chair). How does this kind of energy fit into a downtempo mix? Check out the Indie Summer set to find out
Spansules made the cut this time, but the others will soon hit the airwaves, so stay tuned....
At the other end of the energy curve is Soma Sonic, the musical face of brothers Francois and Dominic Paterson, whose website offers the back story on this talented and highly professional duo and the singers on their albums. Their most recent release is Sim-pli-ci-ty a double-disc set full of gorgeous, highly cinematic music (no surprise, as the Patersons have done lots of film and commercial work.) Rien appears on the Indie Summer set, with more to follow....
Finally, big up to Brandon and his unbelieveably cool website, Properly Chilled -- your one-stop shopping spot for all things downtempo. He recently partnered with Mush Records in a 16-track release called Digging Down, from which I've pulled the Neutrino track There Is No Protection Here that closes out the Indie Summer set.
Now, mothers aren't supposed to have favorites, but I have to say that I'm really partial to the DJ Grey V track Swift DJ from the self-released album PhonoGraphic ... this one came to me via CDBaby's "if you bought that, then you'll probably like this, too" service ... and they were right, loved it! Sadly, the URL given on the CD cover comes back 404 so I can't hook you directly into a web site on this guy, but I'm sure you can still buy the disc at CDBaby....
In addition to these artists putting their stuff out there online for you directly, the set also owes respect to independent labels such as OM and ESL, home of Thievery Corporation, godfathers of the movement....
Posted Aug 13, 2006 09:37 IP
August 2006 delivers the second indie set of this summer ..Improving on Relaxation.. A few of the artists on this mix have already been covered in previous Declarations: NickNack, J*S*T*A*R*S (and also the remastered release of Fila Brazillia's best) from 23Records, DJ GreyV and Parov Stelar. Now please join me in welcoming these fine new names to the list:
ViceLounge: seriously strong underground soul tracks from this group stay on my mind and in the mix ... their website is a delight for the eye as well as the ear ... don't you sleep on this one.
Mudville was one of those recommendations from Amazon.com (I think) in the "people who bought that also bought this" category ... yet again, I followed the link and came away with a winner. These folks are working the Portishead groove and they don't disappoint ... Blown is a wicked wicked track ...
Digital Cutup Lounge came to me back in the earliest online music days, via a link from musician Toby Webb ... little did I recognize at the time the staying power these guys would have. When I pulled the tune Gone [sai remix] off an old CD of downloaded tracks, I had no idea I'd still be able to find them online today ... but here they are. These guys are working out on the experimental tip of downtempo ... yeah, we got one
Natalie Walker and Paul and Price came to my attention through the good works of Deanna at Elemental Consulting ... bless you, child! Let Deanna tell you about Paul and Price:
The sound of Paul & Price combines somatic beats with lush orchestration - often provocative and exotic, creating sexy downtempo and intoxicating electronica. Paul & Price is the music of the Virgin Airlines Upper First Class and has been featured on MTV, NBC and Fox... Sounds Like Sex 2 - After Midnight Music features guest vocalists and collaborators including Angela McCluskey, the voice behind Telepopmusik.
Sounds tasty, right? The Paul and Price tracks can be found on their myspace site AND their older album is available on emusic.com.
Natalie's track Quicksand comes in plain vanilla or the Thievery Corporation remix which is what you'll hear on BeatConscious.
Felix Laband has about 4 CDs worth of material available from emusic.com ... strange, amazing, inventive and addictive, he's one of the most original voices I've found there so far.
VenueConnection contacted me with the following notes:
My name is Javier del Aguila, and I represent the Spanish band venueconnection. Our music blends jazz, funk, soul and electronic, and has been classified by some critics as Acid Jazz, Lounge and Nu-Jazz. In 2005, we produced and released our debut album “Strawberry Swan Lake”, which is being distributed currently on the Internet
At the Yaffa's is from the Strawberry Swan Lake release ... an essential downtempo addition to the mix. Visit them here for more information.
Like DJ GreyV, Sonic Boutique was a recommendation from CDBaby during a transaction there ... and another winner. You can check out their very cool website here.
Dharma One was one of the loads of great tracks available from the Tokyo Dawn website, which is currently on some sort of hiatus ... but BeatConscious is keeping the vibe alive and hoping to welcome them back online soon....
Whoo ... did I miss anyone? If you have a question, hit me back here....
This message has been edited. Last edited by: MadameFLY, Aug 13, 2006 09:47
Posted May 20, 2007 14:41 IP
May brings another indie-oriented set: I May Be Guilty is the title, and some of the featured artists (along with links to their online presence) are:
Worldwide Groove Corporation - Chillodesiac Lounge
Autopilot - The Ride Home
I found the Autopilot tracks in the Free Music section of Live365 but this band is hard to google ... I mean, come on! autopilot there's a name nobody else is using, right?
Freddie Cruger Presents the 3 foot people
and, one and the same:
Red Astaire (Nuggets for the Needy)
(If you scroll back up here in the Declaration of Independents thread, you'll find more info on Nontourist / Andrew Kamm.)
Fila Brazillia - Meander Master - 23 Records
and, last but not least, my old friend Afternoons in Stereo who made a wicked cool website as well as great music ... a true Renaissance man. The track featured this month, Tidal Passage is from Greg's new release Leaves of Brass
The post wouldn't be complete without my expressions of gratitude to all the good people who keep me in the loop on new independent music ...
This message has been edited. Last edited by: MadameFLY, May 20, 2007 14:52
Posted May 28, 2007 17:35 IP
I read an interesting blog on myspace today, written by one of the members of Worldwide Groove Corporation, whose track I used in the May 2007 BeatConscious show, I May Be Guilty. Very interesting stuff about how royalties are paid ... I'll try and get a link to it or port it over here ...
In the meantime, that reminded me to post (again?) this excellent article from The New York Times on the new reality of artists merchandising their own music using the internet ... required reading for all hopefuls, and for those hoping they will succeed:
May 13, 2007
Sex, Drugs and Updating Your Blog
By CLIVE THOMPSON
Jonathan Coulton sat in Gorilla Coffee in Brooklyn, his Apple PowerBook open before him, and began slogging through the day’s e-mail. Coulton is 36 and shaggily handsome. In September 2005, he quit his job as a computer programmer and, with his wife’s guarded blessing, became a full-time singer and songwriter. He set a quixotic goal for himself: for the next year, he would write and record a song each week, posting each one to his blog. “It was a sort of forced-march approach to creativity,” he admitted to me over the sound of the cafe’s cappuccino frothers. He’d always wanted to be a full-time musician, and he figured the only way to prove to himself he could do it was with a drastic challenge. “I learned that it is possible to squeeze a song out of just about anything,” he said. “But it’s not always an easy or pleasant process.” Given the self-imposed time constraints, the “Thing a Week” songs are remarkably good. Coulton tends toward geeky, witty pop tunes: one song, “Tom Cruise Crazy,” is a sympathetic ode to the fame-addled star, while “Code Monkey” is a rocking anthem about dead-end programming jobs. By the middle of last year, his project had attracted a sizable audience. More than 3,000 people, on average, were visiting his site every day, and his most popular songs were being downloaded as many as 500,000 times; he was making what he described as “a reasonable middle-class living” — between $3,000 and $5,000 a month — by selling CDs and digital downloads of his work on iTunes and on his own site.
Along the way, he discovered a fact that many small-scale recording artists are coming to terms with these days: his fans do not want merely to buy his music. They want to be his friend. And that means they want to interact with him all day long online. They pore over his blog entries, commenting with sympathy and support every time he recounts the difficulty of writing a song. They send e-mail messages, dozens a day, ranging from simple mash notes of the “you rock!” variety to starkly emotional letters, including one by a man who described singing one of Coulton’s love songs to his 6-month-old infant during her heart surgery. Coulton responds to every letter, though as the e-mail volume has grown to as many as 100 messages a day, his replies have grown more and more terse, to the point where he’s now feeling guilty about being rude.
Coulton welcomes his fans’ avid attention; indeed, he relies on his fans in an almost symbiotic way. When he couldn’t perform a guitar solo for “Shop Vac,” a glittery pop tune he had written about suburban angst — on his blog, he cursed his “useless sausage fingers” — Coulton asked listeners to record their own attempts, then held an online vote and pasted the winning riff into his tune. Other followers have volunteered hours of their time to help further his career: a professional graphic artist in Cleveland has drawn an illustration for each of the weekly songs, free. Another fan recently reformatted Coulton’s tunes so they’d be usable on karaoke machines. On his online discussion board last June, when Coulton asked for advice on how to make more money with his music, dozens of people chimed in with tips on touring and managing the media and even opinions about what kind of songs he ought to write.
Coulton’s fans are also his promotion department, an army of thousands who proselytize for his work worldwide. More than 50 fans have created music videos using his music and posted them on YouTube; at a recent gig, half of the audience members I spoke to had originally come across his music via one of these fan-made videos. When he performs, he upends the traditional logic of touring. Normally, a new Brooklyn-based artist like him would trek around the Northeast in grim circles, visiting and revisiting cities like Boston and New York and Chicago in order to slowly build an audience — playing for 3 people the first time, then 10, then (if he got lucky) 50. But Coulton realized he could simply poll his existing online audience members, find out where they lived and stage a tactical strike on any town with more than 100 fans, the point at which he’d be likely to make $1,000 for a concert. It is a flash-mob approach to touring: he parachutes into out-of-the-way towns like Ardmore, Pa., where he recently played to a sold-out club of 140.
His fans need him; he needs them. Which is why, every day, Coulton wakes up, gets coffee, cracks open his PowerBook and hunkers down for up to six hours of nonstop and frequently exhausting communion with his virtual crowd. The day I met him, he was examining a music video that a woman who identified herself as a “blithering fan” had made for his song “Someone Is Crazy.” It was a collection of scenes from anime cartoons, expertly spliced together and offered on YouTube.
“She spent hours working on this,” Coulton marveled. “And now her friends are watching that video, and fans of that anime cartoon are watching this video. And that’s how people are finding me. It’s a crucial part of the picture. And so I have to watch this video; I have to respond to her.” He bashed out a hasty thank-you note and then forwarded the link to another supporter — this one in Britain — who runs “The Jonathan Coulton Project,” a Web site that exists specifically to archive his fan-made music videos.
He sipped his coffee. “People always think that when you’re a musician you’re sitting around strumming your guitar, and that’s your job,” he said. “But this” — he clicked his keyboard theatrically — “this is my job.”
In the past — way back in the mid-’90s, say — artists had only occasional contact with their fans. If a musician was feeling friendly, he might greet a few audience members at the bar after a show. Then the Internet swept in. Now fans think nothing of sending an e-mail message to their favorite singer — and they actually expect a personal reply. This is not merely an illusion of intimacy. Performing artists these days, particularly new or struggling musicians, are increasingly eager, even desperate, to master the new social rules of Internet fame. They know many young fans aren’t hearing about bands from MTV or magazines anymore; fame can come instead through viral word-of-mouth, when a friend forwards a Web-site address, swaps an MP3, e-mails a link to a fan blog or posts a cellphone concert video on YouTube.
So musicians dive into the fray — posting confessional notes on their blogs, reading their fans’ comments and carefully replying. They check their personal pages on MySpace, that virtual metropolis where unknown bands and comedians and writers can achieve global renown in a matter of days, if not hours, carried along by rolling cascades of popularity. Band members often post a daily MySpace “bulletin” — a memo to their audience explaining what they’re doing right at that moment — and then spend hours more approving “friend requests” from teenagers who want to be put on the artist’s sprawling list of online colleagues. (Indeed, the arms race for “friends” is so intense that some artists illicitly employ software robots that generate hundreds of fake online comrades, artificially boosting their numbers.) The pop group Barenaked Ladies held a video contest, asking fans to play air guitar along to the song “Wind It Up”; the best ones were spliced together as the song’s official music video. Even artists who haven’t got a clue about the Internet are swept along: Arctic Monkeys, a British band, didn’t know what MySpace was, but when fans created a page for them in 2005 — which currently boasts over 65,000 “friends” — it propelled their first single, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” to No. 1 on the British charts.
This trend isn’t limited to musicians; virtually every genre of artistic endeavor is slowly becoming affected, too. Filmmakers like Kevin Smith (“Clerks”) and Rian Johnson (“Brick”) post dispatches about the movies they’re shooting and politely listen to fans’ suggestions; the comedian Dane Cook cultivated such a huge fan base through his Web site that his 2005 CD “Retaliation” became the first comedy album to reach the Billboard Top 5 since 1978. But musicians are at the vanguard of the change. Their product, the three-minute song, was the first piece of pop culture to be fully revolutionized by the Internet. And their second revenue source — touring — makes them highly motivated to connect with far-flung fans.
This confluence of forces has produced a curious inflection point: for rock musicians, being a bit of a nerd now helps you become successful. When I spoke with Damian Kulash, the lead singer for the band OK Go, he discoursed like a professor on the six-degrees-of-separation theory, talking at one point about “rhizomatic networks.” (You can Google it.) Kulash has put his networking expertise to good use: last year, OK Go displayed a canny understanding of online dynamics when it posted on YouTube a low-budget homemade video that showed the band members dancing on treadmills to their song “Here It Goes Again.” The video quickly became one of the site’s all-time biggest hits. It led to the band’s live treadmill performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, which in turn led to a Grammy Award for best video.
This is not a trend that affects A-list stars. The most famous corporate acts — Justin Timberlake, Fergie, Beyoncé — are still creatures of mass marketing, carpet-bombed into popularity by expensive ad campaigns and radio airplay. They do not need the online world to find listeners, and indeed, their audiences are too vast for any artist to even pretend intimacy with. No, this is a trend that is catalyzing the B-list, the new, under-the-radar acts that have always built their success fan by fan. Across the country, the CD business is in a spectacular free fall; sales are down 20 percent this year alone. People are increasingly getting their music online (whether or not they’re paying for it), and it seems likely that the artists who forge direct access to their fans have the best chance of figuring out what the new economics of the music business will be.
The universe of musicians making their way online includes many bands that function in a traditional way — signing up with a label — while using the Internet primarily as a means of promotion, the way OK Go has done. Two-thirds of OK Go’s album sales are still in the physical world: actual CDs sold through traditional CD stores. But the B-list increasingly includes a newer and more curious life-form: performers like Coulton, who construct their entire business model online. Without the Internet, their musical careers might not exist at all. Coulton has forgone a record-label contract; instead, he uses a growing array of online tools to sell music directly to fans. He contracts with a virtual fulfillment house called CD Baby, which warehouses his CDs, processes the credit-card payment for each sale and ships it out, while pocketing only $4 of the album’s price, a much smaller cut than a traditional label would take. CD Baby also places his music on the major digital-music stores like iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster. Most lucratively, Coulton sells MP3s from his own personal Web sites, where there’s no middleman at all.
In total, 41 percent of Coulton’s income is from digital-music sales, three-quarters of which are sold directly off his own Web site. Another 29 percent of his income is from CD sales; 18 percent is from ticket sales for his live shows. The final 11 percent comes from T-shirts, often bought online.
Indeed, running a Web store has allowed Coulton and other artists to experiment with intriguing innovations in flexible pricing. Remarkably, Coulton offers most of his music free on his site; when fans buy his songs, it is because they want to give him money. The Canadian folk-pop singer Jane Siberry has an even more clever system: she has a “pay what you can” policy with her downloadable songs, so fans can download them free — but her site also shows the average price her customers have paid for each track. This subtly creates a community standard, a generalized awareness of how much people think each track is really worth. The result? The average price is as much as $1.30 a track, more than her fans would pay at iTunes.
Yet this phenomenon isn’t merely about money and business models. In many ways, the Internet’s biggest impact on artists is emotional. When you have thousands of fans interacting with you electronically, it can feel as if you’re on stage 24 hours a day.
“I vacillate so much on this,” Tad Kubler told me one evening in March. “I’m like, I want to keep some privacy, some sense of mystery. But I also want to have this intimacy with our fans. And I’m not sure you can have both.” Kubler is the guitarist for the Brooklyn-based rock band the Hold Steady, and I met up with him at a Japanese bar in Pittsburgh, where the band was performing on its latest national tour. An exuberant but thoughtful blond-surfer type, Kubler drank a Sapporo beer and explained how radically the Internet had changed his life on the road. His previous band existed before the Web became ubiquitous, and each town it visited was a mystery: Would 20 people come out? Would two? When the Hold Steady formed four years ago, Kubler immediately signed up for a MySpace page, later adding a discussion board, and curious fans were drawn in like iron filings to a magnet. Now the band’s board teems with fans asking technical questions about Kubler’s guitars, swapping bootlegged MP3 recordings of live gigs with each other, organizing carpool drives to see the band. Some send e-mail messages to Kubler from cities where the band will be performing in a couple of weeks, offering to design, print and distribute concert posters free. As the band’s appointed geek, Kubler handles the majority of its online audience relations; fans at gigs chant his online screen-name, “Koob.”
“It’s like night and day, man,” Kubler said, comparing his current situation with his pre-Internet musical career. “It’s awesome now.”
Kubler regards fan interaction as an obligation that is cultural, almost ethical. He remembers what it was like to be a young fan himself, enraptured by the members of Led Zeppelin. “That’s all I wanted when I was a fan, right?” he said. “To have some small contact with these guys you really dug. I think I’m still that way. I’ll be, like, devastated if I never meet Jimmy Page before I die.” Indeed, for a guitarist whose arms are bedecked in tattoos and who maintains an aggressive schedule of drinking, Kubler seems genuinely touched by the shy queries he gets from teenagers.
“If some kid is going to take 10 minutes out of his day to figure out what he wants to say in an e-mail, and then write it and send it, for me to not take the 5 minutes to say, dude, thanks so much — for me to ignore that?” He shrugged. “I can’t.”
Yet Kubler sometimes has second thoughts about the intimacy. Part of the allure of rock, when he was a kid, was the shadowy glamour that surrounded his favorite stars. He’d parse their lyrics to try to figure out what they were like in person. Now he wonders: Are today’s online artists ruining their own aura by blogging? Can you still idolize someone when you know what they had for breakfast this morning? “It takes a little bit of the mystery out of rock ’n’ roll,” he said.
So Kubler has cultivated a skill that is unique to the age of Internet fandom, and perhaps increasingly necessary to it, as well: a nuanced ability to seem authentic and confessional without spilling over into a Britney Spears level of information overload. He doesn’t post about his home life, doesn’t mention anything about his daughter or girlfriend — and he certainly doesn’t describe any of the ill-fated come-ons he deflects from addled female fans who don’t realize he’s in a long-term relationship. (Another useful rule he imparts to me: Post in the morning, when you’re no longer drunk.)
There’s something particularly weird, the band members have also found, about living with fans who can now trade information — and misinformation — about them. All celebrities are accustomed to dealing with reporters; but fans represent a new, wild-card form of journalism. Franz Nicolay, the Hold Steady’s nattily-dressed keyboardist, told me that he now becomes slightly paranoid while drinking with fans after a show, because he’s never sure if what he says will wind up on someone’s blog. After a recent gig in Britain, Nicolay idly mentioned to a fan that he had heard that Bruce Springsteen liked the Hold Steady. Whoops: the next day, that factoid was published on a fan blog, “and it had, like, 25 comments!” Nicolay said. So now he carefully polices what he says in casual conversation, which he thinks is a weird thing for a rock star to do. “You can’t be the drunken guy who just got offstage anymore,” he said with a sigh. “You start acting like a pro athlete, saying all these banal things after you get off the field.” For Nicolay, the intimacy of the Internet has made postshow interactions less intimate and more guarded.
The Hold Steady’s online audience has grown so huge that Kubler, like Jonathan Coulton, is struggling to bear the load. It is the central paradox of online networking: if you’re really good at it, your audience quickly grows so big that you can no longer network with them. The Internet makes fame more quickly achievable — and more quickly unmanageable. In the early days of the Hold Steady, Kubler fielded only a few e-mail messages a day, and a couple of “friend” requests on MySpace. But by this spring, he was receiving more than 100 communications from fans each day, and he was losing as much as two or three hours a day dealing with them. “People will say to me, ‘Hey, dude, how come you haven’t posted a bulletin lately?’ ” Kubler told me. “And I’m like, ‘I haven’t done one because every time I do we get 300 messages and I spend a day going through them!’ ”
To cope with the flood, the Hold Steady has programmed a software robot to automatically approve the 100-plus “friend” requests it receives on MySpace every day. Other artists I spoke to were testing out similar tricks, including automatic e-mail macros that generate instant “thank you very much” replies to fan messages. Virtually everyone bemoaned the relentless and often boring slog of keyboarding. It is, of course, precisely the sort of administrative toil that people join rock bands to avoid.
Even the most upbeat artist eventually crashes and burns. Indeed, fan interactions seem to surf along a sine curve, as an artist’s energy for managing the emotional demands waxes and wanes. As I roamed through online discussion boards and blogs, the tone was nearly always pleasant, even exuberant — fans politely chatting with their favorite artists or gushing praise. But inevitably, out of the blue, the artist would be overburdened, or a fan would feel slighted, and some minor grievance would flare up. At the end of March, a few weeks after I talked with Kubler in Pittsburgh, I logged on to the Hold Steady’s discussion board to discover that he had posted an angry notice about fans who sent him nasty e-mail messages complaining that the band wasn’t visiting their cities. “I honestly cannot believe some of the e-mails, hate mail and otherwise total [expletive] I’ve been hearing,” he wrote. “We’re coming to rock. Please be ready.”
Another evening I visited the message board for the New York post-punk band Nada Surf, where a fan posted a diatribe attacking the bass player for refusing to sign an autograph at a recent show, prompting an extended fan discussion of whether the bass player was a jerk or not. A friend of mine pointed me to the remarkable plight of Poppy Z. Brite, a novelist who in 2005 accused fans on a discussion board of being small-minded about children — at which point her fans banned her from the board.
When Jonathan Coulton first began writing his weekly songs, he carefully tracked how many people listened to each one on his Web site. His listenership rose steadily, from around 1,000 a week at first to 50,000 by the end of his yearlong song-a-week experiment. But there were exceptions to this gradual rise: five songs that became breakout “hits,” receiving almost 10 times as many listeners as the songs that preceded and followed them. The first hit was an improbable cover song: Coulton’s deadpan version of the 1992 Sir Mix-a-Lot rap song “Baby Got Back,” performed like a hippie folk ballad. Another was “Code Monkey,” his pop song about a disaffected cubicle worker.
Obviously, Coulton was thrilled when his numbers popped, not least because the surge of traffic produced thousands more dollars in sales. But the successes also tortured him: he would rack his brains trying to figure out why people loved those particular songs so much. What had he done right? Could he repeat the same trick?
“Every time I had a hit, it would sort of ruin me for a few weeks,” he told me. “I would feel myself being a little bit repressed in my creativity, and ideas would not come to me as easily. Or else I would censor myself a little bit more.” His fans, he realized, were most smitten by his geekier songs, the ones that referenced science fiction, mathematics or video games. Whenever he branches out and records more traditional pop fare, he worries it will alienate his audience.
For many of these ultraconnected artists, it seems the nature of creativity itself is changing. It is no longer a solitary act: their audiences are peering over their shoulders as they work, offering pointed comments and suggestions. When OK Go released its treadmill-dancing video on YouTube, it quickly amassed 15 million views, a number so big that it is, as Kulash, the singer, told me, slightly surreal. “Fifteen million people is more than you can see,” he said. “It’s like this big mass of ants, and you’re sitting at home in your underpants to see how many times you’ve been downloaded, and you can sort of feel the ebb and flow of mass attention.” Fans pestered him to know what the band’s next video would be; some even suggested the band try dancing on escalators. Kulash was conflicted. He didn’t want to be known just for making goofy videos; he also wanted people to pay attention to OK Go’s music. In the end, the band decided not to do another dance video, because, as Kulash concluded, “How do you follow up 15 million hits?” All the artists I spoke to made a point of saying they would never simply pander to their fans’ desires. But many of them also said that staying artistically “pure” now requires the mental discipline of a ninja.
These days, Coulton is wondering whether an Internet-built fan base inevitably hits a plateau. Many potential Coulton fans are fanatical users of MySpace and YouTube, of course; but many more aren’t, and the only way for him to reach them is via traditional advertising, which he can’t afford, or courting media attention, a wearying and decidedly old-school task. Coulton’s single biggest spike in traffic to his Web site took place last December, when he appeared on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday,” a fact that, he notes, proves how powerful old-fashioned media still are. (And “Weekend Edition” is orders of magnitude smaller than major entertainment shows like MTV’s “Total Request Live,” which can make a new artist in an afternoon.) Perhaps there’s no way to use the Internet to vault from the B-list to the A-list and the only bands that sell millions of copies will always do it via a well-financed major-label promotion campaign. “Maybe this is what my career will be,” Coulton said: slowly building new fans online, playing live occasionally, making a solid living but never a crazy-rich one. He’s considered signing on with a label or a cable network to try to chase a higher circle of fame, but that would mean giving up control. And, he says, “I think I’m addicted to running my own show now.”
Will the Internet change the type of person who becomes a musician or writer? It’s possible to see these online trends as Darwinian pressures that will inevitably produce a new breed — call it an Artist 2.0 — and mark the end of the artist as a sensitive, bohemian soul who shuns the spotlight. In “The Catcher in the Rye,” J. D. Salinger wrote about how reading a good book makes you want to call up the author and chat with him, which neatly predicted the modern online urge; but Salinger, a committed recluse, wouldn’t last a minute in this confessional new world. Neither would, say, Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, a singer who was initially so intimidated by a crowd that she would sit facing the back of the stage. What happens to art when people like that are chased away?
It is also possible, though, that this is simply a natural transition point and that the next generation of musicians and artists — even the avowedly “sensitive” ones — will find the constant presence of their fans unremarkable. The psychological landscape has arguably already tilted that way for anyone under 20. There are plenty of teenagers today who regard themselves as “private” individuals, yet who post openly about their everyday activities on Facebook or LiveJournal, complete with camera-phone pictures. For that generation, the line between public and private is so blurry as to become almost nonexistent. Any teenager with a MySpace page is already fluent in managing a constant stream of dozens of semianonymous people clamoring to befriend them; if those numbers rise to hundreds or even thousands, maybe, for them, it won’t be a big deal. It’s also true that many recluses in real life flower on the Internet, which can famously be a place of self-expression and self-reinvention.
While researching this article, I occasionally scanned the list of top-rated bands on MySpace — the ones with the most “friends.” One of the biggest was a duo called the Scene Aesthetic, whose MySpace presence had sat atop several charts (folk, pop, rock) for a few months. I called Andrew de Torres, a 21-year-old Seattle resident and a co-founder of the group, to find out his story. De Torres, who played in a few emo bands as a teenager, had the idea for the Scene Aesthetic in January 2005, when he wrote a song that required two dueling male voices. He called his friend Eric Bowley, and they recorded the song — an aching ballad called “Beauty in the Breakdown” — in a single afternoon in Bowley’s basement. They posted it to MySpace, figuring it might get a couple of listens. But the song clearly struck a chord with the teen-heavy MySpace audience, and within days it had racked up thousands of plays. Requests to be the duo’s “friend” came surging in, along with messages demanding more songs. De Torres and Bowley quickly banged out three more; when those went online, their growing fan base urged them to produce a full album and to go on tour.
“It just sort of accidentally turned into this huge thing,” de Torres told me when I called him up. “We thought this was a little side project. We thought we wouldn’t do much with it. We just threw it up online.” Now their album is due out this summer, and they have roughly 22,000 people a day listening to their songs on MySpace, plus more than 180,000 “friends.” A cross-country tour that ended last December netted them “a pretty good amount of money,” de Torres added.
This sort of career arc was never previously possible. If you were a singer with only one good song, there was no way to release it independently on a global scale — and thus no way of knowing if there was a market for your talent. But the online fan world has different gravitational physics: on the basis of a single tune, the Scene Aesthetic kick-started an entire musical career.
Which is perhaps the end result of the new online fan world: it allows a fresh route to creative success, assuming the artist has the correct emotional tools. De Torres, a decade or more younger than Coulton and the Hold Steady, is a natural Artist 2.0: he happily spends two hours a day or more parsing notes from teenagers who tell him “your work totally got me through some rough times.” He knows that to lure in listeners, he needs to post some of his work on MySpace, but since he wants people to eventually buy his album, he doesn’t want to give away all his goods. He has thus developed an ear for what he calls “the perfect MySpace song” — a tune that is immediately catchy, yet not necessarily the strongest from his forthcoming album. For him, being a musician is rather like being a business manager, memoirist and group therapist rolled into one, with a politician’s thick hide to boot.
Clive Thompson, a contributing writer, writes frequently about technology for the magazine
Posted Jun 16, 2007 13:03 IP
OK, well after that nice read (previous post) on the life of the modern independent recording artist, it's back to the rundown of artists appearing on my latest set to be uploaded to the BeatConscious show, Dizzy Moon:
From the latest Modus Vivendi sampler, I selected tracks by two of my favorite MV artists, B.N. Loco and Julian Brody ... they established the slightly Latin inflection of the mix that is picked up in later tracks by Federico Aubele, Chambao, Kinobe and also in the Mariposa (Bonita Fly Mix) track from Nickodemus & Osiris feat. vocals from Si*S+ siren Carol C. (catch the 12" available from Giant Step -- check it here.
I discovered Paul & Price via an email from their publicist at redCola recordings ... turns out they have been making quite a bit of music while I slept ... some of their tracks are available from emusic.com, but I decided to spring for their two CDs (the Sounds Like Sex series) and I wasn't disappointed ... look for more tracks from these guys to pop up on the show in future.
Another email tip-off, another CD purchase ... this was a heads-up from Red of evolve, whose album Happy Hour in the Gene Pool was available from CDBaby ... this is another album you can expect to hear more of on the show. In the meantime, investigate them on your own at http://www.evolvemusic.us and see what you think...
Myspace is for music, some of the time anyway, and I have gotten a number of add requests from musicians worth knowing about ... one of these is The Moscow Coup Attempt, hailing from Cali and turning out strange minimalist triphop that turns out to be pretty captivating ... Like the Modus V guys, Federico Aubele, Sven Van Hees and others, this guy is in my very small circle of friends, so you can get to his music if you stop by my page on the way....
As usual, there's a number of tracks here that came from emusic.com -- Modus V is available there and also the Quango compilation that delivered Gecko Turner's track Dizzie, as well as Arsenal and J. Boogie's track on the OM Lounge 10 album.
Going back a bit to a 2005 release from Admon ... this is producer and DJ Damon Vallero, who broke away from techno to release the very different sound of 4AM Life; find out more about him at Downstream Records.
And now, go listen
This message has been edited. Last edited by: MadameFLY, Jun 16, 2007 15:53
Posted Jul 02, 2007 06:15 IP
Most of the indie artists that appear on July's show (Sanchez Dub, Nickodemus and Osiris, Paul & Price, NickNack, Autopilot) have been written up in previous posts ... scroll up to see more about them.... New this time is Washington DC-area recording artist Kid Gusto of TrueGrooves -- Google him for numerous recording and performance links. Here's someone working that James Brown groove and more....
I got something for your mind, your body and your soul
Posted Jan 13, 2008 05:29 IP
This post is all about the 2008 kick-off entry, MoonDrop -- you can find the feedback thread here.
Among the creative voices on this independent music entry are:
The Warheads: http://thewarheads.com/aboutus.html ... I've written up The Warheads before (scroll up to read more) -- they are getting to be regulars here on BeatConscious. According to their website, the tunes I use the most have recently been licensed to Watermusic Records, and so they are not available any longer as free downloads from the Warheads' website ... but their older stuff is still there, along with news that they are working on a fresh project....
Unworking mind (Rene Valenzuela): http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.vi...le&friendID=54892031 -- Two tracks by this artist appear on this set, and lend it the spacey vibe that starts it off and closes it out. This is one of the Myspace discoveries … I found this world ambient track a bracing return to the best Banco de Gaia vibe c. 1998, yet somehow (my own stereotypes) this seemed an odd sound to be coming out of Mexico … what can I say except silly me.
The vocals continue the same vaguely middle eastern vibe of the Warheads track but it is actually just exotic without referencing a specific location…. A long hypnotic track, "Beyond the Ocean" serves well for the wind-up of the MoonDrop mix.
Neptilos: http://www.neptilos.com/ -- the artist is at that pure independent stage as far as I can tell: no label support yet. "Fantasy" is the track … a cinematic track full of longing and regret (I'm already making the movie in my head.)
Next up is "Buen Ambiente" a favorite track from BN Loco (Uriel Esquenazi and Andrés Sánchez): -- http://www.emimusicpub.com/worldwide/artist_profile/bn-loco_profile.html -- Modus Vivendi recording artists written up in the very first post of this thread (scroll up). This track never gets old and here it establishes a change from the flowing ambience of the opening trio of tracks, steering the mix toward the bright light of beat creation ….
The group Torso): http://www.torsomusic.com/ contacted me just about the time I found their music was available from emusic.com, so one release came to me as a promo and the other I purchased online. The first track I used, "Alpha Almighty", comes in on a twinkling twitching hand-off that ramps up the energy of the mix another notch … I find this tune really irresistable.
Sonanaut: http://www.sonanaut.com/ is an artist from the New York area, and his CD has a satisfying number of really strong tracks on it. MoonDrop features "Carbon" and you can expect to hear more on BeatConscious from Sonanaut's album Sinking Upwards
Greg Long ("Canton") received a very nice write-up from the good folks at Properly Chilled, a must-visit website for all things downtempo ... read the news on Greg and his label, Citrona, here: http://www.properlychilled.com/music/label/profile.php?view=9. "Tease" is an older tune from Greg, circa 2002.
Hird is one of a number of Nordic artists that do have independent label support - read more about the group here:
Tassel & Naturel come to me via emusic.com and I don't actually know how indie this one is as they have an alliance with DJ Cam, but I doubt they're charted. I found info on these websites:
Another artist to contact me was Alyse Black, a true chanteuse whose "Don't Give me One Kiss" has a strong Bjork influence and was, for me, the highlight of her recent release. Read more about her here:
This message has been edited. Last edited by: MadameFLY, Jan 13, 2008 06:09
Posted Mar 21, 2008 14:44 IP
Independent artists featured in my March 2008 set The Mighty Wick included the following:
February 14 was the launch date of the debut album by Gary B – Step into the Sunshine. Released by the Café del Mar label, famous for their chillout compilations, Gary B is one of the few solo artists signed exclusively to the company.
Songwriter/ producer Gary Butcher has contributed to many Café del Mar albums over the last 5 years, either under his own name, that of Luminous or collaborating with Danish dance producers, Miro. His musical history career started as a session guitarist for many artists including Robert Palmer. He went on to write and produce for Jimmy Summerville, Sonique, Definition of Sound, the Banderas and Miro.
Gary now lives and works from his studio in Ibiza and has his own unique take on the chill out genre, producing a soulful blend of well crafted songs using his own vocals or those of long time musical collaborator, Julie Harrington.
Tracks from the album can be heard on: www.myspace.com/luminousmusic
Afternoons in Stereo and The Warheads have been mentioned in earlier posts here in the Declaration ... scroll up to read more about them, or visit their websites:
Information on Parov Stelar is available at Etage Noir.
And once again, thanks to Brandon at Properly Chilled.com for the tip on Govinda and for the generally awesome website.
I got something for your mind, your body and your soul.
Posted Apr 20, 2008 09:53 IP
A couple of independent artist efforts pop-up in the latest BeatConscious set: Dub & Dubber 08: 2008:04:20: Dubset.
A big shout-out to emch who appears to be the organizing spirit behind SUBATOMIC SOUND SYSTEM and DUB CHAMPIONS. I saw one configuration of this loose confederation of players at the 2008 Winter Music Conference where Emch (turntables and sample triggering), Rhiannon (vocals) and Amon (drums) added spice and smooth vibes to the Miambient afternoon at The Standard Hotel. You can catch their full story and see if they will be appearing anywhere near you by visiting one of their online outposts:
and on www. youtube.com/subatomicsound
I understand their music is available worldwide on iTunes, Emusic, Beatport, Calabash Music &
Another dub stalwart is Toronto's Dubmatix -- check their website HERE for information on concerts, links to free music downloads and even some nifty wallpaper for your computer. Dubmatix is one of the hardest working groups in the business and I'm pleased to bring their music to new listeners.
Posted Jul 05, 2008 12:29 IP
Spring produced lots of new releases and many of them made their way to me ... Independents Suite 2008 is the result.
All India Radio is among the most well-represented on this set. The set opens with the gorgeous melody of Let me Remain -- one of those tunes that sticks in your head -- and they appear again later with the very Portishead-influenced Persist. This Australian group has never sent me a release I didn't love ... they are well-represented online also: check them out via any of these links:
Gary B was last featured in March, from his new release Step into the Sunshine .. the two tracks featured this month were ones I found on a couple of 2005 compilations, both soulful, sexy and deeply grooved. Scroll back up thru the Declaration to March for a link.
Toronto's KUSH has been around for a while, but they just found me recently via the Live365 version of the BeatConscious stream. Their 2004 set, Streams of Consciousness Vol. 1 has passages strongly reminiscent of Miles and his seminal album Sketches of Spain. A second track, from 2002's Temptation Sessions release also appears. More information about this group at their website: http://www.kush-music.com
The good people from the Aardvark Records label sent a basket of tracks, including songs from Torso's Naked Came the She Squid, Staedler & Waldorf from the 2008 release No Way Home, and Chris Hale's Together from Day and Night -- this track will surprise you if you stick with it. Find out more about this UK label at http://www.aardvarkrecords.co.uk
And finally, the folks at 23records have reinvented Fila Brazillia as The Cutler with a new, self-titled album that dropped to me in late May and to the public now in July. This is some very muscular stuff, as the track Pickaxe amply demonstrates. For more information, visit the Steel Tiger Records website at http://www.steeltiger.co.uk/ and The Cutler website at http://www.thecutler.com/ as well as the ubiquitous myspace connection: http://www.myspace.com/iamthecutler
Of course, not everybody comes to me ... sometimes I go out looking. After the Baltimore Boogie Man dropped a couple of items from CNET's music.download site, I decided I'd better investigate their offerings ... and so I direct your attention to tracks from Lovespirals, DJ Eurok and Rados and remind you that the music.download site is a legal outlet for artist self-promotion -- do check them out.
Finally, of course, a BeatConscious set would hardly be complete without a Warheads track: this time I'm spinning a tune from the Killed in Action album and as a special treat for me, jrs contributed my first-ever drop which you'll hear as the lead-in to their tune Bomb Tested.
Busy month! Hope to do as well for you again next time ....
I got something for your mind, your body and your soul.
Posted Oct 10, 2008 17:51 IP
The new mix for October, Isla Mujeres, featuring female vocalists of all styles and persuasions, has four primary sources for the independent artist tracks that appear in the set:
Sterling Angel (John Sterling and Angelique Sirois) can be experienced via the web site http:\\www.sterlingangel.com ... and, no doubt, via future sets on BeatConscious ... they have revived triphop in a sexy, intimate way.
From the good people at Lola Waxx Records (and Pamela, in particular ...) I got news of the Independent Soul Divas release, which dropped in early September ... you can check out all the goodies at lolawaxx.com or just jet on over to the myspace page for news about the Divas' release ...
From the Euro netlabel ELECTROBEL, I picked up the TripHop-01 release -- not sure if that is still available, but you can see what's on offer from this French/Belgian/UK collective by visiting them at http://label.electrobel.info/
Finally, I was contacted by a friend / producer / publicist for Andie Hahn with an intro to her music ... as yet, though, no web presence to report to you ... I'll keep you posted if and when I learn more (and I hope to hear original material from Andie sometime soon.)
Although I like to keep the focus of this thread on truly independent artists (little or no label support, or self-label releases) and help you find them online, I should note that lots of the other tracks on Isla Mujeres were sourced via emusic.com, which specializes in small label and semi-independent artists ... visit the emusic.com site to see what a huge variety is out there....
Posted Nov 08, 2008 10:56 IP
Originally posted by MadameFLY:
I was contacted by a friend / producer / publicist for Andie Hahn with an intro to her music ... as yet, though, no web presence to report to you ... I'll keep you posted if and when I learn more (and I hope to hear original material from Andie sometime soon.)
Find more on Andie Hahn at http://www.myspace.com/AndieHahnmusic. What I do know is there are only a handful of singers who have managed to get me to throw my entire skill set and connections at their project. Who knew one would be this 16-year-old soulster from Sacramento, CA? I was outta the artist development game for YEARS and then bam...ENTRE ANDIE HAHN! Originals are in the works. Keep checkin' for her and thanks for the play!
On the real...Jasmien
Posted Jan 27, 2009 15:32 IP
Registered: Sep 15, 2008
so much amazing info in here Thanks Madame!!
Posted Jul 19, 2009 06:45 IP
Thanks to Marlibar for the hat-tip ... more of the same in today's post...
In the post from July 5, 2008, above, you'll find information and links for a number of artists that also appear in the July 2009 Indie mix, BOOK:ENDED -- including All India Radio, KUSH and Aardvark Records. That post also references http://music.download.com, which is where I found the group Bassment ... here's the write-up from Last.fm:
Bassment-the brain-child of Melbourne-born, Bristol-based trip-hop/illbient producer Dan Tout - began as an antidote for boredom. The boredom caused by long, slow hours of soul-destroying work . In between drinks, work and study, beats were constructed, forgotten about, de-constructed, considered during work and study, played backwards during drinks, re-reversed and then, finally, re-constructed and left in an old PC to rot, or delete themselves, or whatever things do in prehistoric computers. That is, of course, until the collaboration of Nicola Watson - exquisite, insightful lyricist; gifted, soulful vocalist and thieving, obnoxious drunk - that culminated in the release of bassment’s delicate, moody debut album ‘nothing.’
This all took place in Melbourne - bassment’s spiritual home. Or at least that’s what it would be if he believed in all that mumbo-jumbo. Instead let us call it his permanent home. Either way, as soon as he had saved enough cash, bassment quit his soul-destroying job and followed his ears towards the home of trip-hop & drum n bass, via a long detour through South-East Asia caused by a build-up of wax in the navigational instruments. Immersing himself in the local culture and volunteering at the Basement Studios youth project where Roni Size made his name have resulted in a definite shift in direction towards dark, funky drum n bass.
A link to a website is provided there also, but it appears to be a dead-end ... which is a shame ...
This year, the All India Radio release is called A Low High, and as usual, it's full of mesmerizing tunes, a downtempo delight from the ambient tip ... though the one I've used in BOOK:ENDED grooves a little harder than that.
Aardvark Records this year had a number of interesting tunes for us, but I found myself focussed on a short number by Kel Pritchard called "Western Sky" ... spaghetti western atmospherics with samurai overtones ... its brevity is part of its allure.
And of course, the beautiful minds at KUSH continue to create compelling music, full of both standard jazz influences and dance floor rhythms. This year they came out with a triple-threat release which also included Martin's Miracle, ambient so profound it comes with a warning against driving while listening ...
I signed up last year with the AheadPR folks and they delivered in spades recently with music from Sierra Hurtt ... here's what they tell us about her:
Songwriter and vocalist Sierra Hurtt has been performing and recording since the tender age of 4. The daughter of award-winning songwriter, Phil Hurtt, Sierra grew up in the cradle of Philadelphia Soul ... she is often compared to Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Sia - among others ... her debut EP is entitled 8 or 80 ... read more about her here: http://aheadpr.com/member/sierrahurtt
The voice of Horace Andy has been associated with some incredible music, including his participation on joints for Massive Attack back in the 90s. Don't Touch Records recently released Horace Andy & Alpha - Two Phazed People, which includes the track "Storm" ... if this track isn't huge, it won't be because I didn't tell people about it. Find out more at http://www.donttouchrecordings.com ...
The excellent team at RadioDirectX is responsible for my discovering Emar -- here's a bit of what they have to say about her:
EMAR (pron. Ehm-Ahr) is an international electro-dance, world music & new age artist. Born in the Balkans and raised in Canada, EMAR‘s multicultural influences inspire her to sing and record in several languages including English, Serbian, Hindi, Persian, Arabic and Church Slavonic. If you like Electro-dance, World, and New Age you will love EMAR. Think - Enigma, Buddha Bar & Delerium, then add a hint of Shakira & Sarah Brightman. On her debut album, EMAR: Sacred Soul, released September '08, EMAR worked with three renowned producers to create her ethereal, spiritual sound: Genie Award-nominated - Sean Eyre, Canadian Music Awards winner for Best World Music Group '07 & JUNO Awards Nominee '09 - Andrew McPherson of Eccodek and noted film composer - Igor Vrabac. Playing on five of the album’s tracks is World Music multi-instrumentalist - Boris Sichon.
Her album Sacred Soul is available via CD Baby (I haven't yet found an online presence, but will update this when I do.)
Finally, beatmixing.com's own Douglas turned me on to Ugress -- a prolific Norwegian group whose web presence offers a satisfyingly large assortment of their music for download (check it out here: http://www.ugress.com/media_music_free.asp) ... the track "Isolation" which I featured in BOOK:ENDED is not representative of their work, but comes from the deep-space ambient tip of what they do ... well worth your time to check out the entire range of musical offerings on their site.
I believe that's it -- questions welcome or any additions you find to the information I've posted here ...
This message has been edited. Last edited by: MadameFLY, Jul 19, 2009 07:05
Posted Oct 11, 2009 14:17 IP
Since the last post, there's been a muted indie presence on the show (I've been crate-digging as much as listening to new things) but two items should be mentioned:
In the show Where I Am Instead, I used a track from the Andromeda Island album Ambient Garden -- I found their work available on archive.org, home to the Archive of the Internet (no doubt a somewhat selective compilation, given the billions and billions of pages now extant on the web.)
And in the lastest show to be added to the stream, Exotica Redux, appears a song from violinist Anna Schaad entitled "Happy" from her album Dream Within a Dream. Hearing this track originally was sheer coincidence ... it was incidental music filling the space between two stories on PRI's show "To the Best of Our Knowledge" ... needless to say, I loved her sound and Googled her immediately ... her violin work makes me think of Scarlett Rivera's work on the Bob Dylan release Desire from back in the 70's ... turns out adding some violin to rock and dance music is an excellent idea ....