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Messages - Julio Di Benedetto

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21
Hi Infiltrator.....you actually said quite a lot that would be worthy of a topic here in the Hypnos Forum.

I like your sound, artwork and format....a tape nonetheless,  I cant actually play it though I know there are tape aficionados out there.  Any digital downloads?

As Pete and Forrest suggest your input and musical perspective would be most welcome here.

Hope to see more of you!

PS...start to check the number of  reads this thread gets and you will get a sense of the people that can move through this forum/thread once a conversation has begun.  Participation only brings more attention to yourself.  Eventually the promoter in you will be equalled by the enjoyment of participating in conversations with very knowledgeable and respected musicians who will support you, nurture you and tell it like it really is!

22
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 13, 2014, 04:24:59 PM »
Been enjoying a more electronic & techno flavor recently.......Underworld, specifically Born Slippy which for me has the quintessential anthem chord sequence. Love it!

Underworld - Born.Slippy (Official video) on Vimeo


This live performance is much better than the studio/Trainspotter film track version.... YMMV
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIVA_GSNRrE


And before they were Underworld.....Freur  8)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0uxnnzY-n0

PS Youtube pisses me off for locking everything.....but then things are not so instant access, no work, no discovery ::)

23
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Seaboard Piano
« on: October 13, 2014, 06:06:17 AM »
Heres the link to Richard Lainhart's videos using the Haken controller with the Buchla 200e.  This is really a great demonstration of the 200e but also shows the expressive of the controller.

Link takes you to his Buchla page and then look below for July 27, 2007 piece & Chorale piece.  The introduction video is also a nice look at the Buchla 200e system.

These are quicktime so I could not embed them here....the site is worth visiting anyway.

Link :http://www.otownmedia.com/RichardLainhart/buchla.htm

24
From Projekt Record & Black Tape For A Blue Girl's Sam Rosenthal.



On Friday afternoon, I hung out with the people behind the electronic label Spotted Peccary Music. They release great CDs plus they're the company that serves up Projekt's 24/96k high res files.

We were sitting at picnic tables in the open-air back-porchy-like room of a typical Portland-styled drinking establishment. Wood-planked walls, beer signs over the steps to the bar, a food-cart belching scented smoke as it turned out Philly-styled Italian food. I'm painting a picture for you, a little setting of reality before this blog heads off and becomes cerebral. We're sitting there, drinking our what-have-yous, having a really great brainstorming session concerning many tangents in the music industry, including physical vs. digital, will people pay for music, and the new landscape for survival.

Howard looks up and asks a question, I begin to answer, but then go off topic and start talking about how fans interact with bands. In "the old days" (the mid '90s), Projekt could release an album from a band with no image (and a lot of mystery), mention it a few places, buy a few ads, send postcards and catalogs, and wham! We'd sell 2-3000 copies. People were itchin' to hear new music, and Projekt was a reputable source for interesting new acts.

But that's not how you get involved with music, these days, is it? Let's face it, "fans" can access most music for free, if they really want to. The old model of a label releasing a faceless band, you heading to a record store to buy their CD, and then hearing their music for the first time when you get the CD home... that's sort of over. What I find through my blogs, Facebook, and Kickstarter campaigns is that you want a connection to the artists you're excited about. Few bands can survive, reclusively hiding in their bedroom-studio-caves. Yes, maybe a few legacy bands can get by on that, but certainly not younger bands; and certainly not older bands who never successively made the transition to the promotion-connection of social media in the modern age.

I see this problem, over and over. I speak with artists who haven't had an album in ten or fifteen years, and they pull out absurd examples for why things should be a certain way; "Back in 1994, when we toured...." or "When the old label was placing the ad campaign for my last album in 2006." Man, that's a million years ago. The record industry doesn't work like that anymore!

Well, I could shorten that sentence down to, "The record industry doesn't work."

This is the point where my brain shoots off onto a hundred different tangents. Try to follow me here.....

What motivates us artists to keep going?
For Xmas 2009, I posted a blog concerning the topic of Success. In it, a number of Projekt (and related artists) talked about what success means to them. Hold on a minute, I am going to go back and re-read it now, with five years of perspective.
....
....
....
Yep. I still agree with what I wrote back then: "...in the end, what I really enjoy is successfully making the artistic statement I want to make. When each album is fresh and new, it is the most accurate statement of where I am, creatively. At that moment, I am complete."

But, I would clarify that.

To me, success is having my artistic statement received by the listeners. I like when that communication is completed.

And yet, that's not what my brain thinks about. I need to do some self-reflection, to understand why I still have a money-centric definition of success.

Units and Dollars
Hereís the thing, Black Tape For A Blue Girl and Projekt was huge when the music industry measured success in units sold and dollars earned. Back in the 90s, bands like Blacktape could sell a lot of records. As mentioned last blog, at the peak Blacktape's 1996 Remnants of a deeper purity sold around 16,000 copies.

( That was then. I don't live in the past. I only expect a fraction of that, for the next album. )

And yet, I find that I cling to that old belief: units and dollars indicate success. I am using an outdated measuring stick.

I know there are fans of my creations; people who really connect to what I am working on (and what I have created in the past). And yet, I am still thinking that the way to measure that success is the same as it was in the mid-90s: by looking at a spreadsheet containing units and dollars.

Iíve been asking myself, "What is success to me?" or "Why did I want to make art in the first place?" The answer, as I said above, is: I want to communicate. For me, successful communication is the goal of making art. What matters is that people receive my work. They experience it. And that is not at all related to profit. In fact, I probably have more 'success' (by my own definition) now, then 20 years ago. Why do I say that? Because anyone can hear my work, without the barrier of having to pay for it.

So, why doesnít that feel good to me?

Well, part is because I cling to the old paradigm about sales.

And the other part is I have this underlying belief in "fairness." If I spend the hours doing the work of being an artist, I should get paid!

A friend wrote -- when I asked him why this "getting paid" matters so much to me -- "Perhaps it's a matter of ethics, not so much the actual number but the idea of getting paid. After all, you try and pay people what you say you will pay them, on time and quite accurately; then I think you expect the same of others."

I don't want my favorite artists to be amateurs.

I really want to live in a world where artists can focus on their art. Would I want John Cale to have to work as a viola instructor, so he can take off two weeks a year to play some shows? David Bowie, maybe he's a graphic designer? Marc Almond, he's probably a drag queen, or turning high-end tricks with members of the Houses of Parliament :) . Voltaire is a bartender, the one that you visit every week because he's so damn entertaining. Think about it! It's a very weird world where the-average-joe expects to be paid for their labor, and yet people are generally OK with the artists they love working some other job so music can be their hobby.

That's not really the way I want the world to be.

My first job was archaeologist...
My first job was computer graphics

You all know that Projekt is my day job. But that wasn't always the situation. In the late 80s/early 90s, I created speaker-support-graphics for a living. I worked long freelance hours, creating dumb graphics that were projected at conventions for the corporate executives from the likes of Taco Bell, Denny's, Acura, Mazda, etc. etc. (This was pre-PowerPoint, but the same general idea.) It paid really (really!) well and allowed me to fund the early CDs on Projekt.

Around the time Projekt was having success with Blacktape's This lush garden within and the first Love Spirals Downwards release, I realized I was sacrificing the label's potential. I wasn't at my desk answering faxes from journalists and my overseas distributors; I was somewhere around the country doing freelance work. This was in the days before the internet; it wasn't easy to keep in touch remotely. I'd return home and have a month off between jobs; and then I worked on music and the label. But too often, I'd leave Projekt unmanaged for two to four weeks, and that was getting to be a problem. I made the decision to stop working the freelance jobs, and focus on Projekt.

Things really took off, there was a lot of interest, and slowly Projekt ate all my time; my own art suffered. By the end of the 90s (because of all the obligations to the bands on Projekt plus the 11 employees), I rarely made time to work on my music. Then into the early 2000s, and the downsizing (mentioned last blog), and I had plenty of work to do (and I had a son!).

My best friend often reminds me that I cannot pass off responsibility for the decisions I made. And he's right. I chose to put my energy into Projekt, rather than my art. It seemed like a wise move at the time: Projekt was getting very successful.

At any other record label, the biggest artist (Blacktape) would have been begged, cajoled, and bribed to get back into the studio. The label needed its biggest act to keep releasing music (if for nothing else, for purely profit reasons). But I was the guy at the label and in the band, there was nobody at Projekt pushing me, to get me on track. If I had a manager, he would have asked, "Do you really think it's smart to keep putting all your energy into dayjobia, rather than into your music?" That was the thing: Projekt was a new day job and just like computer graphics, this job took lots of time away from my art.

It seemed like a wise decision at the time. However, what ended up happening was that I supported 30+ band's careers, while letting down the most important thing: my own creativity.

I let my art go cold for years at a time.

If I had been focusing on my own work for the last 20 years, would I be surviving at it? Would I be like Steve Roach or Voltaire? Spending a huge chunk of my time making art?

(I hope this doesn't come across as regret. That is not the intention, per se. This is me reflecting with awareness of choices I have made in my life, and contemplating whether I've gotten to the place I intended to go.)

It brings up the question, "Could I survive off my art?" I told myself many times over the years, "I don't mind that Projekt is taking up so much of my time. If I had to support myself from my music, I'd have to make compromises to get by." Yeah, sure, a guy in his early 30s can say that. But I'm older now, and I see Steve and Voltaire creating without compromise. And I ask my younger self if that argument was just an excuse, to avoid the hard work. To avoid having to lay it all on the line, and be an artist. If 'an artist' is what I am here to be, then was I chickening out? Hiding behind a reasonably justifiable excuse for not making more art.




Ben Franklin looks around the bar

Ok, so back to my meeting on Friday with Spotted Peccary. The smell of Italian sausages fill the air again, Howard looks up and poses another question. "What's the future for record labels like ours?"

And I reply, "I'm sorry to say it, but there is no future. Projekt will not be able to continue as the label that discovers amazing new acts and releases them on CD. Because these CDs just don't sell anymore. I cannot keep investing in CDs, when the demand is for less than 250 copies."

Some will misinterpret that statement, so to be clear: Projekt is sticking around! I will keep releasing exciting music on my label. But the logic of releasing acts that barely sell? There is no logic in that at all.

I have to be realistic.

For me, personally, I want to make a transition back to being an artist who runs a record label, rather than a record label guy who has a (mostly) dormant artistic career.

I have thoughts on how to do that (which I will discuss in an upcoming blog).

The intrinsic value of music

For now, I have to be aware of my old connection to dollars and units. I have to recognize that my goals as an artist are not tied up in those numbers. Yes, I definitely believe there are ways to make a living creating music. But even more than that, I believe I can foster a better connection with each of you. Many of you are fans of what I create. And you still value music. It's the core of what matters to you. It's your soundtrack. It's what gets you through your days, both good and bad. And I am told over and over (via email, Facebook, and Kickstarter) that music is worth a lot to you.

You are the completion of the circle that gives what I do meaning.

Music has an intrinsic value to you. It is important in your life. The same way NPR is important, and modern dance companies, and historic art house theaters. You don't want to see music disappear, or become the realm of amateurs.

We're thinking the same thing. Music has value, and it's something that's worth supporting.

I'll post some great new ideas about this shortly.

-Sam

25
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Seaboard Piano
« on: October 12, 2014, 09:25:42 PM »
I agree Scott...Animoog is very cool.  I dont use it that much, or I should say record from it but I do find myself playing with it a lot.  I thing it sounds good and suggest what the future could bring, Touch sensitive monitors / computers controlling complex software in a exciting and visually stimulating way.

Ive seen other Lainhart videos playing his own music on the Buchla modular with the Hakem Continuum.  I try and track them down.

26
Peter Gabriel quote from the Kate Bush documentary......"Creativity comes from the freedom to fail"

27
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Cans.....Whats on your head?
« on: October 10, 2014, 12:59:23 PM »
Seems like the Focals are still under warranty  :)  False alarm but thanks for the suggestions anyway.

28
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 10, 2014, 05:58:03 AM »
Thanks for the heads up on the Winged Victory for the Sullen cd Chris.....just ordered it.  The soundcloud edit is really good.  Beautifully dark!

29
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Seaboard Piano
« on: October 10, 2014, 05:46:52 AM »
Good story Scott.....not sure about the name of the keyboard, something I hope to avoid as I get older ;D

Oraison on Vimeo


The Hakem Continuum has been around for a while.  Heres a great performance from the late Richard Lainhart...RIP.

30
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Cans.....Whats on your head?
« on: October 10, 2014, 05:31:27 AM »
Thanks Pete....I check out the Shures

The only other closed back phones mentioned in this thread were the sony 7506 and the akg 240.  Had a pair of the sony 12 years ago so I dont remember much about them.

31
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / The Seaboard Piano
« on: October 09, 2014, 04:57:49 PM »
Imagining the Seaboard on Vimeo


Seaboard by Roli on Vimeo


Link....https://www.roli.com/seaboard/

The future of controllers?

32
Ive never really warmed to bourbon....its really hard to pin point why.  Perhaps I have not tasted enough.  Jack Daniels & Coke seems to be the norm around here. Always seems a mixer maybe to its discredit.

Im going to have to revisit the Talisker.....My introduction to malts was Craggenmoor 12, Talisker 10 & Lagavulin 16.

Nice Post Thirdsystem!


33
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Cans.....Whats on your head?
« on: October 09, 2014, 03:44:59 PM »
FYI my Focal Spirit Pro headphones cracked today within the swivel housing......so one side sort of hangs without pressure against the ear.  Not good and in less than a year.

Sound was good, as I think I said sort of boring which is ok for studio purposes but Im not going to replace them with the same so Im back in the can search.

First up is the shure's I suggested to Tomas above.....open to suggestions on closed backed headphones.

I still have my notoriously uncomfortable Grado SR325 open backs.... to date the best sounding cans Ive listened to (the discomfort fades when you hear the sound) but I need closed back as well.

34
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 08, 2014, 05:10:05 AM »
Here are two videos I found for tracks off Plaids Reachy Prints.....perhaps the best electronica Ive heard in a while.  Ive had the cd a few weeks and its getting alot of play 

Link http://warp.net/records/releases/plaid/reachy-prints


Plaid - Wallet on Vimeo
 
Matin Lunaire - Plaid on Vimeo

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APK the Japanese produce single malts and I think blended whiskey and I have heard good things though I have not tried any myself.....good question?

36
From Projekt Record's Sam Rosenthal.

Over the last 20 years, Projekt has brought in over $7,000,000 ! Color me impressed (sort of an aquamarine, a little on the green side). But don't make the mistaken assumption that I lined my pockets with cash. Projekt was a very effective money churning-machine, moving cash around the economy. Nearly all of that money went right out the door.

Keep in mind that Projekt was really expensive to run back in the peak era (1995-1999):

* Projekt bought full page ads in Alternative Press
* Projekt had massive bills at the pressing plants. Those deluxe-packaged CDs were pricey to manufacture, I would have to order 5000+ CDs at a time, and often 3 big releases at once. Furthermore, while the option was there to press-for-cheap in China or the Czech Republic, I chose to press in the USA. It was the right thing to do, to keep the money in the "local" economy.
* Projekt artists were paid their royalties
* It cost $1000 to make a poster (film + printing).
* Each release had it's own postcard
* At the peak of our time with Ryko Distribution, they got 400 - 600 promotional CDs for stores, and we sent another 200+ to press, radio, etc. For Lycia, that number was much higher, as they were touring a lot, and Pat was working on local press pieces.
* In that 1994-1998 time frame, Projekt was distributing tons of Hyperium and Tess and Cold Meat Industry CDs; after I moved to Chicago, the label had 11 employees with two key employees earning more than I earned, plus they got health care.
Yes, I took a salary, but nothing extravagant. Pretty much all of that seven mil was consumed by the business.

Now wait! Actually, come to think of it, Projekt consumed way more than what it earned. Projekt was building up debt on my credit cards.

Of course, fans in the late 90s had this perception that Projekt was much larger than we were. All those ads, and postcards, and catalogs helped build the mystique. I remember talking with Mike of Lycia about how fans on the road made guesses like, "You guys must sell 20,000 CDs!" "30,000 CDs!" Oh, if only!

A few releases did some lofty numbers, but these were the best-sellers, not the typical sales numbers. Black tape for a blue girl's 1996 Remnants of a deeper purity was the biggest selling non-compilation release, with around 16,000 sold. Love Spirals Downwards first two albums were each not that far behind. Three compilations did extremely well; the two we released exclusively with Hot Topic: 2002's Projekt: Gothic (27,000) and 2003's The New Face of Goth (25,600); and the first Christmas CD, 1995's Excelsis: a dark noel (15,000).

Projekt was really busy, and bands were getting out to their fans, but by early 2000, Projekt was in considerable debt. In fact, $180,000 in credit card debt, and the future looked like a downward slope. Yikes! That was the time when - if I had a business degree - I might have cut my losses and gone bankrupt. But that thought only flickered by in passing. I left Chicago for NYC; I downsized, huddled, got caught up on royalties due to Projekt's artists, and slowly paid down the debt. In a way, I downsized Projekt at the perfect time. Most of America waited for the fall-out from the dotcom bust, and 9/11, to tighten their belts. Because of the excesses of the '90s, Projekt was a year or two ahead of the crowd.

For a while there in NYC, it was only Lisa and I at Projekt. I kept releasing great music and finding new bands to work with. My budget was very sober and close to the bone.

At that time, people were still buying CDs, yet the music industry was changing. Napster existed from June 1999 to July 2001. On January 9, 2001, iTunes 1.0 was released, though it took a while to take off. Projekt's sales were slipping (like every label in the music business); yet I was bailing out the waters of debt; the ship was righting itself (have I tortured enough metaphors?) When Lisa got pregnant in late 2001, I brought Shea on staff to handle the mail-order.

2002 was the year things really shifted in the industry; it was the year when Projekt's key releases stopped selling in the 5-10,000 range (except for those aforementioned Hot Topic comps, which sold amazingly.)

Fast forward twelve years, I've been adapting and learning every since. Gone are the days when we'd regularly ship out 5000 units of a new release to stores. No more big tours, nor ad budgets, and a lot less cash flowing in and out the door. Projekt is lean. The staff hours are about the same as in the early 90s. I don't work 60 hour weeks anymore. 

When people say to me, "Projekt's problem is you don't know how to adapt to the times," I shake my head and sarcastically mumble, "Yeah, right. THAT's the reason records aren't selling! It's because Projekt hasn't changed since the heyday of 1997." Not at all, my friends. Projekt is small but alive, and I'm enjoying my life. And things are good, thanks!

- Sam

37


The Hammond Novachord.....claimed as the first commercially available synthesizer in 1938

Heres a Link to the restoration of the Noverchord pictured above http://www.discretesynthesizers.com/nova/intro.htm

38
What a celebration...just finished watching it.  Wow!

39
Cool...thanks Loren!

40
Computers, Internet and Technology / The internet and our Future
« on: October 04, 2014, 05:23:16 PM »
Douglas Coupland has or will shortly released a book about the biggest internet tech company in the world...Alcatel Lucent.  Im going to read this but below is a link to a quick paraphrase from the Financial Times.

http://video.ft.com/3807882765001/Douglas-Coupland-our-brains-rewired/Life-And-Arts

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