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Messages - chris23

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: What is Youtube to you?
« on: April 03, 2014, 06:57:07 PM »
It's also a bit too cynical and just flat out wrongheaded to think that an ethical issue must generally be masking an economic one. . .  I think listeners have an implicit pact with the artists they listen to not to do them harm, even if you didn't care for his or her move into rap or DIY noise.  Without that, music just becomes an impersonal commodity, like Tide or Cheer.

Why all the hate for Tide and Cheer?  ;)

I think that once artists/labels threaten to sue their fans, the "implicit pact" has already been violated. The music industry is, in fact, an industry. Perhaps you're correct that I am being too cynical, but I believe that the major labels only talk the language of ethics when it is in their (perceived) financial interests to do so.

It might be the case that youare not thinking about these issues from a financial point of view. But I'm willing to bet that just about everyone else who is concerned with file sharing, YouTube, etc. is worried that this stuff might compromise profits or, in the case of smaller labels, the economic viability of the enterprise. They are not talking about this stuff because, in their heart of hearts, they are earnestly concerned about whether an artist's integrity has been disrespected when a fan uploads a video to YouTube. Most labels do not issue "take down" notices because they are committed to defending an ethical cause; they are trying to defend their wallets.

In my view, we cannot separate the ethics from the economics. We can do so theoretically, which, imo, makes for a good discussion. But we can't do so in practice. When I wish to show my appreciation for an artist, I buy his or her music. If I'm not putting my money where my appreciation lies, then what's the point? You can't release a CD or update your studio based on my positive experiences and well wishes. When all is said in done, we are trading commodities: my money for your art. I don't think that diminishes the value of the exchange or makes it impersonal (many people have an emotional relationship with the products they buy, including their laundry detergent).

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: What is Youtube to you?
« on: April 03, 2014, 04:50:16 PM »

I think it is a step too far to assume that every artist must have consented to the stream if it comes via a third -party listener who posted it to Youtube.  Maybe if I were compensated for my time in tracking down the illegal posts of my albums it might be a fairer fight?  I don't have a duty to make my music available for free for an optional payment if someone chooses to post it without my consent.  In fact, such a disrespecting person really belongs in jail.  The ones especially culpable are those who post whole albums as torrents--pretty slimy people.  Of course for those consent to having their music up there, that is their choice.

These are good points, Forrest. I was largely trying to work through the economic implications of having full tracks/albums freely available vs. not. I agree with you that the decision on whether and how such promotional material should be distributed should lie with the artist/label and not with someone else. I probably didn't make that clear.

Having said that, I must admit that I find the economic side of this issue much more interesting than the ethical one. What I really wonder about is whether having free material available hurts an artist's bottom line?

I agree with you that there are some people who will choose not to buy a product because they know that they can listen to it for free. But what proportion of these people would have bought the product if that wasn't the case? And do their numbers outweigh the numbers of people who wouldn't have bought it without having the opportunity to hear it first? Or, in the case of less well known artists, do these numbers outweigh the benefits of growing your potential fan base, some portion of which will be paying customers?

These seem like important questions to answer. My intuition is that many labels/artists highlight the ethical side of the issues because they fear that YouTube, Bandcamp, piracy, etc. are a threat to the bottom line. But I don't think there are good data on that issue. And, given that there is more competition within the music world now than ever, I would be reluctant to assume that any declines in sales are necessarily due to these channels.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: April 02, 2014, 06:16:12 PM »
I had a feeling that you might like it, Anthony. I bet Joe R. will too; it has a Porya Hatami quality to it.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: What is Youtube to you?
« on: April 02, 2014, 06:12:54 PM »
It's sort of funny in a way, the last Youtube post I made here was "Disintegrating Loops #6" in the now playing thread  without a thought to anything we are was just there. I did not think.

Should I have?

In my opinion: yes.

There are two outcomes for people who hadn't heard the album before. After listening to the samples you linked: 

(a) they decided not to buy the album
(b) they decided to buy the album.

In the first scenario, the artist neither lost nor gained anything. (And there is always a chance that the listener was intrigued enough to return to the choice in the future.)  In the second, the artist gained something. Something > nothing.

There is a chance that there was someone out there who was considering buying the album "site unseen" in 2014, but who has now realized that there is no point in doing so (thanks to your link) because they can hear it for free on YouTube. My intuition is that this probability is smaller than that associated with outcome (b).


I don't know the right answers when it comes to this stuff. But my intuitions align a bit with Tomas's. I suspect that people who take the liberty to enjoy the work of artists without compensating them will not suddenly start spending money on art if the free material were to disappear. The free material (samples, streams, YouTubez) is helpful to paying fans. To not make it available to prevent the non-paying fans from enjoying it does a disservice to the paying fans and, ultimately (I suspect), the artist.

Having said that, I also resonate with one of Forrest's points. Namely, sometimes I worry that the ease with which music can be distributed these days may have broader effects on the way we value art in our culture. The ease with which I can obtain good music makes my life more rewarding (as a fan), but that same convenience might lead others devalue the art or to take it for granted.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: April 02, 2014, 05:56:22 PM »
Donnacha Costello - Together is the New Alone
An older release from Mille Plateaux; minimal, with a clicks and cuts-like vibe. There are some really catchy melodies hidden within some of these tracks.

Erothyme - Circadia
This is some groovy chillout style eM that reminds me a bit of some of the Ishq releases.

Sample/Buy: [Tracks 3 and 4 are especially noteworthy]

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 30, 2014, 02:12:51 PM »
Richard Ginns - In Float
A 2014 release on Tattersall's Cotton Goods label. This is electo-acoustic ambient at it's finest. The atmosphere is a fragile one with sounds hovering, sustaining, and then vanishing. Listening to the album brings to mind the image of motes of dust floating through a sunbeam. 

To tie this into the YouTube thread: This is an album that I never would have bought if the artist hadn't uploaded it to Bandcamp. The cost of buying this limited edition release, combined with the shipping from the UK, was prohibitive. I just didn't want to take a chance based on the few samples I heard on the Cotton Goods website. But after streaming the album once on Bandcamp, I found myself returning to it over and over again and finally bought the digital version as a way of showing my support.

Stream/Buy digital: (Curves on the Surface is my favorite track)
Buy physical: (which is now on sale!)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: What is Youtube to you?
« on: March 30, 2014, 01:43:45 PM »
I rarely preview albums via YouTube unless they appear in the Discog's video pane when I'm looking something up.

Here is what I have observed regarding my own purchasing habits:

1. I'm more likely to buy something when I can first stream the entire release. Although I think it is wise for labels and artists to put previews, montages, ans samples on their websites, the simple fact of the matter is that I'm risk adverse; I am more likely to spend money on something I've heard and know I will like than something I can only preview in 30 sec clips.

There is no shortage of good music out there. I buy about 1 CD and maybe 2 digital albums a week. Why pay for something that you can't be sure about when you can buy something you know you like?

2. Bandcamp provides an incredibly convenient mechanism for pre-viewing potential purchases. Moreover, because of the social media component, a large number of my purchases are based on seeing what like-minded people are buying. One of the fun parts of Bandcamp is that it enables you to "follow" other fans and see, via a feed, what they are buying. This is a great way to learn about new music. (And it involves no active social media presence on the part of the artist or label. Bandcamp, in other words, provides free  advertising via word of mouth. Not bad for a 10% cut that also covers hosting fees.)

3. About 50% to 66% of my purchases are digital. I'm a collector at heart, so I'd always rather have physical media than digital files. But I can't afford to buy that much material and the shipping costs from overseas are killer. The implication of this I that I'm more likely to buy a digital album if it is priced well. I would probably drop 5 USD on an album that I like with no debate. But if I see a digital album for close to 10 USD when the CD is 12 USD, sometimes I end up in a state of indecision that simply leads me to buy something else entirely.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 29, 2014, 09:05:35 AM »
This is an interesting topic. You guys should create a separate thread for it so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.  :)

Now playing: Still obsessed with the new, 30th anniversary edition of Structures from Silence.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 27, 2014, 01:43:29 PM »
René Margraff - phasen
A relatively new release from Pillowdiver's René Margraff, on Home Normal. Like some of his other releases, phasen is comprised mostly of soundscapes created with processed guitar.  Some of the tracks are amazing (e.g., the first one) and some of them, at least in my opinion, are pretty lackluster. (I should be more careful about buying things via pre-order based on one or two samples.)


I've given this a few listens both ways. Although I like some of the details that come through with headphones, I really love the way this album fills a room. Grade A work.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 23, 2014, 07:52:26 AM »
Steve Roach - Structures from Silence (3-disc, 30th anniversary edition)
This arrived Friday and I'm super excited about it. My ears are not as sharp as those of others on the forums. I can't tell whether the re-mastered version of the original is improved. It is, nonetheless, fun to listen to in the context of the anniversary.

The two additional discs contain four new tracks that are inspired by the same themes and mood captured in the original recording. They are excellent. The tracks on Disc 2 "feel" more like they belong in a SfS era, and the tracks on Disc 3 feel more akin to those from the Immersion series than Structures from Silence. But everything hangs together nicely, and the evolution from 1984 to some of the contemporary long-form, darker, Immersion work makes for an enjoyable journey in this package.

Samples/Buy: or

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: 'Lumen' released
« on: March 21, 2014, 06:17:20 PM »
Sounds cool!

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 21, 2014, 06:16:32 PM »
Popol Vuh - Tantric Songs / Hosianna Mantra
Found this hiding in the dusty shadows of my CD collection. Brings back lots of fond memories.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 20, 2014, 08:16:54 PM »
Playing at the office today:

Vidna Obmana - Memories Compiled 2
Steve Roach - The Dream Circle
Wintersilence - Submental Vol. 2
Steve Roach - Early Man

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 17, 2014, 07:19:04 PM »
I bought it on the mp3 store on Amazon since I have some gift credits there. But I've also seen it on iTunes. Both stores distribute HSL releases (at least in the US).

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 17, 2014, 06:09:00 PM »
That new structures track is lovely; order placed!

Now playing:
Nacht Plank - Psychology of Religion and Understanding St. Catherine
A 2013 release from Hic Sunt Leones featuring some of Lee Anthony Norris's recordings made shortly after his move to Italy. This album fits with the HSL vibe in a surprisingly natural way: field recordings that merge with digital manipulations, hypnotic waves of sounds, and an underlying sense of the mystical. There are some familiar, recycled sounds here that Norris fans will recognize, but, in my opinion, this is one of his masterpieces and really helps demonstrate the range of his artistry. 

I bought the digital version of this to save on shipping. But the limited edition CDrs can be ordered (and samples streamed) via the Alio Die website:


Projekt recently announced a 30-yr anniversary release of this that contains two extra discs with new material inspired from the same themes.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 15, 2014, 08:45:37 AM »
Listening a lot to Mick Chillage's Saudade still. He's hit the sweet spot on this release.

Recent arrival that is interesting:

Various Artists - Liquified Sky
A data DVD from the LINE imprint with music and videos from Francisco López, Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand, COH, Paul Prudence, and Asmus Tietchens. This is pretty neat stuff if you're into microsound or experimental electronic music. I'm not sure that this has much replay value, but the first few listens are excellent, especially with headphones.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 11, 2014, 07:49:28 PM »
Janek Schaefer - Lay-by Lullaby
This release has three noteworthy qualities. First, the sounds and imagery do a good job at creating a psychological space. When I listen to this, I feel as if I'm sitting on the side of an infrequently traveled highway, watching the sun go down, and hearing the occasional car speeding past. Second, the tracks are named after radio stations and the transition between tracks occasionally resembles the spinning of an old radio dial. Finally, the music itself is nice. It is familiar ambient in many respects, but captures some of the Western vibe that is represented in Roach/King. Adding to the sense of place and atmosphere in a subtle amount of radio static layered into the mix. Anyhow, this is a stand-out release for 12k. I'm not sure if it will appeal to everyone, but I feel that Schaefer accomplished something noteworthy. 

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 09, 2014, 12:51:45 PM »
Hi, Joe. I streamed Unstable earlier today. You're right--great stuff. I might have to place an order for it. Also gave Optical Frameworks a listen. Good stuff too.

thirdsystem: I gave Northaunt a listen too. It freaked me out a bit--in a way I can appreciate. Nice find.

Now playing:
M. Ostermeier - The Rules of Another Small World
From the curator of Tench Records. Very similar in spirit to the Porya Hatami release from the same label. One part piano, one part electronics, one part found sounds, and one part dusty processing. This is a really neat CD. And the cover art is crazy compelling.

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