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Messages - chris23

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Bandcamp
« on: July 27, 2013, 09:47:58 AM »
I'd love to see Silent Season's numbers. They seem to vary things quite a bit. Some of their releases are available as digital downloads on Bandcamp; some are not. The recent ASC release, although it could be purchased on Bandcamp, didn't even make full audio tracks available via the "download tracks with purchase" feature--another funky form of experimentation.

I wonder what Silent Season's income is on the CD + digital versus the CD only releases.

The "buy now or lose your chance" strategy seems risky to me. It is certainly a way to move product quickly. But it can also be aggravating for fans. I had to get Segue's Pacifica on vinyl, for example, because there was no way to buy a digital copy (and I'm not a torrent type of guy) and the CD sold out quickly. Annoying. (No offense to vinyl fans.)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Bandcamp
« on: July 27, 2013, 07:30:00 AM »
But I have mixed feelings about that from the standpoint of someone who still releases on CD, as it can cannibalize your physical CD sales.

I wonder about that too. It seems as if there are a number of possible outcomes and the way things add up probably depend a lot on how you conceptualize the plasticity of the audience.

For example, if you conceptualize the audience as fixed (e.g., 300 people bought the last CD-only release), then releasing the next album on digital + CD means that some fraction of those 300 buyers will opt for the digital version instead of the physical version. That will hurt CD sales for sure. That may turn out to be a loss for the label depending on the various costs of product, distribution, etc.

But it also could be the case that, as a result of a digital release, the audience itself grows. There may be, for example, people who were unwilling to pay > $13 for a physical copy who would gladly pay $5 for a digital copy. It could also be the case that there is a certain percentage of fans and collectors who strongly prefer physical copies regardless, thereby making it possible to sell a fixed number of CDs regardless of the available formats. If the total number of fans increases with a move to digital distribution, it is quite possible to sell the same (or more) physical CDs while growing your fan base. That's a win-win for everyone.

Anyhow, one of my concerns is that we can discuss these issues from the comfort of our armchairs and never really appreciate how things breakdown. Bandcamp, fortunately, makes it possible to experiment with various options, get some real numbers, and make decisions in a way that can best support a label and artist. I was impressed when Saul Stokes popped up a few months ago and noted that his "pay what you want" system had netted him more for his bottom line in a few days than his cumulative sales of physical CDs had over years.


I realize that it is difficult to write about these things without coming across as a pusher. To be clear: I'm not pushing for anything. I'm simply a fan who loves Bandcamp. I'd hate to see some of my favorite artists and labels shy away from it (potentially to at their own loss) when it is so easy to test the waters by adding a handful of releases to the site and seeing how it all plays out. If I recall correctly, Mike wrote in the past that the artists retain the rights to the digital distribution of their music on Hypnos. So Hypnos might not be in a good position to do such tests, except with some of Griffin's own releases.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: July 22, 2013, 03:04:20 PM »
Man, those Frozen Thoughts samples are fantastic. Thanks for the head's up!

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: July 21, 2013, 06:14:25 PM »
Netherworld - Alchemy of Ice
A 2013 release from Alessandro Tedeschi of Glacial Movements. This is an incredible album; if you haven't checked it out already, I encourage you to do so. It is the kind of slow moving ambient that you might expect from Glacial Movements, but the sounds and atmosphere are truly unique. This music is subterranean, expansive, and, at times, dark. If you have some good woofers, you'll get some nice vibrations from some of the tracks. With headphones in the dark, it can be a bit unsettling.


Picked this up recently and love it. Great review, by the way. This is a difficult album to describe; you captured its essence well.

Here is a nice video for the opening track:

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: July 16, 2013, 04:53:11 PM »
Pleq/Spheruleus - Quietus Gradualis

Another swell release from the Time Released Sound imprint. This album contains two ~20 minute drone tracks, both of which are outstanding. There is some subtle Pleq-style glitch and crackle work in here, but the core loops are based on classical guitar and strings.

Samples here:

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: July 16, 2013, 04:47:24 PM »
I read the Amazon summary of The Last Werewolf and it sounds similar in spirit to I, Lucifer. You might enjoy it.

How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
This is an unusual novel. It reminds me a bit of a modern day The Catcher in the Rye, written from a woman's perspective. Sheila, the author and main character, is a young writer living in Toronto. She lacks direction and is on a quest to understand how a person should be--how should we measure a person's life, to what ideals a person should strive, and how to find meaning in one's pursuits. In many ways, the novel reads like a memoir (it is written in the first-person and, as far as I can discern, the characters are her real friends). I'm not sure if I would recommend it to a broad audience; this novel won't appeal to someone who is seeking a story with a well constructed and thoughtful plot. But this novel is likely to appeal to people who have struggled at some point to find meaning in their art, who like the idea of seeking the heroic in the mundane, or who have struggled with the fine line between passion and friendship.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: July 14, 2013, 10:01:53 AM »
I listened to the samples of 36 - Shadow Play. Some of the tracks are fantastic. But some of them seem oppressive and loud to me, starting with the first track.  I might hold off on this one (and I will probably regret it later when it goes OOP).

Stray Ghost - Those Who Know Darkness See The Light
A great release on the Time Released Sound label. A blend of modern classical and experimental minimalism.
Samples on Bandcamp:

Horizontal Excursions - Symphonica Helvetica
This is a free Roger Martinez download on Bandcamp from A Strangely Isolated Place series. This is ambient music at its finest: soft chords, a slow evolution of textures and tones, and the sensation of drifting and floating.

Thanks again Chris.....really appreciate it!

Funny story: We had some friends over for a dinner last night. We were outside on the patio. The windows were open and "A Tide Pool of Memories" was still playing on repeat; the sounds quietly flowing from the upstairs to the outdoor patio.  There was a pause in the conversation and someone said "that is the most lovely and soothing music I've heard in a long time." *No one* in my social circle appreciates ambient music, so this may be a break through!

I've been listening to this on repeat all morning. It is truly excellent. Check it out if you haven't already.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Bandcamp
« on: July 12, 2013, 02:41:35 PM »
CD Baby is still the only decent way to go for digital distribution though, which isn't Bandcamp's thing.

What does that mean, exactly? I'm a bit naive on how things work on the artist, label, distro end.

Now Playing / Re: Too much music?
« on: July 12, 2013, 10:51:39 AM »
Why wife likes to kid me about my music collection. I could listen to a unique CD a day for several years simply on the basis of what I own now. (And I have a feeling my collection pales in comparison to that of other forum members!)

But I don't feel ashamed of it; I never look at the CDs on the shelves and think "God, what a waste." Music (and other forms of art and literature) are important to me. It is something I want to invest in, something  I want to collect, and something I want to be able to share with other like-minded individuals. It is important to me to feel that those purchases support the artists and the broader community.

I wish I had more disposable income to invest in buying music. It saddens me to know that some artists and labels have to confront the dreaded financial question "Is it worth it?" 

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: July 12, 2013, 06:48:44 AM »
I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
The end of the world is nigh. Lucifer has been offered an extraordinary proposition: If he can live as a mortal for a month without sin, God will allow him to enter the kingdom of heaven rather than banishing him for eternity. Lucifer, thinking "Why the hell not?!", enters the body of a washed up writer, Declan Gunn, and, in the process, shares his own story about God, creation, and various events described in the bible. He never has any intention of seeking redemption, but, in the process of living as man, gains some new insights into the ways in which temptation, evil, and good function in social relationships.

I'm on the fence with this novel. On the one hand, I enjoyed the angle of telling biblical events from another point of view. (It turns out, for example, that Lucifer was trying to thwart rather than facilitate the crucifixion because he knew the implications of the event for God's plan. Lucifer's insight into Pontius Pilate's struggles and the power of the mob are quite keen.)  On the other hand, Lucifer, when placed in human form, turns out to remind me of a drunken, rude bloke at the pub who doesn't know when to go home. I'm not a big fan of exploring the concept of evil as if it has its roots in the carnal. I'd rather consider it as something deliberate; something motivated by choice and reason. I'm agnostic, but I guess I've always imagined that, if something like Lucifer were to exist in human form, he would be charismatic, patient, and subtle in his ways.

A great new short film for the track "Salt Photographs" by Brambles.

If you're not familiar with Brambles, give this a spin. The song is very typical of the Brambles style. And the video is quite lovely.

Salt Photographs / Brambles on Vimeo

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Bandcamp
« on: July 12, 2013, 06:18:30 AM »
I love Bandcamp for all the reasons you've stated. I would also add that, as a consumer rather than an artist, there have been many artists from whom I've purchased digital files and/or physical CDs simply because of the experience that the Bandcamp platform offers. I have stumbled across the work of lesser known artists serendipitously by exploring Bandcamp. I have bought albums from well known artists that I wouldn't have bought other wise simply because I had the opportunity to hear the entire release a few times and get "hooked" on it. Finally, the potential for impulse shopping is huge on Bandcamp. Want that CD? Buy it. And while you wait for it to arrive in the mail, enjoy your immediate digital download. I'm sure that kind of tricksy benefits many artists.

Here is my Bandcamp profile/collection:

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: July 08, 2013, 05:15:55 PM »
Bruno Sanfilippo - Urbs
M. Griffin - Fabrications

These arrived last week, thanks to the Hypnos sale. I loaded them to my iPhone and took them with me on my recent travels and enjoyed listening to them while walking around SF. Both of these albums pair surprisingly well together due, in part, to their experimental and sparse, uncluttered qualities.

This is another situation where I'm wondering why I never picked these up upon release! I guess it is the standard problem of too much music and not enough time (or money).

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: July 08, 2013, 05:07:03 PM »
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
This novel is explores the tension between the needs for autonomy and connectedness in the context of a dark and twisted ghost story.  The distribution of reviews on Amazon is completely flat--averaging at 3.0 stars. I think this novel is frigging brilliant, however. Strongly recommended--especially if you like a bit of strangeness and also appreciate stories that take the relationships between characters seriously.

Everything and Nothing / Re: SF record stores
« on: July 07, 2013, 09:41:08 PM »
Thanks for the tips, all. Just got back from my SF travels and managed to visit Aquarius (Mission St.), Amoeba (Haight), and Rasputin's (Haight). Amoeba was the jackpot store of the bunch, having extensive electronic, experimental, and new age sections to explore (in addition to the standard fare). Rasputin's was worthless. :(

Picked up some nice bargains that I'm looking forward to digesting this week:

Sylvain Chauveau - The Black Book of Capitalism (Type)
Maps and Diagrams - Get Lost (Time Released Sound; non-deluxe edition)
Stray Ghost - Those Who Know Darkness See The Light (Time Released Sound; non-deluxe edition)
Pleq/Spheruleus - Quietus Gradualis (Time Released Sound; non-deluxe edition)
Deepchord presents Echospace - The Coldest Season (Modern Love; gave away my old copy)
Ingenting Kollektiva - Lost Beyond Telling (Invisible Birds)

I'll prob post a line or two about these in "now playing" as I digest them.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: July 04, 2013, 05:55:13 PM »
I might explore the Shift set in August. I don't want to be hooked and then have to wait for resolution.

Is everyone hanging out without me? (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling
A funny mini-memoir by one of the writers and actors from The Office.

Everything and Nothing / Re: SF record stores
« on: July 02, 2013, 01:16:43 PM »
Thanks a bunch, gang. Those pics of Aquarius records look familiar. I think I've been there before! Getting excited.

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