Interesting post, Paul. I would stop short of "blaming" listeners for not being passionate enough, but I do think it's worthwhile for all of us to spend some time thinking about why the passion about this genre has diminished. Why are people buying less music, and talking less about the music they do listen to?
I wasn't trying to blame listeners for not being passionate, really it is more trying to find out what
makes them passionate musically speaking. Which leads to more questions:
1. What makes you want to actually purchase a new CD?
- Name Recognition?
- Peer Reviews (IE the folks on forums like this)?
- Magazine / Webzine reviews?
- Obsessive compulsive need to own everything a certain artist or label releases?
- Packaging...CD, Download, Limited edition with goodies and gimicks?
2. You get the Cd home or the music downloaded and then what?
- If you love it do you tell friends, do you post? Why or Why Not?
- If you hate it do you tell friends or post? Why or Why not?
- Do you play it more than once?
- Do you let it sink in? How many listens does that take?
3. Where do you actually find new music to listen too...both brand new and an artist's back catalog? (these may be similar questions to #1)
It takes into account the complexity of the ambient scene and the fact that a lot of us are trying to make beautiful and mysterious music, we're not necessarily trying to advance the genre so it fits more squarely within a marketed genre and we can finally get our space on the Wall-mart shelf!
You may think me a jerk, but I am not sure I entirely agree.
Yes of course there are artists who buy into the age old "I do this for me/art for art sake" argument, but almost every artist I know both in art and in music has a deep inherent want/need
and drive to be successful. Of course only you can define personal success.
Now I am not delusional, but I would love for the average person to open their hearts, minds and ears and give this music a chance! I would love to see the "Space Music" display at Wal Mart. I really would. Lots of folks put a lot of time, effort, money and sacrifice into their music and it is sad that when a new CD comes out on most of this genre's labels or self promoted download sites, if they sell 50 - 200 albums, they are a god!
I long for the return of the "Hearts of Space heyday" and the New Age boom of the mid 90's of which I only got to be part of the tail end personally, but it was exciting! I used to go to my local record stores and new age shops and art galleries and real living breathing humans stood around and pontificated on the music and the mood and we all listened and fell deeply into the scene. We also purchased and the artists actually made some cash so they could sustain the circle of life. I had an economics teacher point out once that when you have to save up and actually purchase something, it means more to you than if it was free or near free...plus when its rare and you have to seek it out the experience is heightened even more. With the internet where you can find more than you wanted, nothing is rare and most of it is percieved as free...maybe that is part of the scene's death.
I actually find the statement: "We're not necessarily trying to advance the genre"
a tad bit disturbing. Now maybe I am misinterpreting it, but boy am I glad that Brian Eno and Miles Davis and Led Zeppelin and so on in each ones respective genre's did not think that way.
Now the flip side is that the folks who go into a project or a musical experience with the attitude that "I am going to do something no one has ever done before, I will be ground breaking" is also equally disturbing...
But somewhere in the middle there should always be the goal of advancing one's self and their art. If you are not passionate about your art and its propagation, well why should anyone else be?
I know when I go into the studio I always have a personal goal of: I have never tried this playing technique before, or microphone technique or hey I just got a new piece of gear and programmed a really exciting patch or maybe it is more mental like I hope this time I can get even deeper into the soundscape or be even more meditative and chilled than last time, or I am striving for something more beautiful than last time...whatever, but there is always the sense of betterment, challenge and advancement of my music.
And after the music is done and recorded, then what? Don't you want as many people to hear it as possible? Don't you want someone to be affected by it in some way? A cosmic pat on the back, whatever? If you are good with one person cool, but personally I would love the whole world to hear this stuff. Utopian...sure. Unrealistic...sure, but why the hell not! I have never bought into the keeping the underground, underground or it ceases to be cool mythology.
Shouldn't we all be trying to advance the genre as musicians, listeners, labels, ect?
...now to bring this full circle to the inebriated split personality that is Austere
Where has all the good music gone? I, like Austere have often heard the "all the ambient music in the past ___ # of years sucks". And whether it is true of not, that perception most certainly exists, and while I appreciate the "long time listening thread", it is a tad dangerous only in that, if we have to keep going back 10-15 top find the good stuff it could lead to a sad state of affairs. Once again a flipside being that in the "flooded" scene now, many great releases have come and gone without the fan fair they deserved.
I would love a thread where we take some time and pic 5 - 10 releases we love for whatever reason that we feel never got the love they deserve. Give links to find and buy it and artworks, ect. Or another that really focuses on this is what is cool for January...right now! I guess that would be like a new release wall
Ok I am done now. Flame away
Thread derailment section a quick PS
To the guys asking about a new Ma Ja Le cd, first let me say thanks
, second I can only say it is coming. Chris and I are in the overdubbing stage. Not much more I can say about that. We are really pushing our selves on this release, both as players, composers and engineers, hence the 6 year span of creation.
We did release one of the tracks intended for it on a compilation Oophoi put together last year. Maybe he or Mike have copies for sale and I did play one or two new tracks from it on Vir Unis' Rabbit Hold Radio show on Stillstream.
I had a new Cd this past year which Mike just added to the store called "Hymn Of Tongues". Its on atmoworks and is much more Ma Ja Le 'esq than most of my other solo stuff, so if you are a Ma Ja Le fan I am sure you will enjoy it. Plus Chris and I "accidentally" formed a project with Vir Unis and MJ Dawn that was one of my greatest musical experiences of the year and I think we all loved it so much that we will try and grow it into something in the coming year...
...again thank you!
Now back to your regularly scheduled program.