Author Topic: Press Releases  (Read 3449 times)

petekelly

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Press Releases
« on: May 04, 2010, 08:38:59 AM »

Was wondering what people think about press releases ?

I know that the majority of ambient artists (myself included) have some kind of press release/verbage on their website to accompany the release of a new album. Sometimes descriptive, sometimes to try to convey the intent of the work / what inspired the artist or whatever.

I have to say the amount of times I've seen something like "destined to be an all time classic in the ambient world" is far too often...

cheers
Pete

jkn

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2010, 09:12:56 AM »
Ha!  I can't count the number of times I've seen that phrase!   Usually it seems when someone feels the need to say that - it's a sign for me not to bother listening.

Now - if other people - reviewers, friends, etc... people I know enjoy similar music to me says that... I definitely take a listen.

Here's the press release for the first Relaxed Machinery release:   http://relaxedmachinery.com/releases/rM_0001/press_release_Steve%20Brand%20-%20Circular%20Scriptures.pdf






John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2010, 09:25:51 AM »
It's true that most people are really terrible at writing announcements of ambient music releases.  Of course words have a hard time describing this sort of thing, but sometimes really don't help themselves with the hype and excess in these announcements.  As you say, "destined to be an all-time classic" is hilarious and I can't believe anybody seriously thinks this kind of thing will convince people to buy an album.

My personal pet-peeve, which just about completely prevents me from ever taking a recording seriously, is misuse of the word "stunning."  This word has been misappropriated to mean everything from "impressive" to "beautiful" to "accomplished" and I don't really know why this bugs me so much, but I just can't stand it.  Stunning should mean STUNNING... it should be reserved for extremes.  A pretty, mellow album of ambient piano music isn't STUNNING.  It's just the wrong word 99% of the time it's used and yet it appears in most of the ambient music press releases I've seen.  Worse yet:  "absolutely stunning."  I recall one press release (in fact if I recall, I really did like the music -- maybe something on Infraction?) that referred to the thing as "stunning, stunning" music or some such.  I'm waiting for the first "stunning, stunning, stunning" album which will no doubt lead some other artist to make the creative leap to record something "stunning, stunning, stunning, stunning."  It's sort of like razor blades.  The five-blade razor inevitably calls forth the six-blade razor.

Of course, we're all guilty of our own shortcuts, overstatement, vague language and "what the fuck does that mean?" moments when it comes to writing this kind of stuff.  But for me, "stunning" is just about a deal-breaker!

[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

uhurit

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2010, 09:41:13 AM »
Ambient music is a very specialized art category with most fans well aware of what it is. When one owns over a thousand ambient CD's, any sort of an overstatement in a press release is an immediate disqualifier, as it shows a tendency to overcompensate. That includes verbage like "stunning", "classic", "revolutionary", "break-through", etc. I mean, if one is a fan of mellow drone, noise-drone from Merzbow or Sunn-o would probably "stun" him into hyperventilation...but then that wouldn't be that great of a feeling in the first place

Hypnagogue

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2010, 09:50:57 AM »
Obviously, I get quite a few press releases. The thing that makes me nuts is an overabundance of comparisons. "Calling forth images of Tangerine Dream, Autechre, Arvo Part and early 19th-century calliope music...." The current world record holder for me is the guy who managed, in filling both sides of a sheet of paper in single-space format with his info, to drop THIRTY-SIX different references. That's about thirty-five and half too many.

I prefer releases where the artist isn't telling me what to listen for. Tell me what you're doing that's different, the thing I should care about. For example, in the release for Kyron's "Union" CD, the artist talked about how the sound sources came from audio captured during a Jewish wedding ceremony at Yosemite, along with natural sounds from the park. THAT made me want to listen. If you tell me I'll be hearing echoes of this guy or that group, that's what I'm listening for. And what if I don't like that stuff in the first place? Then I'm less likely to give you a listen.

One other thought, and this may be somewhat particular to me, but...not everyone listens to everything. So really out-there comparisons may not fly anyway. I mean, I recognize that this is a shortfall in my own experience, but I've never heard anything by Stars of the Lid or Windy & Carl. I know OF them, but I'll have to take your word that you sound like them. I wouldn't know their sound from a bag of angry cats.

The short version of my gripe is this: Tell me who YOU are. Tell me why you made this disc and why I should listen to YOU. Then stop. As a listener (and reviewer), I will fill in the rest for myself.

Let your music tell its story.


Oh....and have someone proofread the dang release before you send it. I'm an editor by trade and typos in PR pieces make me cry.
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Scott M2

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2010, 11:03:31 AM »
Damn!   I'm preparing a little promo info for the forthcoming CD version of "a decade dreaming"-
and apparently I can't describe it as a "stunning, revolutionary, break-through classic" after all.

Back to the drawing board...       ???

jkn

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2010, 11:05:36 AM »
"The stunning new John Koch-Northrup album titled "Bag Full of Angry Cats" at once calls forth images of oceanside cliffs and the call of soaring seagulls.  Panoramic distillations of music of an age gone by.  Detailed in direction yet floating in the ether of a fog filled morning walk through the old forests of yesterday.

Destined to be an instant ambient classic, this stunning blend of bold, yet subtle flavors seamlessly weaves between Parliament-Funkadelic grooves and Thomas Koner-esque detail.  Traditional ukulele punctuates the irrestible tones of Labradford guitar beds.

Said the editor of the Orange Gazette:  "It's stunning!" And the Landfill Times exclaims: "Damn, this is stunning!".   Irrational Infatuation declares: "This isn't your parent's ambient!".  And Inflatable Girlfriend Blog raves: "It's good to get down to."

So pick up the new album, "Bag Full of Angry Cats" right now!"

...ok I'll stop.

...


Mike - ok I admit it - I really do overuse the word stunning.  It's definitely one of my favorite words lately and I'm not sure why.
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

Scott M2

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2010, 11:39:48 AM »
May I suggest the use of the alternative "sunning". ie  warm, relaxing, soothing...     8)

APK

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2010, 12:11:36 PM »
Just received an email about an album I should listen to by a band/person I don't know:

"My work lies somewhere along an axis that includes Mahler, David Sylvian,
Scelsi, the Future Sound of London, Schubert, Nono, Gas, Scott Walker..."

That all sounds pretty clear  ???
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phobos

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2010, 12:13:54 PM »
I think press releases can be valuable as long as they are down to earth, and don't gush with the "stunnings" and "all time classic" syndrome. I would never feel right about describing my own music as stunning, etc! I think putting some sound samples of the album to work alongside the press release, gives those that are interested, the opportunity to read a bit about the album and to listen to bits of it also, that way they can get some idea of whether it may be worth having or not  ;)
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uhurit

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2010, 12:42:11 PM »
Just received an email about an album I should listen to by a band/person I don't know:

"My work lies somewhere along an axis that includes Mahler, David Sylvian,
Scelsi, the Future Sound of London, Schubert, Nono, Gas, Scott Walker..."

That all sounds pretty clear  ???

I'd die to know what axis there is that covers both Gas and Schubert...all at the same time ;D

mgriffin

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2010, 12:49:07 PM »
Just received an email about an album I should listen to by a band/person I don't know:

"My work lies somewhere along an axis that includes Mahler, David Sylvian,
Scelsi, the Future Sound of London, Schubert, Nono, Gas, Scott Walker..."

That all sounds pretty clear  ???

This is a perfect example of promotional text doing much more harm than good.
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Scott M2

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2010, 01:13:14 PM »
Aha! I have my new dreamSTATE promo blurb prepared now:

You can file the new dreamSTATE album "a decade dreaming" somewhere between Aidan Baker and Steve Roach -
or more specifically, somewhere between the Doors and Dylan.

Stellardrone

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2010, 01:21:21 PM »
Reading this thread and laughing at the same time :D so true. That's why I almost never read press releases, or just read the title so I can check the sample in YouTube or else, to know what music it is. Sometimes I read it AFTER I listened to the album.  ;D

APK

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2010, 01:23:30 PM »
I always tell people "a few samples are worth a thousand words."
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Hypnagogue

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2010, 02:20:03 PM »
I always tell people "a few samples are worth a thousand words."

AMEN!

Precisely that. If you believe in your work, regardless of who influenced you back when you were a fledgling ambienteer, then follow the advice of the great philosopher Joe Perry and let the music do the talking. If you've got something to say, people will listen.


"My work lies somewhere along an axis that includes Mahler, David Sylvian,
Scelsi, the Future Sound of London, Schubert, Nono, Gas, Scott Walker..."

GAAAAAAAAAAH!

I'd die to know what axis there is that covers both Gas and Schubert...all at the same time ;D

He may have meant to say that his music sounds like a gassy Schubert.
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uhurit

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2010, 06:45:54 PM »
I find Soleilmoon descriptives most puzzling and impenetrable...unless you know the artist's music, no way to know what to expect

jim02

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2010, 11:44:50 PM »
i find the Digitalis reviews quite amusing and full with sense of humour, but certainly reflects their enthusiam for the thing they do..

"This San Francisco-based duo have crafted something impeccable here full of spectral blues and subterranean drones that rival anything else happening today. Epic doom-tinged guitars explode like a phoenix impaling itself on a nuclear missile bathing everything in glorious, gluttonous black. The album's title envisages the greatness that is to come. Nothing is spared as they rain liquid hellfire down onto the scorched desert. From their mouths a perpetual light indeed. It will suck you in, fill your bones with diamonds, and paint you in titanium chrome. There is nowhere to hide from these menacing sounds, but even if you could, why the f@ck would you want to?"
  ;D

though, i think Boomkat is the master of hyperboling, tirelessly... which deserves something also..

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2010, 04:27:14 AM »
I am horrible when it comes to writing up some kind of description for a new release, which is why I've started using short videos (1-2 minutes) as a promo.  At the same time, the listener can hear exactly what the music sounds like... instead of me TRYING to convey it in words.  ;D
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michael sandler

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Re: Press Releases
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2010, 09:27:26 AM »
Just received an email about an album I should listen to by a band/person I don't know:

"My work lies somewhere along an axis that includes Mahler, David Sylvian,
Scelsi, the Future Sound of London, Schubert, Nono, Gas, Scott Walker..."

That all sounds pretty clear  ???

I'd die to know what axis there is that covers both Gas and Schubert...all at the same time ;D

I'd die to know what an axis is.

MikeS