Counting

I've been checking my RS downloads indicators and doing some thinking. To start with, a big thanx to everyone for checking out this page and for the occasional comment. And I've also been lucky to have the minimum of spam, which by the way I still hate so quit it.

It's amazing how popular the Drexciyan records posted here have been. Really don't know why, though I love them too. I think people recognize them or search for them and just download them. They are now of a cult status, I understand. Rightly, don't get me wrong. But I wonder if there is a logo more recognizable than 'UR'. Some classics like 'Pop Artificielle' and 'Soundtrack 313' follow with (much) lesser clicks. Some of the Rother ones also go unexpectedly well. Less popular but still strong stand some listening electronics or 'IDM' releases, but only the ones from well known names (like Pole, Friedmann, or the Toytronic one). And the Heckmann ones.
Cologne techno and listening stuff is sadly overlooked (with the exception of Gas' apparently rare debut 'Zauberberg'). For example take 'Forever Sweet', which it's an album by as much a supergroup as you can get in this style of music, it's supposed to be commercial, and I know that not a lot of people have it. But it's not that much wanted. Or the magnificent 'Dancer' compilation (which I intentionally left without comments and had even fewer downloads), some years old and not so rare but still top quality, ahead of it's time and surely worth it. Kompakt fans seem to be more interested to get the latest release two weeks before it's out than listening to something from the back catalogue. Maybe history is a totally boring lesson after all. But it still makes me sad, cause I like it.

Most of the times when I post a release, I try to keep in mind if it's available around, searching as much as I have the time. I also like to share some not-so-much known or rare numbers and low-profile compilations with unreleased tracks by famous artists. Most exceptional example of this is the 'Ego' compilation, a limited pressing, 2CDs full of unreleased improvised live stuff, good tracks by artists that are still considered top. Which was downloaded by only two persons. Or the 'Station 17+' remix compilation, the prophetic 'WiR' Ladomat compilation and the 'Music For Children' concept, which were mostly ignored.
The thing is, does a record really have to be charted to be good? Everyone with an IQ over 20 could reply to that, still more or less we all do act like it has to. If the 'Ego' CDs were released by Soul Jazz or Raster-Noton or simply Kompakt, they would sell millions and everybody would pick them. It's normal. If I find somewhere a bootleg by a band I'm sure I like, I'll pick it up with saliva dripping, but if it's a band I've heard it might be good but haven't heard it yet, propably I'll pass. There is so much more music I have to check before spending my so few but precious money, so I've got to move on. More or less this was also happening during the vinyl era, you could just miss some records even though it was later apparent you'd loved them (check so many comments on old records everywhere). But I feel this is happening in a so much larger scale now.
The info overload by all types of marketing (corporate, mouth-to-mouth, MySpace, journalists' hypes) brought us to a point where, literally, all meaning is lost. A track might be considered successful, cause it was played by XXXX XXXXX last week and it made three hundred people on coke scream at the same time (which is a really difficult thing to do...). Someone edits it out of an illegal recording directly from the mixer and plays it every night or, worse, releases it as a bootleg in 2000 copies, making money instead of the producer that created it. After two months time when the official release is at last out it's already OLD and sells merely 500, while a new super hit remix by another 'artist 'will be played everywhere in its place.
When you have thousands of people trying to be DJs/producers, i.e. trying to achieve all this as a lifestyle so they can have sex and drugs and say they do music, all you get is the current situation. Where the average teen DJ-to-be has no role model to look up to, unless he wants to be a merchant (or a pimp, as it goes for the hip hop side). Where all that can be bought can be found everywhere for free, but no one's giving you any hints what to get. And where the only hints you get are either from illiterate journalists that often get paid (in demos mostly) to support someone over the other, or the sales' charts of Beatport/ Juno/ Bleep/ Decks/ etc, which of course have some very good reasons to promote certain artists and hypes. The reasons being, some of them 'star' artists own those stores, or are friends/partners with the owners. For certain labels, it's considered worthy of having almost all of their releases, just because the last one topped for two weeks on the charts of some famous (friendly) DJ who has decided to promote it, regardless of originality, quality or time endurance . For the rare one that truly deserves this kind of treatment, a hundred others don't.

And that leaves us normal people with the share-net. Where we can propose stuff to each other, listen to their proposals in turn, help each other out of this swamp of crap floating around which sooner or later we'll feed back. Obviously, as important as the roots are for the tree, the new branches are the future. New music is important. So, dear friends, instead of posting the latest stuff just because it's new and then fight about it with someone like you because s/he "stole" the links (?!?!?!?!?!?), maybe it'd be better to write some shit about why you are posting this. Even if this means you'll post two instead of twenty records. Maybe then you'll see you don't have to listen to a lot of crap, just the crap you like most. And maybe we'll have some more time to listen to them, instead of just piling them in hard drives, lost amongst a flood of faster downloads, more downloads, earlier promos, fake exclusives, CUT.
I really believe the music we hear is overestimated. And more over-evaluated than music is the lifestyle and the mentality it promotes. Most of you are too young to know, but hey, some say there is nothing new in art. This rush for the new big thing, this feeling that no one has done it before, is only partially true. 'No one has done it like this before' would be more accurate, I think. So, when someone rushes you for something new that's old in two days, check if he's charging you for something. And take your time to decide if you like it. And if you do, stand for it and support it. Then and only then will something be of value to you or to the people you communicate with.

7 comments:

philanoia said...

First off, thanks for keeping the site going and posting great stuff. Second, I generally agree with your take on the cons of chasing only the charted stuff, but of course there is some good stuff on the charts. It's best to just be aware of the interests at work as much as possible. Third, and my only point of departure, is that I consider myself a fairly well informed listener of this broad kind of music, and my guess is that there are others out there like me, others who frequent your site. The question is the extent to which we're in the minority; i.e., how many visitors are non-regulars who found you via blogsearch or whatever searching (as you say) for a drexciya record. So what's my point? There's gotta be some of us out there who try some of the more (relatively) obscure stuff out, so take solace in that maybe. And though I don't comment as often as I should (on this and other sites), know that I really appreciate all your efforts. Cheers.

Nightlight said...

Oi, a reply! No, seriously, thanx for your kind words. OF COURSE there's good stuff in the charts, it's just that nobody really tells you which track is commercial stuff or hype crap and which is really good. I mean, tracks like 'Rej' or 'Body Language' SHOULD be in the charts and they SHOULD make a lot of money for their creators, because they are solid, they say something and stand for it and they're just beautiful. For how many out of the last 30 M_nus records could you say the same thing? Or the last 15 Speichers? I love Kompakt Extra and I have all the first 40 12"s, yet I had to give up. It's not supposed to be about a full collection of a series of a record per month or something, it should be about music. Take Shitkatapult as an example: I have only a small amount of records released there (cause sometimes they simply get too weird for me), but the label's ethos and attitude command respect and they totally get it along with my support. Or check Robert Hood. Everybody knows UR and Jeff Mills, yet HE is the guy who actually focused on minimalism and perfected it to the maximum. He just didn't sell his face or a logo (there must be probably about two photos of him circulating the Net).
All I am saying is that it's time to cut down on the quantity of production and focus on quality and diversity and meaningful concepts. No ordinary label will do this by themselves, it's against marketing rules. So it's up to us 'consumers' to stop supporting what we don't like, by ignoring crap releases and fake star DJs/ producers. And by developing more strict and accurate criteria concerning our purchases and clubbing.

philanoia said...

Hood is awesome, no doubt. In fact, I haven't listened to his stuff in a little while, so I should go back (the power of suggestion!). Have you thought of posting individual tracks instead of LPs? Site visitors might be more willing to try different things if the commitment was lessened. That being said, another thing I agree with from your first post is that sites like yours *should* be about presenting the older, slept-on stuff, not the single or LP that's scheduled for release in a month. There are plenty of sites for that, including the vendors. What we need is more quality control and recommendations for classics. So like I said, I'm hoping you keep it up.

Anonymous said...

wanna trade links? My blog is all about quality music, not all electronic, and not too trendy.

http://effortsofatlantis.blogspot.com/

timo said...

I totally agree, and thank you for your great blog! It's so hard wading through huge quantities of crap, and filtering bandwagon jumping critics opinions to find music that endures. With books, I avoid reading anything that is newer than 10 years - life's too short to read crap, same with music. But I'm always being seduced by the 'new' with music, and with the huge volume being released, in the search for good stuff I find my collection filling with average music that I never listen too, and the sheer quantity of stuff to check out means that I don't often take time to mull records over and allow them to grow on me. It's easy to lose sight of the whole reason I listen to music on the first place. I only found your blog very recently, but have enjoyed being reminded of some great stuff I seem to have lost over the years like Nonplace Urban Field and the Eno/Wobble record - love it! Would love to see more incoming! stuff if you can find it - I remember really liking cee-mix's 'home is where the bass is' and the unitone hifi records.
Keep up the great work!

Nightlight said...

4 philanoia:
Sure, tracks-only was a primary concern (hence the subject "Tracks"). Actually, I just get carried away with some stuff I listen from time to time (I'm going through a CD retrospection).

4 anon. of Efforts of Atlantis:
Sure, send me mail at thelightinthenight@gmail.com to send you a list back. I'll check your posts the sooner.

4 timo:
I was about to check my Incoming! stuff. I have a lot of albums and some compilations, don't worry. Just give me a week or so, I'm in the middle of moving all my CDs and vinyls (that's why I go through 'old' stuff) and it's a mess.

Thanx for your words to everybody.

discfunctional said...

Very nice post. I couldn't agree more. Eventhough I occasially fall for the IN factor in some purchases or DLs i do. It is somtimes hard to ignore the downpour of marketing and hyperism. Which also tend to get stressy both for artists and consumers where the music turns into a use and abuse commodity rather than something you can enjoy over and over.

The good thing about sharing is that it feels like going back to when I (we) first got into music - via friends and mixtapes. I guess blogs like yours fills that gap between just consuming music - and interacting with music, simply by explaining why it's good, why you like this particular artist.