Monday, February 25, 2013

Outside The Mainstream

Thanks to Facebook, I stumbled across this interview with Jon Durant.  Thanks to the digital age of music production and distribution, excellent musicians such as he can create and release excellent works and get them in the hands and ears of fans with little muss and no fuss.  His collaborator on this project is Colin Edwin, bass player in Porcupine Tree.  Like PT's founder, Steven Wilson, Edwin is involved in a variety of musical projects outside his long association with Porcupine Tree (20 years this year).  One is a heavy metal band, Random Noise Generator.
Another is the unclassifiable Metallic Taste of Blood.
Still another is the ambient heavy metal/electronica duo Ex-Wise Heads
Finally, there is his work with Durant, mentioned above, under the title Burnt Belief.
None of these musical projects share anything but Edwin's presence.  None are in any way commercial projects.  Yet, all are available for people to purchase and listen despite the enormous pressures on mainstream music from the major labels in a time when the amount of money available seems to shrink.  The reason for this is simple enough.  Technology has made the majors important only for those artists and musicians who would prefer making a lot of money and having their names recognized and their faces in the tabloids.

A few decades ago, producing music like this would take hours and hours of studio time that cost a lot of money.  Then there was the mix, which could take days, again at enormous expense.  Finally, masters would need to be made, from which the pressings would flow.  The whole process was time-consuming and expensive, with a need for sound engineered spaces and the huge analog equipment necessary for the whole process.

Now, it can be done in a room, and collaborators can email unfinished tracks to one another, add layers and overdubs, then send them back for comment and tweaking.  The whole process is fairly inexpensive and certainly not nearly as time consuming as it once was (although there are bands, like Marillion, that take an inordinate amount of time to work on an album; they worked for two years, on and off, producing Marbles).

I guess my only point here, beyond featuring some exciting, interesting, avant-garde music from a gifted musician and his many collaborators, is to point out, yet again, what an exciting time it is both for musicians and fans of music.  Quite literally anything is available for people who keep their ears open; musicians have more opportunities than ever to offer all sorts of music to the public.

So let us all celebrate the on-going slow collapse of the corporate business model for music production and distribution!

Virtual Tin Cup

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