Click on this link here and download the zips. Then listen to me justifying my own existence.
Who would want to run an independent record label in 2008? Releasing an album of alternative music on a commercial basis is no longer the behaviour of a rational entrepreneur. The generation of my previous band is probably the last one that could reasonably hope to sell their records in shops in sufficient quantity to turn a small profit.
The likes of HMV and Virgin are starting to change their floor plans – it’s DVDs and video games that greet you on entry, not CDs. Music as a physical product has had its day. If you’ll forgive me sounding like a broken record (groan), recording quality music is now a consumer activity. At most, a commercially released album is promotion for a live show which in turn is promotion for a t-shirt. Been there, done that, and indeed sold the t-shirt.
This autumn, under the name Recoder, a friend and I recorded an album called ‘Hidden In Plain View’. Despite the handicap of my leaving the country for six months, I have no doubt I could have found a small record label dumb enough to release it, providing I was inclined towards international hustling and prepared to do a considerable amount of touring on my return to the uk.
As it happens, I’m not inclined towards international hustling – it’s a waste of everybody’s time. The best distribution method for music is the internet, and the best plugging agents are well-connected individuals who share links, torrents and files with their friends. Nor am I inclined towards living in a van. That’s how I spent a considerable chunk of my twenties, and I wouldn’t have swapped it for anything, but the will to commit to such a lifestyle having already played more than five hundred gigs is beyond me.
No. The fact is, I have no desire to be a full-time musician again. I don’t want to be famous, and I don’t need the approval or respect of anyone other than my closest friends. This album is music made for the love of music. We recorded it as well as we could given our less than perfect knowledge, equipment and talent. We’re proud of it. I want you to listen to it, and if you like it, send a link to the friends you think might like it too.
Download both zip files – you can think of them as side A and side B. I promise they’re safe. The zips also contain artwork for your digital media player, so that it looks all proper. If you don’t like it, you can have your money back.
Finally, I’m not really interested in criticism or feedback when it comes to music, other than from the people I’m making it with. I know the craft of song-writing as well as I’m ever going to. You’ll either like it or you won’t. As it happens, I don’t feel that any kind of artwork exists to be criticised. I recently read Kurt Vonnegut write of literary criticism, I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel or a play or a poem is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or a banana split.
If I could put it better myself, I’d be my own hero. This album is my hot fudge sundae. There will be a banana split next year. However, don’t hold your breath for a live show or a t-shirt, as I’m independently wealthy and I don’t like kids.