Music musings cc @solobasssteve

My colleague mentioned recently that his flatmates were part of a band, so I decided to check their music out online. Clean Bandit have a rather unusual theme of mixing electronic music with classical music, and the band members are all Cambridge graduates. Read this interview with them for more. I quite like them.

I was at a gig that was part of HMV’s Next Big Thing series last week, where a whole host of bands make themselves seen and heard more than they would otherwise. They move on to playing at festivals, with most of them having a record label behind them by this stage. Clean Bandit apparently don’t have a label yet, which is also why, according to my colleague, they aren’t allowed to play any gigs live yet.

For publishers and authors, the web has made serious inroads into making them more accessible to the public – look at Amanda Hocking, or Seth Godin’s Domino Project. But it’s not just publishers, even comedians are turning to the web – as a new revenue stream as much as for a new audience – and they’re winning: case in point, Louis CK. Now, music is certainly different from comedy in some aspects: it has a much longer tail for one, but in others, like playing for the most part to a specific kind of audience, it isn’t.

Record labels tend to control what bands do, but as with publishers being the intermediary between the author and the public, I think it’s high time musicians started cutting out the middleman as well. Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno backed the Magnificent Union of Digitally Downloading Artists, or MUDDA, for this very reason, back in 2004, but I can’t see where it’s gone since. I was quite interested to note, as I was rummaging around the web for information about MUDDA, that Gabriel’s On Demand Distribution (OD2), which was bought by Nokia in 2006, went bust in 2009.

Does this merely mean that the music moguls are much stronger than musicians? Surely, as we saw with SOPA only recently, not? Or is it just that we haven’t seen enough bands that wants to skip the record labels yet? I know individual musicians like Steve Lawson in the UK are giving the web their all, but perhaps it hasn’t seen its time yet.


A location-aware music app? Yes, thanks to @bluebrainmusic

What if you could hear different kinds of music, created for the different corners of a park, as you rambled through it?

Ryan and his brother Hays Holladay did just that for Central Park in New York, with their free location-aware iPhone & iPad app Central Park (Listen to the Light).

The New York Times has a story on the electropop duo who go by the name Bluebrain Music.

And this is a lovely 12 minute video with the ‘making of’ story:

The Making of Listen to the Light by BLUEBRAIN from BLUEBRAIN on Vimeo.


Video: ‘The Shrine/An Argument’ by @gograndchildren

One of my favourite indie bands, the Fleet Foxes, have recently released the animated video accompanying ‘The Shrine/An Argument’, a song in their latest album Helplessness Blues. Director Sean Pecknold started a collaboration with the band on the song ‘White Water Hymnal’ in their debut album, and they’ve continued the relationship.

Eight and a half minutes. Enjoy.

The Shrine / An Argument from Sean Pecknold on Vimeo.

Via Clash Music

.@williamhermes shows how books and music can go hand in hand

Will Hermes writes for Rolling Stone magazine and is a contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered, amongst other things. His latest book is titled Love Goes to Buildings on Fire, and is about four decades in New York City’s music scene. To accompany the release of the book, he’s created some playlists via Soundcloud which highlight one month periods in 1973, 1974 and 1975 – an absolute delight to listen to and an excellent way of promoting a book.

Relevant and entertaining content creation is the way forward.

Via Work in Progress.