Archive for the ‘Blog from Sam’ Category
From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal…
Back in the old days, I mailed tons of Projekt catalogs. I was telling my son about the early 90s, when I’d have 10,000 catalogs spread across my entire living room, as I sorted them by zipcode for bulk mailing. It was like rows of crops, waiting to be harvested and bagged and driven to the post office in South Central Los Angeles (This was after the 1992 L.A. riots; honestly, I always felt a bit nervous about driving down to South Central).
Before I got into printing those large 24+ page catalogs, I’d print 3-panel flyers at the local P.I.P.
A few of you messaged to tell me you really liked the paper catalogs, and I agree: it’s fun to hold something in your hand when you’re listening to your new Projekt order. So, while they last, when you order at projekt.com, you’ll get a limited edition Astrobright Lunar Blue 3-panel flyer, featuring Dirk Serries’ The Origin Reversal on the cover.
Of course, if you’ve moved on from physical objects, yet still want a catalog, I’ll take care of you. For the first 20 people who contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll give you details to paypal me a buck (for USA postage, more for overseas), and I’ll throw two of these in an envelope to you.
I only made 246 of these 3-panel flyers. When they’re gone, they’ll be gone (and then I will make a new one with a different design).Link-a-doodle-doo
* You might know that artist cannot copyright song or album titles. But there’s an interesting fact, that we can trademark our titles. I discovered this, when reading about The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s lawsuit against Californication at out-law.com. And here’s what I found even more interesting:
A quick search on Rolling Stone’s Top 10 Greatest Albums of All Time at the trade mark registries of the US and UK shows that none of the album titles are protected by the artists or their record companies. An individual applied to register Highway 61 Revisited, the Bob Dylan album that appears at number 4 in Rolling Stone’s list; but that application was abandoned. Rubber Soul, ranked number 5, is registered as a mark, but not to The Beatles. And Sgt. Pepper’s, the top-ranked album, is registered as a footwear brand by a company in Spain and as a pepper spray brand in the US. David Bowie appears to be more savvy than most of his counterparts, though: he has registered Ziggy Stardust as a trade mark for music and entertainment services. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars is ranked at number 35 in Rolling Stone’s list.
Huzzah to Bowie for being savvy enough to trademaqrk Ziggy!
* Nick Eakins sent me this message on Facebook: “I just got back from our local coffee house. I played a couple of Mors Syphalitica tunes for them and they played some death metal. Ethereal Goth is like floating on a cloud making love to angels. Death Metal is like getting hit upside the head with a shovel and being sodomized by a gorilla.” To which I replied: “Um, Both good options! : )”
* Please insert your own joke here: Sex toys to be auctioned to pay business’s delinquent Kansas taxes.
While supplies last, your purchase of Mirabilis’ »Here and the Hereafter« includes their first two albums for free! To save on shipping costs, the two additional CDs will not be in jewel boxes. Their barcode will be struck.
Submerse yourself in the third ethereal/darkwave foray from Mirabilis featuring Dru Allen and Summer Bowman, two of the genre’s most-celebrated vocalists. As Mirabilis, these women go beyond the rock-hued sounds of their respective bands (This Ascension/Mercury’s Antennae and the Machine in the Garden) to create beautiful, vocal-centered originals alongside reinterpreted pieces ranging from medieval to pop.
As on their previous Projekt releases, 2004’s Pleiades and 2008’s Sub Rosa, Allen and Bowman weave their signature heavenly voices into a lush bed of dream-like harmonies amidst understated electronics, acoustic instruments, and majestic percussive elements. Their most diverse work to date, Here and the Hereafter transcends genres from cinematic, orchestral pieces to traditional folk and chant to spoken word. Accompanied by instruments including hammered dulcimer and recorder, these 16 tracks — with roots as diverse as Bulgaria, India and Japan — span ages and cultures, reality and dream.
The album marks the band’s first composition with long-time inspiration Monica Richards (Faith and the Muse), who writes and sings on the piece “Here and Hereafter.”
Though brimming with musical styles and instrumentations, ultimately it is the exquisite interplay between the two vocalists that serves as the driving force on Here and the Hereafter. The vocals serve not just as conveyer of lyrics but also as a distinct instrument unto itself. This is a spellbinding, affirming work that transports the listener on a sweeping, emotional journey.
Mercury’s Antennae: A Waking Ghost Inside CD $14 Extremely limited to 300 copies.| Stream & Download for $10 Bandcamp. Ethereal, hypnotic, dizzying, gripping, lush, oceanic, driving, cinematic, haunting. The debut release from San Francisco-based Mercury’s Antennae. Comprised of vocalist Dru Allen (This Ascension, Mirabilis) and multi-instrumentalist Erick R. Scheid (Translucia), the band’s sound is distinctly reminiscent of ‘90s-era Projekt acts. Ranging from the heavy moodiness and guitar drone of Lycia to the unadorned acoustic beauty of Love Spirals Downwards to the passionate rock of This Ascension, the duo also draws on ambient and tribal influences, contemporary electronica, the sweet melodic pop of 4AD, and the blissful guitar noise of bands like Curve.
Hi. This offer is limited to 60 copies, order your box today! Shipping within the USA + international.
• 10 CDs in the box. This is an ambient/electronic box: all 10 CDs are ambient / electronic. • These boxes are pre-made from overstock CDs. We cannot put specific titles in for you. We pick the albums you receive. • All barcodes are struck. • Most CDs are in digipaks or ecoWallets. CDs will be removed from jewel boxes where applicable (this saves you postage). • If you purchase two boxes, you will receive the same titles twice • No refunds or replacements except if you receive a defective title. Then you will be issued a $3 refund.
dirk serries – the origin reversal (Pre-Order, shipping early-September) CD $15 | Stream & Download for $10 Bandcamp. Extremely limited to 300 copies. Early Bird Bonus: The first 50 buyers receive a free copy of vidnaObmana’s 1998 CD Crossing the Trail.
Dirk has three performances to kick-off the release of The Origin Reversal::
September 19 Trondheim (Norway) : Facebook Event Page September 20 Trondheim (Norway) : Facebook Event Page October 25 The Netherlands : TBA December 5 Kortrijk (Belgium) : Facebook Event Page Dirk Serries returns to Projekt Records with The Origin Reversal, a re-boot of his classic vidnaObmana sound. This is ambient music that flows from its discreet origins: sonic purity, washes of harmony, and organic textures which slow time to a phase of transcendence.
Picking up on the 1988 – 1996 vidnaObmana ambient period (mostly released on Projekt), The Origin Reversal‘s six tracks are informed with a subtlety that only comes from Serries’ decades of musical growth exploring his craft. After the understated, meditative 2012 collaboration with Steve Roach, Low Volume Music (on sale for $10 this month), Serries reestablished himself as the ambient artist known worldwide for minimal, warm and introspective sonic atmospheres. Performed in real-time directly to a stereo 2-track, Serries created these six tracks armed only with a Gibson Les Paul custom guitar and a few pedals. Despite the use of different tools from his electronic heritage,The Origin Reversal shows a refinement and maturity achieved through extensive touring, intriguing side-projects, recordings and collaborations.
The Belgium-based Serries has experimented with ambient music for over 30 years. His earliest work came out under the vidnaObmana pseudonym, until he closed the book on that project in 2007. In the ensuing seven years, he released over twenty albums under various monikers before returning to a refined stream of ambient works. October 2013 saw three solo albums on limited edition 180-gram vinyl. Unedited live performances meant to run the length of a side of a vinyl record, they were published on the boutique Tonefloat:Ikon imprint. These three LPs were followed by a few digital-only albums.
The hypnotic nature of Serries’ music comes with time and restrained anticipation. It’s all about a delicate touch that never disturbs the continuum between sound and silence.
August’s Top-5 sellers at the Projekt webstore #1 Erik Wøllo: Tundra EP | CD $10 #2 Steve Roach: The Delicate Forever| CD $14 #3 Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter (with 2 bonus CDs)| CD $15 #4 Various Artists: 10 Projekt CDs for $25 | 10-CD $25 #5 Steve Roach: Structures From Silence (30th Anniversary Remastered Edition) | 3-CD $18
From Projekt Record’s Sam Rosenthal…
Hello to everyone on this day of non-laboring.
My novel, Rye, was published nearly two years ago (Nov 5, 2012). It’s an erotic novel; however for myself, many of the reviewers and people who’ve read the book, it’s more than that. Ultimately, it’s about characters and the lives they are trying to build together.
Underneath all the androgyny and fluctuation, the book’s about human connection. Rosenthal’s use of sex and gender identities to illustrate how we reach toward and away from relationships is merely a new approach to an old idea: We all need intimacy with others to deepen our understanding of ourselves.”— Time Out Chicago.
One of the subtexts of Rye comes from a nugget I found in Buddhism’s Diamond Sutra text. As in the Kierkegaard quote above, it’s the idea that most of the time we don’t see things for what they are, because we are misled by our perception of the thing. Once we categorize or describe something, we expect it to behave like the label we have ascribed to it.
In this bit, Matt (the narrator) relays to his partner Rye (a science teacher) a few quotes from a monk he interviewed for a documentary he’s working on:
“ ‘Where there is a description there is a deception.’ And something about ‘we’re all part of the continuity of things changing their form, because the real nature of things is that there’s no definable single state.’” “I was with you there at first. But that second half…?” Rye sounds doubtful. “Rye, the world changes under the weight of our perceptions.” “That’s crazy-talk, Matt! Things are what they are. Don’t taunt me.” I picture his wrinkled nose and frown. “I respect Buddhism, but it can be a bit out there. Science is absolute.”
Later in the story, without really noticing it, Rye has a more understanding view of the topic. This is an exchange between Rye, and Mischa (Matt’s 12 year old son), as they walk home from Misha’s Summer Camp.
“It’s different from what you’re usually taught,” Rye says. “Dad reads to me about something like that. About illusions and not being stuck in how we describe things. The words that are just a story.” I smile at Mischa, proud that he made the connection. “Yeah, you got it, kiddo,” Rye says, standing slowly and patting his shoulder. “They’re all a bunch of words. I’m just me. You see who I am.” “…and the words don’t really matter,” Mischa says, finishing Rye’s thought. “You two are great,” I say, taking one in each arm. “I think I’m gonna keep you both.” Rye smiles and kisses my cheek.
Since concluding Rye in 2012, I’ve been thinking about the follow-up novel; my plan is to pick up where the story left off.
I’d like to report that I’ve been doing more than “thinking about” it and actually “working on” it. But that wouldn’t be true. I’ve been unable to begin, as often happens after finishing a creative work. Some artists go right back to work; they use their head of steam to get down to business. I’m different. I always feel the need to delay and collect new ideas; to let the sail deflate, and wait for the next breeze.
I’ve had vague ideas about what would happen with the characters; I’ve been preparing for an idea to show up, another Buddhist theme to serve as a subtext for the next novel. [ Yes, I know. As an aside one could ask, “Who writes an erotic novel, based around Buddhist ideas?!” ]
Reading Thich Nhat Hahn’s book, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, I came upon this line:
“In The Discourse on the Many Realms, the Buddha taught that all of our anxieties and difficulties come from our inability to see the true face, or true sign of things, which means that although we see their appearance, we fail to recognize their impermanent and interbeing nature.” (Page 77)
Oh, I like that.
I like that this builds upon Rye‘s thread about failing to see things as they are. My brain quickly connected that with other ideas concerning relationships, and the pain we feel when they crumble. I wrote this in my journal:
Part of suffering comes from our attachment; our inability to accept that everything is transient. We fall in love, and we want it to stay that way forever. We take it for granted when we have it. And we don’t want it to end when we have already lost it. How can you enjoy love to it’s fullest while it’s happening, yet let it go when it’s over? Can we say, “That was nice, and now it’s gone”? Because that’s going to be true of everything in life: there is nothing we will take with us, at the end. How can we enjoy it to its fullest and then smile and let it go?
This got me quite excited.
It seems that one of the hardest things to do is to live with this sort of non-attachment.
Many assume ‘non-attachment’ means to not care for things. Rather, it means to care deeply, yet also to allow things to be free; to not hold too tightly. “Overcoming attachment does not mean becoming cold and indifferent. On the contrary, it means learning to have relaxed control over our mind through understanding the real causes of happiness and fulfillment, and this enables us to enjoy life more and suffer less.” – Kathleen McDonald, How to Meditate
Thich Nhat Hahn says there are three essential elements: Non-attachment, impermanence and bliss. I think a thorough understanding of the first two leads to the third; Hahn would also say that they all inter-are. That you cannot have any one of them without the other.
Much to think about.
SamNew in the store
Ataraxia: Wind At Mount Elo | CD $18 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Holdrejtek | CD $23 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Rego Rejtem Re-issue | CD $22 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Of Dreams Forgotten and Fables Untold Re-issue | CD $22 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Mohalepte Re-issue | 2-CD $25 Spiritual Front: Vladimir Central 12″ (Extremely Limited, Only A Few Copies Available!) | Vinyl $35Link-a-doodle-doo
Listen to Gavin Bryars’ Sinking of the Titanic performed in an aquatic center. This is a pretty great live rendition of this piece. Video at youTube.
Maybe Raccoons are the new goats which were the new cats. Oy! These things change so quickly! Raccoon dentist at youTube.
Cats say, “Wait, we’re not done with our reign just yet!” An oldie goldie, Olympic Cat Curling.
End the Tyranny of 24/7 Email
I posted a Facebook link to this New York Times article. As a boss, I totally endorse what it says; I think it’s CRAZY that many of my friends are expected to answer their work email 24 hours a day. Screw that! You’re not slaves; employers don’t have the rights to expect replies when you are off the clock.
My friend, Sam Saia, replied: I’ve always refused linking my business email to my cell phone for this very reason. My shift begins at 8:30am and ends at 5pm Mon-Fri. End of story!
This blog by Tim Ferriss talks about making more time for your own work, by spending less time taking in other people’s work. To that end, he suggest checking your email only twice a day! “The real hard part, of course, is keeping yourself away from that damn inbox. Get on a strict low-information diet and focus on output instead of input; your wallet and weekends will thank you for it.”
From Projekt Record’s Sam Rosenthal…
It’s become obvious to me: over the last few years Projekt has become a (primarily) electronic/ambient label.
For clarity, I do not mean the EDM/dance style of electronic & ambient music. I mean floating, drifting meditative ambient, or adventurous drone / space-music electronics. For simplicity, I will refer to this side of Projekt’s sound as “electronic.”
I began Projekt 31 years ago, releasing a few compilation cassettes, and a whole bunch of my own solo-electronic music. In 1986, I released the first album from my band, Black Tape For A Blue Girl; the label’s sound began an evolution toward a goth / ethereal / darkwave perspective. Projekt really came to people’s attention in the early 90s, with the success of the rock-side-of-the-label acts Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Lycia, and Love Spirals Downwards. Fans and writers called Projekt “the American 4AD.” But I wasn’t soley focused on one sound; at the same time as the darkwave heyday, I was releasing electronic music. In fact, the fourth band on the label was O Yuki Conjugate, with their tribal ambient masterpiece, Peyote. In late 1995, I released the first Steve Roach album on Projekt, his double-CD collaboration with vidnaObmana, Well of Souls. Parallel to the darkwave sound, the electronic side continued to grow.
I dug into the numbers, to see if my hunch was right about the direction the label has taken. I tallied up the last 12 month’s royalty payments, and sorted the artists into electronic or darkwave.
On royalties paid to the label’s top-25 acts, 69% went to the electronic artists, 31% to the darkwave artists. Yes, 69%! A big chunk of the 69% goes to Steve Roach, while on the darkwave side much of that 31% goes to Voltaire. If you pull those two artists, and compare the rest of the acts, the ratio skews slightly more darkwave, yet remains nearly the same: 64% electronic / 36% darkwave.
My hunch was correct.
Now, part of this shift can be attributed to the lack of releases from my band, Black Tape For A Blue Girl. We were a big part of those sales in the 90s, but as the label grew busier I’ve taken less and less time to work on my own music. With Lycia and Love Spirals Downwards and Mira gone, the bands that contributed the bulk of the rest of the darkwave side are no longer here to keep up the tradition.
You might have noticed that Projekt’s CD output reflects this switch, with many more electronic releases in the last two years. I still love the darkwave bands, of course. But I want to focus on what you are interested in.
Various Artists: 10 Projekt CDs for $25 Projekt has tons of overstock CDs in our storage space: wonderful music that longs to be heard! Help us clean up the place, and receive hours of enjoyment at the same time! $25 gets you 10 random Projekt CDs focussed more on the darkwave genre: a surprise selection of amazing Projekt music.Questions and Answers
I asked people on Facebook to post questions for me. If you have a question, email email@example.com, and I’ll get to it.
Chris Zubryd asked: Is being in a band AND running the label like directing a film in which you have a main role?
Sam: I put your question first, Chris, because the answer is a good seque from the section above. As I said, as the label devoured more of my time, I spent less time on Black Tape For A Blue Girl. This is one of the reasons it’s been five years since the last album. At any other label, if the #2 band wasn’t making music, the label owner would beg, plead, and blackmail them to get off their rear-end and make new music. Wearing both hats, I find it hard to get out of the Projekt chair, and into the studio. I feel an urgency with other artists’ work. They contact me, and ask, “What’s up with my album release?” While the guy at Blacktape never sends me an email. : )
Scott M. Neth: Are you still running Darkwave distribution? The reason I asked is because I used to buy from Darkwave for a record store I ran back in the 90’s and I’d be kind of curious how you think think the distribution industry has changed since then. Back then, distribution used to kill our small store because for major labels we could only buy direct (from Warner, BMG, etc) and we couldn’t compete with the Best Buy’s and Walmart (they’d force us to buy a large inventory of ¢rap we couldn’t sell to get the stuff we could) so we totally shifted our focus to buying from small(er) indie companies like Darkwave, a few little punk distribution companies and Saddle Creek Records (and it saved our store).
Sam: Yeah, that was one of the many STUPID things the record industry did: co-op. Basically, us labels had to bribe the stores (Tower, Borders, Best Buy – but also indies) to stock our CDs. Discounts at places like Best Buy were so deep that they could sell for less than what a small store like Scott’s paid to buy the CD. It was idiotic. There were other kinds of co-op besides discounts. A Borders’ listening station was effective in the 1997-2001 period. We introduced a lot of people to Projekt’s music that way. But buying a 1/4 page ad in the Village Voice so Virgin-Union Square would do a Mira instore? That probably wasn’t the best use of Projekt’s money. Still, it was the game we all had to play back then.
These days, chains like Newbury’s in the Boston area want a massive discount. They want something unreasonable like a $4 discount per CD (a store usually pays between $10 – $12 per unit); the discount is not so they can stock it in their stores, but so they can undercut everyone else in the Amazon marketplace. Apparently many labels give them this deal, we do not. I don’t need Newbury to sell at Amazon. I need them to stock Projekt CDs in their stores. Which they do not. So screw them, basically! : )
Back to Scott’s question. No, we don’t really sell directly to retail stores anymore. eOne Distribution and the one-stops do that for us. If you run a store, and you want to talk about whatever, drop me a line. firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian John Mitchell: Would you rather be remembered as the ‘Projekt guy’ or the ‘black tape for a blue girl guy’ or something else?
Sam: BJM – I’d rather be remembered as a good dad. By my son. : )
Brian John Mitchell: Also… is the blog more for your personal use to document things or to give fans insight to what you do or to hopefully generate additional traffic & sales (essentially an advertisement in a way) or a mix of all these?
Sam: A mix of the second two, definitely. There’s a movement to take the internet back from Facebook: a return to using your own site to host your thoughts. I think that this blog also serves as “therapy” to get myself through Facebook-withdrawl. I spend time writing these blogs, instead of looking at cats scratching bob marley vinyl on Facebook. (ha!)
Also, I’m sick of arguing with people / pirates on Facebook. They tell me how the music business works, when they don’t know what they’re talking about! Running a label is what I do. I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s not just a “hunch” when I say sales are down, and people getting music for free has hurt sales. I have a good deal of experience in the music business!
Ooops. Sorry, I got onto a Facebook rant. I have a lot of experience running a label, and it’s fun to share what Projekt has been through. So, yes, it serves a combination of your 2nd and 3rd suggestions. And yes, I hope it encourages people to support Projekt’s music.
Alisa InCupcakeland: Why did you decide to start with Projekt Records?
Sam: The label began 31 years ago, and I’ve been running Projekt as my full-time job for over 20 years! When I started, I was making a fanzine in Florida, called Alternative Rhythms. In 1783… oh, I mean 1983… I released a cassette of some of the bands I was writing about, called Projekt Electronic South Florida vol. 1. You can see a list of out-of-print Projekt releases from that era.
Nils Inge Graven: I would like to know how I can get the South Florida compilations!
Sam: I suggest eBay. I don’t have contracts with any of those artists anymore. I don’t even know where to find most of them. I couldn’t ethically re-release those cassettes at this point. Those early cassettes are really rare, I made perhaps 100 – 150 of each of them.
James Hopkins: More about distribution would be interesting. How you set it up and kept it going all these years. That’d be great to read.
Sam: When Projekt started, I was in College, living in Florida. I would put cassettes on consignment at a few local record stores and also sell them mail-order via little ads in magazines like Option and Sound Choice. As I moved into LPs and then CDs, I worked with a variety of distributors that sold to stores. In the 1991-1997 period, Projekt didn’t have an exclusive distributor, to get CDs to stores we sold through Cargo, Silent, Rough Trade, Caroline, etc. etc. I sold to everyone, and it was a mess getting paid.
Here’s a story.
One of the companies that bought from Projekt was Tower Records. In around 1994 (I believe), Tower owed Projekt $50,000 for Blacktape, Love Spirals Downwards and Lycia CDs they ordered and sold through the stores. Like almost every vendor back then, they were late at paying. Or just flat out refused to pay. I put Tower on hold and kept nagging them, but they wouldn’t pay up; they knew Projekt needed them more than they needed me. $50,000 not paid for 6 months would have put most little labels out of business. Fortunately for me, I had cash flow from other distributors, including overseas. Hyperium sold a lot of Projekt CDs, at that time. Eventually, Projekt had new albums from a few of the bigger bands, and I remember talking on a pay phone while visiting New York City, I was telling the finance person at Tower that they’d have to pay up to get these new titles. I guess they wanted the releases because they agreed and sent me a check. After I cashed it, I told them to screw themselves. I wasn’t going to send them any more CDs unless they paid me up front; I didn’t want to find myself stuck in the same situation with them, in six months. They were REALLY pissed off and told me Projekt will never be stocked in Tower again. Maybe it was stupid of me to make that choice, however I don’t like working with partners who dick me around.
In 1997 when Projekt went exclusive with Ryko Distribution, Tower stocked our CDs again. So, it ended well. For Projekt, at least. My label is still in business. A few bankruptcies later, Tower is gone.
Alisa InCupcakeland: This is kind of off topic but.. do you have a book recommendation?
Sam: Sure. My book recommendation is my erotic novel RYE; a good option if you’d like a fun, silly, serious love story. With lots of non-mainstream sex…. : ) Get it for Kindle at Amazon or buy the signed physical book from me!
Frost V. Insomnium: I also miss printed catalogs, I could meditate on what to buy while lying on my bed, watching tv, using the bathroom. Instead of spending time tied to a computer .
Sam: But Frost, you can do all those things with a laptop: “lying on my bed, watching tv, using the bathroom” : ) But yes, I have ideas about a new printed thingie! I am thinking of making a paper-catalog again; perhaps starting with the 3-fold sheet of paper, like in the early days. I think that would be very cool.
Ok, we have time for one more question. Over there in the back, Yeah, the guy raising his hand… : )
Steve Baldwin: Well, was it worth it?
Sam: I support myself from Projekt. I haven’t had “a real job” in 20 years. So hell yeah, it’s worth it! All of you make it possible for me to do this. I support myself and my son from your interest in Projekt and the artists I work with. That’s really worth it!Back in stock
“Each track arises from silence, coming to full volume like a film slowly coming into focus. From there, listeners waft along a gentle current of majestic bass swells, chimes, and soft-focus clouds of billowing sound.” – Yoga Journal September 2014. Purchase the CD for $18 at the Projekt site / Stream or Digital Download for $18 at Bandcamp.Steve Roach’s The Long Night Structures From Silence reviewed in Santa Sangre Magazine
“Using analog and digital synths but also traditional instruments such as ocarina and cedar flute, as well as field recordings, the first words that come to mind when searching for a verbal description of this music, are ‘shamanic’ and ‘earthly.’ . . . A mysterious, ghostly aura always hovers above this landscape of abstract elements and fading apparitions.” – Santa Sangre Magazine. Purchase the CD for $14 at the Projekt site / Stream or Digital Download for $10 at Bandcamp.Erik Wøllo’s Tundra reviewed at Star’s End
“As with all of Wøllo’s releases the use of sound on Tundra is not only dramatic but infinitely subtle in its scale of values and carries a hidden story… Some of the five tracks on Tundra suggest a yearning for spiritual fulfillment through increasingly bright hues and mounting forms, while others explore the lure of the unfamiliar, the remote and the primitive.” – starsend.org. Purchase the CD for $14 at the Projekt site. Only 5 copies left! / Stream or Digital Download for $4 at Bandcamp.Link-a-doodle-doo
Bettie Page was the #8 top-earning dead celebrity in 2013. Who knew!?
There’s a new Amanda Palmer article, that got everyone all grumpy on my Facebook page. I don’t know if anyone actually read it, or were just upset by the headline and Amanda’s name. Honestly, I haven’t had a chance to read it, yet, but Amanda often has interesting insight into things. I’m going to make a bullet points list of the things she writes that could apply to us.
Interesting infographics from the New York Times. Very few New Yorkers move to Oregon. Californian transplants are the largest people moving in; this explains why Portlanders love New Yorkers and dislike Californianers. Check your state…
And here’s the other half of The Dresden Dolls! Get your Brian Viglione t-shirts, Underwear, etc…. it’s the Viggie close-out sale.
Saturday September 6 Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace Book Panel. Brooklyn’s Rough Trade Record Store present this discussion on 1980s goth subculture (fashion, music, evolution) in the US/NYC – moderated by Kate Eichhorn. Athan Maroulis (of Black Tape FOr A Blue Girl and Nori is on the panel). Frankie Teardrop spinning rare postpunk and goth vinyl. No wristband required.
Not surprising to anyone who works in the record business: Streaming Isn’t Saving the Music Industry After All, Data Shows. Read the article at Digital Music News.
“Life After Brooklyn” is an informative New York Times article about housing prices in Brooklyn, and how it is driving many long time residents out of NYC completely. I was one of those in the diaspora.
My son is very excited by the Goatcam. We have it as a private channel on the Roku Box, so we can stream goats all day! : )
Digital Ferret exceeded their indiegogo goal. The store will transition to Joe soon! There’s still time to donate, and get some great music at a great price.
A free sampler from Black Tape For A Blue Girl The Collection sells for $5 at iTunes, or get it for free at blacktape’s Bandcamp page. Ten songs spanning twenty-eight years of music. Thanks so much for your interest.
Please share this link with your friends: https://blacktapeforabluegirl.bandcamp.com/album/the-collection
If you want to share this email with your friends, here is the shortcode: http://www.projekt.com/store/?p=5891
Hi, this is Sam of blacktape. I’m really happy that somewhere along the way you discovered my music. Getting reconnected with so many of you over the last year has been incredible, amazing and inspiring. I put together this collection for you. It contains many of the “hit” songs we’ve recorded over the years, some introspective album tracks, as well as our cover of a Dead Can Dance song.
If you like the music my bandmates and I have created, please… share the link below!
Please share this link with your friends: https://blacktapeforabluegirl.bandcamp.com/album/the-collection
From Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal
We just had our one year anniversary. “Of what?” you ask? Of Joe running the webstore. “Joe?” you ask, now even more perplexed as you lean in toward your monitor. Yeah. You remember? Remember last year at the end of August, I packed up Projekt and drove cross-country? At that point, Joe took over the fulfillment on the Projekt webstore. “Really?” you ask. “I don’t remember this!” Ok… Maybe it’s because I never mentioned it. That must be it. : )
But things have been running wonderfully, haven’t they?
Projekt orders are filled out of Philadelphia’s Digital Ferret record store. Joe has been the full-time manager of the shop for ten years (that’s him in the photo above, note the Remnants of a deeper purity vinyl on the shelf behind him!). Last Summer, as I prepared for buggin’ out of Brooklyn, Shea and I discussed possibilities for the webstore. One idea was for Shea to take it over, get a space and keep it in NYC; but the rents are just too high out there; without the label income, the webstore would have a hard time making ends meet. Besides, Shea had other plans (moose, travel, lattes, sheep, bikes, life!).
I hit upon the idea of out-sourcing. But India was too far away for mail-orders (Ha! No. No! I never actually considered India). When Shea and I discussed possible partners, we realized the best fit would be a similar business with experience filling web-orders. Ideally, it would be a partner that understood this genre; who could keep things moving seamlessly.
Working with Joe made perfect sense. Digital Ferret Records was already a customer for Projekt CDs; and we both stocked similar import titles, sourcing a lot of the releases from our friends at Audioglobe Distribution in Italy. A big up-side to working with Joe was combining our ordering power, he could order more often from Audioglobe, providing faster fulfillment and a wider variety of titles in the Projekt store. This change was an improvement, not just a solution.
Now it’s been a year and everything has been running great.[ I have to admit that it was odd for me, to part from my mail-order department. I’ve been sticking musical recordings into packages – and then into the mail – for 30 years. It was a change, not having this department under my roof. But now it feels really good, because things work so effortlessly. And since you’re probably wondering… Yes! Shea still works for Projekt. She does behind-the-scenes label promotions stuff, as well as works on the website, tweets, facebookering, etc. Stuff she can do from the international space station, or wherever she’s at this week! ]
I asked Joe if he wanted to add anything to this post, and he emailed back: “I am not really one for words. Music is my passion. The more engulfed in this world I am, the happier I am.”
Shea and I really want to thank Joe for picking up the ball and running with it. And I bet our mail-order customers want to thank you, too. Now they know who to thank. It’s Joe!!
You can leave Joe a comment when you place your next order at Projekt.com.
Bandcamp top-5 of the last 30 days#1 Various: Summer 2014 – electronic & ambient sampler #2 tie: Erik Wollo: Tundra (ep) #2 tie: Steve Roach: The Delicate Forever #4 tie: Loren Nerell / Mark Seelig: Tree of Life #4 tie: Steve Roach / David Kelly: The Long Night
Grab your cup-o-joe, and get into today’s email list from Projekt Record’s Sam Rosenthal…
Last Friday, I went to the movies and caught a 35mm print of the Maysles’ documentary, Gimme Shelter; it’s about the 1969 Rolling Stones tour that ended with the horrific Altamonte free concert. There are so many thoughts still running through my head. Imagine being Mick Jagger: 26 years old, at the height of the Stone’s 60s popularity. What an amazing & scary position to be in. And think of the culture as the 60s drew to a close: “It was also a grim time around the world. The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, the Tet Offensive, the brutal suppression of the Prague Spring – all of these were recent memories.” (open culture)
Mick was attractive and charasmatic, the Stones were hot! What did people really expect them to do? They were in the middle of a messed up situation, they tried to calm the audience and Angels down, they played their music, they got the hell out of there. Obviously there should have been real security, and a moat between the audience and the stage. But sometimes things are just bad; none of the acts on stage were able to prevent the way that day went down.
That day, almost 45 years ago.
Although I run a goth/electronic/ambient label, I was informed by the late-60s rock-n-roll sensibility. I think in those terms, as far as success, and popularity, and reach. Sadly, it’s a world that is receding into the past. What band is as big as the Beatles or the Stones? Who puts out music that is as meaningful to such a large group of people? Do fans still follow a band’s progress like they did back then, anticipating their next single or album?Download this great compilation, your soundtrack to today’s elist. It’s a pay-as-you-wish Projekt electronic / ambient sampler. Ninty minutes of fabulous music, available for download or streaming at Bandcamp.
People often tell me that in order to keep Projekt alive, I have to get with the times: I have to run a label based on the modern way the record industry works. This is usually said by people who don’t realize I have been keeping up with the times; I am aware of the industry trends. It doesn’t mean I agree with all of them, or want to follow all of them. It doesn’t mean that all of the trends apply to the music Projekt releases.
Projekt is still here; I run the label for the people who follow the label. Projekt still functions in the world of selling stuff, and money earned off albums that artists have recorded.
The music business today is about giving music away for free to gain “exposure,” to enable touring and merchandising – this is where the big artists make their money. The Stones or U2 or Lady Gaga earn hundreds of millions of dollars touring. The biggest source of income is no longer the recorded album.
Which is sad. Because there are so many classic albums that mean so much to me. Fripp & Eno’s No Pussyfooting never would have existed, if 1973 was only about playing live or singles. Sad.
And yet I am still thinking about albums, and concept albums, and my friends recording in their home studios. That’s what I do, that’s the way I work. The nice thing is that there are fans out there who appreciate the recorded work of Projekt artists. When I check the stats, about 66% of Projekt’s digital income comes from full-album downloads. And physically, the label is almost entirely full-albums.
Projekt’s not a hit-song label. Voltaire is the exception. He has tracks that are massively downloaded individually, rather than as part of an album. But when somebody is interested in Steve Roach or Erik Wollo or Unto Ashes, they generally want the whole album. They want to dive into the work. I think that’s a legacy of the 60s and 70s perspective on music.
I am told that’s yesterday’s news, and I should get over it. But come on! I love that world.
I’m a rock-n-roller. I want to listen to an artist’s vision: 40 or 60 minutes of their work. I rarely put on single songs. I listen to albums. I know it’s archaic of me; yet it’s the way music exists for me. As a listener and as an artist.
Black Lung: The Great Golden Goal $15 Die Form: Rayon X Standard CD | $19 Grendel: Soilbleed Redux V.2 $12 Hexperos: Lost in the Great Sea | $20 In Strict Confidence: Lifelines Vol. 1 (91-98) – The Extended Versions $16
In Strict Confidence: Lifelines Vol. 2 (98-04) – The Extended Versions $16 The Klinik: 1984-1991 8-CD Box Set | $90 Lacrimosa: Live in Mexico City $30 Lustmord: Beyond Re-issue $15 Lustmord: The Dark Places of the Earth Re-issue $15 Noisuf-X: Invasion Limited 2-CD $24 Raison D’etre: Requiem for Abandoned Souls Expanded 2-CD Re-issue | $22 Steve Roach: The Delicate Forever with Bonus CD | $14 (only a few bonus CDs left) Steve Roach: The Desert Collection (Volume One) | $14 Tanzwut: Eselsmesse Limited Edition 2-CD | $25 Various Artists: History of NDW $22 Erik Wøllo: Tundra EP | $10
I am often told by people (on Facebook) that the album format is dead. They say we should all give up on that and release singles. Or Eps. I know the Cocteau Twins used to do that in the 80s, and I was always excited to hear their new work. Yet, I really loved getting a whole album, so I could drift below the surface and immerse myself in the world they created.
That’s the way I imagine Projekt fans: I imagine you’re a lot like me. You anticipate hearing where your favorite artist is going to take you. What new experience will they bring? That’s what music means to me. Yeah.
And that’s what I do in my band, Black Tape For A Blue Girl. I work on a set of songs that capture where I am at; I capture a certain moment in time. Alas, it takes me longer and longer between albums; I get distracted by all my obligations at Projekt. But I try to give myself time alone, to focus on music. This weekend, I created the basis for two new songs. When I begin, I don’t have a melody or lyric in mind. I turn on the synths, or get out the guitar, and I layer sounds together. I let it evolve. There’s some sort of ineffable process. I don’t know why this instrument needs to be turned up, or why I chose that chain of effects to process a sound, or why I think, “it needs something stringy here.” But I just know it needs to happen; that’s the creative process. You can’t explain it.
I have a number of new tracks evolving (separate from the June’14 studio access release, which you can still download for free here). These are song-oriented pieces; some sound like they are going to be dark-instrumentals, with violins on top.
There are two pieces to this concept in my mind. One is “time” and the other is “return.” I have an idea to return to the mood and sound of this lush garden or remnants of a deeper purity. To work in that vein, but with modern tools. I am intrigued. The “time” component has to do with all of us changing, growing, evolving. What has happened to us since those albums were released? It was almost 20 years ago!< I'll be in NYC in October, and I plan to go into a studio to record with my band. We will work on the pieces I've begun here in Portland; I'm excited to hear what we come up with. If I'm happy with the progress, I plan to Kickstart a new album for 2015 release. Yeah, I know. Six years after 10 Neurotics! Forever. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” as John Lennon said.
See, that’s the way I think. All these quotes, and moments, and events from rock-n-roll history. They have shaped my brain. Shaped my identity. And shaped who I am as a musician.
Projekt is 31 years old this month. Most of my life has been shaped by rock-n-roll!
And who thought I would quote Taylor Swift, but here goes:
Arrows Through the Heart There are always going to be those artists who break through on an emotional level and end up in people’s lives forever. The way I see it, fans view music the way they view their relationships. Some music is just for fun, a passing fling (the ones they dance to at clubs and parties for a month while the song is a huge radio hit, that they will soon forget they ever danced to). Some songs and albums represent seasons of our lives, like relationships that we hold dear in our memories but had their time and place in the past.
However, some artists will be like finding “the one.” We will cherish every album they put out until they retire and we will play their music for our children and grandchildren. As an artist, this is the dream bond we hope to establish with our fans.10 Projekt Cds for $15.
Purchase Here. Projekt has tons of overstock CDs in our storage space: wonderful music that longs to be heard! Help us clean up the place, and receive hours of enjoyment at the same time! $25 gets you 10 random Projekt CDs: a surprise selection of amazing Projekt music. This offer is limited, order your box today!
I know there are Projekt artists that you cherish, that will stay with you all your life. Those of you who read this list and order from our store have probably found “the one.” And I really appreciate that it’s an artist I’ve released on Projekt. You are the people who support our creativity and truly value that we’re still out there on the edge, making new music.
Three weeks ago, Projekt released Steve Roach’s The Delicate Forever. The first 500 customers (at steveroach.com and projekt) received a bonus album, The Delicate Beyond. Steve and I brainstormed many different ideas for how to release that second disc, and what felt really good was giving it away with initial orders. We appreciate your support of Steve’s music, and your dedication to his creativity.
For artists, the number of loyal fans have decreased over the years. Yet speaking from my own experience with Blacktape, those of you who have stuck with me are more devoted than ever. I’ve learned this doing a few Kickstarters. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, I’d connect with people via snail mail. Letters. Then when the internet came along, communication dropped off (strangely enough). Doing Kickstarters has rekindled this relationship. You tell me about the joy you get from the work I create. It really is a big thing for me.
I have to be honest. Back in the day, recording a song was a relief valve. It was a way to deal with personal angst (“For you will burn your wings upon the sun,” for example!). Over the years, I changed. I got more comfortable with myself. And being a dad has been a wonderful opportunity to connect with somebody, to love somebody completely, and be more than my own personal collection of angst and drama.
I still make music, but it serves a different purpose.
All along, the song itself was not the source of my satisfaction. What I was excited about was connecting with listeners: having my communication received. In other words, I don’t think I’d keep making music, if nobody heard it. It just wouldn’t fulfill me to make a song, and put it in a drawer. The completion of the communication is what I like.
For that reason, I should get over this concern I have about my music being out there for free. I will admit that I’m a contradiction in this regards. I grew up in the 70s, and came up through the 80s music scene when we sold cassettes and LPs. On into the 90s, Blacktape (and Projekt) sold a lot of music. Blacktape has sold over 120,000 units! These things (sales) indicate “success” to me as an artist. It meant my communication was being received. Nowadays, so much music is heard, but there is no real way to measure that ‘success.’
Maybe I just need to get over it?
I have to really think into this. Am I attempting to justify the change I don’t like? Or can I let go of the past and the old way of doing things? Can I move on with the way things are? As Buddhists say: Suffering is not accepting reality for what it is.
“People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don’t suffer anymore.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
I’ll admit that it fu¢ks with my head. Can I work with the way things are? My views of the past are sometimes productive, but sometimes they get in the way. There is only now.
I have a number of musician friends who – thought they won’t say it publicly – have given up on making music. They feel like a very personal part of themselves is taken for granted, or worse: stolen from them. They just aren’t happy anymore with what is going on, as well as the reality that they cannot break even making their art. It’s a great loss. It’s sad that they are chosing to quiet their voice out of disappointment.
For me, I know I have a dillema about this. I could use a therapist who talks us musicians off the ledge. Somebody who helps us see what we’re gaining in the new music industry. We’ve been raised with certain mileposts. Things have changed. That is clear.
Back to the Stones.
I never expected to write another “Gimme Shelter,” or play a free concert for 300,000 people. But I have grown up on rock, and music is my world. I do what I do because it’s part of me.
It’s really great that you enjoy it, and you allow me to live my non-mainstream life, via it. That’s pretty cool, people. Thank you again.
Agonoize: Apokalypse Limited 2-CD Berlin-based inferno of hard beats, brutal shouts and thudding bass. $23 Android Lust: The Dividing (10th anniversary 2-LP Vinyl edition) Limited edition on clear vinyl. $25 Ataraxia: Wind At Mount Elo Modern Classical/Neofolk masterpiece by the Italian project. $18 Cocksure: TVMALSV Bridging the gap between waxtrax! era industrial and future sounds of mass corruption. $14 Deine Lakaien: Acoustic II $25 Deine Lakaien: Farewell/Where the Winds Don’t Blow CDS First taster for the new album Crystal Palace. $11 Deine Lakaien: Crystal Palace Limited Box A return to the sonic atmospheres of the early days (1986-1990). $49 Deine Lakaien: Crystal Palace Limited Digipak +3 Bonus Tracks $25 Funker Vogt: Survivor 3-CD Box Collector’s Edition with bonus material and rare, unreleased tracks. $26 Heimataerde: Kaltwaerts Limited 2-CD BOX A unique mix of electro-sounds and medieval atmosphere. $85 Heimataerde: Kaltwaerts Limited 2-CD $23 Heimataerde: Kaltwaerts $19 In Slaughter Natives: Cannula Coma Legio The band delves into more obscure ambient territories. $14 KMFDM: We Are Live album features favorites new and old. $14 Lustmord: Kraków October 22 2010 Live limited edition. $24 Pride and Fall: Turn the Lights On EP Remix contest EP with exclusive b-side. $15 Project Pitchfork: Blood 2-CD + Book An interlocked, carefully conceive, powerful dark electro album. $59 Project Pitchfork: Blood $20 Prude: The Dark Age of Consent Wild mix of 70’s NYC punk/glam with a harsh, damaged electronic edge. $14 Sequential Access: Sex Addict Anonymous 13 tracks of pure golden era electro-industrial. $14 Sopor Aeternus: Mitternacht CD/Book All-new album with 36-page book. $55 Sopor Aeternus: Mitternacht 2-LP $90 Staubkind: Alles Was Ich Bin Limited 4-CD Box Berlin-based group walks the tightrope between cinematic rock anthems and fragile ballads. $53 Staubkind: Alles Was Ich Bin Limited 2-CD $23 The Birthday Massacre: Violet LP Limited Ediition purple vinyl. $19 The Lonely Soul Experience: Path of Blood Blutengel’s Chris Pohl takes us into opulent fantasy-worlds. $19 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Holdrejtek Medieval-influenced ethereal vocals, violin, acoustic and percussion. $23 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Mohalepte 2-CD Re-issue Bonus cd includes three previously unreleased songs! $25 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Of Dreams Forgotten And Fables Untold Re-issue $22 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Rego Rejtem Re-issue $22 Various Artists: Amphi Festival 2014 Who’s who of the electro and gothic scene. $15
Kurt Sutter Calls Out Google: Stop Profiting from Piracy Read it at Variety | This is really good, and worth reading. And sharing. “Google is in the process of systematically destroying our artistic future, and more importantly, the future of our children and grandchildren. They’re spending tens of millions of dollars each year on eroding creative copyright laws.”
Tricky trademark question! Read it at Telegraph.co.uk | Wikimedia, the non-profit organisation behind Wikipedia, has refused a photographer’s repeated requests to stop distributing his most famous shot for free – because a monkey pressed the shutter button and should own the copyright
Stephen Colbert Gives Life Advice to Young Girls Watch it at Time.com
Clintons Support de Blasio’s Push to Bring Democratic Convention to Brooklyn Read it at N.Y. Times | Well, don’t actually read it. I just wanted to point out this high quality, NYC snarksmanship: Asked about Mr. Rendell’s comments on Wednesday, Mr. Ragone replied, “Can you quote me shrugging?”
The Brazilian Bus Magnate Who’s Buying Up All the World’s Vinyl Records Read it at N.Y. Times
Your Favorite Songs, Abridged Read it at NPR.org | When they say “twice the music,” though, they actually mean half the song. That is, this station plays songs that have been heavily edited: long opening riffs, instrumental breaks, even a chorus or two might disappear. The goal, the station’s representatives say, is to keep listeners from getting bored.
Steve Roach: The Delicate Forever
“The title for this release is more than adequate, as the atmosphere it creates is so fragile and otherworldly that it feels as if it might shatter to little pieces at the slightest touch. . . . A concept so unreachable that it resembles a desert mirage.” – Santa Sangre Magazine
(pay-as-you-wish) Available at Bandcamp.
If you’d like to share this eList with friends, you can link to: http://www.projekt.com/store/?p=5798
Free sampler at Bandcamp
Summer 2014 Electronic & Ambient Sampler Stream or download at our Bandcamp store. Projekt has been very active with a number of amazing new albums in the electronic and ambient genres. I created this sampler to give you an overview of these albums; see which ones excite you! Ninty minutes of music from Steve Roach, Erik Wøllo, Steve Roach / Kelly David, Mercury’s Antennae, Loren Nerell / Mark Seelig, Byron Metcalf / Mark Seelig and Sam Rosenthal.
Please share this link with your friends: http://projektrecords.bandcamp.com/album/summer-2014
Copyright © 2014 Projekt, All rights reserved. Cover image by Kentleigh (a.k.a. rebel28) Projekt Records; 732 South 4th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19147