Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Nov 03

New: Unto Ashes. Roach / Reyes. Plus: Political Rant returns!

From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal.

Hi, I want to thank you for your enthusiastic responses to for my recent series of blogs on Projekt and the music industry. I’ve been told that it’s risky to talk about money and units, and what is happening behind the scenes. It pops the bubble, perhaps. But I think the reality of what it’s like to be an artist in 2014 is a story that needs to be told,. So thanks for supporting that “risk taking.” I’m sorry I haven’t had an update on that…. I’ve been in and out of town the last week, and haven’t had a moment to write the next installment. No excuse, I know. I’ll get back on it!

Unto Ashes: Ghosts Captured

$10 Download or $15 CD

Ghosts Captured is extremely limited; 200-unit edition in ProCDr 4-panel ecoWallet. While supplies last, your CD purchase of Ghost Captured includes a free copy of Unto Ashes’ Burials Foretold.

For fifteen years, acclaimed darkwave ensemble Unto Ashes have been unrepentant and uncompromising purveyors of apocalyptic folk, neo-Medieval, gothic, neoclassical, and ethereal music; during that time they have released seven full-length albums and a number of singles and compilation tracks. Their newest release, Ghosts Captured, is easily their most ambitious effort to date. The album contains a total of 25 cover songs (18 on the physical CD and an additional 7 available for free download at Bandcamp), breathing “blood-lit” life into an incredibly broad array of songs from some of the most improbable bands on record.

Ghosts Captured‘s reinterpretations comprise more than 90 minutes of exceptional voice arrangements atop Medieval & Renaissance instruments, acoustic guitar, keyboards, and electronics. With considerable panache, imagination, self-assurance, and verve, Unto Ashes have certainly captured the ghosts of some of their favorite piece

According to Unto Ashes mastermind Michael Laird, the album is entitled Ghosts Captured because, “These songs have been haunting our minds, in various ways and to varying degrees, for years. We’ve always enjoyed the challenge of making covers, but obviously it can be very risky, even to try, because in so many instances the originals can never be surpassed. However, our only intention has been to pay homage to the original creation, to show our respect and admiration. For us, the process of arranging and recording a cover version can take ages, but we do it to exorcise the ghost of that which has continued to possess us. To be obsessed with a song, to listen to it over and over and over, and study it; to break it down and destroy it; to rebuild it and ultimately to make it our own… This is the only way for us to free ourselves from the obsession. Someone said that the only way out is to go further in. That’s what we’ve had to do. The new album presents the vehicles of our release from songs that have been echoing relentlessly through our minds for so long. They are all ghosts, captured.”

Read the full the description at Projekt.com

Steve Roach & Jorge Reyes: The Ancestor Circle

$10 Download or $14 CD

Through the end of today (Monday), try before you buy. Stream the whole album (and then purchase for $10) at Bandcamp

Conjuring images of a primal futurism, this alchemical blending-of-sound is a ceremonial offering to the forgotten gods. The Ancestor Circle is a new tribal-ambient-electronic collaboration, the first recording from Roach & Reyes since Vine ~ Bark & Spore (Timeroom 2000). This is the lost chapter of a long soulful journey that has taken twists and turns in its unfoldment. The music feels steeped in a frothy mind-altering blend, waiting for years as the potency increased. Roach & Reyes combined their instinctual nature — developed over almost a decade of worldwide live and studio adventures — leading up to the core of what became The Ancestor Circle. It is in this circle that their sound is unearthed from deep within their primordial soundworld, where prehistory meets future-tech creating a sound impossible to carbon date. Like the audio artifacts of a lost tribe, the studio source recordings that form this album’s foundation were uncovered in 2013 on a cryptically-marked set of tapes. Created the week before Roach & Reyes’ May 2000 concert at Tucson’s Temple of Music and Art, this is their last joint studio project as Reyes passed on to The Ancestor Circle in 2009.

Roach comments, “Jorge is still very much alive here in the circle where we always met with an unspoken language of sound constantly moving through us. As I completed this music now, adding new elements and evolving the arrangement, I could feel Jorge’s spirit listening and interacting with me in the studio, offering feedback or sometimes making his guttural sounds of agreement like he would do in the past when we were deep in the process of carving on a mix. Just as in previous magical studio and stage experiences, we are in the circle once again.”

Read the full description at Projekt.com

Impressive Jack Pumpkin from Projekt fan E Rachel Gilley !

Liberal Political Rant.

If this will offend you, please feel free to skip this section.

A few people mentioned that they miss my political rants. It is true that I’ve stripped these opinions out of the eList for quite a long time. Prior to George Bush stealing the 2000 election, I put a lot of energy into why I thought Al Gore would be better for America (maybe we’d be doing something about Climate Change by now, yeah?). But instead, we got what the Supreme Court wanted us to have. Ok, blame the judiciary. But this time, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. The party that has said “No” every step of the way for the last six years, the party that has no ideas, the party that wants to make life better for their corporate overlords (while worse for you and me) is about to be given full control of Congress. Do you hear the calls for impeachment yet? You will, my friend, you will.

Well… what can you do?

You can vote! Are you going to the polls, to make a difference?

We get the democracy that we desire.

I cannot believe that the Congress is about to have a Republican majority in both houses. It will be the result of the non-stop campaign of lies coming from the G.O.P. They know the more they lie, the more they encourage hate for the government, the more opportunity they have for their true agenda. Screwing all of us!

From every indicator, the country is better off than when Obama took office, and yet the majority of Americans believe things are worse than 6 years ago. Why? Faux Lies. “Here’s another irony: With the annual budget deficit down two-thirds from what it was when President Bush left it, people think it’s worse. … That last one is not a poll of opinion, that’s a poll of people’s understanding of basic facts. The deficit is way, way, way, way down, but people think it’s up.” From Esquire.com

And what’s even worse, people think the Republicans are more likely to have our best interests at heart, and will work to make our lives better. Hold on, let me catch my breath from the laughing. While it is true that both parties are ultimately beholden to big business, at least the Democrats are more likely to try to make our lives better. The Dems have a few good ones in there, such as Elizabeth Warren (who should be the next president!) and Al Franken.

I’d also like to point out (as Warren would) that while the G.O.P. blames Obama for the loss of good jobs in America, the true culprit is the corporations and their rich stockholders. There is no longer any incentive to keep jobs in America. They want to outsource so they can pay less, while hiding their profits overseas. And screw all of you! Where are all the good jobs? They’ve all been shipped to China, man. Why? So Mr. 1% can make more in his portfolio. Screw the people, it’s the Rich that must be kept happy.

We created this culture, you know?

If it were up to me, I’d ban all companies who don’t pay their taxes in the U.S. Who needs them? They love making money off Americans, but they hate paying their taxes and supporting the country that makes them rich. You call that ‘patriotism,’ my friend? I call that being a greedy ba$tard with nothing but self-interest as motivation. Corporations suck. They want to suck you dry. And then the Republicans will Ayn Rand you, and tell you to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Nice little racket they got going there.

Wow, how short our memory is! It is hard to imagine this could be printed anywhere other than an ONION article: “Republicans said the onus would be on Mr. Obama, faulting him for being unwilling to accommodate the opposition.” From The New York Times. What? Obama is the problem? Lies! But reading the quote carefully, I think what the Republicans actually mean by “accommodate the opposition” is “do exactly what we want, our we’ll shut the government down.”

And THOSE are the people who are going to be running the Congress in a couple of days. Shouldn’t Republicans be punished for Ted Cruz’ antics just a year ago? Have people already forgotten the 2013 shutdown? The Republicans are going to be rewarded for this!?!?

On Facebook, a few people replied with the meme that it’s both parties fauly. It would be nice to spread the blame around, but it’s just not true (another Republican lie, imagine!). From Day 1, the Republican’s plan was purely: “Don’t let the Black guy get anything he wants.” It’s a surprise that Obama has achieved as much as he has. Biden: Mitch McConnell vowed no cooperation with the Obama administration from the get-go. From Daily Kos

BUT the fact is most Americans are sheep. They believe the Faux News, and are going to give the Republicans MORE POWER, rather than punish them for

Ok. Now that I’ve pissed off 50% of the people reading this list. I’ll shut up with the politics, and get on to two great new Projekt releases… : )

Link-a-doodle-doo

The Ultimate Halloween Darkwave mix. Tracks from Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Android Lust, Mirabilis, Mercury’s Antennae… http://www.mixcloud.com/synthpeej/samhain/

New video from Makaras Pen from the JOURNEYS TO THE END digital-only release. Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gU0rHgCaXSY

Evaderon is a free iPhone game, and short soundtrack, from Shikhee of Android Lust. Download: from Android Lust

Bono apologizes: http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/15/tech/web/u2-bono-free-itunes/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

Four new releases from Spotted Peccary Music on pre-order, in stock early November:

Csillagköd: Silent World CD $14 Erik Wøllo: Traces (Remastered Re-issue) CD $14 Phillip Wilkerson & Chris Russell: Vague Traces CD $14 Shane Morris & Mystified: Evolution CD $14

Qntal: Qntal VII Limited Edition (Pre-Order, Expected Late November) CD $22 First limited edition in 6-panel Digipak with special cover-print in ‘glow in the dark’ ink, 2 exclusive bonus tracks and special 28-page booklet! With Sarah “Mariko” Newman (of Unto Ashes).<

25 Icons of Echoes

Cheers to Steve Roach for topping Echoes’ 25-Year Listener’s Poll. You guys helped out with that; cheers for your support, as well!

Movies In The Dark

Projekt presents a series of Gothy-films at Portland’s lovely & historic Hollywood Theatre. The first one is David Bowie’s THE HUNGER on Friday December 5. Facebook Event Page.

Personally, I don’t want to go out to a goth club at 1am for a drink. But I’d love to catch a film with all my darkwave friends! So let’s make it an event, with gift bags, raffles, and more…..!

Projekt is presenting a series of gothy-movies at Portland’s lovely & historic Hollywood Theatre. Catch Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon (and a brief live performance from Bauhaus) in Tony Scott’s 1983 film. THE HUNGER is the story of a love triangle between a doctor who specializes in sleep and aging research and a vampire couple.

Oct 19

ProjektList#20141020 | Too much input, not enough output!

From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal.

[ Written Sunday morning ] This weekend, I am supposed to be making one final attempt at writing lyrics for a new Black Tape For A Blue Girl song, so I can record with Athan in New York City next Monday. But frankly, it’s too early in the process to create lyrics I’m excited about (the stuff I’ve written so far is perhaps up to a “m’eh!”). I keep drifting towards writing dark electronic songs based upon my horn sound named “102 Hypocrite=Me” (this is a sound I created in the A Chaos of Desire era). Ok, do what feels right, I suppose. Two new songs started…

But, oddly enough, my brain is having a few ideas for the follow-up to my novel Rye. This is good, because work on that has been stalled (and by ‘stalled’ I mean, ‘not started’). It is so stereotypical to be a writer with writer’s block after finishing a first novel! I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “block” (even thought it HAS been two years since Rye was published). I’d say I’ve just not been making enough time and space to get back in the mood for writing.

Something occurred to me in the car Friday morning on the way to my son’s bus stop. He loves turning on NPR to listen to whatever they are reporting on. I am so tired of hearing about Ebola. NPR is filling all the available space in my brain. It makes me a bit nuts; I realize the radio leaves me no space to think.

Early on Saturday morning, I walked two-and-a-half miles to downtown Portland; headed towards The Fresh Pot coffee shop. Forty minutes of walking. No radio, no news on the ipad, no texts on the phone. The only things I had to do was drop off some promo packages at the mailbox, and drop off my voting ballot at the ballot box (as an aside, let me say it is so cool that every registered voter in Oregon gets a ballot in the mail. We fill it out at home and send it back in. Every state should use this system). Anyway… forty minutes of walking. No NPR. No news. Crossing from residential to the industrial east side; on the bridge over the river, then slipping within the tall buildings downtown. Just walking and my brain randomly thinking about nothing in particular.

While I was sitting at Fresh Pot, I had an idea. I asked the guy behind the counter if he had a sheet of paper and I filled both sides with sloppy red writing. It might be something for my next book. It might be trash. But I wrote SOMETHING!

I am thinking about how to re-introduce my characters in the sequel to Rye. I find it’s a common problem in sequels that writers assume you already know their characters, and they jump right into the story. A writer I met made this mistake in her sequel. Having never read the first book, I was confused by the third sentence. One cannot assume readers know your characters like you do. And yet, you don’t want to bore your return readers with the obvious. This dilemma has been on my mind for a while.

Every day when I was working on Rye, I walked a-mile-and-a-quarter each way to Projekt; I was taking in the surroundings, watching out for traffic, seeing what the druggies at the housing project were up to; and my thoughts were also working on the issues I was gaming out with my characters and plot.

That kind of input from my environment doesn’t seem to hamper my creativity. It seems to stimulate it. But the radio, the internet, information-inflow? That seems to be a problem. My friend often says: too much input, not enough output! Too much pre-chewed information is bad for my creativity. I have to turn off the radio, stop reading so much news. Walk a mile to a coffee shop. And let me brain do it’s thing.

Hey, check this out: I finally got into the last decade and bought an iPhone. My old blackberry-styled phone wasn’t ringing anymore and the back was being held on by painter’s tape. It was time to get semi-modern.

I am very aware of a problem I’m about to face: iPhone addiction. I don’t want to use the phone as a time-filler, or as a video-watching-device. I want to use it to make my life better (find things on Yelp when I’m out of the house, read texts from the people I am about to meet, make phone calls). I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes and thinking, “Yeah, good luck on that one, Sam!” But really, I want to fight the urge to nurture this addiction. I sense people are losing their connection to other people and their environment, as they crawl into their technology. They’re walking down the street watching cat videos and reading about the ten hottest actresses in SciFi films. All well and good, if that’s how you want to fill your life.

I want my life to be filled with creativity.

Speaking of… I am supposed to be in the studio, rather than procrastinating here writing this blog. At least blogging is writing; it’s creating something; it’s output.

(Yes, I admit it, I shot this photo of my ESI on my iPhone!)

I am out of town next weekend and after that, there are two new Projekt releases to announce. Then I’ll pick back up on the intrinsic value of music (which I started talking about in last week’s blog).

Take care, Sam

Link-a-doodle-doo

Hi Florida. Which Billionaire would you like to buy your governor? Article at The New York Times.

Not One Artist’s Album Has Gone Platinum In 2014. Read the article at Forbes.

This Thursday in Portland… Sound & Chaos: The Story of BC Studio. For over 30 years, Martin Bisi has recorded music at his studio in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood. Brian Eno worked on the album On Land there. Bisi worked with many other influential musicians there, including Sonic Youth, Swans, Angels of Light, John Zorn, Foetus and the Dresden Dolls. I recorded Brian Viglione’s drums for 10 Neurotics at BC Studio. This film plays Thursday 10/23 at the Hollywood Theatre. There’s a free afterparty + performance by Martin at Club 21. Facebook Event Page.

DEVO free Concert in Times Square from last week. Watch the whole thing on youTube.

Weep: Weep (Pre-order, expected late October) | CD $14 Doc Hammer’s latest CD of lush and powerful Dark Rock with a bit of Shoegaze panache. I Die You Die writes: “The tack that the group’s taken with their fourth full-length, from its unassuming eponymous name to its intentionally buzz-forsaking promotional strategy, to its less bombastic yet no less memorable sound seems specifically designed to avoid putting Weep in the same category or conversation as its predecessor.”

Please share your thoughts below. If you are signed in, your comment appears immediately. Otherwise, it will appear when I get on-line to approved it. If you want to share this blog on your pages, here’s the shortcode: https://www.projekt.com/store/?p=6584. Thanks. Sam

Oct 12

ProjektList#20141012 | What does the future hold?

From Projekt Record & Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s Sam Rosenthal.

On Friday afternoon, I hung out with the people behind the electronic label Spotted Peccary Music. They release great CDs plus they’re the company that serves up Projekt’s 24/96k high res files.

We were sitting at picnic tables in the open-air back-porchy-like room of a typical Portland-styled drinking establishment. Wood-planked walls, beer signs over the steps to the bar, a food-cart belching scented smoke as it turned out Philly-styled Italian food. I’m painting a picture for you, a little setting of reality before this blog heads off and becomes cerebral. We’re sitting there, drinking our what-have-yous, having a really great brainstorming session concerning many tangents in the music industry, including physical vs. digital, will people pay for music, and the new landscape for survival.

Howard looks up and asks a question, I begin to answer, but then go off topic and start talking about how fans interact with bands. In “the old days” (the mid ’90s), Projekt could release an album from a band with no image (and a lot of mystery), mention it a few places, buy a few ads, send postcards and catalogs, and wham! We’d sell 2-3000 copies. People were itchin’ to hear new music, and Projekt was a reputable source for interesting new acts.

But that’s not how you get involved with music, these days, is it? Let’s face it, “fans” can access most music for free, if they really want to. The old model of a label releasing a faceless band, you heading to a record store to buy their CD, and then hearing their music for the first time when you get the CD home… that’s sort of over. What I find through my blogs, Facebook, and Kickstarter campaigns is that you want a connection to the artists you’re excited about. Few bands can survive, reclusively hiding in their bedroom-studio-caves. Yes, maybe a few legacy bands can get by on that, but certainly not younger bands; and certainly not older bands who never successively made the transition to the promotion-connection of social media in the modern age.

I see this problem, over and over. I speak with artists who haven’t had an album in ten or fifteen years, and they pull out absurd examples for why things should be a certain way; “Back in 1994, when we toured….” or “When the old label was placing the ad campaign for my last album in 2006.” Man, that’s a million years ago. The record industry doesn’t work like that anymore!

Well, I could shorten that sentence down to, “The record industry doesn’t work.”

This is the point where my brain shoots off onto a hundred different tangents. Try to follow me here…..

What motivates us artists to keep going?

For Xmas 2009, I posted a blog concerning the topic of Success. In it, a number of Projekt (and related artists) talked about what success means to them. Hold on a minute, I am going to go back and re-read it now, with five years of perspective. …. …. ….

Yep. I still agree with what I wrote back then: “…in the end, what I really enjoy is successfully making the artistic statement I want to make. When each album is fresh and new, it is the most accurate statement of where I am, creatively. At that moment, I am complete.”

But, I would clarify that.

To me, success is having my artistic statement received by the listeners. I like when that communication is completed.

And yet, that’s not what my brain thinks about. I need to do some self-reflection, to understand why I still have a money-centric definition of success.

Units and Dollars

Here’s the thing, Black Tape For A Blue Girl and Projekt was huge when the music industry measured success in units sold and dollars earned. Back in the 90s, bands like Blacktape could sell a lot of records. As mentioned last blog, at the peak Blacktape’s 1996 Remnants of a deeper purity sold around 16,000 copies.

( That was then. I don’t live in the past. I only expect a fraction of that, for the next album. )

And yet, I find that I cling to that old belief: units and dollars indicate success. I am using an outdated measuring stick.

I know there are fans of my creations; people who really connect to what I am working on (and what I have created in the past). And yet, I am still thinking that the way to measure that success is the same as it was in the mid-90s: by looking at a spreadsheet containing units and dollars.

I’ve been asking myself, “What is success to me?” or “Why did I want to make art in the first place?” The answer, as I said above, is: I want to communicate. For me, successful communication is the goal of making art. What matters is that people receive my work. They experience it. And that is not at all related to profit. In fact, I probably have more ‘success’ (by my own definition) now, then 20 years ago. Why do I say that? Because anyone can hear my work, without the barrier of having to pay for it.

So, why doesn’t that feel good to me?

Well, part is because I cling to the old paradigm about sales.

And the other part is I have this underlying belief in “fairness.” If I spend the hours doing the work of being an artist, I should get paid!

A friend wrote — when I asked him why this “getting paid” matters so much to me — “Perhaps it’s a matter of ethics, not so much the actual number but the idea of getting paid. After all, you try and pay people what you say you will pay them, on time and quite accurately; then I think you expect the same of others.”

I don’t want my favorite artists to be amateurs.

I really want to live in a world where artists can focus on their art. Would I want John Cale to have to work as a viola instructor, so he can take off two weeks a year to play some shows? David Bowie, maybe he’s a graphic designer? Marc Almond, he’s probably a drag queen, or turning high-end tricks with members of the Houses of Parliament : ) . Voltaire is a bartender, the one that you visit every week because he’s so damn entertaining. Think about it! It’s a very weird world where the-average-joe expects to be paid for their labor, and yet people are generally OK with the artists they love working some other job so music can be their hobby.

That’s not really the way I want the world to be.

My first job was archaeologist… My first job was computer graphics

You all know that Projekt is my day job. But that wasn’t always the situation. In the late 80s/early 90s, I created speaker-support-graphics for a living. I worked long freelance hours, creating dumb graphics that were projected at conventions for the corporate executives from the likes of Taco Bell, Denny’s, Acura, Mazda, etc. etc. (This was pre-PowerPoint, but the same general idea.) It paid really (really!) well and allowed me to fund the early CDs on Projekt.

Around the time Projekt was having success with Blacktape’s This lush garden within and the first Love Spirals Downwards release, I realized I was sacrificing the label’s potential. I wasn’t at my desk answering faxes from journalists and my overseas distributors; I was somewhere around the country doing freelance work. This was in the days before the internet; it wasn’t easy to keep in touch remotely. I’d return home and have a month off between jobs; and then I worked on music and the label. But too often, I’d leave Projekt unmanaged for two to four weeks, and that was getting to be a problem. I made the decision to stop working the freelance jobs, and focus on Projekt.

Things really took off, there was a lot of interest, and slowly Projekt ate all my time; my own art suffered. By the end of the 90s (because of all the obligations to the bands on Projekt plus the 11 employees), I rarely made time to work on my music. Then into the early 2000s, and the downsizing (mentioned last blog), and I had plenty of work to do (and I had a son!).

My best friend often reminds me that I cannot pass off responsibility for the decisions I made. And he’s right. I chose to put my energy into Projekt, rather than my art. It seemed like a wise move at the time: Projekt was getting very successful.

At any other record label, the biggest artist (Blacktape) would have been begged, cajoled, and bribed to get back into the studio. The label needed its biggest act to keep releasing music (if for nothing else, for purely profit reasons). But I was the guy at the label and in the band, there was nobody at Projekt pushing me, to get me on track. If I had a manager, he would have asked, “Do you really think it’s smart to keep putting all your energy into dayjobia, rather than into your music?” That was the thing: Projekt was a new day job and just like computer graphics, this job took lots of time away from my art.

It seemed like a wise decision at the time. However, what ended up happening was that I supported 30+ band’s careers, while letting down the most important thing: my own creativity.

I let my art go cold for years at a time.

If I had been focusing on my own work for the last 20 years, would I be surviving at it? Would I be like Steve Roach or Voltaire? Spending a huge chunk of my time making art?

(I hope this doesn’t come across as regret. That is not the intention, per se. This is me reflecting with awareness of choices I have made in my life, and contemplating whether I’ve gotten to the place I intended to go.)

It brings up the question, “Could I survive off my art?” I told myself many times over the years, “I don’t mind that Projekt is taking up so much of my time. If I had to support myself from my music, I’d have to make compromises to get by.” Yeah, sure, a guy in his early 30s can say that. But I’m older now, and I see Steve and Voltaire creating without compromise. And I ask my younger self if that argument was just an excuse, to avoid the hard work. To avoid having to lay it all on the line, and be an artist. If ‘an artist’ is what I am here to be, then was I chickening out? Hiding behind a reasonably justifiable excuse for not making more art.

Ben Franklin looks around the bar

Ok, so back to my meeting on Friday with Spotted Peccary. The smell of Italian sausages fill the air again, Howard looks up and poses another question. “What’s the future for record labels like ours?”

And I reply, “I’m sorry to say it, but there is no future. Projekt will not be able to continue as the label that discovers amazing new acts and releases them on CD. Because these CDs just don’t sell anymore. I cannot keep investing in CDs, when the demand is for less than 250 copies.”

Some will misinterpret that statement, so to be clear: Projekt is sticking around! I will keep releasing exciting music on my label. But the logic of releasing acts that barely sell? There is no logic in that at all.

I have to be realistic.

For me, personally, I want to make a transition back to being an artist who runs a record label, rather than a record label guy who has a (mostly) dormant artistic career.

I have thoughts on how to do that (which I will discuss in an upcoming blog).

The intrinsic value of music

For now, I have to be aware of my old connection to dollars and units. I have to recognize that my goals as an artist are not tied up in those numbers. Yes, I definitely believe there are ways to make a living creating music. But even more than that, I believe I can foster a better connection with each of you. Many of you are fans of what I create. And you still value music. It’s the core of what matters to you. It’s your soundtrack. It’s what gets you through your days, both good and bad. And I am told over and over (via email, Facebook, and Kickstarter) that music is worth a lot to you.

You are the completion of the circle that gives what I do meaning.

Music has an intrinsic value to you. It is important in your life. The same way NPR is important, and modern dance companies, and historic art house theaters. You don’t want to see music disappear, or become the realm of amateurs.

We’re thinking the same thing. Music has value, and it’s something that’s worth supporting.

I’ll post some great new ideas about this shortly.

Sam

New Releases Now In Stock

Project Pitchfork: Blood 2-CD Book $59 Various Artists: God is Goth (2-CD) $22 $15 Staubkind: Alles Was Ich Bin (Limited 2-CD) $23 Sopor Aeternus: Mitternacht Book & CD $55 | 2-LP $90 Heimataerde: Kaltwaerts Limited 2-CD Box $85 | 2-CD $23 | CD $19

October Webstore Top-5

1 Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter (with 2 bonus CDs) 3-CDs $15 2 Dirk Serries: The Origin Reversal CD $15 3 Steve Roach: The Delicate Forever CD $14 4 Steve Roach: The Delicate Beyond CD $10 5 Steve Roach & Mark Seelig: Nightbloom ~ SALE $7 CD $7

October Bandcamp Top-5

1 Dirk Serries: The Origin Reversal Download $10 2 Steve Roach / Kelly David: The Long Night Download $10 3 Steve Roach: Structures From Silence (Deluxe 30th Anniversary Remastered Edition) Download $18 4 Erik Wøllo: Tundra (ep) Download $4 5 Mirabilis: »Here and the Hereafter« Download $10

Malcolm McLaren – authenticity vs karaoke culture

To speed things up, you can skip the first 27 minutes with this summary: “Two key points to explain my struggle today, two words sum up culture: authenticity & karaoke. A karaoke world is one in which life is lived by proxy and liberated by hindsight. It is unencumbered by the messy process of creativity.”

Karaoke society = becoming famous overnight without any talent, while reveling in our stupidity.

Jump in 27 minutes; he’s talking about art school in the 60s: http://youtu.be/E-wtmV0fAAg?t=27m27s

Flamboyant Failure vs. benign success

Please share your thoughts below. If you are signed in, your comment appears immediately. Otherwise, it will appear when I get on-line to approved it. If you want to share this blog on your pages, here’s the shortcode: https://www.projekt.com/store/?p=6477. Thanks. Sam

Oct 07

ProjektList #20141007 | How did Projekt survive the 90s?

the dust it settles all around and through the fire comes better days and all these memories burn away – Lycia, “The Burning Circle”

From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal.

Over the last 20 years, Projekt has brought in over $7,000,000 ! Color me impressed (sort of an aquamarine, a little on the green side). But don’t make the mistaken assumption that I lined my pockets with cash. Projekt was a very effective money churning-machine, moving cash around the economy. Nearly all of that money went right out the door.

Keep in mind that Projekt was really expensive to run back in the peak era (1995-1999): * Projekt bought full page ads in Alternative Press * Projekt had massive bills at the pressing plants. Those deluxe-packaged CDs were pricey to manufacture, I would have to order 5000+ CDs at a time, and often 3 big releases at once. Furthermore, while the option was there to press-for-cheap in China or the Czech Republic, I chose to press in the USA. It was the right thing to do, to keep the money in the “local” economy. * Projekt artists were paid their royalties * It cost $1000 to make a poster (film + printing). * Each release had it’s own postcard * At the peak of our time with Ryko Distribution, they got 400 – 600 promotional CDs for stores, and we sent another 200+ to press, radio, etc. For Lycia, that number was much higher, as they were touring a lot, and Pat was working on local press pieces. * In that 1994-1998 time frame, Projekt was distributing tons of Hyperium and Tess and Cold Meat Industry CDs; after I moved to Chicago, the label had 11 employees with two key employees earning more than I earned, plus they got health care.

Yes, I took a salary, but nothing extravagant. Pretty much all of that seven mil was consumed by the business.

Now wait! Actually, come to think of it, Projekt consumed way more than what it earned. Projekt was building up debt on my credit cards.

Of course, fans in the late 90s had this perception that Projekt was much larger than we were. All those ads, and postcards, and catalogs helped build the mystique. I remember talking with Mike of Lycia about how fans on the road made guesses like, “You guys must sell 20,000 CDs!” “30,000 CDs!” Oh, if only!

A few releases did some lofty numbers, but these were the best-sellers, not the typical sales numbers. Black tape for a blue girl’s 1996 Remnants of a deeper purity was the biggest selling non-compilation release, with around 16,000 sold. Love Spirals Downwards first two albums were each not that far behind. Three compilations did extremely well; the two we released exclusively with Hot Topic: 2002’s Projekt: Gothic (27,000) and 2003’s The New Face of Goth (25,600); and the first Christmas CD, 1995’s Excelsis: a dark noel (15,000).

Projekt was really busy, and bands were getting out to their fans, but by early 2000, Projekt was in considerable debt. In fact, $180,000 in credit card debt, and the future looked like a downward slope. Yikes! That was the time when – if I had a business degree – I might have cut my losses and gone bankrupt. But that thought only flickered by in passing. I left Chicago for NYC; I downsized, huddled, got caught up on royalties due to Projekt’s artists, and slowly paid down the debt. In a way, I downsized Projekt at the perfect time. Most of America waited for the fall-out from the dotcom bust, and 9/11, to tighten their belts. Because of the excesses of the ’90s, Projekt was a year or two ahead of the crowd.

For a while there in NYC, it was only Lisa and I at Projekt. I kept releasing great music and finding new bands to work with. My budget was very sober and close to the bone.

At that time, people were still buying CDs, yet the music industry was changing. Napster existed from June 1999 to July 2001. On January 9, 2001, iTunes 1.0 was released, though it took a while to take off. Projekt’s sales were slipping (like every label in the music business); yet I was bailing out the waters of debt; the ship was righting itself (have I tortured enough metaphors?) When Lisa got pregnant in late 2001, I brought Shea on staff to handle the mail-order.

2002 was the year things really shifted in the industry; it was the year when Projekt’s key releases stopped selling in the 5-10,000 range (except for those aforementioned Hot Topic comps, which sold amazingly.)

Fast forward twelve years, I’ve been adapting and learning every since. Gone are the days when we’d regularly ship out 5000 units of a new release to stores. No more big tours, nor ad budgets, and a lot less cash flowing in and out the door. Projekt is lean. The staff hours are about the same as in the early 90s. I don’t work 60 hour weeks anymore.

When people say to me, “Projekt’s problem is you don’t know how to adapt to the times,” I shake my head and sarcastically mumble, “Yeah, right. THAT’s the reason records aren’t selling! It’s because Projekt haven’t changed since the heyday of 1997.” Not at all, my friends. Projekt is small but alive, and I’m enjoying my life. And things are good, thanks!

-Sam

Coming in a future post: Mixing Lycia’s Ionia and A Day in the Stark Corner with Mike.

Link-a-doodle-doo * It’s Portland, so of course you have a coffee shop / bar / laundromatte. Great concept! * “Legendary Artists Show Support for Turtles Victory.” This is why I like Sound Exchange. * Steve Roach’s The Delicate Forever reviewed at textura.org/. “Classic Roach, The Delicate Forever reflects his current obsession with tonality and colour, and is as refined an example of his time-suspending ambient-electronic artistry as one might hope to find.” Purchase the CD at Projekt for $14 or the download at Bandcamp for $10. * Dirk Serries’ “The Origin Reversal reviewed at touchingextremes. Dirk Serries’ “The Origin Reversalconveys the awareness of a serene approach to the act of existing which is emblematic of the best contemporary ambient. The soundtrack of a slightly sorrowful recollection that, at the end, bends the lips upwards in a smile of affection for people and memories that have defined our earlier life.” Projekt for $14 or the download at Bandcamp for $10.

Dirk Serries live in concert:

October 25 Synagoge, Groningen (The Netherlands) : Facebook Event Page November 19 Effenaar, Eindhoven (The Netherlands) : Facebook Event Page November 23 Le guess who? festival, Utrecht (The Netherlands) : Facebook Event Page November 27 AB, Brussels (Belgium) : Facebook Event Page December 5 Cinépalace, Kortrijk (Belgium) : Facebook Event Page

Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter with 2 Bonus CDs | $15

Late September. 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.

Dirk Serries: The Origin Reversal with Bonus CD | $15

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. Steve Roach: The Delicate Beyond | $10

Steve has created a second edition with a subtle remix of the 74-minute piece, an extension of the opening track from The Delicate Forever. Howard Givens at Spotted Peccary added an audiophile mastering job.

Black Tape For A Blue Girl: The Collection

Darkwave, goth rock & ethereal pop from Black Tape For A Blue Girl. A 10-track collection that includes their “hits” as well as atmospheric album tracks.

The Birthday Massacre: Violet LP Limited Ediition purple vinyl. $19 Cocksure: TVMALSV Bridging the gap between waxtrax! era industrial and future sounds of mass corruption. $14 KMFDM: We Are Live album features favorites new and old. $14 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 Various Artists: Projekt Ambient / Electronic Clearance Box A grab bag of fantastic Projekt music. 10 CDs for $30.

Quiet Friends: A 30th Anniversary Tribute to Steve Roach’s Structures From Silence. Free download at Bandcamp

Reflection on Quiet Friends, from Steve Roach

This gathering of quiet friends — this experience of hearing the mutual resonation to a sound and space we each, in our own way, connect to—-stirs so many complex and wonderful emotions for me.

In every piece, I can sense that inexplicable yearning and desire to enter into the limitless space, wonder, and quiet depth of just being. This was the seed for Structures From Silence.

The authenticity of connecting to the present moment is so alive here. This collection is living proof of an omni-present soundcurrent, one these quiet friends here have tapped into in their own powerful way to create a multi-faceted jewel of a release. I am deeply honored and moved beyond by your efforts.

Respect and gratitude for this gift to you all!

Sep 28

Projektlist#20140929 the 3-panel flyer is back

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 sr.projekt@gmail.com, 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

* Dirk Serries interviewed on a Norwegian radio station about his ambient history and The Origin Reversal release on Projekt.

* Erik Wollo’s Timeline reviewed at hypnagogue.net: “Emotional and filled with sonic imagery, it absolutely demands repeat listens. Superb work from a true master of the craft.”

* 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.

Sep 21

ProjektList #20140922, Music Discovery in the 10s

From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal. I’m listening to R.E.M. rarities at rdio. Why? I heard “Talk about the passion” at Trader Joes a few days ago, and I’ve had R.E.M. stuck in my head since then…

In response to last week’s post, Andy G wrote (and I summarize):

Hi, Most entertaining reading. Way back, through the seventies and eighties, for me, the thrill was always in finding that new band, new artist; finding something new each time I picked up a magazine. Some people just play safe with one band or genre, others are braver and let their mind take them to new musical dimensions. Cue the new millennium – the internet and mp3s – now, all of a sudden, to the discoverer of new music, there are hundreds of thousands of bands worldwide in every genre known to man, all available to listen on the web – it’s mind-blowing.           The late John Peel was on record as lamenting that he couldn’t listen to all the cassettes and vinyl that was sent to him and he shuddered at the thought that in that box may be the next Fall or Undertones but because he can’t listen to everything, they may go undiscovered.           Here in Scotland I have a weekly radio show for unsigned bands, primarily from Scotland, but worldwide depending on what I find. Now, in Scotland alone, there are new band springing up every week – right now I have a list of about 100 bands from the last 5-6 months who I’ve yet to check out. But, thanks to downloads and mp3’s I am able to get new tracks, EP’s and albums every week; a lot of music, although probably not a great deal more per week than way back.           Through all this, there have been many many tracks that have not hit the spot which have been discarded along the way – but the new technology has allowed me to find a huge wealth of fantastic tracks which I could simply not have found any other way; I am now able to play these on the radio show in the hope that someone without the same time available as me will find that one gem that makes them go weak at the knees; then it’s job well done.      It’s all down to using the technology, not being phased or daunted by it, accepting that you will only ever scratch the surface, but at the same time, still finding that thrill of the next new band or artist. All the best, Andy G.

In reply, I wrote:

Hi Andy, You are a braver man that I. I don’t have that thrill, anymore; I gave up on demos ten years ago. For every 200 demos, there was maybe 1 gem worth releasing on Projekt. And the torture of listening to the other 199 made the price-of-the-hunt too impossibly high. We actually ran an “unsigned band” contest in conjunction with Gothic Beauty Magazine, in 2004. Out of the entire box of demo CDs (and there were at least 150), there was only one band that Shea and I thought good enough to sign; and it turned out I had already signed to Projekt a few months earlier (Autumn’s Grey Solace)!

Just this week, somebody I know sent an artist my way. In his cover email, the artist included this line: “His influences range from Iron Maiden, Rush, Zebra and Carol King to name a few.” With influences that horrible, my curiosity got the best of me, I gave it a listen. Pass! It didn’t sound like any of them, it sounded like poppy dark rock. (A friend on Facebook pointed out that he spelled Carole King’s name wrong!)

With that said, I will admit that I lament, “There are no good new bands anymore.” The only new music I hear that I like comes from bands I already know. It is very rare when something unknown to me suddenly shows up on my radar as amazing. So my favorite “new bands” are now bands that are 10 years old.

I guess I need a filter, just like everyone else. Somebody sending new bands my way. Because these days, for every 10 new bands that contact me with Soundcloud pages or Bandcamp pages, I hear 0% that interest me enough to want to listen further.

I find it hard to imagine that you could find 100 new bands that you are excited about. Bravo for you, for having the patience.

So now — a few days later — I am reading back on my response. It’s not that I am phased or daunted by the technology. It’s that I’m not excited by what I find via that technology. Sure, I’ve always been picky. Most of us are. Somewhere out there is the next Lycia or Mira or Android Lust. But I’m resigned that I’m going to miss them. Unlike John Peel, it’s not because I don’t have the time to listen. It’s because I don’t have the stomach to listen to all the bad ones. I know this post is going to get a lot of responses from bands who want me to listen to their demos. That’s fine, post your links below. I’ll try.

How can I get signed to Projekt? In fact, the #1 question you asked, when I put out a call for my recent Q&A, concerns how I find bands to sign to Projekt. These days, it is via the recommendation of other artists on the label, and occasionally the recommendation of writers. For a while, I discovered new bands when they opened up for Black Tape For A Blue Girl. Back in the early days, it was often from demo cassettes. Nowadays, most of the new acts on Projekt are electronic/ambient artists who collaborate with other artists on the label (ie: Erik Wollo, Byron Metcalf, Loren Nerell, etc).

There are bands out there who believe that all they need to bring to a label is their beautiful raw talent. But more than ever, talent is just a portion of what it takes. Bands need to be able to market themselves. They need to be able to spread the word; this is a talent just as important as making the music. If a band has no fans and no “buzz,” there’s not a lot Projekt can do. I can put out CDs, sure. But I cannot make people care. It’s different from the old days. I think about when I released SoulWhirlingSomewhere’s Eating the Sea debut in 1993. Michael had a few fans in Phoenix and he didn’t play live to spread the word; yet Projekt was able to release the CD and get quite a lot of people to discover the music. It just doesn’t work that way anymore. Or rather, people discover the music, but they don’t necessarily purchase it. There needs to be some additional “connection” that the band makes with the fans. Good music has never been enough. Talent isn’t enough. What is it? I was writing to Jill Tracy a few weeks back, and I was telling her that she has it. That undefinable charisma and star-power, mixed with talent, that an audience loves. Voltaire has it. Nicki Jaine had it. I personally don’t have it; I’m not exciting and ineffable on stage! I make music that people care about, yes. but I don’t have that stage persona that I define as ‘it.” Yup.

Can we all get along? Two people responded to last week’s post by attacking my friend Case, and being quite rude about it. I messaged them back that they seemed to have missed the part where I said Case was my friend! And that perhaps they could have disagreed in a way that wasn’t insulting. Couching their criticism in insults and attacks really prevents their communication from being heard. I doubt these two would have been as rude in face-to-face meeting; the internet does that, doesn’t it? Have you heard of Non-Violent Communication? I love the concept. It’s about taking the tone, blame, criticism out of difficult conversations, so you can get your message across with as little distortion as possible. It’s a way of communicating your feelings and thoughts in a non-confrontational way, with the hopes of everyone getting something positive out of the solution. Does it work? Well, I think it can come off a bit pedantic. At least that’s how people hear it, when they want to fight with you. But still, it’s worth a shot. Check out Marshall Rosenberg’s book at Amazon.

Is Technology the New Opiate of the Masses? I’ve been meeting more and more people who admit they have a problem. An article at HufPost said, “A 2010 survey found that 61 percent of Americans (the number is higher among young people) say they are addicted to the Internet.” This percentage can only be more dramatic now.

I’ve mentioned this problem in past lists: I’ll go to Facebook because I am looking for a message from one particular person who insists on messaging me there; then find myself waking up from a daze 30 minutes later, reading an article on BuzzFeed, or watching an animal video. Did you see the squirrel that photobombed Bernie Sanders? Jump in 5-minutes on this John Stewart video.

I’ve been trying some techniques to reduce my wasteful use of technology. The first step is awareness. “I’m going to just answer that one message, and then get the hell out of Facebook.” There’s also e.ggtimer.com where you can set yourself a timer.

The biggest time-suck is our inbox. I just finished reading the book The 4 Hour Workweek which has some useful advice for focusing on priorities (and a lot of talk about adventuring in foreign countries… filler, if you ask me). The part I found very useful is now written on a large note stuck to my computer:

    Complete most-important tasks before 11 am. Then check email. Don’t check email again until 4pm.    

Ok, it’s hard NOT to check my email more than twice a day. However, getting my most-important tasks done before I start getting distracted by email… wow! This is a great idea. I’ve been doing this for about 10 days, and I feel like I’ve gotten so much more done. This strategy forces me to ignore the less important stuff, because I don’t have time to do busy work. The book is worth reading, just bare in mind that 30% is going to be about Ferriss’ obsession with going to foreign countries and learning kickboxing. : )

Link-a-doodle-doo

“CD-Loving Japan Resists Move to Online Music.” Read the article at The New York Times. “Japan may be a perennial early adopter of technologies, but its attachment to the CD puts it sharply at odds with the rest of the global music industry.”

A review of Steve Roach’s The Desert Collection from ProgArchives “Gently soothing, hypnotic and endlessly melodic, the disc is a perfect way to relieve tensions, slowly unwind from the busyness of everyday life while still offering fascinating light progressive-electronic soundscapes for fans of the genre. Mr. Roach has successfully chosen a fitting selection of pieces that maintain an evocative mood in line with the title of the disc, always full of direction and variety yet frequently open-ended and unhurried.”

Speaking of wasting your life with your technology, Shea brings to my attention this Goat Simulator app. A customer review says, “Imagine the old Tony Hawk pro-skater games, but you’re a goat and you run around laying waste to the city in ridiculously unimaginable, completely laughable ways. This is the kind of game where you can pick up and play a few minutes just to kill time, or get really into it and waste a few hours.”

This one is NOT a waste of time: Rust Radio streams Neil Young concerts 24/7, with shows dating back to the 60s. I find it remarkable that this site has been on-line since 2003, yet I just now heard of it!?!? Nice!

A great video introduction to Projekt’s Soriah. Watch at Vimeo.

Dirk Serries: The Origin Reversal with Bonus CD | $15

Now shipping; Limited edition of 300. 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.

$10 at Bandcamp

Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter with 2 Bonus CDs | $15

Shipping late September; Limited edition of 300. 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).

$10 at Bandcamp

Feel free to post a comment below. If you are signed in, your comment appears immediately. Otherwise, it will appear when I go in and approve it. https://www.projekt.com/store/?p=6263

Sep 14

Projektlist #20140915, My music discovery in the 70s and 80s

From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal…

My 20-something friend, and I were messaging about music. She wrote:

I feel like having access to so much of something devalues it. I had few toys growing up. The toys I had were very valuable to me. I knew each of them by name and played with them often. When I went to the houses of other kids my age, I found them filled to the brim with plastic toys and junk. Entire floors covered like a scene from Hoarders, the reality TV show about people living with too much stuff.

Many people are digital hoarders. They acquire something simply because it is there (in this case, music) yet rarely look at it again, or savor it. When I dug out my hard drives from 12 years ago, I found 250 gigs of music. Almost all of it was crap. I realized that I had only acquired it because I could. Once I had it, there was too much to listen to. I didn’t savor each song because everything was the same, a name in a digital list. Compare that to my dad’s music. Thought I would make fun of him for purchasing so much, especially what I considered overpriced CDs, that’s where I got the most joy out of listening. Each CD or album or cassette in the living room was a new experience waiting to be explored.

I feel like the MP3 culture was anemic. Growing up, most of the people I knew who downloaded MP3s had absolutely awful taste in music. They didn’t respect it. At LAN parties we’d trade entire hard drives full of music. Did it make anything special? Did we cherish any of that music? Absolutely not. It was just hoarding behavior. The understanding of a limit had been lost. The exceptions were people with parents who passed down their excitement for music.

I realize now that some people learned about music from siblings, or friends, physically bringing records over, or going to record stores and listening there, or at local live shows. How did you get introduced to the music of Brian Eno or David Bowie?

I’ve been thinking about this. How did I discover music when I was young?

I was introduced to David Bowie on the radio, along with Kraftwerk, The Strawbs, Frank Zappa, the B52s. It was strange music, compared to the popular mainstream rock of the time: acts such as Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Meatloaf, Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd – remember, I lived in South Florida! WSHE (103.5) was our local rock radio station mixing in unusual tracks along with the mainstream hits.

The first song I remember hearing a million times on the radio was Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” (which went to #9 in the USA in 1976). It is a weird rock song! Can you imagine something that bizarre getting radio play today? I remember being at the beach with a friend (and his mom) and the song blasting out of car windows in the parking lot.

Wow! WSHE played odd music, which led to finding more odd music.

I cannot honestly say I remember the first time I heard Bowie on the radio; but it must have been “Space Odyssey” or “Starman.” It was the end of the 70s, but his tracks of 5 years earlier were still new to us. Bowie’s music came before his image. I’m sure I was interested in the space theme (teenage boy in the 1970s, of course I was into SciFi), and also the alienation. You know: feeling like an outsider in your own world.

But where was the connection from Bowie to Brian Eno? You might think it was via the Low album, but I don’t remember getting into that side of Bowie until a while later. It was the very early Ziggy Stardust-period that was familiar to me.

There were two magazines – Cream and Circus – which covered rock music. Lots of Bowie, Alice Cooper, Stones, etc. Rolling Stone Magazine was a bit too square for me (Hall & Oats, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Frampton) and SPIN didn’t exist yet (it started in 1985).

Ah ha! Here’s the holy grail. I remember buying the October 1978 issue of Trouser Press with Peter Gabriel, Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. This was the doorway to a variety of amazing English music I didn’t hear on WSHE. Trouser Press covered mostly prog and English artrock; then in the early 80s it morphed into New Wave & New Romantic. There were also UK magazines (cannot remember the name, but probably Smash Hits, Slash, Underground or something. I still have some of them in a box in my storage space.)

The three magazine covers included in this blog are iconic in my mind. They bring me right back to that era, pouring over the words before I heard the music, and then eventually entering the new sounds and new worlds created for me within this music.

By this time I had bought the Eno Working Backwards 11-LP box set, yet I cannot honestly say that I listened to the first two albums. I was a fan of Before and After Science, Ambient 1, and Discrete Music. I was more about his ambient side and wasn’t interested in his glam / pre-punk sound. Nowadays, I love Here Comes the Warm Jets; it’s a really catchy and quirky album!

Moving along with the “weird electronic” music, I introduced to Gary Numan when a redneck friend in high school gave me the “Cars” single. It was alien, distant, bizarre. I liked it and dug into Numan, purchasing The Pleasure Principle, but more importantly, Replicas. From Numan, I leaned about an obscure band that influenced him, Ultravox! (Check out “I want to be a machine:” Ultravox! produced by Brian Eno.) I was late to the game, John Foxx had already left the band. The week it was released, I bought Midge-Ure-era Ultravox’s Vienna album. I also hit upon other electro pop / synth bands, such as Depeche Mode (bought the first album when it came out!) and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. A friend in high school turned me on to “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell, and I had a new favorite band! And let’s not overlook DEVO! Are we not men? was an amazing find (again, produced by Eno!).

For me, then, it seems RADIO served as my introduction to music in middle school. In high school it was MAGAZINES, FRIENDS and exploring at RECORD STORES.

There was a amazing shop — Open Books & Records (1979-1994) — that stocked all the imports and the local bands and underground USA music. I would read about a band in a magazine, then go to Open to check if they had a copy. I’d listen to a track or two to see if I liked the music. Sometimes I picked things up, based purely on the cover (such as The Last Man in Europe Corporation.) Leslie at Open would say, “David Sylvian’s solo album is coming out in two weeks, would you like me to order one for you?” or “You like Ultravox, have you checked out Visage? There’s a different singer but Midge Ure and Billy Currie write the music…”

My friend talked about trading hard drives of music, but it having no real value, being merely unseen data without context, unsavored. Our situation was just the opposite back in the early 80s; we had to intentionally work to discover music. Each new musical experience was gained by overcoming obstacles, finding something unique. The hunt gave the music a lot of value. While most of my classmates were listening to The Doobie Brothers’ “Minute by Minute,” or “Sgt Peppers” for the seven thousandth time, I was adventuring into the musical unknown. These albums I found meant so much to me. The obscure music we followed was wrapped deeply into how we identified ourselves. We were underground, individual, non-mainstream. Music was part of that identity,

I began my fanzine, Alternative Rhythms, to cover a mix of the European bands I was interested in, plus local South Florida bands I’d hear about from singles at Open Records. South Florida’s music scene was diverse; we had electro-pop from Futurisk (“Split Second Decision” 1982, on YouTube) and Stones/Velvet Rock-n-Roll from Charlie Pickett (“If This is Love, Can I Get My Money Back” 1983, on YouTube). Writing about music served as a pretext to get into bars when I was underage, I went out to cover these bands for the ‘zine.

Music discovery meant everything to me. That’s still true today. My job at Projekt is finding new music, and spreading the word. It’s a different era, yet it’s similar to 35 years ago; the difference is now I have taken on the role of being the person who exposes new music to people. Music is part of who I am.

Link-a-doodle-doo

DOVE: the band of love. Devo’s Christian Rock alter-ego from 1980. Read a short article & watch 3 videos at Dangerous Minds

Burger King Japan goes goth with a black bun and burger.

I just voted for STEVE ROACH! Show your support by voting for Steve’s music in Echoes Radio’s 25th anniversary poll.

Because we all want to smell a bit more like Brian Eno! Knock-off perfume using the Before and After Science image.

This New York Times article had an interesting factoid regarding how little experience the current Republicans have. And I mean experience making the government function. Besides the speaker, no member of the House Republican leadership was in Congress for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, or the invasion of Iraq. The top six Republican leaders have served a collective 64 years in the House. The top three Democratic leaders have served 80. “This is unique,” said Norman J. Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “You now have a sizable number in leadership who were not there when the parties routinely worked together or who have a significant understanding of operating in divided governance. The only thing they’ve seen is tribalism.”

September Top-5 in the Projekt webstore Dirk Serries – The Origin Reversal (with Bonus CD) CD $15 Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter (with 2 bonus CDs) (Pre-order, shipping late September) CD $15 Erik Wøllo: Tundra EP (sold out) Metcalf, Nerell & Seelig: Intention / Tree of Life / Dream Tracker 3-pack 3-CD $29 Sam Rosenthal: Rye (an erotic novel) Novel $12

Sep 05

10 cds for $30 — Electronic Clearance Box — limited offer

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.

Sep 01

Non-attachment & writing & not over-laboring

“Once you label me you negate me.” – Soren Kierkegaard

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.

Sam

New 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 $35

Link-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.”

Aug 24

ProjektList#140825, Sam’s thoughts about music, Projekt, Q&A

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 sr.projekt@gmail.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. sr.projekt@gmail.com

‪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

Voltaire: Hate Lives In A Small Town CD $14 Android Lust: The Dividing (10th Anniversary edition Vinyl) 2xLP $25

Some recent review excerpts Steve Roach’s Structures From Silence (3-CD reissue) reviewed in Yoga Journal

“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: https://www.projekt.com/store/?p=5891