Sunday, April 17, 2011

thinking of starting a netlabel...

Today I don't go for politics, but for music, especially of netlabels. Talking about netlabels may still be in a way political, but this may depend on your way of viewing them. It is possible to say that netlabels are booming. Thanks to them, we now can listen to numerous creative and innovative music from all over the world for free. But this adjective "booming" may be not so good to describe this movement, since it is often used to describe an economic situation. Many of netlabels are non-profit and also non-commercial. It is basically an alternative way of connecting people via music.

But the reason they participate in this movement varies, since we are not living in an alternative world of Kafka's Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk, where, as Slavoj Žižek puts it, musicians are recognized, but not fetishized (in such a world the notions of work and value may be different from what we have now). Marc Weidenbaum's instructive post titled "If you're thinking of starting a netlabel" has gotten many responses. He describes how netlabels function:

Netlabels function in various ways: as standalone websites, as subdomains of prominent services (.soundcloud.com, .bandcamp.com, .blogspot.com), as side projects of traditional record labels, as thinly disguised podcasts, as fly-by-night operations, as slick enterprises with all the procedural rigor assumed of commercial businesses.

And then he calls for more devoted netlabels to come. He sees the future in this movement, and I agree with him. My idea at this moment is using some community radio stations. Though until the earthquake and the fucking nuke situation, I haven't really payed attention to the Japanese alternative media, while I've admired Resonance FM, Democracy Now!, and so on. Now I know a few good Japanese community radio stations.

Such a label I want to make is not for promoting my music. I would be rather comfortable with releasing mine via the labels run by someone else and letting the label work for the other musicians. For my self-promotion, SoundCloud alone works well. And I won't use this blog for the label, since this is rather for my personal notes and I've been avoiding to use this blog for curating.

It is fun to work with someone I don't know well. Wilhelm Matthies, a Wisconsin-based improviser and also an art teacher, plays his own DIY instrument called kokeka (see how it looks on his Flickr page). This can be played either as a string instrument or as a percussion. If you see his SoundCloud page, you may get an idea how it sounds. One day he sent me a track of his improvisation and suggested me to do something to it. I did. He named this track Inevitable Direction and it now appears to be more popular than my own tracks as usual on my own SoundCloud page.

Inevitable Direction by Wilhelm Matthies

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