It happens that you randomly browse the web and find nothing but crap. And it happens that you make a discovery: In an interview, I read about Peter Broderick contributing a track to a Belgium label called Slaapwel (“Sleep well”). This label releases only music to fall asleep by. Interesting, I read further. I discovered that the label owner releases music under the moniker Wixel, which lies somewhere between calm Post-Rock and Electronica. Currently he has a project going, what he calls an “Awesome Stupid Project“: he is about to release 12 records in 12 months. One record per month in 2009. Hehe, funny concept. Awesome, because this is a really challenging thought: Can you release that much music in that short time? And stupid: can you keep up with quality? Won’t you lose your artistic integrity?
As far as I can see, Wixel didn’t. (Only heard two albums yet). Give his Slaapliedjes a try. When you need a rest, or while studying or working. He has a very, very nice warm guitar sound.
Now, what I also find interesting is the way he releases music. All of this can be downloaded via Bandcamp, which means people can either give their email-adresses away and get a free download, or they pay as much as they like. Pretty straight forward approach. Additionally, each album is available as a limited edition self-made CDr. This was the first time I saw this combination and I’m clearly excited. I like it so much, I guess I will use it for my next EP.
The internet-evangelists always refer to free-downloads as an economic force. Digital music is no scarce good, it can be copied and distributed without cost, thus price has to approach zero. I mostly agree with them. For me it makes no sense to put price barriers between me and my potential listeners. At least as long as I have no existing reputation. Then, selling hand-crafted self-designed CDrs works as a balance. By doing so, you create a scarce good, that people are willing to pay for. (At least when you manage to make a good package design). Look at Wixels 2009-CDs above. I think they are adorable. Will wait for the September-issue and place an order.
The same day I also stumbled upon Machinefabriek, an outstanding artist. I found this guy releasing one 3″-CDr after another, check out his website for proof and sounds. Some releases end up as official released albums, others stay in their small collectable format. I like that. Here a collabarotion of Aaron Martin and Machinefabriek: Cello Recycling.
Speaking of 3″-CDr: Hauschka recently did the same. He released a small 3″-EP called “Small Pieces” through Secret Furry Hole. Received it today and must say: as long as people keep putting love in hand-made designs, people will buy physical releases. Those 3″-CDs are absolut internet-anti-statement. Maximum 20 minutes of music and most laptops can’t read them, cause they are too small for slot-loading CD-drives. You are now forced to listen again through your stereo, just as with Vinyl. No iTunes this time. And this affects the way you perceive music. Good approach.
Regarding music on Hauschka’s Small Pieces: It feels like an approach to make more classical piano pieces again. More like Erik Satie than on previous albums. One exception: the 4th track “unknown”, my favourite so far. With a fragile female voice in the background it sounds like Hauschka does Radiohead. Stunning. Sadly, that song is not available online, so go get your copy or listen to the opening track “Sehnsucht”:
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Ps: I named my piano piece “small piece” before I knew of this EP’s existence. No rip-off intended 😉