Tag Archives: giant bear tracks

EP Elaboration: Packaging etc.

So I thought it would be a nice idea to elaborate a bit on the various ideas behind the EP, since I think they’re kind of interesting. And besides, the whole point of having a band blog is to talk about this stuff. With most bands you have to rely on interviews to hear all the interesting background, and then you have to rely on the interviewer asking the right questions, and the band being able to answer the right questions on the spot, without falling back to prepared responses. Lonesome Monsters are different.

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I wish I still had that photo

These posts are getting later and later. I’m sorry… I’ll try and do better.

The record label is now up and running, and you can buy my album from the website, though I’ve yet to do any marketing, so no-one’s bought it yet. As well as the album there’s also a wiki, which is the thing I’m most proud of – I plan on making it a huge sprawling mess of a thing, providing a kind of context and mythology for all the label’s music. There’s also some mp3s in there if you’re willing to look around.

The link’s http://www.giantbeartracks.com

I’m going to finish with this video, via RPS. Shades of the Langley Schools Music Project here – it’s the way the kids clearly feel it, without our seemingly all-pervasive irony or detachment:

Something about the sight/sound of a massed choir too*. You can see why christianity makes such use of hymns and singing. There’s something very powerful about a group of people singing together. And rare too, as capitalism alienates us ever more, only ever praising the individual.

* – Especially one not wearing matching uniforms – I think that kind of uniformity works against the choir. The point is that the singers are not homogeneous, replaceable – they’re singing the same thing, but with identical voices the effect would be vastly reduced. Each one is vital to the end result, they’re not simple cogs in a machine. I can’t help seeing it as kind of utopian; a collective of individuals.

Then. A Flicker.

Building up to the release of the EP, we got together twice this week. First to update Swings, then RGB, which you can hear below in the nifty soundcloud widget.

For dinner we made a couple of pizzas.

A pizza patata, based on my recollection of a pizza I’ve had in a great Edinburgh restaurant, and a plain old margherita. The pizza patata is thinly sliced potatoes, mozzarella and rosemary on a pizza base, and we didn’t get it quite right. I think the base should have been thinner and crisper, it was a bit too doughy as it was.

The EP could maybe do with a little explanation – we’re going to release it on my record label, which I’m in the process of starting up. The first release will be an album of my own solo stuff as Giant Bears (beginning of Feb, hopefully), followed by this EP in March.

When my Mum told a friend of hers I was starting a business (albeit a tiny one that’s unlikely to ever turn a profit), the first question was; “What’s his USP?” (not unique selling point, USP -gag-). The label doesn’t have a USP, but it does have a reason to exist. When we think of music, we tend to think of it as this enclosed thing – it’s a sequence of notes, a particular collection of sounds, and that’s all it is. But there’s more going on than simply vibrations in the air.

What we see, touch and smell while we’re listening, all change how we hear those vibrations. Similarly, what we’ve read about that song and artist, the discussions we’ve had about them, change our perception. While you can technically argue* that there is an objective thing that is music, out in the world, that doesn’t change and is forever fixed, we do not perceive that thing as the fixed artifact it supposedly is.

The label is based on the idea that it is the perception of music which is the most important thing, and that therefore the surrounding material/discourse/etc. is every bit as important as the sound itself. So there will never be releases that consist solely of a collection of sound files uploaded to iTunes or wherever. A release will always be a mass of stuff surrounding the sound at its heart. Whether that’s an mp3 tangled within a mess of html and images, or a CDR bound up in a book of rough-textured paper, or even a game (and increasingly I’m thinking that games are the most interesting medium to work with – they can encompass so much).

This of course leads onto Marshall McLuhan’s theories of media. An mp3 is a fundamentally different medium to a CD. And how we perceive the music is different as a result (even ignoring mp3’s technical deficiencies – a lossless file format is every bit as different). The aim of the label is to release music that is aimed at a particular medium, in the same way as a painter would make a conscious decision to work with oil over watercolours. There will never be releases of the same music on different media, as (contrary to received wisdom) the media are not interchangeable.

That’s kind of a 1st draft of the label’s manifesto. There’s plenty of holes and contentious points, but I think it explains why the label exists (or is going to exist in a (gulp) week or so). And manifestos are meant to be contentious…

* – Or not, but for the purpose of the argument…