Breaking the ice or writing the first line in your book is never easy. I must admit I have stylishly done so by using a rather corny proverb. But what can I say. After all this is some sort of introductory post which should serve to provide some insight in the purpose and ideology behind this blog - whichever that may be.
I must admit that I hold a certain sense of ambition in the back of my head which I hope to see accomplished in the long run through this little blag o' mine. What springs to my mind first is music. It is something I have grown deeply involved with it ever since I bought my first Avril Lavigne album in 2002. Worry not, for I have come a long way since then and it is exactly this road I hope to convey.
Music is quite a mysterious thing. It is perhaps the only true universal language on this earth and even in this entire universe, but more on that later. The fact to the matter is that there is quite a signficant amount of music out there. Certainly more than anyone could ever hope to listen to in a lifetime. And the means through which we discover it in this presentday e-generation is fairly different from the past. In the vinyl era, avid music fans would go from record store to record store to find those weird and interesting records, often having to go all the way to the capital to find those record stores.
Right now, it's all here. On the internet. Yet it hasn't become any easier really. The question in the past may have been "Where do we find it?", but now it has become "Where do we start?". The internet and the people on there have tried hard to help you in this.One could go through lists of bands and start looking them up, one could check out all recommended bands on last.fm or one might make use of tools such as Pandora or Spotify. But where do they get you? They get you somewhere at least, for sure. And this blog aims to get you somewhere as well. Music still has to be handed to you. Especially nowadays when the radio is rarely a valid means of discovering something interesting. The same with CD stores: finding a good record store is hard and I do recommend finding one for reasons to be adressed in the future. (For now, just look for one) The avid music fan is left to his own devices in the chaotic jungle that is the internet.
This is where this blog comes in, I guess. To provide a more constructive means of discovering music. After all, unless it is handed to you, you won't know it exists. In this manner even music which is very popular in one subculture might never even reach you! This is why the selection of music on this blog isn't necesarily new releases or hard to find music. It might be, but it is not a goal to convey those new or obscure records to you. Instead it is more a long term attempt at providing a partially comprehensive introduction to music while at the same time trying to pass along those interesting records which I run into or perhaps just records I simply like (for whatever reason that may be).
A short elaboration should be made on the word choice of "partially comprehensive introduction". Using the words 'partially' and 'comprehensive' in the same sentence is obviously seems paradoxal. And it is. Yet it is what I am unfortunately forced to write. After all, if you calculated correctly, I have only been listening to music for 9 years in total of which perhaps only the last 3 were spent in an explorative manner. So in result I only know what I know. And there are many more which I don't know. There are kinds of music of which I don't know the slightest thing about, music of which I know so little I shouldn't even be allowed to formulate any sort of opinion without talking shit and then music of which I don't even know its existence! So what's trying to be accomplished here is providing a comprehensive guide of what I do know. Hence "partially comprehensive".
It is also an introduction. That means it won't cover everything (as if that's possible). It'll just include some music history, some essentials, some music which I find possesses more quality (more on what that means later as well) and a whole lot of music which I just like and would like to pass on. (It isn't all educative or intelluctual pursuit).
It was already insinuated on slightly by saying "the first thing that springs to mind" and indeed, it means there is more. This 'ere blæg will not exclusively contain music. While music will surely play an important part I have a lot more in mind that I wish to spread. This will also not be a simple sharing platform where I just post an album with perhaps some artist information and a tracklist. As this rather long text (as it is turning out to be) is implying, it will always indeed contain a little more. I will always attempt to give some extra context and personal insight in the topic at hand.It should be noted at this time that I am by no means a writer. English is not my native language nor do I have any literary talent. I will do my best to write out my toughts as clearly as possible, but when it comes to eloquent use of English, fancy metaphors and series of adjectives, I will fall short completely.
About those other things I wish to spread: I, myself, don't yet know what this will be. There might be some books I wish to recommend and who knows what else. It's something that'll point itself out in due time. You'll see where it takes you and so will I. It is more fun this way, right?
A last note should be made on the materials handed out before I actually get on with it.
On the materials
Aquiring these materials by you serves only to expand your horizon or for research purposes. This obviously doesn't reel in any cash for the people possessing the intelectual property and it is therefor I urge you to support the artists in some way. Be it going to live shows or purchasing the CD's or buying merchandise (I'm not fond of this). While I do honestly and perhaps naïvely believe spread of materials like this will eventually benefit the artist in the long run and regardless the downright hypocrisy in this, I still find it necessary to raise some awareness towards the fact that these materials are being created by artists who also attempt to make a living of this. They spent just as much time and commitment to this as you do with your job and you would not enjoy it if you offered your services for free either. (It is a more difficult discussion than this and on this, too, I will elaborate later).
That said, I will respect the desires of the artists to remove any content at any time and also ask your understanding for this.
Finally moving on to the first album I wish to share. Picking the first album was perhaps harder than writing up this introductory text. In the end I decided on a simple and nice album to quietly start us of. It bears no signficance to further posts and it doesn't require any notable background to understand it, yet it is still a most beautiful and interesting album.
The album chosen is called "Delay" by Julia Kent released in 2007 on the label 'Important Records'.
Julia Kent - Delay
Artist: Julia Kent
Label: Important Records
Genre: Contemporary Classical
03. Interlude 1
06. Interlude 2
08. Interlude 3
10. Interlude 4
14. Interlude 5
17. Interlude 6
Julia Kent is a cellist from Canada but who is based in New York. She first played with Rasputina, an all cello rock band, and later went to on to play with the highly acclaimed Antony And The Johnsons. Eventually she left and decided she should do some solo work. Which she did. And which she did well.
'Delay' is an album of looped cello music. This means it is only Kent composing and playing the music on just one cello. The way she does this is, as said, with loops. She plays a certain theme on the cello which will go on and keep looping. Over the the currently looping theme she plays something else and so on. In this manner she builds her songs and reaches what I find quite moving and touching compositions which at times may even be considered haunting.
To understand the idea behind this album we should give a quick glance at the album cover. We immediately recognize it as a scene from an airport. In combination with the title 'Delay' and the song titles which are all Airport names we can make a decent assertion as to what this album as about. In short it is about travel, or perhaps not so much about travel, but more about the time spent not travelling. I.e. the time at the airports in between all the flights. I can imagine this must have sprung forth from all the touring. Artists are on the road a lot and hopping from plane to plane and the experiences around that were the incentive to this album.
The result are fairly personal and emotive compositions which can still be enjoyed by everyone at anytime. Whether you want put it on during dinner or while chatting with some friends but perhaps it is best put on while you're on your own and sitting back relaxed in a comfortable couch while just enjoying this fine piece of music.
P.S. At the time of writing Japan was struck 5 days ago by a major earthquake and tsunami. This has caused a lot of damage and the real death count is not yet known. In addition, because of the damage 3 reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant are on the verge of a meltdown.
Having some affinity with Japan, I wish to send out my support and hope everything will turn out okay at the plant.