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New alibis - click opera
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Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 12:14 am
New alibis

Well, here I am looking pleased as Punch to have received in the post yesterday not just one but two sets of finished CDs of my new album Joemus: the American and British CDs arrived in the same delivery. It's always a thrilling moment, but this time there's the suspicion that it might be the last physical CD I make, because no-one's buying the damned things any more. I still like the album format, though, as a structure. And you still need a physical object as a sort of alibi for that format -- a digital-only release is a bit nebulous and ghostly. Maybe that's what people will say in future; not "Are you releasing a new album?" but "Are you releasing a new alibi?"



The two releases are pretty much identical; all that distinguishes them is that the colour is darker on the UK one, which also has a sticker on the front bearing the title: Momus Joemus (release date mid-November, available on Amazon for pre-order now, UK edition and US edition).

The Joe of the title, Joe Howe, is currently engaged in a LastFM spree / jamboree-type thingy, giving away lots of his "ultra short attention span punk electronic music" free. Here's his Watermelon Dude Zone album, for instance. More on his LastFM and MySpace pages. And check out his other project, Ben Butler and Mousepad. I think right now I find Ben Butler (which sort of sounds like 70s BBC sci-fi themes) even more intriguing that Germlin -- I wonder what a collaboration with Ben Butler rather than Germlin would have done to the Joemus album? (Answer: there's probably too much melody already packed into BB&MP to lend the material to easy co-option into Momus songs.)



Whenever a Google Alert tells me an emerging band is being compared to me, I make a point of listening to their music. The alerts usually concern Stars or Black Kids reviews, but this week I got directed to a pretty nice album by Konrad -- one Jeffrey Konrad, in fact, a native of Rock Island, Illinois (with a little help from friends playing circuit-bent turtles).

The album is called Loose Canyons, the review that likens it to me is here, and you can hear quite a few tracks from it on the Konrad website. Konrad himself doesn't namecheck Momus as an influence, by the way; he lists Eno, Devo, Apples in Stereo, Hot Chip, Mountain Goats and Dan Deacon. It also reminds me of a little-known band from earlier in this decade, The Busy Signals. Whatever ghosts are in it, the Konrad album has come out pretty well, I think.

26CommentReplyShare

xinit
xinit
the artist formerly known as the geek
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)

As someone who consumes but does not produce music, I have to say I fully support the album concept. I buy singles, EPs, and LPs, all with different expectations.

If I buy a physical 7" vinyl single, I expect to get two or three, maybe four really good single songs that show me where a band is right now. I don't expect the songs to mesh; I appreciate when they don't, as it gives me something of a feel for breadth as well as depth. Not a bad deal for $5 or so.

I buy an EP or an LP, be it vinyl, CD, or electronic expecting something a bit more; I expect it to have a higher production value, and have some amount of internal consistency. This is where I want a concise 250 word essay; I don't want much wandering off-thesis inside the ~15-20 minutes I'd expect to find on an EP.

I do much of my purchasing directly from the bands I enjoy where possible; fewer middle men in the process means more gas money for the touring types. When I can't buy from the band, I prefer to buy from their distributor or label if I can; this lets me try to find something else that I might want. At worst, I can pick up a couple singles to try out...

I do most of my electronic download shopping with my Emusic subscription, and I rarely buy anything but full albums. I can think of only a couple instances where I wanted to buy one specific song from a release.

There's a place for singles, but I like EDITIONS of songs; call them albums, but I think that an album that I enjoy listening to is really 10-15 attempts at the same thing. Much like I do when I'm painting, I take a dozen runs at a theme, and call it a set; an edition.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 08:54 am (UTC)

You're an exemplary consumer. As a music artist I salute you!

(By the way, Joemus will be available soon on Emusic.)


ReplyThread Parent
xinit
xinit
the artist formerly known as the geek
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)

I was listening to The Legendary Pink Dots new album "Plutonium Blonde" and had to check my ipod's display, when "My First Zonee" came on and then again when "Faded Photograph" came on.

I thought it was one of the many Momus tunes I'm not familiar with. I'd swear you were involved in their latest album in some way.

I really like the tangible product of the CD, especially when artists really approach the work holistically. I like packaging that matches the feel, the theme, and the intent of the work. I really like when it goes beyond just the cover art.

As I'm anticipating another move of 6000 km in the upcoming year, I'm really coming to appreciate the idea of electronic distribution of books and music. The digital world is making some amount of secular asceticism much more attainable without being so bloody boring... Just need a file/media server, an ipod, and an ebook reader of some sort.

Well, and space to stow those last 200 CDs that made it into the "Keep" pile.

... and those last 100 7" records.

... and that one shelf of irreplaceable books.

... still so much STUFF.


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count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 01:26 am (UTC)
but how does it sound on the sound sounds?

I pre-ordered it, but it hasn't come yet:(

I ordered two. One for me, and one for my cat.




(what? I'm tired of her mooching all my momus albums)



Edited at 2008-10-26 05:01 am (UTC)


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 09:08 am (UTC)
Re: but how does it sound on the sound sounds?

I should think the pre-ordered CD won't ship until mid-November or so -- another three weeks or so. Your cat will just have to mooch other releases until then.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 09:24 am (UTC)
Re: but how does it sound on the sound sounds?

I listened to almost no Buddy Holly (I'm a Little Richard man, myself), but there's something rather remarkable about that track -- it's like Terry Wogan meets Terry Riley! All the bland, smug, suburban charisma of Wogan, and the shocking minimalism of Riley. Lots of people took those yelps and themes and riffs to a louder, more obvious place, but who dared the minimalism of it? Maybe just Prince circa "Kiss" and "Sign", or The Young Marble Giants?


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
being a "little richard man"...

did you realize it was a cover of a Little Richard song? :P


ReplyThread Parent
loveishappiness
loveishappiness
O.H.
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
Re: but how does it sound on the sound sounds?

but who dared the minimalism of it?

Spacemen 3


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count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
Re: but how does it sound on the sound sounds?

I don't listen to much Buddy Holly or Elvis, or the Beach Boys either, but occasionally I will hear something from them that will stop me in my tracks and I will think - oh, that's what all the fuss was about.

I was searching Terry Riley vids last night, but I had to google Terry Wogan ( he certainly has some momusian qualities to him, doesn't he) but I see what you mean. Another thing about that song is how hard it is to sing along with - that is, hard to sing along with well. It is sneakily behind the beat, and sometimes right in front of it, and though it sounds like a song Holly dreamed up sitting alone in his kitchen one night, the purity of his tone and the slightly defiant and sinister edge to his vocals give it a dreaminess and a staying power that elevate it into art. The "art" of American loneliness that you hear in some bluegrass 30 years before Holly and in Martin Rev 30 years later.


ReplyThread Parent
eclectiktronik
eclectiktronik
eclectiktronik
Mon, Oct. 27th, 2008 01:35 am (UTC)
Re: but how does it sound on the sound sounds?

As a kid I had, as one of my first 45s, a copy of Buddy holly's 'Brown eyed handsome man', and I always preferred the hypnotic B-side...however, despite it sounding very similar, that version of slippin' and slidin' in the video wasn't the same version as that B side I had. Now I'll have to find it and post it up!

Don't much care for Buddy Holly, but that track still makes my hair stand on end when I hear it today!


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 06:29 am (UTC)

I like the new cover and I cant wait to hear the album, the watermelon dude cover is awesome also, it looks like a page from nickolodeon magazine. I think a collaboration between you and a more live-music artist could be very interesting, e.g. frank pahl, eugene chadbourne


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jimyojimbo
jimyojimbo
Dr Jim
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 07:43 am (UTC)

I assume it wasn't your decision to put a sticker on the front (of the UK version), maybe the label's? I always disliked that practice. It's like saying to the cover designer, "we like your design, but we will now remove any subtlety from it and ruin the overall design. And as for you, the consumer, you are too stupid to figure out who this is from the small print, let us spell it out for you."


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC)

No, my specification was an image-only cover. Cherry Red got nervous about that and asked for the sticker. It actually doesn't ruin the sleeve, though -- it's on the shrinkwrap, so it comes off the moment you open the package.


ReplyThread Parent
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 08:03 am (UTC)

So, what's next? Using netlabels or just putting the music at your blog/website?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 09:01 am (UTC)

I want to continue releasing physical albums as long as labels exist to put them out. One problem with other forms of releasing is that you lose the discipline of holding something back for six months or so, polishing and reorganising it.

I'm very happy with the way Joemus flows -- it took a long time, and a lot of listening, before I discovered how to sequence the tracks. Releasing the tracks piecemeal, as and when they were recorded, would have caught the spontaneity part, but not the consideration. There's "Wow, this is here!" (creation) and there's "What do we actually have here?" (curation) and the album traditionally has them both. It's more difficult with net releasing.


ReplyThread Parent
akabe
akabe
alin huma
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 10:49 am (UTC)
holding something back

i'm glad you're putting your leonardo thesis from a few days back in a better perspective.

my new curtains, meant to be temporary now here to stay, are (pink) bubblewrap.


ReplyThread Parent
xinit
xinit
the artist formerly known as the geek
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
Re: holding something back

Pink bubblewrap curtains sound excellent. I believe that I would buy something like that were it packaged for sale in the home furnishings section at the local shop...

Seriously.


ReplyThread Parent
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)

Does it count if someone else curates the album? When I (with two friends) released an album via a netlabel a couple of years ago I was told that some songs ruined the flow of the album.

There wasn't much disagreement from my side since they where right.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)

That happened with me with Summerisle. Anne Laplantine had very firm ideas on running order, which involved dropping what I thought were some of the best songs (After the Rain, Farewell Ye Ladies, Love is No More) from the album. The compromise was that Anne curated the CD and I made the Summerisle Horspiel from the leftover material.


ReplyThread Parent
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)

It was not a bad compromise. But is the Horspiel the leftovers played at random or did you modify it to sound differently?


ReplyThread Parent
drywbach
:-Þ
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 12:13 pm (UTC)

I'll keep buying CDs as long as they're available. Downloadable music and ebooks are great, I buy both, but it's good to have the artwork and the physical presence of the thing. I wonder what the future may be for cover art.


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harveyjames
harveyjames
harveyjames
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 01:19 pm (UTC)

You look distinguished and dapper in that photograph

and also like an old sea captain


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)

Thank you, Harvey -- I come from a long line of poet-sea captains, as a matter of fact: my great-grandfather and his father were both captains of steam-ferries on the Clyde, and both also won the bardic crown for Gaelic poetry at the Mod.


ReplyThread Parent
electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)

I'm getting paid this week, so I'll try to put some of that money your way, bb.

If I can find somewhere that sells it.


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bennycornelius
bennycornelius
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)

Resisting the urge to say "Hear, Hear!" (only Britain's politicians could still think it appropriate to behave like schoolboys), I shall however issue a cheery and rather more fitting "Way, hey, ya!" from the digital deck of my Toshiba tugboat.


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microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Sun, Oct. 26th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)

omg momus i missed seeing your beautiful face on your blog plz post more pictures of yourself it brightens my day~~~


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