Blog Music Musings

New Music Paradigm

It’s sad to say it but I think I’m going off dance music. Perhaps it’s just because I’m getting older but I also have been thinking today about music and the way it is created just now and I’m thinking that it’s time to totally reassess this situation.

The current dance music trend started in the 80’s and it has also been from about that time that we have seen a ossification in the way music is produced for the mass market. I’m going to be blunt here. Music has not really been about music for about the last 40 years. If you want to “succeed” in music the primary requisite is that you have a pretty face and a fit body, and that applies whether you are male or female. That you have any aptitude for music is secondary. The music itself is actually incidental. And this is why it all really is so formulaic. The music strives to be instantly recognizable as X, whatever that genre may be. The power of music is that despite its exploitation it still has the ability to grip the emotions and get people to feel and form important memories of times and places.

I think it is time now for us to wake up to this. Apple, Spotify and all the major streaming platforms all perpetuate the model of the image over music, of the fan following wanting to be close to their objects of desire. There is a way to get out of this and it is to totally reassess what the fundamental purpose of music is. Music is an expression not a product. If we look at nature, birds sing, wolves howl and whales and dolphins create sonic beauty but it comes from wanting to express their aliveness.

I have been more interested in the social environment of the folk session in the past couple of years mainly because it seems to be more about the expression of music and collective belonging. I know it is not possible to participate in this just now because of the situation but it will be again soon.

I also think that many of the other arts have been infected by the attitudes of the music “industry”. Spoken word poetry for instance has shifted into a space that again favours the image, the pretty face and it has meant that the medium which has helped to propel it forward recently is YouTube. The artists who perform defer to the standard spoken word style which is very recognisable with its emphasis on the…………hiatus. But this makes the performer legitimate. And again the roots of the current spoken word movement are deep in the music of hop-hop which was a development of the 80’s music machine. I do not want to completely denigrate any of these artforms because they are also forms of expression and involve skill but we need to see them for what they are. Otherwise we are going to keep falling into the trap that the “business” sets for us, which is to think of it as a business in the first place.

Now I do want to say that performers and the considerable talents they have should be recognised and valued. I feel that my life would have been lacking considerably in an important way if it didn’t have music in it and that has often been through the conventional routes. However I must pose the question: surely there is a way that we can liberate music from the overarching influence of the corporate machine? How can it and other artforms be freed from the vaulting ambitions of the business executives who will opt every time for the obvious choices of a safe investment in sheer looks? I think we have to go back to basics and the grass-roots to find the answers.

Blog Music Musings Nature Poetry

Fundraising for a New Album

After seeing one of my friends post a fundraiser today I was inspired to do one myself. I have been really wanting to do a new album of poetry and music for a long time and just recently I started thinking about it again. I have definitely written enough poetry to do one and I want it to be on the theme of Nature and the environment. As you can see from other poems I’ve posted on this website this has been on my mind a lot. and I also thought of a name for the album which I won’t share just yet but I will refer to it just now as “AM”.

So if you would like to contribute to the AM Spoken Word Album project I’ve included the link below. I hope to get other funding but any money raised just now will help to show potential funders that there is a demand for it. If I can get the funding then I will hopefully even be able to get other musicians to collaborate on the project as well, but any money that comes from this particular fundraiser, whether I get other funding or not, will be kept aside specifically for this project.

If your donation is £10 or more you will get a download code for the finished album via Bandcamp (you can also hear my other work on Bandcamp just now). The album will also be available on other streaming platforms as well just as is my first album “Kyberpoetica“.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks in advance for your generosity!

Blog Music Musings Nature Technology

Live Streaming During Our Time of Isolation

There seem to be quite a few people, some of whom I know, doing live streaming on-line just now as a means of reaching out while we are in this state of self-imposed (or in some places state-imposed) isolation. This got me thinking that I could myself do something along these lines, however after pondering it I decided that I don’t think this would be worth my while. I already have quite an extensive output on-line which is mainly text-based or pre-recorded audio and I’m not sure that adding further to this in the audiovisual area is really a constructive thing for me to do.

I have however been enjoying a great deal what others have been doing, particularly when it comes to being able just to listen to their broadcasts. I have discovered that a few artists who are themselves great performers have been have been doing live streaming on Twitch and I would recommend that you have a look. These are Danny Berman, AKA Red Rack’em, with his daily Berman Sermon at 2pm and Marjolein Roberston who does a storytelling slot at 8pm everyday. Marjolein also has a Patreon account which you can subscribe to as does Siobhan Wilson who also has been doing live streamed gigs from her home which are absolutely worth subscribing to her Patreon to be able to have a listen to. I also believe that Rachel Sermanni has been doing live streamed broadcasts on her Instagram account which I haven’t yet listened to but I’m sure would be worth checking out.

It is important to help support these talented performers during this time when the usual opportunities for live performance are curtailed. And I also would say it is important to remember the live streaming that Mother Nature has been doing and continues to do during these times. At the moment I am very fortunate to be in relative isolation on an island in the middle of the Thames, so each morning I can go out and observe the flow of the river and the fish and birds that call it their home. To have access to this is a real blessing for me at this time. I hope that everyone reading this is also finding ways to be good to themselves and are managing to cope during these extraordinary circumstances. All the best to you and have a great Easter weekend where ever you are.

Blog Gaelic Music

Nochd at Celtic Connections

I’m really enjoying watching Nochd just now as it has some great interviews with people involved with Celtic Connections and great music too. Check it out if you want!