January 2, 2012

Submit Thyself...

by Chris Randall

New Year, y'all, and it's time to get this party started. Pursuant to the earlier discussion on the subject, I'm hereby announcing an open call for submissions for the first Analog Industries compilation album. Here's the rules:

1. This will be primarily a vinyl release. As such, certain restrictions are in place that one would not normally find in a digital release. The track you submit can not be more than six minutes in length, and in the event of acceptance you must be able to provide an unmastered 24-bit version, so that mastering needs that are specific to vinyl release may be met.

2. The track you submit must be new, unreleased in any form, and will be exclusive to this compilation for six months after the release of the album. When you submit it, I should be the first person outside your Circle Of Trust to hear it. Ideally, you'll write it specifically for this compilation. Obviously, we're gonna have to go on the honor system for this, but you and I want the same thing here, and that's for this to be a special release. It is going to be expensive to make, and we have to pull off the nearly impossible in 2012, and that's to store all the value we can in the release itself.

3. Financially, this will almost certainly be a losing prospect, just by the nature of how this sort of thing works. When you submit your track, you are doing so with the knowledge that the ten artists chosen may be called upon to kick in a bit to realize the actual physical product. If I'm able to pay for it all up front when it becomes necessary to do so, I will, but the nature of my income (which goes in fairly severe cycles) dictates that when the time comes, I may not be able to do so, and making a physical album, especially vinyl, is not a cheap proposition. The ten chosen artists will decide what best suits them and how to go about it. In the event, it won't be a lot of money, maybe $150-$200 at the most? But the possibility exists that this will be necessary, and when you submit a track, doing so shows a tacit acceptance of this fact.

4. Here's what you're really looking for, isn't it? The musical guidelines. We're going to avoid a genre label here, and just set the style as whatever can loosely be defined by the term "abstract electronic music." When I'm listening to all the submissions to determine the best group, I'll be listening for two things: first, does the track add to and improve our collective experience? I won't dismiss a trance or dubstep or whatever track out of hand, but the stricter the limitations of the starting point, the less likely this will fit in with the whole. Second, technical craftiness is worth bonus points, because it's me doing the selecting, and that sort of thing impresses me. If you just throw a bunch of pre-made loops in FL Studio and mix to taste, I'll be able to hear that, and the songwriting better pick up the slack. Likewise, if you did something new that pushes the boundaries of our field, I'll know when I hear that, too. If you work to impress here, you'll be well-served, and whether or not the result makes the cut, everyone will be better off for having made the effort.

5. The release will be sold via Bandcamp. Initially, it will be vinyl only, get the download when you buy the vinyl. Once the supply of vinyl is exhausted, then it will be digital only, no repress. First in, first out for money, so if you are chosen and have to kick in to make the release, you'll get paid back first. Once all expenses are met, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to a charity that the ten chosen will collectively decided on. The release will be a CC A-NC-ND 3.0 license, but you, the artist, will retain all copyright to the track.

I think that about covers the highlights. All submissions must be received by February 1st February 15th. (EDIT: changed due to NAMM.) The only way I will accept a submission is as a high-quality MP3. If you feel that the transcoding removed important information, then feel free to also provide a link to a place I can download an uncompressed file. But the initial submission should be a good, listenable MP3. Send me a link to the track. Do not email the track itself, nor send me to a Soundcloud, Myspace, or Facebook embed. Make sure the metadata for the MP3 is filled out as thoroughly as possible, so that I can find you again assuming the two become separated. Due to the volume of submissions I expect, anything that doesn't meet this mild guideline will be dismissed out-of-hand. In other words, help me help you.

So, you have a month and a half. Go forth! When you're done, hit me with it.


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Jan.02.2012 @ 7:15 PM
@CR: For tracks that make it onto vinyl, is there a preferred sample rate for the WAV file (48khz, 44.1khz, 96khz)? I know you specified 24 bit in the OP.

Jan.02.2012 @ 8:06 PM
Chris Randall
On the one hand, the more the merrier. On the other, despite what people who don't know shit about fuck all would like to blather on about, a record simply isn't physically capable of replicating that high frequency jank that 96K opens up. These are the same people that shake out their $3,000 Firewire cables because it opens up the soundstage and increases separation between the instruments.

Aside from that, you should consider the fact that I'll be doing the selecting, and I spent the better part of a decade on stage with an industrial band for which "loud" would be an understatement. So it's not like I can hear it anyhow. No need to try and impress me with your amazing ability to make music for dogs.

Bit depth is somewhat more important here for obvious reasons. I think 48/24 will be fine for this context. If you recorded at 44.1, I'll probably upconvert it before sending it to mastering, but I won't tell if you don't. WAV or AIFF. The first person that tries to send me an OGG or FLAC is getting publicly chastised.

All that said, I would humbly submit that many would be better served by spending time concentrating on the song itself. Virtually any digital limitation can be overcome in this day and age with no one the wiser, but a shitty song, well, it's just plain shitty, and a 96K/32 bit file only makes that more obvious.


Jan.02.2012 @ 8:24 PM
Thanks, 48/24 sounds good. I'm not an audiophile, just wanted to know if you had a preference.

Jan.02.2012 @ 9:13 PM
Multiple submissions? Or is this a straight one and done type thing?


Jan.02.2012 @ 9:29 PM
Chris Randall
Well, I don't have anything against it, but if you have two tracks, one of them is better. Send me that one.


Jan.03.2012 @ 4:34 AM
As some of us need to prep for NAMM any chance you could be convinced to push the deadling to mid Feb instead?

Jan.03.2012 @ 7:21 AM
Can i send it in sd2 format ? I like the old vibe that goes with it ! :)
Anyway busy but i'm still in... until i hit the CR wall. :)

Jan.03.2012 @ 8:25 AM
Chris Randall
@Pym: Oh, good point. Forgot about that. I don't do any "prep" to speak of for NAMM, but it still takes 5 days out of my month. Yeah, let's make it Feb. 15th instead.


Jan.03.2012 @ 10:34 AM
D' MacKinnon
Ha, ogg. I'm still finding some of those here and there on my music drive and having to re-encode and tag those.

Jan.03.2012 @ 12:53 PM
Solipsist Nation
I will buy the shit out of this record when it's ready.

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