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.04.2012 @ 9:11 PM
There is no question in my mind about how great it is that vinyl is making, and has been for quite a while I guess, a comeback of sorts as a perfect antidote to our more sterile, bit (im)perfect, digital sonic lives. For some, of course, it never really went away in the first place. It is not so much the sound to me, although it is a pleasant factor, as it is the physical ritual it entails to play it, something which has all but disappeared in the digital world. It forces you to slow down, to think and enjoy music in a different way. I even think it is good for your resting heart rate and your blood pressure. @dyscode, perhaps you are put off the idea due to your concern for the environment and the toxins which play a part in the creation of vinyl records? The production of vinyl is still so limited, comparatively speaking, that the impact on the environment from the production of it must clearly be minimal?

Jan.05.2012 @ 5:38 AM
Simeon Smith
Man, the chance of getting my stuff on vinyl with other artists is sooo alluring! (even if it does cost a bit - lets be honest it's pretty bloody cheap compared to pressing vinyl yourself)

I saw this posted on the monome forums - sounds a great idea. Not sure if I can get my shit together in time for feb 15, but we'll see.

It's certainly inspired me to consider vinyl cooperatives in the future though - I've always thought "Love to get my stuff on vinyl, but what would I do with 300 7"s and probably less than two dozen fans with turntables" but doing a collab with other artists in years to come would be a great way to spread the cost, get a run of 50 or 100 records for my own use while promoting other artists I love.

Bee Tee DoubleYou - Hi! Great blog. Nice read.

Jan.05.2012 @ 7:05 AM
Face it... it's nostalgia for vinyl records. You either have it or you don't. I don't. I don't need to be forced to slow down to listen to scratchy, fuzz on the needle, 30 minutes before I have to demag the record and clean the needle again, more fuzzy towards the end of the 30 minutes, sound. I have the will power to slow down and listen to music on my own. And when I do, kicking back with my Westone 4 IEMs, playing FLAC through my Hi-Fi Man 602 through a Ray Samuels Mustang amp sounds so much more pure, clean, warm and relaxing than even the thought of cleaning records every 30 minutes to play, much less the bandwidth limited (on the low end) less than stellar sound of vinyl playback on all but the most expensive equipment.

It's nostalgia, pure and simple. It doesn't make your music any more relevant, have any more credibility, or make the music and sound any better than it is. Any hack with enough money can have a vinyl record made. However, all the money in world can't buy you the knowledge and talent to make a track that truly moves someone. That's what I listen for. I wouldn't think your music means any more or less because it's on recorded music's holy grail of vinyl.

How about we go back to before music and sound could be recorded and you had to have someone play it if you wanted to hear it? Wouldn't that be REALLY credible.

I apologize if this sounds like a rant. It's not meant to be. I just find the whole vinyl nostalgia thing odd... and funny... and ripe for debate. I'm not much on ritual either. ;D

Jan.05.2012 @ 8:45 AM
Face it... that's a rant!

Jan.05.2012 @ 8:54 AM
Nah, I don't think it's a rant. One must be able to express an opinion that's the opposite of the majority without being accused for ranting. It's not that he's telling people to stop listening to vinyl

@javahut: Yes, I think nostalgica is a great part of the vinyl love. We have had discussions about this at my work. My collegues are younger than me and none of them has growned up with records. As vinyl is currently hyped they ask me if it's worth it and if they should make the switch.

First I tell them that I'm no hardcore vinyl user and that I don't claim it sounds better than any other media. Sometimes I buy mp3 and sometimes records-both new and used and lately quite a few repressed. Listening to them does require a bit more effort than just clicking the play button in iTunes. You have to pull out the record, put it onto the platter, dust it off and drop the needle. Then, after about 15-20 minutes you have to switch side. And if you have bought a double LP you have to do this several times. It's somewhere here they lose the interest for vinyl as they think it's tedious enough to download music. Then they wonder why I still listen to records. I explain that I still have my collection from my youth so it's nostalgica ofc. I also like what the medium and electronics does to the sound. I have got so used to the "ritual" so messing with the sleeves, the brush and the tonearm is a quite fast process that I don't think about anymore.

Btw javahut, how do you treat your records? Mine does not sound scratchy (except those from my early childhood) and I don't have to clean the needle so often.

Jan.05.2012 @ 9:50 AM
Chris Randall
Yeah, I also don't buy the "warmth" thing; I have _one_ record that I think sounds "better" than the files in iTunes, and that's Kind Of Blue. As I mentioned before, I can't hear for shit due to poor career choices in my 20s, so all music sounds "warm" to me, no matter what the source.

They're also a bit of a pain in the ass. When it's cold outside (it only got up to 78F yesterday! The horror!) I have to eschew working on the back porch in favor of working on the living room sofa. When I'm doing that, I'll often listen to records instead of iTunes. It is truly irritating to listen to something like Move Of Ten, which comes on a pair of records and has to be flipped like every 10-15 minutes, and you don't know what the hell song you're gonna get. (There are four possible track listings when listening to either Move Of Ten or Oversteps on vinyl, unless you want to take the time to decode the 6pt print on the center label.)

But when I just sit down to listen, the ritual of deciding which one to listen to, carefully putting it on the turntable, cleaning it, dropping the needle... plus the fact that I paid $20 for the record that a musician, a mastering engineer, a graphic designer, and a record label all invested a lot more effort than whacking "RENDER TO SOUNDCLOUD" in to... it changes the experience.

I have very little nostalgia for worn-out post-punk records played with a shitty needle on an Emerson all-in-one, which is how I listened to music in the late 70s and early 80s. Fuck that stupid shit.


Jan.05.2012 @ 9:58 AM
@trackdriver... I don't treat my records, as I don't listen to them any more. I have a pretty good collection of old albums that have been in the bottom of my closet forever. I even culled some cool stuff from my parents record collection before they threw it out (Chet Atkins, Herb Alpert, Dean Martin, George Jones... really old original albums). And I haven't listened to them in forever. I keep telling myself I'll get a decent turntable some day so I can listen to 'em again. But truthfully, most of them are or probably will be available in better quality on CD before I get around to it.

I just remember having to clean the records, clean the needles, then by the end of a side, there'd still be build up on the needle and you'd really need to clean the needle towards the end of a side for it to sound its best. Plus, the angle of the needle would change from beginning to the end of a side (more or less, depending on the quality of the turntable and needle/cartridge), also causing degradation of the sound. And I'd spray anti-static protective solutions on the record to try to help keep the "fuzz" off the record. All really to no avail... it just helped some. For all I know they make records out completely anti-static vinyl now days, which would make some of that mess moot.

But I'm just really impressed with FLAC. I have alot of CDs I've transferred to FLAC, and purchased FLAC online. It's just so much more fun for me to sit in my nice comfortable studio chair, kick back, and be able to access any of my CDs and listen to 'em in great, near perfect sound quality without having to go search for 'em. Or, take them with me on the go. I get to listen to so much more of my record collection this way than I would otherwise. If they were on CD (or vinyl), I'd have to think of something in particular and go find it before I'd listen to it again... which might mean I wouldn't listen to it again.

I ain't goin' back. Although I might still get a turntable some day just to listen to those ancient George Jones and Johnny Cash records of my parents'. But even then, I'd probably clean them as well as possible one time, record it into the PC, and make FLACs for future listening.

Jan.05.2012 @ 11:31 AM
what i enjoy about vinyl is being able to play it at any speed i like with out having to dump a song into Live or traktor and bounce it etc.

there are a handful of tracks i like to play at 33rpm pitched up a bit and some others i like to play at 45rpm pitched down. if i have the track on CD or as a file then i'm stuck with whatever pitch/speed the thing was recorded at.

and every once in a while i'll play (DJ?) records in a casual way either at a little house party or basement chill out session or at a place like Ground Kontrol and there is something really satisfying about a bunch of records in a bin i can thumb thru and grab... forgetting what's even in the bin.. forgetting what the song is called and just knowing what the record cover looks like... when doing this in traktor or itunes it just isn't the same experience. i don't know the names of songs.. even when i love that song or that album i just can't be arsed to fill my brain with that information. i don't want to look at an LCD screen all the fucking time or thumb through an ipod all the time. i'd like to be unteathered to all things digital some times.

i enjoy putting on a record and not being a passive listener.

yes, i do have an ipod and i love it. i use itunes.. i make play lists etc.. but i like playing records too.

there is no wrong or right about it. better or worse. it's just a different experience and i'm good with that.. why should i not be able to experience music in different ways?

Jan.05.2012 @ 11:40 AM
>Face it... it's nostalgia for vinyl records. You either have it or you don't.<

I'm in my late 40's and haven't listened to vinyl more than a few times for 20 years. But many of the guys I know in their 20's buy vinyl almost exclusively. I gave my nieces and nephew (teens) a bunch of used vinyl and a turntable for Christmas and they were pretty excited about it. They were immediately talking about going out and buying more. I don't know anyone who grew up with vinyl that listens to it, they're too lazy and don't care about music as much as they used to, but I know a lot of younger people.

A funny thing happened while shopping for that stuff. My wife and I both worked in music distribution and retail for many years, so we weren't that excited about record shopping. But it turns out we had a blast and were stunned by how much vinyl we found. There's a decent sized music store here in ATL that only carries new stuff and half the store was vinyl, thousands of titles.

We also did some CD shopping while we were at it and couldn't work up the energy to care. I really don't why it would be different, but it was. Then I heard some younger guys saying that you either get the vinyl and have the real thing, or MP3's if you want convenience, CD's were nothing. I remember thinking that's how I felt when CD's came out. I still like CD's for the physical storage as I feel files on a drive are nothing, even with multiple backups.

Until a few weeks ago I just looked at the "vinyl resurgence" with a little amusement, now I get it. If I'm working around the house or something and want music on in the background then I'm playing mp3's. Because I'm lazy. But I used to make cassette compilations back in the day for that very same reason.


Jan.05.2012 @ 12:01 PM
D' MacKinnon
Being a kid who was born in the late 70's, grew up in the 80's I still like CDs. I don't understand all the hate for the medium. Sure they scratch but the quality sounds better to me than cassettes. My parents had vinyl but I never did. My DJ friends all were dropping paychecks on vinyl back in the 90's but at most venues nowadays people are just laptop DJing.

I think it would be great to have a track on vinyl just to have the physical object for the artistic value. I plan on putting out a vinyl release for a electro project I'm working on with a buddy. I'll probably never listen to it on vinyl though, I lack a turntable and for convenience sake I'll just throw on the mp3.

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