After listening to the album last night on headphones after a one week break post mixing and mastering it dawned on me that I didn’t feel right putting individual songs up on Soundcloud or my website. It’s become the norm now to dangle these audio carrots in front of fans to create a vibe and give people an idea of what they will get. Is that right, is that why people do it to the music?
What is an album anyway, now, today, here and now!!? (When I signed a record deal in 1998 it was contractually described as ‘a plastic double sided sound carrier comprised of no less than 8 tracks and at least 35 minutes in length’)
An album is whatever the artist decides it’s gonna be, the internet has set us free.. er.. LOL OMG…etc.
For me this album is an hour journey from track one to track 12. It’s been carefully mastered so that you adjust the volume to suit your ears on track one and then leave the volume knob alone. The idea is that you go from one song to the next in the order I’d ideally want you to listen to it in. If you do this, the album will be dynamic and soft and brutal. How can I convey this by putting sporadic songs on Soundcloud which takes the music out of context and will probably be listened to on computer speakers? Is that what we used to do with our sacred vinyl purchases? Imagine going down to the shop and buying the latest Bowie or Pixies album and taking it home then randomly listening to track 7 on the shittest smallest speakers you could find in the house and shouting, “This is awesome, I feel compelled to write !!!YEEAAAHHHRGGHH!!!!‘ on a piece of paper for the whole world to see… I can’t wait to hear the rest of it on my Wharfedales MOTHERFUCKER!!!”
Dynamics and compression all seem to have gone through the roof in the last 20 years, quite literally, there has been a war on volume to try and get albums mastered so that they are louder and louder and it doesn’t work. (there is plenty of great techno waffle about this on the google box) It’s simple common sense, If everything is at 11 then where do the subtleties go?
This album has been mastered so it goes from quiet to loud and has plenty of dynamics. Drink some wine, smoke a large one and put your headphones on and for Gods sake turn the compressor off on your iPod, and the evil shuffle button, you wouldn’t go to the Tate Modern and randomly flit from one painting to the other, it would fuck with your mind, there is a path to take! Nah, I’m not gonna do any album ‘teasers’ (!!! Teasers for fucks sake!!) For me a teaser is a girl who drives you mad with lust but then won’t let you fuck her, not an album track thrown up on to the internet for the sake of ego, greed and wanton ‘please leave me lots of nice comments’.
I don’t want to do that anymore. If track one is good enough then I hope track 8 is too, if it isn’t, skip it, but then it may not grow on you, it’s there for a reason, it’s not the drummers song anymore, laying in the boneyard. (The boneyard was traditionally the second to last song placing on side 2 of the vinyl, traditionally the place where the shittest album filler song would go, normally written by the drummer so he could buy a house too, and feel loved, back in the 80’s… go and have a look at your vinyl, check the songwriting credits, esp. The Police.) “Hey guys, I know it needs more cowbell, then it will be really good yeah?!” Producer and rest of band: “Fuck it, it’s great, stick it in the boneyard and put it in the past, Stings just written another right fucking cracker and we’ve only booked this studio in the Bahamas for another 6 months.”
I think what I will do is put lyrics up here on my Bjorn Blog and maybe some album credits too, in advance. This might give you a better feel for what is to come…