Sub-Aetha – The First Ones Available Now On iTunes

the first ones_COVER

My new debut solo album “Sub-Aetha – The First Ones” is available now on iTunes. Click the picture above and it will take you straight to it.

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On Releasing A New Album

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So here we are on the eve of a new album release (my first solo worldwide available album) and if it weren’t for the Paxil the doctor recently put me on I think I’d be more of an anxious wreck than I am now (which, by the way, the Paxil is doing a great job of squelching.)

I put out albums and singles for the sheer joy of it. I long ago gave up any pretense of being a rock star in favor of releasing material that people might like.

It worked out okay the last time.

I also understand what it takes to make a good album from start to finish – at least I like to think I do.

I also enjoy my autonomy free from contractual obligations from a record company. This way I can put out material because I want to and not because I’m legally bound to. This way any moneys I collect are mine and I own my work.

Do I make money doing this? Eh…not as much as I’d like to but I figure that sometime in the future I’ll put something out there that enough of you out there would dig enough to buy in great quantities.

You see, I operate from a different principle: I let the listeners decide. I don’t try to impress anyone with a slick ad campaign, I don’t try to hype my work. Some would point out that I really don’t have the budget for that and they’d be right but I’d counter with the fact that even if I had that kind of money to throw around I wouldn’t.

I want my work to stand or fall on its own merits. You listen, you like,  you buy, it’s honest and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Music, indeed making albums, was never a choice for me. This was something I always had to do. Oh sure, I tried NOT being an artist making records and I have to tell you that I was completely miserable the whole time I wasn’t doing it. I found out the hard way I could no more not do this than I could not eat.

It was living a lie and I can’t be anything other than who I am.

Do I think my album will sell? Sure. Will it sell big? I don’t know. Am I ready for such a contingency? No, but I figure if it does happen I’ll do what I always do – adapt to a new situation.

One of things that weighs on my mind is live performances, should it come to that. I haven’t quite worked out how to play this material live given the conditions I recorded it under and it only leaves me two options: do I use sequencers and loops on stage (which would defeat the purpose of having made this album in the first place) or do I hire the musicians to carry it out?

I’m actually leaning toward the latter. I recorded this album to prove to myself and the world that you don’t need a lot of technology to do electronic music but should it come to doing live performances I’m going to need money – lots of it.

Tours are expensive and a logistical nightmare to boot.

Well…maybe I should have went with a record company?

Nah.

So tomorrow (Saturday at the latest) the new album comes out and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.

On The Subject Sub-Aetha – The First Ones

the first ones_COVER

In 48 hours, my debut album under the name “Sub-Aetha – The First Ones” will be released across the planet in those places that have access to iTunes, Google Play and Spotify.

Again, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the members of Harmonium for inadvertently taking their name and to say I hope I haven’t caused them any harm by doing so.

I’d also like to issue an apology to their fans. Sorry, folks – had I known I would never have done it in the first place.

I recorded this under three extraordinary conditions:

1. Only monophonic synthesizers were to be used.

2. No sequencers or loops (arpeggiators and tape loops are the only exception). All the instrumentation is done in real time, including the electronic drum parts.

3. I am limited to 8 tracks to record with. If I want more, I have to bounce down to another track and I’m only allowed to do that 4 times (though I tried very hard to avoid it whenever possible).

When you hear it, you can totally tell it’s an old-school kind of electronic music album. At one point, I actually had my hands on an old Sony reel-to-reel (that broke down several times during the making of this album) and was splicing tape for the tape loops – and reel-to-reel recording tape isn’t easy to come by these days.

With one notable exception, who does that anymore?

Would I do another album like this again? Maybe. It was quite the challenge to limit yourself in this fashion and still deliver on a full length album. It was a lot of fun to make and I especially enjoyed the challenge of keeping time against an old-style click track.

For the record: I did everything on this album from the writing, composing, recording, mixing, producing, mastering and the cover art.

This was, for all intents and purposes, a DIY project.

The album will be up on iTunes in about 48 hours from an hour ago when I uploaded all 12 songs to my distributor. Give it a listen, buy it if you like it and recommend it to your friends.

On The Subject Of Harmonium

canada trademark and copyright

After having checked every major publishing company in the United States and Canada, the band “Harmonium” appeared not to have existed.

Checking trademark and copyright databases yielded the same results – nothing.

So it would be legal for me to use the name and there wouldn’t be much they could do about it.

But I won’t.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about what’s legal, I’m only interested in what’s right and taking the name of a band that came up with it 40 years before I ever thought of it doesn’t make it right.

I can vividly imagine how I’d feel if someone did that to me.  It’s their name and fair play to them.

I’ll find something else.

On Finding Out Your Band Name Was Already Taken

harmonium_the first ones

As you recall, I’ve been working on an electronic music project under the name “Harmonium” for the last several months and it has recently come to my attention that the name “Harmonium” was already taken by another band from Quebec when I was all of 4 years old back in 1973.

Shit.

What’s even worse is the first single I released “Nowhere Else” is being attributed to them.

Double shit.

First, I’d like to offer a formal apology to the members of Harmonium. Guys, I’m awfully sorry about this but when I took the name after some extensive research I was pretty sure that you didn’t exist.

I would have bet the farm on it.

Secondly, I will be changing the name of the project after I issue a takedown order of the single. I can’t have my work confused with yours and vice-versa.

Again, I’m really sorry about any confusion this may have caused. I’m not in the habit of jumping anyone else’s claim and I’m horrified and embarrassed this happened. I hope you find it in your hearts to forgive my mistake and I hope that my actions to rectify it meet to your satisfaction and approval.

On A New Album Project I’m Working On

harmonium_the first ones

I’m currently working on a new album project called “Harmonium – The First Ones” and it’s a foray into a genre that I’ve never done before – electronic music – something I’ve had in mind to do ever since I discovered electronic music and synthesizers about 30 some odd years ago.

Yes, I realize I’m coming late to the game.

About the name: I know a harmonium is an instrument but every time I hear this word it evokes a different image in my head, one of being that harmony (be it spiritual, mental, physical or emotional) is rare and hard to come by and about as rare and valuable as the other “-oniums”, if not more so.

I realize there’s a glut of electronic music artists out there today. They’re all really good though I confess to only having bought a handful of singles off of iTunes (I stopped buying electronic music albums back in the mid eighties).

Some people regard electronic music as soulless and I can’t say I blame them much. With the advent of sequencers, samplers and looping the technology today makes electronic music seem like you don’t have to put hardly any effort into it – just tap out a few notes, program a rhythm track, throw a cool beat on top of it and you’ve got a complex sounding piece of music for not much work.

That’s not quite accurate I know but that’s the perception among folks I talk to when the subject of this genre comes up and if any electronic music artists feels slighted by this assessment I assure you that 1) it’s not mine and 2) I do apologize.

I decided I was going to do something different. Or, rather, I was going to do something that’s been done before but hasn’t been done since Robert Moog rolled out the first Moog synthesizer back in the late sixties.

To create this album I have (to the best of my ability and with the tools available to me right now) given myself a challenge, one that was unique to the early electronic music artists by imposing three rules on myself:

1. I am limited to only monophonic synthesizers (and, by extension, contemporaneous electronic music equipment). If I can hold down more than one note and get those notes to voice then I will not use it to create this album. This means, at a minimum, if I want to create synthesizer harmonies with the same synthesizer voices I’m forced to do quite a lot of multitracking.

2. No sequencers or looping is allowed on this album, tape loop being the exception and since I don’t have a reel-to-reel tape machine at my disposal this means I will not be doing any looping at all and any instrumentation I record is going to be done in real time.

3. Recognizing that I have a distinct advantage over the early electronic musicians with unlimited multitrack recording capability I have imposed on myself 8 tracks and allowed myself no more than four generations of bouncing so I have to choose what I record carefully and I’m forced to keep my arrangements as simple as possible.

So far I’ve managed to record four songs in the last four days , or a song a day. I don’t know if this is some kind of record or not.

Perhaps someone can look it up for me.

At the rate I’m going I should have this album completed in the next four days and I’m planning to release it around Christmas on iTunes and other online music retailers – this being the advantage I have of owning my own record/distribution label.

In the meantime, here’s a cut off the upcoming album “The First Ones” called “Enlightenment For Dummies”.

On How It Is Susie Breitbart Can Be Sued

Andrew Breitbart

I’m not going to go over the Breitbart/Sherrod incident of 2010. Much has already been said about it and I don’t feel there’s anything I can add to it. If you’d like some background on the subject, I direct you to your default browser where you can plug away all you like.

As I look about the internets I see some outrage on the conservative Right over the Sherrod v. Breitbart suit now that Shirley Sherrod is seeking the court’s permission to sue Susannah Breitbart in place of Andrew who, as you may recall, died last year on March 1, 2012.

Bear in mind, the courts are still weighing this decision – it hasn’t come to pass that Ms. Sherrod is actually suing Mrs. Breitbart.

Not yet. But it could happen.

The motion Sherrod filed in Washington’s U.S. District Court last month seeks to make Susannah Breitbart responsible for providing financial recovery for “libel and slander” caused by the Breitbart-publicized videos that led to her resignation in 2010. This stems from a defamation suit Sherrod filed against Andrew Breitbart in 2011 in which he unsuccessfully tried to dismiss.

The case is still ongoing even though Andrew is dead.

Of course the Right is up in arms about this. “Evil”, “despicable”, “vampires” are some of the perjoratives I see slung around the blogosphere but let’s step back for a moment and first examine whether or not Ms. Sherrod can actually petition the courts to name Mrs. Breitbart as a substitute for Andrew.

Turns out she can.

Under California Code of Civil Procedure 377.42. In an action or proceeding against a decedent’s personal representative or, to the extent provided by statute, against the decedent’s successor in interest, on a cause of action against the decedent, all damages are recoverable that might have been recovered against the decedent had the decedent lived except damages recoverable under Section 3294 of the Civil Code or other punitive or exemplary damages.

Andrew Breitbart left no estate and while its unfortunate, the law is clear – Susannah Breitbart is his successor and may be called to stand as a replacement and she can be compelled by statute.

Now, is this right or even sensible? Shirley Sherrod believes, as do the courts, that she has a case against Andrew Breitbart for defamation of character which caused her to lose her job at the USDA and that Andrew Breitbart has died doesn’t in any way relieve him of having to answer for this tort.

The problem, as far as I can tell, is a simple case of hero worship – the Right loved Andrew Breitbart. He was their hero and as their hero that somehow places him above the ken of mortal men and makes anything he does acceptable – up to and including selectively editing a video of a speech Shirley Sherrod gave to the NAACP about an incident that occurred before she took the post at the USDA to make it seem as if she was practicing racism as a federal employee which led to her forced resignation.

I submit that, alive or dead, he’s not above answering for actionable offenses.