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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



Ten Years On: Live In London – Brand New Live Recording!

October 29th, 2010 · Comments Off on Ten Years On: Live In London – Brand New Live Recording!

It’s out! I’ve been talking for the last week on Twitter and Facebook about mixing the recording of my solo set from last week’s London gig with Michael Manring, at Round Midnight, and here it is:

In addition to the tracks listed in the player, there’s one ‘hidden’ track that you only get with the full album download. And as always, you’re welcome to pay whatever you think it’s worth for the download. Have a listen, see what you think. [Read more →]

Tags: Music News

The Most Important Speech You’ll Hear About The Recording Industry This Year.

October 27th, 2010 · 4 Comments

This guy is Young Guru. No, I’d never heard if him either. Mainly cos precious little of my time is spent reading hip-hop/R ‘n’ B sleevenotes, but he’s worked on a lot of big records for Jay-Z, Kanye, Mariah etc…

Anyway, here he’s talking about the recording industry, the relationship between artists and labels and the irrelevance of the majors in the current musical climate.

He’s brilliant – eloquent, insightful, experienced – it’s the best speech I’ve heard on the subject in a very long time.

Tags: New Music Strategies

6 Years Since The Death Of John Peel

October 25th, 2010 · 1 Comment

John Peel past away 6 years ago today.

I miss him more than any other person that I never met. I’ve written many, many times about the live-changing impact he had on me, growing up in Berwick Upon Tweed, pre-internet, starved of pretty much all other access to boundary-less music.

So to celebrate, here are a few albums I think you should hear – great music, by great people.

Honour the memory of John Peel by hearing something brand new today: [Read more →]

Tags: Musing on Music

Why I Quit MySpace.

October 24th, 2010 · 15 Comments

Today, in case you were unaware, is ‘Quit Myspace Day‘. It’s an entirely voluntary, rather mischievous and unexpectedly cathartic thing to be a part of. A year ago, Andrew Dubber proposed the idea, suggesting that MySpace had one year to become useful, meaningful, helpful, music-ful again or we should all bail out en masse. [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

Brand New EP “Travelling North” – Free Download

October 18th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Here it is – hit play, then read on while you’re listening (then come back and download it if you like what you hear)

Travelling North EP by solobasssteve

Having been in a bit of a musical black hole for the past few weeks, I’ve finally emerged with something I’m happy with… The combination of living in a small flat and having a baby who has learned to pull himself up to standing on anything and grab at guitar cables meant that my music gear was pretty much packed away for a few weeks. [Read more →]

Tags: Music News

Music Is Worthless Part 2 – a Response to Jeff Schmidt

October 16th, 2010 · 26 Comments

This post started out as a comment on my previous post, in reply to one from Jeff Schmidt. But it’s too long for that, so it’s now its own post.

Here’s Jeff’s comment:

4 years ago – I could have said this exact thing -probably word for word.

Today – not so much.

If I was on the cutting edge of music market thinking then, maybe I’m on the cutting edge now with the complete opposite opinion. Is the tide is turning that much? I think so.

Pay what you want is a cop out.

Stand up for your work and put a value on it. [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

Music Is Worthless

October 15th, 2010 · 19 Comments

The BBC have an article today, in which they report on Rob Dickins, former head of Warner Music UK, saying that albums should cost a £1.

It’s a fairly radical step, and there’s some merit in what he says, as a response to currently-illegal downloading, within a fixed price market.

However, what’s missing from this is the simple fact that music is worthless. ‘Music’ as in noises that fit within the ‘organised sound’ definition that most of us recognise as music, has no inherent value at all. All the value is contextual. It can be invested, it can be enhanced, it can even be manufactured counter to any previously measured notions of ‘quality’ with a particular idiom, but it’s not innate. Noise is not a saleable commodity. [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

Third Preview Track from My Forthcoming Album With Mike Outram

October 12th, 2010 · Comments Off on Third Preview Track from My Forthcoming Album With Mike Outram

This was available a while back in exchange for a tweet, for Twitter users, but is now on Soundcloud, available for anyone to listen to, download, share, comment on, link to… You know the drill. Here it is:

3rd Preview Track from Lawson/Outram Album by solobasssteve

We recorded this album back in, uhm, February, I think... A long time ago. I’m not used to recording stuff and then it taking this long to happen. But Mike and I are both busy and – crucially – both dads, which seems to make the logistics of making things like this happen that bit more tricky. [Read more →]

Tags: Music News

Steve Albini Gets It.

October 6th, 2010 · Comments Off on Steve Albini Gets It.

GQ Magazine has an interview up with Steve Albini. I’ve been a fan of Steve’s thinking since I first read his rant about the state of the music industry, over a decade ago. This interview is pure gold. Every musician should read this. The whole thing is fabulous, but this quote stood out as supporting my statement that the mainstream music industry is in the business of feeding and celebrating the mental ill-health of its “stars”:

GQ: Shellac is known as a band that has a hard line regarding what kind of shows you will play, and how your music is commoditized. What other bands do you consider to be ethical?

SA : Most people in their daily lives are pretty reasonable. A lot of people that end up being in bands give themselves license to act like assholes because they’re involved in music. If they didn’t see the music world as separate from the real world, most people would continue to behave honorably in their interactions with the music scene. I don’t think that what Shellac does is remarkable, really. I feel like it’s just normal. There’s a perversion of normal ethical standards, indulged and encouraged by a music industry that feels more important the more it is removed from regular life. For those of us in Shellac and the other bands we admire, being in a band is just part of normal, regular life. You don’t act like an asshole when you go to the barber. So why act like an asshole when you’re in a band?

Read More at http://www.gq.com/blogs/the-q/2010/09/steve-albini.html

And while we’re on the subject of brilliant writing about the music industry, a great article by Simon Napier-Bell in the Guardian came to my attention the other day. It’s 2 years old, but is wonderful. Read it at http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/jan/20/popandrock.musicindustry?CMP=twt_gu

Tags: New Music Strategies

50,000 Tweets – A Love Story

September 24th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Tonight, I clocked up my 50,000th tweet. It looked like this:

It’s no secret that I REALLY dig Twitter. It solved a whole lot of online communication questions for me when I found it. I cut back on my posting on forums, and eventually even deleted the forum on my own site in favour of encouraging the regular posters there to head over to Twitter and talk in a more democratic environment.

I loved the fact that I was no longer stuck in a subject-specific space, or one where I people had to sign up to be in my gang before joining the conversation. It’s not my conversation, after all, it’s a global free-for-all.

Except it isn’t. I mean, technically it is, but actually the only bit of Twitter that concerns me at all is the people I follow and the people who follow me. And occasionally the people who tweet using a hashtag I happen to be following.

I am, as the 50K Tweets would suggest, a power-user. I document my life in this way. I use it to:

  • Talk with my audience in a way that has replaced my email list,
  • Talk with musicians in way that has replaced myspace,
  • Talk with my family in a way that has replaced email,
  • Talk with my colleagues in Amplified in a way that has replaced wikis
  • Talk with anyone who’s interested in a way that’s replaced chatrooms/generic forums.

…and by ‘talk with’ I mean all the myriad forms of communication that go on there – chat, debate, encourage, learn from, teach, swap links, post news… anything that’ll fit in 140 characters.

    It’s clearly an open, messy, FUN way of communicating that I love. I don’t have to keep track of loads of different websites – I do have 10 different twitter accounts, but most of them lie dormant at the moment. SoloBassSteve is where pretty much everything happens, and for some unknown reason there are (currently) 4836 people who have seen fit to follow me. Some may be spammers, but I’ve blocked and deleted AT LEAST 3 times as many followers as I’ve allowed to stay. Any spam accounts I cleared out… I’ve definitely had well in excess of 12-13,000 follow notifications, I just didn’t want either a misleading amount of followers, or to leave those accounts without some registering a ‘spam’ click next to them…

    But, in the last 3 years, most of the good things that have happened for Lobelia and I have happened through Twitter.

    • We’ve met some of our best friends
    • We’ve planned tours
    • We’ve organised recordings
    • We gleaned information
    • We had support and congratulations on the birth of our baby
    • We shared our holidays
    • We found people to help us move house
    • and We had LOADS of work, new listeners, and – crucially – amazing people willing to talk about what we do as musicians time and time again.

    I spend a lot – most – of my time on Twitter talking about other people’s music, encouraging and connection musicians to eachother, helping people get their heads around this brave, heady new disintermediated world we’re in. I’m trying to model the way I think the distruptive awesome internet of the future should work. Cos the future is now. We’re in it, it’s great, and Twitter is quite possibly THE game changer.

    Youtube was big, Myspace was big. WordPress was big. Bandcamp is HUGE. Soundcloud is awesome. But as the glue that makes all of them workable, manageable and connected, Twitter for me is THE killer app. The reason the internets was invented.

    So, 50 Thousand Tweets on, I’m still all about it. Here, if you’re interested, is my twitter-list of people I chat to, day in, day out: The Awesome Squad.

    -o0o-

    This evening someone asked me (on Twitter) which was the classic Steve Lawson album. So I asked my friends (on Twitter) to answer. So far the answer has come back, overwhelmingly, Grace And Gratitude. Which is fitting. Because I’m hugely grateful for all the good things that have happened through the amazing people I’m connected to on there. Please have a listen, and feel free to download it – don’t feel obliged to pay for it, but if you want to pay whatever you think it’s worth, that would also be hugely appreciated:

    Tags: Geek · New Music Strategies