Thursday, February 24, 2005

broke. all kinds of broke.

mix CD title

The above photo was the inspiration for my mix title. Taken on the street in Rostock, if I recall correctly. We laughed ourselves silly at the time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

super/sub legal, super/sub culture

I’ve been thinking about mainstream and subcultures a lot lately. I think my connections to both might explain some of my take on copyright.. seems perfectly consistent to me, but I guess it’s a funny mix of subculture, radical, and I dunno what you call it, sociolegal, maybe?

As I was working on all the trappings of the CD – all the attendant information for the track list, asking the friend and design genius dropthelime for artwork, talking about promotion, waiting for permission (not given) for using a track, re-editing it to include a track by someone who didn’t want a stupid pile of money for 45 seconds of a song on a mix, etc. I was realizing that for my purposes it seems like depending on physical copies of a CD might not help me as much as freely posting mixes online...

I’m not trying to make money off recorded music. I always wonder how realistic a goal that is for any musician, since it's statistically pretty rare, but especially dj mix CDs seems odd to expect money from. If anything, they serve me like they serve the artists I represent on it, only more so, they are a way to spread and share and highlight the sounds, and our skills, so we get hired to do it live. The more widely the mix reaches, the better chance I have.

So even as all this preparation and promo was going on, I was realizing that, ironically, releasing a phsyical CD that should be paid for might not be so good a direction for me as a DJ. Besides, formal release also pointed up more formal liability issues, copyright issues for the label and for me, should anyone get antsy, and use the law – which doesn’t recognize the promotional aspect of mix CDs for the artists represented on it as well as the DJ, or that aspect of sampling (ditto), or other such flexibilities and nuances.

On the other hand, as I sent out emails about the mix, I got a whole slew of kind words and congratulations, and especially a kind of recognition about what I’m doing from people who don’t mess with electronic music much. It reminded me how very subculture a lot of my life is. By choice and accident, and because it’s pleasant, and by no means is it only one subculture, but musically these days I know a whole hell of a lot more djs and laptop and electronic music peeps, techy peeps, sampling/looping peeps, all of that. A lot of music is experienced in forms that don’t have much physical manifestation (did I mention again how cool the artwork is on the CD?) (and hold tight my tape-loopers).

But I started to remember that many folk don’t operate that way. It was significant to them (to my Dad, for example, but he’s actually a 20thcentury composer, so maybe a better example is some folks I know through the academic world, who are music fans of other genres) that I had a CD officially released, on a label, not toasted with handmade artwork in my living room. I do think non-mp3, physical phonogram releases serve a purpose, give you entree into different places. I don’t have a lot of sense of how that might benefit me a as a dj and as part of the music that I'm into, but I’m curious.

My academic work is about copyright. Usually I just stick to making the point that the law doesn’t necessarily serve who people think it serves, copyright doesn’t automatically benefit who you might think it benefits, most people don’t recognize where most of the money in the music industry comes from or goes to, and simply enforcing or extending copyright isn’t going to fix that.

So, take the CD – in my earlier post, I requested that folks who read my personal blog don’t upload it for a while. I can’t bring myself (nor do I really want to ) ask you not to download it.. Let’s be clear, I don’t give a fuck about copyright law in its(ever-mutating) self, and I’m not invoking it in my favor, nor am I gonna sue anyone. You could say that having read my request it would be rude to ignore it… so you’d have to live with that.. But on the downloading side, if you’ve got the music (and especially if you like it), I’m pretty much psyched. Of the many things that matter more than money in the hand: email me and tell me what you think about it, introduce yourself, send mp3s of your own (or vinyl, always appreciated), come see me dj, bug your local promoters to book me, tell all your friends, (and of course download the free mixes from links like the one at left and share share share)!

So, yeah, my point is that what it means to upload and download is really specific to the situation of artists involved. If they speak up about it, you have to just make a decision/ judgment call. If you haven't heard from them, it's another judgment call.

for the death$ucker mix, I (willingly) gave up my copyright. Actually, it wasn't discussed, but I'm assuming that's one material thing the label should have (to a reasonable extent) in exchange for doing so much work to help me make it happen. Fuller disclosure: I agreed to a flat fee, minus costs of whatever copies of the CD I asked for. I worked on the mix, practiced, re-ordered and practiced again, searched out music, tried to construct forms and ideas, etc. Kid Kameleon helped me with technical stuff in DP, i.e. cut together 3 chunks of sound, and then helped me clip out a disputed track (stupid copyright law) and cut in another mix. Artists represented either didn’t care or were psyched their work was included, since they were properly credited as much as possible. The (contradictorily-named) Parasite took care of everything logistical, is mailing promo copies all over the fricken planet, finding distributors, doing what music labels that are 1) moral 2) genuinely support music, and 3) generally don’t make money, do. None of us did this because of laws, but because of how we like to work together.

So yeah, this doesn’t contradict my points about copyright law. or file-sharing. It's the relevance of these thing to your purposes that matter, yeah?

On a slightly different note. I think the tension between physical and non-physical manifestations of music are still pretty interesting. I do think it’ll be nice when there is a simple, reliable pay-per-download system, or one for more general file-sharing like downhillbattle talks about, that does allow some money to go to artists. But I do like holding records (especially 45s) in my hot little hands! I like cover art. I guess I like good tshirts and pins too, so maybe folks can get that paraphernalia going as well, with the magic of cafepress and americanapparel no-sweatshop thingies. Maybe I should have pins (badges, for you UK peeps)?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Dj Ripley's new mix CD released!

so the nefarious mastermind behind Deathsucker records has released my most recent mix. Available from their website, now you can pick up a copy of the summer/fall mindset of djripley.

tracklist for Ich Bin Defekt:
Aphasic – Get Lost
Sileni – Twitchy Droid Leg
Current Value - These Engines
TOK – Until Dawn
I-Sound - Sweating in the Ages
Derek Harriot – Slave
Unknown/Anonymous - Special Blends, Volume One
BeeSnares - Bee in Bunnyhead
Istari Lasterfahrer - Brainwashed
Donna Summer - Jungle is Driving Me Crazy
Baby feat. Clipse - Wha Happen To That Bedron
Gang Related & Mask – Biters
Laggy - Sike (Decoder Remix)
Dr.Mario – Sociopath
Drop The Lime - Stitch Massive
DJ Fresh – Temple of Doom
Bogdan Raczynski – Kill or Be Killed Bloodclaat Gangsta Youth (remix)
Aphrodite – Darkside '99
D'Kat – Yeng
Pro-Atomkrieg 001
DJ C – Billy Jungle
Enduser – I Come From Cincinnatti
Debaser – My Sound Rule
Kid606 - Who Wah Kill Sound?
Mini Groove Orchestra – Are You Minigrooved (Bounce Remix)
EOSS - Wacko Macko is Backo (DJ C's Babylon a Fall Mix)
Mochipet - Dessert Search for Techno Baklava
Soundklash Weapon - N8loc's Revenge
Shitmat - On A Ragga Sh*t
Puppet Mastaz – Zoology
Shinehead – Chain Gang
DJ C - Conscience a Heng dem
FFF – Batty Bwoy
Sixteen Arm Jack – Bust Out a Dis
Buccaneer feat. Bounty Killer & TOK – Real Badman
Tribe of Issachar feat. Peter Bouncer - Junglist
Mystikal – Bouncin Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall)
Aphasic - Ducking and Diving

and I'll post the picture that inspired the title of the mix later in the week.

I've also added a link to my mix from 2003 for havocsound, the find NY/SF/Traveling crew who released on tape back then.. but under a no-copyright regime, so I feel good sending it everywhere and bigging it up. I'm hoping (hint) that folks who like Ich Bin Defekt will hold off on posting it online for a while so Death$ucker can make back what they put into it.. I should have a new mix up in a bit, if all goes well.

ugh

I do NOT like this development at all. Not that I use Mp3s, but that's more because I haven't gotten in to CD mixers or tractor or whatnot. Hey this means that Tractor could be sued for promoting infringement, maybe? bluh.

Italian DJ Fined 1.4 Mln Euros for Music Piracy
ROME (Reuters) - An Italian DJ has been fined a record 1.4 million euros ($1.8 million) for using thousands of pirate music files in a nightclub near Rome, police said on Wednesday.

Police in the town of Rieti, near Rome, said they raided a popular nightclub earlier this week as part of a crackdown on piracy and seized 500 illegally copied music videos and more than 2,000 MP3 music files.

Police said the files belonged to a "well-known" Italian DJ.

"For the MP3 files, which were kept on the DJ's personal computer, the DJ has received a fine of 1.4 million euros," Rieti finance police said in a statement.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said the fine was the biggest ever slapped on an individual for unlawful music copying and the use of copyrighted music in the MP3 format.

More than 7,000 legal actions have been launched against alleged uploaders in the United States, Canada and countries in Europe as the music industry fights to stop piracy which it blames for a decline over a number of years in CD sales.

--

might I just point out that CD sales were likely artificially high through the 1990s, as many people rushed to replace their cassette and vinyl music on CD, and that once that replacement was done, there would obviously be a decline in CD sales? There is so little reliable evidence about what's happening in the industry as a whole and who it hurts when there is downloading.

I think where it hurts the majors more is that artists have a better option than signing away all their rights in exchange for distribution and marketing. So fewer artists are as likely to make such terrible deals as they were forced to in the past 10 years, because digital music is cheaper to distribute and the internet allows it to be distributed more widely.

At this point if I want to support an artist, especially one on a major label, downloading a tune and mailing them a quarter is more than they'd get for a whole album bought "legally."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Boston headz take note

All you Boston-area peeps don't miss this one!! Former bostonian and down-with-the-bostonians
djripley
sez: should be a stormer.

Hello Neighbor

A Multi-room, audio-visual, 4 hour, poly-environmental collaboration
between artist groups (i.e. the neighborhood) to create a synesthetic
feedback loop between the art and the audience, including two rooms of
music and live video projection, video installations, chill spaces, and
graffiti art

Musical Performances By:
Knifehandchop (Tigerbeat6 - Irritant)
Dev/Null (Tigerbeat6 - Violent Turd - Cock Rock Disco - Sprengstoff -
Omeko)
DJ C (Mashit - Shockout - Beat Research - EOSS - Scandalbag - Reduced
Phat)
Local Fields (Zero G Sounds - Unlocked Groove)
DJ Flack (Beat Research - Mashit)
Square
DJ Molotiff Soundfall
Rob (Aliens at Home) w/ special guest

Visual Performances By:
Broken Lens & Natty Lane (Glitch Crew - Boston Burners)
VJ ADD (Glitch Crew - Aine - Dijjital Ambiance - netcasting live from
Orlando, Florida)
Leonid (Glitch Crew - Boston Burners - Redtail)
Shawn Faherty (Glitch Crew)
Zebbler (Glitch crew)
VJ Phi (Glitch crew)
Jeff Mission (Glitch Crew - Boston Burners - Beatfix - Circle)

Friday, February 18, 2005, 7PM-11PM
$7 ($5 w/ college ID) @ the door

Massachusettes College of Art
621 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Ma. 02115
South Building Entrance
781.738.0892

Website: www.dijjitalambiance.com/helloneighbor

Audio Links:
http://www.knifehandchop.com
http://rhinoplex.org/devnull
http://www.mashit.com
http://www.localfields.com
http://www.DJFlack.com
http://www.BeatResearch.com

Video Links:
http://www.glitchcrew.com
http://www.jenrosselli.com
http://www.zebbler.com
http://www.brokenlens.com
http://www.beatfix.com

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

'sbeen too long..

Choon-up party was a rousing success, as those of you lovelies who came out (some before 10pm even) can attest.. We had about 150 people total for the night, and it's not a big club. The bartender was impressed. She's also the booking agent. Unfortunately, miscommunication reigned, and we did not get a monthly there.

Undaunted, we have rounded up for you another venue for March 5 - House of Shields. Less uh congenial location (financial district) - New Montgomery btw. Mission and Market. Sound system without that magnificent woofer.. but still, not bad for a quick search. Big up the Robynn for connecting that up!

And this one, I've been told I'll be playing either at 11 or 12 - a better timeslot for all you dancing beasties. the dancefloor is smaller here, so don't be afraid to clear out the chairs and shake the balcony! I'll post the full info in a week or so. There are a couple other djs playing (kid kameleon won't be playing, sadly), and I've never heard them so I can't say for sure what the rest of the night will hold.. But I'll do my level best to hold down the eclecto-basso-thumpity ragga sound.. there will be grime, there will some of that reggae that's at exactly too-fast-for-grime tempo mixed with other stuff I got.. it'll be NICE.

Working on this event (there are at least six and kind of eight people involved) has reminded me again how lucky I was to start my musical/party world with Toneburst events, first attending, then helping out with, and lastly djing at. One of the hallmarks of their style was that everyone involved got treated fairly, and you knew it -they were upfront about where the money went, about who got paid what and why. Other hallmarks were eclecticism, and fondness for ragga jungle, multimedia performances/installations and political/critical art and themes.
But my point here is they really put their money where their mouths were, and treated artists equally. There wasn't a lot of money involved, but they took pains that it was shared out. I still remember I think the first event I got involved in - I just helped hang lights and clean up and decorate and stuff, and I totally didn't expect recompense, I was psyched to get to know people and be a part of it and be at the party for free.. But at the end of the night one of the organizers came over and gave me 20 bucks. I said I didn't need it, but he insisted, that's how they did things. It wasn't the money, but it was the meaning behind it - my contribution was being taken seriously. I took that to heart so much, and I still think it's best to operate that way.

I've seen it from several sides - some folks throwing events are too bourgie to realise that money is still a way to signal someone's worth to you - if you do an event and have to prioritise, it's an easy sign of what's most important. Other times it's that hierarchichal attitude that you stick it to the people who will put up with it for other reasons, and give money to folks who wouldn't get involved otherwise (exactly backwards from how I want to reward folks, and a bad bad way to grow a team).

Anyway I'm glad all over again I has such a good solid and crazy-creative folk around me in Boston like ten fucking years ago (damn).. and lucky me I get to play with'em still! (East coast mini-tour in mid March for the djripley!)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Choon Up!! San Francisco this saturday

Saturday Feb 5!

We're taking over from the previous crew, they've given us the early slot (9pm-12am), and I'll be playing the first hour. So get your drink on, get hyped up on caffeine, whatever it takes to be in a good mood by 9pm and come by early this week for sure. It's also free before 10pm, hold tight the broke ass cats out there, ripley's got yer back. If folks move, I'll play dancing tunes, if yer all horizontal and shit I'll make it chiller.

if all goes well we'll make it a monthly ting.

Nickie's
460 Haight Street at Webster