In between all the traveling and novel writing and trying to get my head around the general oddness of the world, I neglected to mention that the Zenapolæ netlabel released my Venus Vulture album Air and Eyes in May. I’m grateful to Arnd for curating this collection of five tracks – in this case effectively becoming producer as we whittled the number of tracks, and worked a couple into better shape.
I’ve always made music to listen to while I write. It usually turns out that I can’t listen to my own stuff more than, say, once, but that’s okay, there’s more out there, including lots from my labelmates on Zenapolæ.
Some of you know that while I’m serious about writing, I also have a hobby of making ambient music. There are several releases around the web – some self-released and a few on netlabels. Most of the music comes out under the moniker Venus Vulture, but I’ve used some other names too (though I’m not anything to do with Vultures of Venus, whose music is quite different). This new work, on the Zenapolae netlabel is a combined release with Cheval Cheval – another name I use. It’s kind of like a side A/side B thing. Both are stand-alone three-track EPs, but taken together they combine to make an album-length work. I do see Cheval Cheval as different to Venus Vulture (Venus Vulture is a bit denser, darker and weirder), but Arnd at Zenapolae suggested combining the two and I think it works: two aspects of my music next to each other for the old compare and contrast.
Zen 091 Cheval Cheval – Restless Gases/Venus Vulture – I am lost upon a heartless sea amongst the ice and sharks is free download from Zenapolae.
I’ve been so busy with writing, and jabbering on about writing, of late, that I haven’t been up to much music. But I have been up to some. I have a new Venus Vulture release coming out on Zenapolae soon, but in the meantime I managed to put together a podcast mix that’s out now.
zenCast016 is an hour-long mix of ambient(ish) works from various netlabels – I’ve put a full track list below. As you may know, I listen to music as I write; and this is the kind of thing I would write to. I hope you enjoy it.
I’ll update again when the Venus Vulture release comes out.
Tracks in zenCast016
1. Lump – Kohina#2 – textone\txtn015 – 3 feet down and sinking e.p.
2. Rod Modell – Harmonics Of Ether – sutemos\Flow.ers (Sutemos008)
3. Ingredient – Striations – zenapolæ\zen051 – Ingredient
4. Minus Pilots – Sunshine Final Cut – testtube\[tube010] – Central Industries EP
5. milieu – over hills – [unknown]\milieu
6. Lezrod – Domrich – zymogen\[zym014] – Genki Vol. I
7. Ryonkt – transparence – Resting Bell\transparence
8. Venus Vulture – Times Sq. – [unreleased]
9. Dolby – [B2] Outward – thinner\thn008 – dub expo ep
10. Sleepy Town Manufacture – Kabyn – sutemos\intelligent toys 2
11. Minim.all – Branches – arh021\les mots inconnu
12. Arditi – Struggle for Victory – [equilibrium music]\(Destiny of Iron)
13. Zero a m m 0 – Uncomforting Variations – Resting Bell\
14. Anti- – ewwa – PUBE\ – tufts
15. 833-45 – Säänöttömyys – autoplate\apl004 – Solar Cycle 23
16. Muhr – Le Gouffre En Nous – zymogen\zym010 – muhr drames et precipices
17. Marko Füstenberg – Option21 – thinner\thn031 – option
18. Lys – Tolis – sutemos\Naunee
With all my focus on being a pulp fiction writer these days, on occasion I neglect the music side. Many years ago, unable to find enough ambient music to listen to while writing, I began making my own. Most of it was pretty awful – not even listenable by me – but some of it was okay. Over time, I got better too. Even to the point that some of my music has been released on some netlabels and has been played on the radio and by DJs. (This is also the reason why the blog URL is venusvulturenews – the music comes out under the moniker Venus Vulture, and music was why I first started the blog). It’s been a while since Pylon Suite came out on Zenapolae, but it was cool to see it very positively reviewed recently on acts of silence. I am slowly working on new music, but it’s more sporadic these days: more will definitely be coming.
Pylon Suite is about 40 minutes long and is intended to be background music while doing more concentrated activities (such as writing). It’s a free download.
Sutemos is a Lithuanian netlabel, releasing a variety of music, but specialising in electronica. A good introduction would be any of their Intelligent Toys compilations – the latest is “We Make Music” – described as “Style: Ambient/ IDM/ Experimental/ Instrumental/ Techno”. 51 tracks, divided into three “CD”s. You can stream any of the music from the website.
Lately I’ve been listening to the 2005 10-track release by Stockfinster – All Becomes Music. Unusually for me – with music to write to – this has vocals, especially the haunting title track, where the build is gradual, the voice-over eerie and refreshing. You can both stream and download the release for free. The release (as with other Sutemos releases) comes with a cool rotating gallery of photographs – example at left.
Zenapolae is a netlabel that releases a range of ambient and experimental music. They also have regular ‘Zencasts’ of hour-long mixes of tracks from the label and from other netlabels.
Recently I completed a mix exclusively made up from Zenapolae releases and it’s available from Zenapolae as Zencast 012 – you can download it here. The mix is a very blended piece, using long sections of various tracks overlaid with long sections of others.
1. Todd Christopher – aurumplateau
2. Saffron Slumber – Of Ice, Water, and Steam
3. Petal – Meridian
4. Ingredient – Striations
5. zenasprime – esion2 (edit)
6. Maszyna 01 – kosmos
7. d/form – 00:11:59::00:21:15
8. Petal – Occlusion
9. lolpix – Ephialtes
10. Weird Fields – Carousel
11. Raumwerk – Mitte (edit)
12. AmgSphont – zatpacu
13. Instruction Shuttle – Further Adrift
14. d/form – 00:51:09::00:60:00
15. Saffron Slumber – Of Ice, Water, and Steam
There are loads of streaming mixes available on the internet. Currently I’m listening to Jimmy Behan’s Vol. 3 mix on Fluid Radio – a great range of edgy and ambient, very cool to listen to while working. Jimmy has been around the electronic music scene for a while with some cool original releases, including “In the Sudden Distance” on the Zymogen netlabel.
Well, the APRA/GEMA thing didn’t go away or get smooth as I thought it may have. My releases – Signal Artifacts and phantomshadows – are both unavailable until I can sort that out. Kind of no one to blame, just bureaucracy. I’m trying to get more music up and around. Will update soon. Mood – sad.
Edit: now on 23 July – the below has become redundant in view of new information that has come to light … ah well.
Over the last couple of years I’ve released some music as digital downloads through international netlabels. The music has been covered by a Creative Commons licence – which means that I give up certain rights (ie. royalties) to make the music available. The licence is an Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0
Sounds simple, huh? I sign the licence and people can download for free, nobody pays, nobody receives payment. Except, uh-oh, I joined APRA, which protects copyright for New Zealand artists (eg. if a copyrighted track gets played on the radio, APRA ensures that any fees get to the artist). That seems like a good idea in case I release some copyrighted (as in not Creative Commons) music. Except that some of the music was released on a netlabel in a country where APRA’s equivalent asks for licence fees for members. Meaning that the label owner may have to pay them, who I presume would then pay APRA who would then pay me. Except that I’ve relinquished my rights to payment quite clearly. Apparently that doesn’t wash. The label owner can’t pay (of course not, s/he does this as a hobby, for the fun of it, not for money) so will have to take my music off the label. So here’s the craziness:
Because I belong to APRA, which protects the abuse of my music, my music is going to be unavailable.
Believe me, I think APRA do great work (which is why I joined). It’s too easy for artists’ work to be used for the benefit of others (eg. ambience in a cafe) without any reward for the artist. Many people depend on this kind of remuneration for their livelihood and APRA’s work, along with other agencies, is great in protecting that. But the irony here is that my work will become entirely unavailable because of APRA’s protection as it applies internationally.
While the netlabel scene is small time when related to the music industry as a whole, I feel sad that this little bit of New Zealand culture on the international stage is going to be hobbled by what is really a technicality.
It looks as if I will have to resign my APRA membership in order to make my music available in the future. Even then, it also seems that because of being an APRA member at the time the music was released it’s now going to be permanently unavailable through the netlabel.