An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

I'm going to stop sleeping, I need more time

I've lost a little momentum over the last couple of weeks. I managed to get the wantlist down below 900, even though I missed my own deadline for the end of the 2014 year.

My concentration has been diverted into the excitement of creating some new music for the first time in over ten years and the work is coming along nicely.

On Saturday I visited the nearby city of Derby to go to a record fair being held in the city centre. The fair was organised by VIP record fairs who hold some larger fairs down in London on occasion, so it was a good chance to see if the traders who work with VIP are any good and may give me incentive to check out one of the larger London fairs one day.

The record fair was quite small, held in a church and had around 20 traders. I just happened to start immediately on a stall that specialised in newer music... punk, new wave, indie and alternative. He had loads of stock, lots of really interesting stuff. It took me about an hour and a half to go through his entire stock. About half way through my search, the vendor started to chat with me and I told him what mostly my 900 item list consisted of which is mainly non-uk 4AD releases, to which he replied "goodness me, the standard UK 4AD issues are difficult enough to come by of late, you won't have much luck with the foreign releases". My heart slumped as I finished off looking through his stock. He was right. There wasn't a single thing at the whole fair. I would have come away empty handed if it wasn't for finding a sealed re-release of The Cure's album Disintegration that I needed to buy as the picture disc I have sounds awful under the needle.

Once again I was walking away disappointed, except for the fact that a couple of the traders actually did have some interesting stock (for a change). I had also planned to check out the local 2nd hand record shop in Derby, but was disappointed to find that the stock there was very typical, badly stored and overly priced. I always find it soul destroying when perusing through stacks of easy listening, soft rock and mass produced pop albums, knowing that which each finger movement the reality of finding anything remotely alternative is extremely slim. I was about to give up when I noticed a small stack of tape cassettes and among them the album Pod by the Breeders. I knew I had it already, but I thought "What the heck" and decided just to have a quick look as you never know.

To my surprise it was the Spanish release! What the bright blue hectum's rectum is a Spanish Breeders cassette tape doing in among the dreary selection of Derby's yesterdays? I've no idea, but I snapped it up. At least I wasn't going home totally empty handed.

Moving on, in the last couple of weeks I've been having second thoughts about using Discogs. Many of the people I know either steer clear of Discogs because of it's reputation, or did use it and got put off and now stay away from it. Discogs is a great online tool, a tool I would love to use more but struggle to use to it's full at the moment because of time constraints. As you know, I'm spreading myself thin, between the book I'm attempting to write, this 4AD project, my Tuesday night album listening, being a husband (I would be an idiot to live in a bubble), trying to lose weight and now the resurrection of writing music again with Personality Crisis. I also feel the need to fit in my love of movies and Formula 1 racing when I get the chance. There's no complaining here, if I didn't enjoy these things, I would be stupid to spend time on them.

What I'm trying to say is that while some Discogs users would happily spend many hours a week on the site, I have my limits. So getting hassled to keep going back on and add or finely correct a submission starts to get quite annoying. I try and put in the bares bones of a submission if it doesn't exist, I think it's important that if a release is missing from Discogs and I have it, I have a responsibility to add it to Discogs. The problem is, is that there are too many superior users that think only a 100 percent, fully submitted and entirely correct submission should be allowed, all or nothing. As well as that, a user should submit a full submission with the full understanding of every rule and a full knowledge of every Label, Company, Artist and technical knowledge of how the industry has worked for the past 100 years and that the responsibility of a submission is solely down the to original submitter.

Needless to say, my judgment doesn't seem to be good enough and bowing to someone else's judgement isn't good enough either on Discogs. So I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place and getting to a point where I just feel like using Discogs for what I can selfishly get out of it, which goes against my nature in an environment that supposed to be for sharing and for the greater good. Oh well

This last week has seen my best friend Andy and I putting the last few touches on our new song under the old band name Personality Crisis. This has meant that I have also been working frantically to get a Facebook page up and running and some of the old songs onto Bandcamp for folk to download. That also means designing a cover for the new song and some extra little titbits like banners etc. As I've said before, this takes time away from other things, so my 4AD shopping has suffered lately. It has been many years since I last tried to promote the band online, probably ten years ago, and so much has changed. The market is saturated and I wonder how a young new band can get themselves heard nowadays. And of course, there's so much time needed to devote to it properly, I don't think I can give our music the attention it deserves, which is such a shame, as what we do is so good. Oh oh, the modesty alarm is going off......

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