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Digitization of Metal

Septicemia

Digitization of Metal
July 11, 2008, 03:25:21 PM
After reading the recent DLA Mark Riddick interview, I got to thinking about what else could happen with metal, as it moves, along with other media, to digital formats.

As was mentioned in the interview, costs are cut that involve making the copies of CDs and shipping them, but perhaps more significant: all previous forms of presentation can, and I submit will been abandoned. The romanticized metal tradition of presenting band with (1)artistically considerate, usually geometrical logos and (2)abstract/epic cover art would not prove in a realm where that sort of visual show won't make someone "buy the record", especially considering growing efforts like hi.arc.tow., where the music isn't seen as an ends to profit.

With regards to presentation, I think one of two things can occur. Minimalists, following the black metal path, would deny all visual forms and strive (admirably) for pure music, or (unadmirably) go back to peddling their home-recorded, 2nd rate LLN ripoff tapes, claiming the material supremacy of vinyl and plastic. On the other hand, I think more thorough individuals would use digitization to present music more fully by taking advantage of the thus far unexplored media - perhaps even objects as out there as interactive websites (maybe music + prozakhistan? I think Beherit is doing something along these lines), or album-long music videos/films.

Though that sort of creativity might at first sound more akin to what electronic artists have been doing, I don't think it stands outside the abilities or inclinations of Burzum, Beherit, or TRITSISO-era At the Gates.

Re: Digitization of Metal
July 14, 2008, 06:03:11 PM
I couldn't disagree more with you. I have always been a collector of music as well as a listener, so my view is biased and i make no apologierss for that. But i feel that album covers in partuiucalr have always been a fascinating and wonderfully creative part of any contempary music, particularly metal. You can argue that it is a marketting tool, and that the album cover is geared towards seeling copies, but you can also argue that it adds something to the whole listenning experience and the image of the band. Examples i would include have been Carcass's first and second album, Darkthrone's TH, and bathory, the swing from primitive early black metal to more majestic viking metal was also marked by a massive change in cover styles with the release of BFD.

The mp3 format is starting to displace CDs now, so maybe one day i will feel like just as much of a technological dinosaur as vinyl collectors, but i will try and avoid it for as long as i can.

Trauco

Re: Digitization of Metal
July 15, 2008, 03:54:55 AM
I feel that the near future will bring initiatives that will fully exploit the possibilities of digital technology for the more worthwhile metal efforts, like hi.arc.tow has been doing. As I've seen, the underground currently is sick with the materialism that the "collector mentality" entails, so, in order to distinguish themselves from the crowd and, at the same time, to rebel against this trend, the bands doing metal for the pure artistry of it will make their material available for free on the net, including the artwork and other necessities that are normally included on printed paper (the example of Demilich also comes to mind here).

What I want to get to with this is that the availability of metal on the net doesn't necessarily imply the complete renunciation on album artworks. One step for doing the transition would be doing it the Demilich way and then fully exploiting the possibilities of the web in a more innovative way.

Re: Digitization of Metal
July 15, 2008, 11:37:55 AM
As long as DRM stays away I am happy with the shift to pure digital releases.

Re: Digitization of Metal
July 16, 2008, 07:25:28 AM
I see no problem with the digitalization of metal music. It's the message that you want to get across, the format is secondary to that. Sure vinyl definitely has it charms, as does tape. But consider this: these formats are fleeting, as digitized music can exist theoretically for ever. Also (Album) Art is innate to metal music, as long there's metal there will be a kind of art that represents the music.

Internet is a medium which we (still) need to get accustomed to as we had to c.d.'s, tape and vinyl in their time. internet just offers a better distribution canal for starting musicians. This has it's up and downsides.  It's to the listener to filter out the good shit.

Re: Digitization of Metal
September 09, 2008, 05:29:57 PM
Even though I got into black and death metal through the internet, I have to turn on my roots and say that the digitization of metal -- and the internet in general -- has been bad for metal because it allows for the further invasion and corruption of populism.

When black and death metal was in the underground, their music and ideas were part of a tight-knit circle which understood the connection between them. When they escaped the circle of people who understood it, the music was adopted by listeners and musicians with only a superficial understanding of the ideas behind it. What they failed to realise is that the ideas are the impetus behind the music; that is, the artform is simply an abstract communication of these ideas, and so both are inseparable.

What followed was a flood of mimicry that lacked the spirit the original movements possessed, and came out as shallow. Even worse, bands came that accepted the music while rejecting all of its ideological background, effectively creating metal while expressing ideas that were clearly unrelated to it. To anyone with any understanding of metal and what it communicates musically, this is clearly schizophrenic, comparable to someone screaming a nursery rhyme with their fists clenched.

Populism has destroyed every great musical art form to date. Keep it underground!

Re: Digitization of Metal
September 10, 2008, 02:15:32 AM
Whether you like it or not, the music is going to get digitized, and if it's a genre that the kiddies listen to like Metal it's going to be uploaded somewhere and made available to everyone who wants it on the internet.  It seems to be a fact of life. 

So a few things are going to happen:

1) Nobody is going to be a star.  Big-time sales are just not going to happen like before.

2) Packaging is going to become even more important for the stuff that's out there.  Collectors, super fans, and material fetishists will have to be intrigued by packaging to coax sales.  Vinyl will become more popular for this reason!


Re: Digitization of Metal
September 10, 2008, 09:40:05 PM
I see no problem with the digitalization of metal music. It's the message that you want to get across, the format is secondary to that. Sure vinyl definitely has it charms, as does tape. But consider this: these formats are fleeting, as digitized music can exist theoretically for ever. Also (Album) Art is innate to metal music, as long there's metal there will be a kind of art that represents the music.

Internet is a medium which we (still) need to get accustomed to as we had to c.d.'s, tape and vinyl in their time. internet just offers a better distribution canal for starting musicians. This has it's up and downsides.  It's to the listener to filter out the good shit.

The format is not subservient to what is being said because what is being said is dependent on the format.

Re: Digitization of Metal
September 11, 2008, 06:58:57 PM
It is remarkable how much album covers and such can have an effect on the way you listen to music, more often than not its things you don't even think about. With the digital format a lot of that image is lost, and image is very important in music, particularly in metal.

Re: Digitization of Metal
September 11, 2008, 09:00:33 PM
It is remarkable how much album covers and such can have an effect on the way you listen to music, more often than not its things you don't even think about. With the digital format a lot of that image is lost, and image is very important in music, particularly in metal.

I always found that an album cover was simply idiomatic with the overall tones of an album rather than exploring new territory, because of this I usually care little for album art except when I view it independently from the music.

Septicemia

Re: Digitization of Metal
September 11, 2008, 09:43:06 PM
It is remarkable how much album covers and such can have an effect on the way you listen to music, more often than not its things you don't even think about. With the digital format a lot of that image is lost, and image is very important in music, particularly in metal.

I mainly associate this with how music posits itself as relative to some sort of "scene": Dan Seagrave early death metal covers, naturalistic/"evil" mid 90s black metal covers, early 20th cen. serialist camp, post-modernists, whatever. I'd like to say I think metal music would do best to dissociate itself from the visual and the scene, but I've yet to think of a time when this sort of thing has ever happened (even the isolated Ildjarn began with the rest of his Norwegian kin, and even moved to electronic music at the same time as the rest of the black metal world was).

Re: Digitization of Metal
September 12, 2008, 12:53:57 PM
I don't see why image as part of the package of music has to be a bad thing. I know that a lot of it is used for marketing, and with 90% of metal too much weight is attatched to image and artwork. But when done well it doesn't take anything away from the music, quite the opposite. Yes, the true test of good music is being able to stand up on its own without any other format standing between the listenner and the sound. But one can build on that. I think that digitization is an enevatibility, so i'm not gonna rant about the virtues of collecting CDs or vinyl, but i would like to see how art can be exploited to interact with music on the digital format.

Re: Digitization of Metal
September 22, 2008, 02:11:13 AM
what would be great is a mass-produced gadget of some kind that exclusively prints CD sleeves.  I know it's theoretically possible, but an industry standard and template would be helpful.  i think that would help to keep art in the mix.  otherwise, you're left with what...72 dpi internet images?  a photoshop chore every time you want album art?  settling for "fancy" website graphics?

the polar end of this is going to be the proliferation of underground acts self-pressing small CD-R runs, using arts & crafts techniques to impart a personal touch to releases. 

so you'll get either that or mp3's.  i think the independent music store, "official" releases on replicated CD's with UPC codes and glossy art and such, and record labels in general...are headed towards extinction.