"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Anatomy atomised

LMYE's comically unnatural & dour 'The Anatomy of a Blogger' interview show is broadcasting now & for the next week on BreakThru Radio. Transcript covering our origin & future, favourite artists & blogs, & the internet's impact on music, below...


The Anatomy of a Blogger
DJ DoseU
October 23, 2008

00:00 DJ DoseU (Hands - Four Tet)
00:23 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) The Beginnings
01:37 Music Is Math - Boards Of Canada
06:59 Endless Soul - Josef K
09:25 Nothing Is Worth Losing That - Telfon Tel Aviv
14:33 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) & Four Tet
15:37 Our Time - Kieran Hebden And Steve Reid
20:42 Safer - Animal Collective
29:49 Alberto Balsam - Aphex Twin
35:01 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) & The Best Blogs
35:48 Ribbons - Four Tet
41:09 Applebush - Josef K
43:33 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) & Music on the Internet
45:55 Sorry For Laughing - Josef K
48:54 Oh My Lover - Adem
52:03 Water Curses - Animal Collective
55:25 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) & The Future
55:56 DJ DoseU
56:13 Street Flash - Animal Collective

Not to be ungrateful, but LMYE isn't responsible for that feast of Animal Collective nor the Josef K orgy - we just wanted the Pantha du Prince remix of Peacebone (buy here or here) & the Scots' It's Kinda Funny (which, it's kinda funny to note, didn't make it...): listen via widget below.

Anyway, in case anyone's interested, here's the interview:

1) Could you say a bit about how Lend Me Your Ears came about (name, decision to start a blog and anything else you'd like to mention)?

At its heart, Lend Me Your Ears is a conversation about music between two very old friends who haven’t lived in the same country for 20 years, unfortunately, & are still hugely into new sounds from across the very broad spectrum of what we’ve called ‘less obvious music’. The fact that people in more than 100 countries have visited the blog this year alone & in that way joined this conversation, which by definition is not a mainstream one, is a massive endorsement of which we’re quite proud.

The name Lend Me Your Ears always seemed an ideal one for a music blog. It’s what we want you to do!

Brian Eno once said that his inspiration was the idea of fusing the music of Steve Reich and Tony Allen. Notwithstanding how little Tony Allen is there is in almost all of Eno’s stuff, this is a good description of where we’re coming from – though I’d also add Allen’s partner Fela Kuti, plus John Coltrane, Joy Division & Basic Channel. & Eno himself, obviously.

2) Could you say a bit about some of your favorite groups on the list you've given? Maybe how you first encountered them or a memorable experience you've had with them?

For me at least (we haven’t discussed this), Four Tet is arguably the definitive Lend Me Your Ears artist – in his various guises, he’s drawing on a host of influences (both acoustic & electronic, from fairly minimal to jazz via countless points in between) that matter to us. In fact, Kieran may be as close to Eno’s Reich plus Tony Allen recipe as anyone has yet come.

Launch Yourself by Adem (who’s in the post-rock group Fridge with Kieran) was the appropriately-named first track ever on Lend Me Your Ears, about 16 months ago.

Josef K were my first gig, with Orange Juice & Aztec Camera at the long-closed Venue by Victoria Station in London back in 1981 (documented on this album, by the way...). To my lasting shame, I may have worn leg-warmers! I certainly had my top shirt button done up in the official post-punk style.

3) Do you have any other music sites or have favorite music sites or blogs you read?

So many blogs & sites: our Google Readers are never empty!

We admire Motel de Moka a lot, particularly their commitment to the art of the mix. Also Beat Electric, Comfort Music, Dilated Choonz, the ill-ec-tro-nic, Just Press Play, mapsadaisical, Palms Out Sounds & Undomondo. & we really miss Good Vibrato!

The Hype Machine & elbo.ws, of course. & Last FM, in a slightly different vein.

Boomkat’s incredible enthusiasm isn’t for everyone, but I like it (including their very cool 14 tracks service). We like bleep too. & eMusic’s pretty decent for less obvious music.

4) How do you think the internet and other music technologies regarding promotion or creation have found their effect in the quality of music? (I realize this is somewhat of a limitless question, but feel free to keep it short or as simple as you'd like, just a way of jogging ideas).

Not sure that it’s had as much impact on the quality of music as on the quality of the experience around music – in theory, much faster feedback could contribute to making better music. But great artists make great music in any conditions. The pre-digital My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is still the best sample record of all time.

Certainly, though, the way that technology has democratised the experience of music has countless benefits - more contact between artists & fans, & among fans, the sort of self-publishing exemplified by In Rainbows or Everything Happens, the remix competitions & online mixes that flush out huge non-public talents, the power of software to see patterns & give recommendations based on what you listen to.

One really interesting use of the internet is the approach of The Bays (bays.com). They are arguably the most modern band in the world – they play completely unrehearsed, improvised music that is all about the moment of live performance & they sell no records so that what they do isn’t compromised by having to market a product: on the contrary, they use the internet to give their music away. That’s a very unusual model that couldn’t have existed before the digital era, though obviously in some ways it’s a continuation of a sort of troubador approach you find in more marginal musics like jazz.

Lend Me Your Ears also has an unusual policy of posting no music without permission from the artist/label. Bloggers are enthusiasts who want to champion great music. But they’re also competitive & everybody wanting to put up their own exclusive or somehow different track can lead to wholesale rape of some artists who are never going to be big sellers. Look at how much Gang Gang Dance you can scoop up for free currently.

At the risk of being old & boring about this, we recognise some responsibility in what we post. We love this music & want to do nothing that hurts the artists who make it – on the contrary, we want to support them. Read what The Books have to say on their web site about struggling to sustain themselves financially.

5) Anything else you'd like to add, maybe what you're doing in the future, site developments, upcoming events you're attending?

Just keeping posting with any regularity is quite a challenge for guys with kids!

But lately we’ve posted a couple of remixes by Prince Charming, an Australian guy, & hacked a few chunks out of other people’s mixes. So one logical further step would be to try & get some primitive remixes together. But that’s a long-term aspiration, not anything imminent.


moka said...

Cheers! I appreciate the mention to the motel. Not leaving any comments before but I'm a frequent visitor to 'lend me your ears', you have a very addictive music taste.

JacL said...

moka, many thanks for your kind comment & for the link! The motel remains a benchmark for MP3 blogs & a big inspiration for us. Best wishes, LMYE

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