Sailing the Sonic Seas

The lost Island of Hyper-Experimental Trance Techno Ambient Soundscapes

Music, like almost nothing else, lends itself to obsession. For any sound, style or genre, no matter how hard to digest, no matter how obscure, no matter how bad even you’ll still find a hardcore of devotees lurking in a dark corner somewhere fixated on it to the point of mania. It’s a beautiful thing – even if the music itself leaves you cold there’s no small measure of joy in finding people who truly love what they’re into building up whole worlds around it. That said though there’s a hell of a battle to fight in ever getting those little self-contained spheres to open up their fixation to the rest of the world.

In some cases, with some genres the islands do manage to build bridges across to the mainland where the rest of us are wandering about. A handful of diligent bloggers, reviewers and writers in our community dig out the nuggets of goodness and spread them beyond the labels themselves and their immediate followers. Unfortunately it just doesn’t happen enough and artists and listeners alike have the right to feel at least slightly aggrieved at this hole in the general setup of things, even if there’s no one to blame for the situation.

Because, of course, it’s no-ones job to promote the obscure, or even the fairly well known, when it comes to free music – we pretty much run everything here on passion and if there’s a gap in what people really want to do then there’s no sack of cash to incite them to do it anyway so if an album, artist or even a whole genre goes neglected beyond its own cul-de-sac there can be no real declaration of surprise by those within it at the lack of wider interest. Although that practical lack of obligation doesn’t take away from the unfortunate neglect which some parts of the musical lexicon face – after all even the most personally reviled of sounds will appeal to someone, somewhere and the absence of any advocating voice means that new people may never reach the obsessions they’re meant for save by chance explorations.

For £50 I’ll listen to anything

In the traditional media the case isn’t particularly better, plenty still goes unnoticed but by and large there still remains a critical mass of popularity at which it becomes profitable for the indifferent to start caring, so the niche can at least create a stable level of awareness. Here, where the links between the disparate parts of the musical landscape are drawn by a precious few individuals and collectives too much can and does go unnoticed – but again it’s unfair to point to individual reviewers, e-zines or sites in the expectation that they should bend their own passions to fill the gaps. Nobody can be absolutist at the best of times and when so few are out there trying to draw people from one sound to another it becomes an impossibility. Even the labels themselves, ardently spreading the word of their own releases, can’t tap into a dozen other random swarms of listeners in the hope of converting passers by because the practicalities of doing so are so unpleasantly demanding as to make a soul shudder at the mere thought. Run a Hip-Hop label and you’re unlikely to throw all of your promotional efforts into realms devoted to hard Trance – with the same working in reverse and whilst routes like Twitter or Facebook do lend themselves somewhat to random discovery, as well as the very basics of sonic squirrelry positively imposing it they still rely wholly on the listener doing the work, with those same tenuous, overstretched links between it all only ever being able to offer the bare minimum of support.

Sinking Shrug

So… well, so what? For once I have no grand notion to advocate as a solution to all the world’s ills because if more people don’t want to be involved in reviewing or spreading the word of the disparate microverses of the musical wastelands then it just won’t happen. Although with more and more blogs and sites popping up of late and with their increasing levels of organisation there may be a call to action to be made. So if you find the good stuff and the bizarre corners – rant about it – go beyond the occasional Tweet or vague mention, proselytize a little, either on your own or with a site like Netlabelism.com, or one of the other similar sites emerging. Trust me, if nothing else there’s a bit of an ego pay off in connecting someone to a whole new sound which they hadn’t even considered before and if you don’t do it, who will?

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