Wolves Evolve

Music

In my efforts to become smarter, I will occasionally revisit things of the past and try them again with a more educated set of senses. Case in point: Ulver’s 10th anniversary remix disc, 1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machine. I think Jester Records sent me a copy to review for earPollution, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it.

And looking through the archives, I see that I never reviewed an Ulver record during the eP era, and I wonder if I hadn’t really discovered them yet.

Anyway, the remixes. I seem to recall only recognizing Fennesz, Merzbow, and Bogdan Raczynski. when I first saw the disc. Now, it reads as Ulver having a very hip circle of friends in the electronic music world. At first pass, I wonder if Ulver’s most hardened fans scratched their heads in confusion as well. Given the band’s direction on Perdition City and the following EPs, the list of participants makes a great deal of sense. And the record is certainly a glitch fest. Some of it is the sort of squealing tone waves that I’ve given myself clearance to no longer pretend I have to say kind things about (in the abstract, it is interesting; it just isn’t interesting to listen to), and some of it does take Ulver’s stripped down electronic lounge sound in interesting directions. As Ulver’s sound has continually changed from record to record, you start to wonder how you can talk about some of these aural efforts as being unlike anything Ulver has done because they could very well be the sound of the next record.

I’ve been waiting for War of the Roses to grow on me. I see that they’re releasing a live DVD from the Norwegian National Opera, and given the track listing, it should be an interesting listening experience. Visually too, if the live visuals for “Norwegian Gothic” (at the War of the Roses link listed above) are any indication.

Also, there is a track by track interview at the War of the Roses site that was conducted by the Freethinkers blog that is worth watching. (Oh, it’s a Pop record.) And Jørn’s quote–“The paradox always has a home with us”–sums up the Ulver sound so well.

The Planes Trailer

Film, Uncategorized

The kids and I watched Cars 2 tonight, and we got the hint in the “Air Mater” short about planes. I dug around on the disc a bit and found the Planes trailer. I watched it in slack-jawed disbelief. Mostly because I couldn’t see how Pixar would settle for having a White Zombie song as the background music for . . . ANYTHING.

But then, at the end, I saw the telltale reason. Planes is a DISNEY movie. Not a Disney Pixar movie. Not a Pixar movie. A DISNEY movie.

And Disney never passed up an opportunity to wring everything magical out of a property in the search for squeezing parents out of a few more dollars.

I have to admit that when I first saw the trailer for Cars 2 and the fact that it was a joint production between Disney and Pixar, I was afraid. Needlessly so, as it turned out because I found Cars 2 to be better than the first, but that may have more than a little bit to do with the fact that I’m one of those dads for whom all the James Bond gags are written for, plus I can tell how much fun Eddie Izzard and Michael Caine are having. Always a bonus.

But, pursuant to the topic of my last post, I suppose you can’t blame Disney. They do know they have a dedicated content consumption pipeline. Why wouldn’t you keep it filled?

And you know Rob Zombie cashed that licensing check without a moment’s hesitation. Hell, I would too.

The Strength of Content

Ruminations

Any large writer convention always leaves me with a flurry of seemingly-unrelated thoughts, and it usually takes a few days before I start to see the connective threads between them. I went round and round on the concept of “buying” versus “shopping,” and how both of these mindsets are equally applicable to the consumer. There was much talk of e-publishing and the new future of books (or the near death of books, depending on who you talked to). And always thinking about content.

Let’s start with a post from a few months ago by John Gruber. I enjoy Gruber’s analysis of all things Apple, and often his analysis extends to the Whys of tech business. His deconstruction of the Kindle Fire announcement, for example. Among other things, he says, “Amazon’s primary business is as a retailer, including as a retailer of digital content.” If you look at the Kindle Fire as a device to consume digital content, then its entry into the marketplace is to compete with Apple, and in that regard, the ubiquitous Amazon Kindle device is simply to facilitate consumption of Amazon-generated content. They don’t make money from the device; they make money from content bought for that device. That’s the long-term revenue stream.

In that sense, Amazon isn’t competing with traditional publishing. By entering publishing themselves, they’re simply creating a content pipeline that they control. Yes, there are concerns about them controlling the whole stack from content to delivery, but you can also argue that optimizing that stack may also mean that distance between creator and consumer is shortened.

Because, let’s be honest, the real death of the midlist author is obscurity.

Additionally, there’s been some animated discussion on the ‘tubes about the relationship between author and publisher (it started with a Barry Eisler post on J. A. Konrath’s blog, which in term referenced a post by Michael Stackpole), and I am not even going to get into a discussion about the language used in said posts because I think the more important thing is the point that was being made: the traditional relationship between author and publisher is heavily weighted in favor of the publisher.

Mr. Stackpole offered a follow-up post after WFC, and K. J. Jeter offered his own commentary on his blog as well as posting some other insight in a guest post at Dean Wesley Smith’s blog. Not to mention Dean’s own observation about the new world of publishing.

Go read, if you like. It’s all useful commentary, and the multiplicity of sources only drives home the point. Which is: content is where the power is. We shouldn’t feel bad about controlling it. And we should make as much of it as we like.

Remember the days when an author was only allowed to write one book a year? Boy, am I glad those days are gone. It’s time to recognize that our audiences are hungry for new content, and the digital age of publishing only means that we, as content creators, are more able to give our audiences what they want. They, in turn, seem increasingly happy to pay us a reasonable sum for that content.

What’s the downside to all this? Oh yes, we have to put our butts in our chairs and write. A lot. Bummer, that.