Monday, August 29, 2005
Voices in the Wilderness
What do they call that feeling you get when you realize that the thing you knew abstractly is actually, concretely, tangibly, true? Oh yeah, CLARITY! Spent several hours today with the good people of McGill's CKUT radio and was impressed (really impressed) by how hard it must be to actually get a song on the air. There are something like 70,000 records in the CKUT library with dozens (if not hundreds) of records arriving weekly. Even with a large amount of original music programming (and CKUT has tonnes) the chances of an unknown artist having a DJ pull their record down from the boxes and boxes of promo copies have got to be pretty slim. With that in mind, it's not a surprise that commercial radio -- where voicetracking has eliminated much of the on air talent and DJs haven't picked their play lists since the Reagan administration -- has payola. I mean, why would a Clearchannel pick program director pick his or her own songs when s/he can pick a track that's equally appealing to his/her audience and get paid for it? In fact, I'm not really sure I object to the concept of payola on American commercial radio*. I mean, if we accept that the average top forty pop song is a carefully measured, packaged, tested and marketed product (like soap, soup or sasperilla) why don't we allow the corporations to pay for the shelf space? The people who like music will hunt it out where they can find it (on the internet and through independent radio and record stores) and the rest will continue to take what they're handed. It's with that in mind, that I give over just a bit of my small world of airplay to Saxson Shore one of the dozens of records I saw in that library today which may or may not actually get a home on the radio. Listen to April 14 (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) The music is gentle, atmospheric and currently also getting love from Music For Robots (looks like Mark has a copy of the new Saxon Shore full length, The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore). Though, like many post-rockers, they seem to have a levity problem. Check out this piece from the new album's press kit: The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore is...the story of (Saxon Shore's) own hypothetical death complete with a moment of silence to close the album... (it) exhibits the reincarnated, resurrected, resuscitated spirit of the band. Sigh! At least it isn't in recorded in a made-up language. You can buy Saxon Shore's records direct from their web site. * As Carl points out, it's just not the same North of 49. Pregnant Pause David Segal understands EXACTLY why people are drawn to writing about music. Lucky for us, he's written a memoir about it (Thanks, Mike). Did I miss something? Did I go insane on my vacation or did the President of the United States suggest that Intelligent Design get "equal time" in US classrooms? Jeebus! While he's workin on his "bright ideas" list, Dubbyah may want to nominate Pat Robertson for Secretary of State. All you Canadians repeat after me: "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." Then again maybe I've been to hasty on the whole intelligent design thing. With arguments this good, maybe I should just change my take on the subject. I mean, if Gus Frerotte giving himself a concussion by running into a wall isn't proof of a higher power...what is? (Thanks, Arn) People into being critical with their media and understanding the message behind the message (i.e. all you PR and media wonks) will probably be as fascinated with BagnewsNotes as I am. (Thanks again, Mike) Oh, and by the way, PWI is now officially a year old. Happy birthday to me/us/it.