“Recorded live in studio March 11th & 12th 2012. No edits or overdubs”
– 2 tracks of dynamic harsh noise
– as always…..
THANK YOU FOR DOWNLOADING!!!!!!!!!
This album is Canadian Jake Vida’s first recorded material in over four and a half years. Merzbow is sited as a heavy influence and harsh noise seems to be the genre that Vida has placed his work in. “Habitual 1” is certainly harsh and blistering in distortion. It sounds quite free form and improvisatory as well, as the bed of sound shifts in texture and at times oscillates in a fixed rhythm, if only for a short while. “Metal Lord” is another good display of smooth manipulation, which requires deep listening from the audience, if they want to notice the subtle changes that occur throughout the song. “Habitual 2” incorporates a similar approach aesthetically, whereas in the beginning of “Grip of Inertia” there is a tape loop of a man and a woman talking about headlights (it becomes more and more strange after listening to it repeat throughout the song) mixed with a spastic analog synth wooshing and blipping all over the place.
Digital distribution I am finding is a hard nut to crack (as I did distribution of my physical releases). What I am finding is that the standard roles of such things as reviews, facebook, forums, and blogs play the role as distributor whereas with physical releases they played the role as advertisers. Which makes them so much more important.
I closely monitor traffic sources and their patterns and can clearly see the worth of pimping and whoring the blog online, but what tends to bring in much more traffic (and in result, downloads, which are equivalent to physical sales in my new outlook and model) is when people discuss, repost, and review the release on their own without me starting it.
Posts on forums are great only when people interact with them. As I mentioned in a previous post, the memory of the noise scene only reaches as far back as the first page of the forum. Without others discussing the release in the topic, it gets pushed to page 2 and then forgotten. This only leaves one option, to bump the topic yourself. This can look bad and like bulk email, can spoil your reputation and come off as desperate.
Bulk emails through my google group I’ve found is completely useless, no one pays any attention to spam emails, after sending a bulk email out, traffic has small peak, but nothing huge. If anything, it probably has a damaging effect on any sort of reputation I or the blog may have.
The conundrum is than this, if fan generated discussion helps, and self generated discussion hurts, how can one generate and encourage buzz and talk without blatantly spamming and hustling to get heard? Or maybe that is what it takes.
Reviews help a little, though not as much as I’d like them too, again I think this is an issue with the size of our scene. On top of this, many noise review sites in our tiny scene wont review a digital release. Which cuts the available outlets to an even smaller amount. Making things tougher than they need to be.
Whats worked best for me are the things I have had no part in. Other blogs posting about a release and people posting about it on their facebook status. Imagine on average a person has 300 friends on facebook, two friends give the status update a thumbs up or even better repost it. That’s potentially an additional 600 people who are now exposed to your update. Not all are clicks or downloads, but this kind of exposure is great and helps build a buzz without coming across as a pushy salesman. Other blogs reposting your release info also helps in very much the same way, it reaches people who would not know your release existed otherwise. And maybe their blogs are set up like mine is, to automatically repost blog posts on facebook and twitter. Reaching their fans, facebook friends, followers, and so on.
So whats to do? Release music and hope people dig it enough to talk about it.
I hope my recent transparency helps and encourages others with their projects, whatever they may be. I have a couple more ideas for topics in the coming months that I hope to cover, so stay tuned for more ramblings.
That being said, here’s a new EP called Metal Pupil. From the same sessions that birthed Grip Of Inertia. This track being the precursor that brought on the Metal Lord track from that album. Decided not to include it on the album as I thought it didn’t differ much from what was already on there, but as a stand alone track, it presents well.
The fine folks at The Esoterrorist have given a review of the latest Jake Vida release, grip of inertia.
Here’ the LINK.
Canadian noise artist Jake Vida has returned from a 4.5-year stint with a new brutal onslaught of harsh, intense noise à la mid-90′s Merzbow in his digital release Grip of Inertia (Pointless Blank Records). The last we’d heard from the Ontario artist was in 2007 on a couple of CD-r’s and a cassette compilation, and while the break in output hasn’t really been explained, Inertia definitely proves itself worth the wait by the first track alone. Vida wastes no time in getting straight to business in the first hyperactive track “Habitual 1,” which churns and grinds metallic blasts reminiscent of rubbing sandpaper on a microphone ran through 4 different distortions (which I am certain has been done). The assault is constant with no room for breathers and successfully remains active and elaborate, rather than repetitious or tedious.
Inertia was recorded live in the studio by Vida and plays through in a raw, straight-forward approach, not unlike in the origins of harsh noise composition and improvisation, giving this a truly “noise roots” feel. The simplicity to such a gigantic explosion of acerbity is definitely a refreshing treat that brings a smile to the face. The (non-)music’s dynamism isn’t lost in the attack, either. There are plenty of recognizable details and samples that heighten these pieces above their influences to which they respectfully pay their homage.
The record so far is being exclusively released via Bandcamp, with the price for download optional to the consumer. Recommended!
When I first got into the noise scene around 2004, I had the hope and dream that I could do this for a living. Create a label and sell music to people, seemed simple enough. I ran Pointless Blank Rec (PBR) for a couple years with very little success. My sales were always depressing, regardless of the release. Sometimes a small name would sell like hot cakes, and the bigger names would sit on my shelf collecting dust. I couldn’t see much rhyme or reason to the sale stats. My frustration grew, and turned into anger towards much of the scene. I grew very bitter seeing tons of labels with slapped together art with mediocre noise selling out 100 copies in a couple days, when I struggled to move 10.
I thought perhaps it was a traffic issue. The noise scenes memory tends to be only as long as the front page of the forum. That once your announcement topic hit page 2, your sales stopped. So I created a site, pointlessblank.com, with the misguided idea of running an online noise zine. This did not help with sales, but did help with traffic. So traffic wasn’t the issue. I grew lazy, and the site died.
I would like to believe it was not the music or ascetic of PBR releases. I stand by all of my releases as being very good, except for some of the early Jake Vida releases which were less than stellar. I also always get lots of compliments regarding the cover art, still to this day.
I think a portion of PBR’s lack of success was shipping. If you don’t know, I live in Canada. We have very expensive postage rates here. To the point I often thought to rent a PO BOX in Buffalo to make monthly runs. For example, when I released the Kakerlak – bathtub rendezvous cdr, it cost me on average $8 to mail it to the States. You can see that really doesn’t leave much room for profit, in fact I often lost money. This also was an issue finding distributors. Really hard to convince someone to take 10 copies of something with a MSRP of $10, with a 50% discount with a cost of $30 to ship it. A $70 investment for the distro, with only a potential profit of $20.
I came to the realization that there just wasn’t enough margin with CDR releases to make any money. People will scoff at a $15 CDR, which is where I really needed it to come out on top. This is when I started making and selling shirts. These had a larger margin where the shipping wouldn’t eat up all my hard work. Setting this up took a lot of time and money. Built a couple presses which didn’t offer the registration I really needed. In the end bought a two colour press and flash dryer. The shirts sold well and gave me some hope. People still seemed bummed out about the high prices. In retrospect, I should of found a partner in the states to manage all sales and shipping (doing some more shirts soon, any takers?). This would of helped keep the prices lower.
Once I gave up on the idea selling music for a living, I started Art As Intent (A2I) and stopped PBR. If I could not sell my music, and that profit was no longer a factor, why not just give it away for free? When I did The Rita shirts, I released 3 CDRs to give away free with the orders. This was also a way to snuff out some complaints about the high shirt costs from customers.
It worked really well, people appreciated it very much. Shipping was still killing me though. Even on the shirts, my margins were really small. Would cost me around $10-$15 to ship a shirt if I recall correctly. So I decided to say screw it all and asked myself, “What can I do to avoid these postage rates?” The answer was DIGITAL.
If your ultimate goal is to have you music heard and you’re no longer concerned with making money, then digital really is the way to go. If I can compare and relate digital downloads to physical sales of things I’ve released, the difference is huge. When before I found it hard to sell 10 CDRs, I now have a 100 downloads. Not everything has that many downloads, some are really low. For example Jake Vida-Grip Of Inertia has a whopping (and depressing) 14 downloads (not counting streaming), though 5 years ago, I would of been floored to have 14 orders. While Flesh Coffin’s album, Night Work, has over 100 downloads, plus the 20 hard copies I gave away for free. In this regard, by changing my goal, my label has never been more successful.
There are large stigmas that many people have concerning download only releases. Most review outlets in our small scene wont review them, some don’t regard them real releases, etc. I don’t agree with them, however I do understand them. Some of these are hard to overcome in a scene obsessed with packaging. In fact some of my most successful PBR releases were the ones with elaborate packaging.
It really clicked for me when I misread a Marshall McLuhan quote, “The message is the medium” as “The message is the message”. This led me down a train of thought that gave birth to the main ideas and concepts behind A2I today. Content above all else. Music as music, not a multimedia art piece. The pure sound as the art, without some physical fetish or materialistic desire altering the listening experience.
Getting money out of the picture has really helped me see things better, reground me to why I love noise so much, and erase my frustration with not getting heard. Releasing and creating music seems so much more pure and right to me now than it ever did.
New album is finished, trying out bandcamp for this release. It’s pay what you want for the download. I’ve set it up so it will also accept a zero amount, so you can still get it for free.
- The return of Jake Vida, first new recorded material in over 4 1/2 years. Heavily influenced by 90s era Merzbow, Jake Vida sets out to find what made him fall in love with noise in the first place. Recorded live in studio September 18 to December 12 2011. Cover art by Jake Vida.
For the experienced bud smoker, the most comfortable stretch of intoxication is the first two hours after the smoke has cleared. I suggest a two-hour track for such a time when you seriously need to think some thoughts, such as this one. This is mighty hefty entry, the fruits of the labor of Canadian Noisemaker Jake Vida and Andreas Brandal of Flesh Coffin fame, a collaboration that sees the two men exploring some very serious depths, but coming back with something as serious as the violent nature of the bile they decided to call “Selective Timestream”.
I don’t know what the hell was being thought or considered in the selection of the image that was chosen to include in the free zip folder you can get directly from Pointless Blank/Art As Intent. It’s a collage of aerial shots of various different landscapes. It looks like an uncut postcard sheet. But the sound… man… heavy.
The type of noise we get here sounds decidedly analog, there is a bit of discernible synthesis in there, but it serves as a lead into or refresher to the many long stretches of soulless rumblings, high-statics, sometimes paired up, often times lone beasts within the one beast that is the entire track.
The makeup of the material used to make this huge piece remain a mystery to me, but I could swear that the more interesting bits are some menacingly processed vocals. These appear toward the 40 minute mark, and are hopelessly cryptic in their mangled glory, if they indeed ARE vocals… When you get into the second hour, things become a little different, but if you have not been discouraged/bored/distracted, then there are some much needed tone changes, some of the best being the left/right panning of some more synth-sounding hits, sounding almost percussive, some filter sweeps, and even what I suspect is a sort of duelling-banjos moment between the Andreas and Jake. One burst of noise comes at one level, the other interrupts, both hit it at once, there are a couple of awkward silences, but the thing never wavers.
You have to be quite entranced to take this in one entire sitting. I don’t know what is the correct mindset exactly, but the sheer volume of this work is certainly not for weaklings. This is for all intensive purposes, a really fucked up journey. One I personally was happy to take. This would actually be pretty killer on a road trip, preferably along some really empty and maddening bit of desert. On another personal note: if you can experience this work the whole way through, you will return a much more empowered person. Believe you me, the most torturous thing about this free release is not the noise itself, but the shit that will no doubt come at you from within your own mind. Be forewarned!
Can download the album here https://pointlessblank.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/a2i-9-brandal-remlap-selective-timestream/