Inkysmudge – Victims Of The Internet

The internet is a wonderful thing. It has liberated the small artist and gifted them complete freedom over the release of their work. The result of this is artists who would have 10 years ago had no chance of building up a fan base outside of their home town can build intimate relationships through their music with people living anywhere in the world. What an age we live in! Music being in ‘the cloud’ excites me more than music being in a live venue. This is why I was delighted yesterday to hear that Alex Ljung had made it onto the Top 30 Power Players Under 30 Billboard list:

Where then is the downside to all this modern age tomfoolery? Well, with such freedom artists hypothetically have nothing stopping them from releasing as much music as they want, which *might* cloud their judgment and on occasion disable their quality control filter. As a result a good artist could have their image tainted  by releasing a few too many duds that a record label may have advised against.

Hello Inkysmudge! Does any of the above sound familiar?

The band have released 4 albums/E.P’s in 9 months according to their website. They are a band that I think perfectly demonstrate my above point. I don’t dislike Inkysmudge by any stretch of the imagination, at their best they reminded me of early Eels and seem extraordinarily charismatic.

Linked below is a track that I was emailed by a member of the band which he described as “the most representative” example of their work. Fine. It’s a perfectly good song that I’m sure many of you will like. The problem is that if you go to their website you will find far too many songs that sound pretty darn similar.

My initial aim was to review a record of theirs, but sadly I found all four too hard to tell apart and released too close together. Instead I published this rather unkind attack, which Inkysmudge certainly don’t deserve to have aimed entirely at them.

I hope that my thoughts have at least entertained you.

Under The Power Lines by Inkysmudge

Im your friendly RouteBot. Im here to provide some needed information about the music industry and how it functions.

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    Whilst partially agreeing re the rapid release of music, isn’t there something to be said that creativity and it’s urges can sometimes dictate as and when songs are released, and perhaps with hindsight, and further down the learning curve, greater quality control and craft are exhibited….many commercial artists are praised for the prolificness when it comes to songwriting/releasing, some displaying the lack of difference you seem to be rallying against here…it could be argued that it’s refreshing to see one’s heart nailed to one’s sleeve for all to see, having a transparent creative process isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and whilst the blog certainly stimulates interesting debate, it would have also been interesting to hear a review of the artist’s music, perhaps as an aside or in addition to the debate…

    Interesting and worthwhile read nonetheless….

    You are right, a review would have been more fair. I guess the reason I didn’t was because the complaint wasn’t about them as such.
    To respond to your point that it’s interesting to hear the creative process (paraphrased), yes it is, but only in this type of forum. Do you listen to an artist for their music or for retrospective thought?

    Thanks for your comment


    Yep, it does sound familiar 😉 The releases are part of a creative experiment of mine, much of which is I think, on reflection, a reaction to the procrastination that plagued the end days of my last band (and no offence is meant to any of those involved, it’s just what happened).

    The point you raise about whether firmer hands would suggest a little editing is interesting and one that, though it might not appear so, is something I think about a lot. The two sides of the ‘how great and democratic is the internet?’ debate fascinates me, I’ve read a lot of opinions about it and I’m still not sure which side of the fence I come down on. It would be all too ironic for me to sit here thinking ‘there’s a lot of crap on the internet’ without having the
    humility to consider that through some eyes I could actually be contributing to it.

    What I’m waiting for is the backlash of people who decide they want their gatekeepers back (whether that’s record labels in the case of music or whoever). I think it’s a possibility that there are some who
    would prefer to be told what’s good and what isn’t because, quite simply, there is so much stuff out there; music, photography, short films, (e-)books……..

    As a musician, there is the ‘publish and be damned’ or ‘show everyone every aspect of the process because they’ll find it fascinating’ vs the ‘you’ve got to keep an element of mystery’ debate. Plenty of people for and against every point of view, loads of opinion everywhere. What difference does it make? Joe Bloggs likes this but Jane Bloggs doesn’t…… what?

    For me, I’ve done what I’ve done (written, recorded and released a ton of material all by myself) to see what I can learn from the experience. Is it better for me to collaborate or do it all myself, keep ideas that are perhaps not fully formed on the backburner or just get them out there?

    I’ve tried one method and maybe next time I’ll try another. For all of our creative endeavours we have to figure out what feels right for us. Ask opinions and take the advice of those we respect and make our decisions accordingly. At least, now they are our decisions to make.

    Whether that’s a good thing or not, the debate rages on.

    Thanks so much for raising a really valid point. Rock on, as some might say 😉

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