Following on in my new series of blogging about music, here’s a roundup of some new (and not-so-new) music I’ve enjoyed in January. I’ll try to post once a month, when there’s something to post, and as January seems to have lacked in awesome releases this post will be pretty short. As well as some brief pseudo-reviews I’ll try to wrap up with a short rant about something related, and see how that goes. This month, I’ll talk about why I think that artists need to stop moaning and get on streaming services!
Ulver - ATGCLVLSSCAP
Don’t be put of by the stupid name, as this album is seriously, seriously good. It sounds amazing, despite being recorded live during 12 separate shows and then mixed later, and has an awesome mix of progressive, drone and electronic elements. I’m fairly sure that like Messe this will end up as one of my all time favourite albums.
Steven Wilson - 4½
In many people’s eyes, prog god Steven Wilson can do no wrong. Well, I don’t entirely agree with that (more below!) but this is a great, if somewhat short, album. It’s a collection of unreleased tracks from around the time of his last couple of solo albums, and because of that it lacks a bit of coherence in my opinion, but if you like his other work, you will love this.
Antimatter - The Judas Table
This was released in October 2015, so isn’t new, but is still worth a mention as I don’t think that Antimatter gets the attention it deserves and I only discovered it this month. I really enjoy Mick Moss’ vocals and the darkness that lingers behind the otherwise fairly chilled arty rock sounds, so I’d recommend checking out the few tracks you can stream online, and buying it if you like it, as this is one of those strange artists whose work isn’t all available to stream.
The war on streaming
There’s no doubt that many artists, bands and record companies still view streaming services with mistrust, and so maybe it’s no surprise that two of the three releases I’ve written about here aren’t available to stream online in full.
Whatever the reasons – be it the streaming services not paying the record companies enough, or some purist views that albums should be physical objects enjoyed in full (as Steven Wilson is on record as saying) – it sucks for consumers who pay for streaming in order to get access to more of the music they love. Antimatter and Steven Wilson’s albums would surely get more new listeners if they were available online, and surely more listeners can only be good in the long run.
It’s my view that, like it or not, music streaming is going to be the standard way of listening, assuming it isn’t already, and artists who “don’t believe” in it are going to seriously lose out. Instead, I’d try to de-emphasise the role of jumbled up playlists, and encourage listeners to stick to whole albums.