Today is my buddy Gerald Larsh’s birthday. Most people don’t know who Gerald Larsh is. They know him as the DJ/Producer/Graphic Designer Jerry Abstract. He also records and releases music under a number of other monikers such as Ian Ginsing, Former Selv, and is one-half of the IDM duo Avee Libretto.
Today, also celebrates the three year anniversary of the release of Jerry Abstract’s six song EP, Satiated Elation. This EP dealt with similar issues I laid out in my previous posts regarding the Curtis Paul and Charles Pearson albums, the difference is this time I wised up a bit and recruited the expertise of the one-and-only Andy Toth (Detroit Grand Pubahs, Abbe & Toth) to take care of the mastering process. We also decided to do something a little different by recruiting Dan Grafton & David Chakur of Service Tech to manufacture tangible audio cassettes of the release, as well as distributing it digitally via everyone’s favorite media channels, and it is finally available on Beatport, Juno Download, Traxsource, where it belongs.
Today, Jerry needs your help. With the majority of the population streaming content via services like Spotify, which literally pay artists fractions of a penny per listen, royalties these days literally amount to nothing, and creatives like Jerry are suffering. Mr. Abstract has found himself in a difficult situation facing a number of medical and dental bills and has started a GoFundMe page where for a limited time, he is offering his entire discography (spanning 15 years, 103 songs, 10 hours 23 minutes) of original productions, remixes & live-sets in high quality .mp3 for your generous donation. The link can be found ~> HERE
Charles Pearson’s Fine Tales from a Frontier album faced the same challenges I described in my post about Curtis Paul’s Southern Brick Face. It too has been remastered and re-released, can be found now on Beatport, JunoDownload, TraxSource, Bandcamp & everywhere else fine music is streamed and sold…and it sounds better than ever.
If you were at a rave on a Saturday night during the mid ’90s, you would be hearing tracks from this album being played on the dance-floor, as well as in the chill-out room. I personally have a huge fondness for Charlie’s subtle use of vocals throughout the listening experience, taking the edge off the electronics by injecting that human element. It features a beautifully designed cover by his wife and baby momma Jessica Jozwick, and Charlie added a 15th bonus track, Frontier Girl, to celebrate this edition of the album.
Give it a second listen if you slept on it the first time around, and stay tuned as he has another collection of new music in the works…we should be making an announcement soon.
Approaching the four year anniversary of its initial release, Curtis Paul’s Southern Brick Face has been remastered and re-released finally, righteously, on Beatport, JunoDownload, Traxsource, Bandcamp & everywhere else fine music is streamed & available for digital download.
I say the word “righteously” because a handful of our first electronic albums were originally released on these platforms (Beatport, Juno, Trax, etc…) but I ignorantly signed up with a digital distribution service to get the albums delivered to those channels, not knowing that this service essentially setup its clients to fail (in my opinion). I will refrain from using their name because I don’t want to give their brand attention, feel free to contact me directly if you’d like to know…
One issue, they distributed our albums under their umbrella giving the public the impression that our albums where released by them acting as the label, not our brand. =QUAL wasn’t mentioned anywhere. This caused confusion for all parties involved. The only way to lift their umbrella and give the label proper credit was to apply and show that you had enough social proof to justify the placement. I did apply, they said we didn’t have enough fans, we weren’t “big enough” to make it worth their time. The second problem, even though I properly categorized the songs in the appropriate genres (ambient, experimental, downtempo, etc…) they decided to ignore my recommendations and put the album/tracks in categories such as Dubstep and Trap, which this album certainly is not, this decision did no favors for anybody. My only guess is they thought incorrectly releasing albums in categories that were trending at the time might eventually lead to more sales by unsophisticated consumers?! More complications included them claiming rights to the content on Youtube so that they would acquire royalties should anything be used in videos, which was fine while we were a client, but they never terminated their agreement with Youtube once I terminated our agreement with them as a client, leading to many nights of arguing and filling out forms one by one against copyright infringement complaints for each song that were not valid…they collected royalties for content they no longer had rights. At some point, I noticed I was locked out of the account, their website kept telling me my password was incorrect, but the form would never send a password reset once I requested it. I let the label account expire, took it as a loss and learning experience…it was time to move on.
Another issue with the album is that I originally released it without it properly being mastered, blame this again on my ignorance. I’ve been playing other people’s music for many years, but haven’t spent that much time in a proper studio. I had heard a number of artists over the years about the subject such as, “I master my tracks myself..” and “I’d never let anyone else touch my shit…” At the time, I didn’t understand the difference from a track being the master, and a track being mastered…sonically. So, I received the masters from Curtis, the track order, album description and original artwork by my BFF, Dan McDonald, and I think I was just excited to get the ball rolling, put the package together & released it unknowingly.
Much has changed/lived/learned over the course of the last four years…and I am still very proud of this. Not meant for those with short attention spans, it is a listening experience intended to be heard from beginning to end, track three is 14+ minutes long. Give it a chance if you missed or slept on it the first time around, this is the way it was meant to be heard. And keep an eye on Curtis Paul, this motherfucker’s just getting started.
I had always planned on taking a more behind the scenes role, inevitably making room for young generations to propagate the music industry of Detroit. What I didn’t plan was the way in which this would manifest itself. Here’s what happened…
Not sure if it’s insomnia, or the fact that I’ve been working in bars, nightclubs & concert venues most of my adult life, but I have a difficult time sleeping normal hours of the evening. I feel like I’m on top of my game during the middle of the night. I’d rather go to work at 9 PM versus ending my work day at 5 PM. Waking up at five feels natural to me, actually. What really did it IMO was those black & white Kung Fu movies they used to show on Channel 20 during the middle of the night (way-way) back when I was a child, keeping me up all night.
Now, I usually have some form of static or ambient tone (like a fan) in the background to help me sleep. I started noticing a pattern after visiting a few beaches, whenever I would lay down, the heat of the sun and the hypnotic sound of the waves crashing into the shore would knock me out as though I didn’t have a say in the matter.
I used to travel to the Upper Peninsula once or twice a year and stay at cabins in Paradise, Michigan. They are located on the coast of Lake Superior, and the property had stairs you could walk down to a dock, if the sky was clear enough, you could see across the great lake to Canada, where a string of windmills stretched, blinking red lights randomly across the Canadian coast for miles. It was the spot to sit and chill in the middle of the night while everyone else was sleeping.
One evening was super clear and peaceful, I got the big idea to put my Mini DV camera on a tripod and simply record a tape’s worth of blinking lights and waves crashing into the shore. I figured I could use the footage somehow to help me sleep when I needed something to drown out my thoughts. The video quality is horrible, but you can see the blinking lights if you want to put up with it..doesn’t do the setting and scenery justice, but here is the original video file on youtube:
Something ignited a spark in my stupid brains and I got the big idea to release the recording to the public as an experiment. Would people buy this if I created a product and targeted it towards those needing something to listen to while meditating, daydreaming & trying to sleep? There was only one way to find out…
I exported the audio from the video to a .wav file & did a Google query for something along the lines of “blinking lights Canada windmill farm”, which conveniently lead me to the website of a super talented photographer, Mark Cassino, who coincidentally went on a camping trip in the same area, saw what was so intriguing to me and captured exactly what I was fascinated by so creatively. I immediately contacted him via email explaining what I was trying to do, and asked what was required to have permission to acquire rights to use his work for the cover of the project. He quickly responded.
CreateSpace by Amazon was something I was always interested in exploring, and I now felt like I had a reason to test it out. I figured, if I could sell this simple product on Amazon, it would be worthwhile to put effort into more recordings in other categories with larger audiences. I had no idea Field Recordings was a thing.
I no longer visit Paradise like I used to and the stairs leading down to the dock have all been destroyed, but surely the windmills are generating electricity as intended. If you have an opportunity to visit the area…do it.
Within a matter of weeks after designing the product & uploading the files, the first copy sold. A record label was born…visit =QUAL for more…
Join us for the first installment of JUST the TIP, every 3rd Friday of each month @ Northern Lights Lounge in Detroit, featuring some of your favorite song slingers and entertainers from EqualRecordings.com, DetroitBachelorDJS.com & STEP!