Christmas greetings

Let’s take some time off from my frustrated ranting about the music industry (new and old) and offer you all my genuine best wishes for Christmas and New Year. It’s been a weird year at BlancoMusic, typified by a supernatural strength in terms of music-creation, with a corresponding super-weakness at getting it out there, listened to, loved and supported. Over the last twelve months I’ve expressed a number of frustrations with the realities of the internet as a primary platform for fan outreach. Some of these have been opinions of my own, some were adapted from others’. At times we must have looked like a very hypocritical organisation, as the blog tracked our rejection, subsequent acceptance, and re-rejection of certain music platforms or concepts. All I can say in defence is that you’ve seen these decisions happen in real time, you’ve watched as we’ve tried desperately to find new methods of achieving the publicity and acceptance we crave, and you’ve also seen our frustration as the whole charmless edifice that is Music2.0 grows with every new low it achieves in its much-hyped contest to see who can prostrate their art to the lowest point possible in  the hopes of selling a few b(r)anded weed-grinders or t-shirts. (Phew! Deep breath.) If we have any real talking-point as a label, it’s that we are absolutely transparent with regard to policy and strategy. In an age where music has largely become a secondary marketing tool for monetizing branded lifestyle entities, BlancoMusic’s transparency and commentary appeals mostly to a fairly marginal group of people – many of them musicians, or in the industry one way or another, others of you are pure music lovers whose interest goes beyond the notes and chords you hear on the recordings. You’re the kind of people who read sleevenotes on albums. If you’ve come hear to listen to our music, to read my words or even just to use the comment board to tell me that I’m a deluded arsehole who should get the hell out of music, we sincerely love you for it. Because what it shows is that you care enough about music to have an opinion, that it’s not just some ubiquitous-but-ignored part of your life. We need more people like you.

What 2011 will bring, who knows? We have some astounding music on the way, that’s for sure, and no amount of debate about the future of the music industry affects that. Vanito Brown should have his album finished by February, which if there is any justice in the world, will be the album that finally brings modern Cuban music into the consciousness of music-lovers worldwide. The Cuban sense of rhythm is unique, and Vanito has it in his bones. It will be a very interesting record.

Piano Segundo will gather together the fruits of a winter spent performing and composing, to result in a split-personality album. Half funky Rhodes-washed dancefloor mayhem; the other half intriguing, pensive piano improvisation. We’ll be sending them out live to everywhere we can manage.

SubMachena will also put some more material out. In their case it’s more of a curation job, as they have mountains of material, and the challenge is picking out which to release. Two SubMachena tracks will be going out on George Solar’s Comfy Dub 2 album.

BudNubac’s second album is pretty-much completed, just needing a couple of licks of the producer’s magic brush to make it shine – that’ll be coming too.

Sara Garvey will be coming over to record another few tunes towards her own album. Having heard the demos, it almost feels worth putting them out in their raw state – her voice is just so rich and evocative. Nevertheless, production techniques can take a beautiful vocal track and either bury it in noise or enhance and enrich it. Guess which we hope to do.

There are some other projects in the works, but it’s far too early to say anything about them yet. A lot of recording, a lot of work, a lot of energy and effort coming in the next year. That’s why we get so frustrated by filesharing, streaming, Music 2.0 etc. And ANOTHER thing…..

Happy Christmas to you all, to your loved ones, and even to those who aren’t. A bit more happiness would do us all some good.

Sean, Robin and all at BlancoMusic.

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