I thought this article, referring to the lack of catalogue
But that wasn’t what I wanted to post about, it’s an interesting aside. I was more interested in the phenomena of a disappearing heritage. I was putting together the links for the Amazon store I’ve started, after a request or twenty, and I was rather taken aback at how little music that exists outside the mainstream, is readily available, either physically or digitally. I should qualify that. There is a lot of older music out there, its just that the “long tail” or whatever you want to call it, seems to apply to selected genres. Rock and pop are well catered for, as is jazz. It’s when you move out of those spheres that the problems arise.
That in itself is not a problem if the catalogues are intelligently revisited and complied. But sadly, once again the Americans seem utterly unable to do this with their heritage (in virtually any genre). It’s left up to the British and, increasingly, the Europeans to do document the American musical landscape. Witness the recent Larry Levan anthology out via Rhino (or any Rhino collection for that matter)...not that it isn’t any good, it is, it just isn’t all it could be. It’s an anthology of one their most influential producers / mixers of the eighties…and its half baked, no liner notes of any worth and half the tracks were only “played” by him. It was left up to the British to do decent collections of The Masters at Work, Derrick May, and the only half decent look at the so-called golden age of hip-hop…let alone all the revisits of the likes of Philly and decent Motown compilations.
So when they complain that no-one is buying the music, its not that people don’t want to, it’s just that you need to invigorate it, and no one has bothered or seems to know how to anymore. Make it attractive…reinsert the passion. The Europeans and the British constantly tell people how good this stuff is, via intelligent use of the media and smart re-packaging. They understand music is about passion…the Americans have forgotten.
Which brings me closer to home (well as close as I’m getting to home sitting in Bali) and a little bit of respect to the way, we, in
But, as cool as it is, I hope that’s not it. As a nation we wax lyrical about our growing cultural awareness but musically we have been absolutely remiss in recent years. Flying Nun itself needs a swag of other intelligent compilations to excite people, another generation, not just the odd greatest hits, with a few unreleased tracks. Things like letting John Campbell loose on the catalogue…or Russell Brown…or Roi Colbert. And then there is the rest of the musical landscape of the past thirty years or so. The slow collapse (and its demise was, as was apparent for years, the culmination of a long steady decline) of FMR put a huge dent in what was available, and more to the point, removed the only avenue for compliers to release albums like the excellent John Baker collections, or The Scavengers. I doubt if Warners would’ve released the Toy Love album, but FMR did.
EMI has done a really good job with its 60s issues but what now. There is so much that has not been looked at, and is fast disappearing as those of us that were there get older
Just tossing around a few ideas (and now that FMR has gone, god knows who would release or back these…)
· The early days of NZ’s urban revolution….the stuff that was coming out of
· An NZ post punk album
· A Deep Grooves collection based around the early dub and electronica the label did so well, and which still sounds so good
· A trawl through the incredible Pagan archives
· A collection of the best non-Flying Nun Auckland bands of the nineties (I’m thinking of the Picassos, Semi Lemon Kola and the rest…there were dozens)
· And perhaps a remix project of the best of the early NZ electronica…
Oh and while we are at it, a decent audio tape library, both digital and analogue, already rebuffed by the current government, is essential to keep the legacy that I’m talking about intact. We’ve lost so much already. That we don't even have the beginnings of one, is criminal