25 November 2009

Releases Ahoy!

Posted by Dave at 5:15 pm

Newness imminent from Records on Ribs!

All The Empires of the World


Yes! After their critically acclaimed ‘Last Rites EP’, All The Empires of the World will (very) shortly be releasing their full length debut Blessings with us. It sees them moving in a slightly more progressive direction, but without toning down any of their trademark stargazing sludge. A second version- featuring contributions from members of Astrohenge, The Exploits of Elaine, …And Stars Collide and others will be out sometime in the new year too. Bonus!

Spiral Jacobs


Mr Dominic Fox has just published an excellent book. It is worth quoting the blurb in full:

To live well in the world one must be able to enjoy it: to love, Freud says, and work. Dejection is the state of being in which such enjoyment is no longer possible. There is an aesthetic dimension to dejection, in which the world appears in a new light. In this book, the dark serenity of dejection is examined through a study of the poetry of Hopkins and Coleridge, and the music of ‘depressive’ black metal artists such as Burzum and Xasthur. The author then develops a theory of ‘militant dysphoria’ via an analysis of the writings of the Red Army Fraction’s activist-theoretician, Ulrike Meinhof. The book argues that the ‘cold world’ of dejection is one in which new creative and political possibilities, as well as dangers, can arise. It is not enough to live well in the world: one must also be able to affirm that another world is possible.

And we will be releasing his excellent companion album, Prolegomenon. Eight dysphoric tracks of hopeful alienation: International Socialist Ambient Black Metal for a cold world and for a better world. Cover art from Toby Price.

EL Heath

Fresh from touring Europe with epic45, EL Heath is putting the finishing touches to an album about the long clsoed Snailbeach Lead Mines, which are near his Shropshire home. Tracks evoke the eerieness of desolation whilst purveying a sense of the clatter that once must have filled these mines. Three tracks can be heard on his myspace, including Heath’s first venture into ‘conventional’ songwriting with the heartbreaking ‘Tragedy at George’s Shaft’. We will be actively seeking donations for this release, with all proceeds going to the Shropshire Mines Trust. The new year will also see Heath release his mini-album Shropshire Hill Country via Wayside and Woodland.



We’re just a little bit excited about this one. Ga’an are a Chicago band who blend the aesthetics of prog, kraut, ambient, post-punk and black metal to create something compellingly otherworldly. They’ve self-released two tapes thus far and we’re mind-blowingly excited to be able to re-release them. Vultures of the Horn II: Living Tribunal is one of my absolute favourite pieces of music right now.

Earth Defence Force

Last but by no means least, purveyors of the finest hardcore/punk/metal Earth Defence Force will be gracing Records On Ribs with their debut album once we sort album artwork out. Recorded by production genius Ian Boult at the marvellous Stuck On A Name Recordings, Nottingham. Imminent riffs.

6 November 2009

Music for Free

Posted by Dave at 1:55 pm

With straw-men, insults and shoddy evidence flying around on either side, the recent debates on filesharing and free music (sparked by Lily Allen’s now infamous blog post) exlempify our inability to approach an issue with an open mind and a positive argument.

Free Music Can Be Good For Musicians

Our artists evidently think so, or they wouldn’t have allowed us to distribute it.

I still believe that the primary reason most artists choose to make music is to get their music heard. Buying a guitar, amplifier and a few pedals will cost about £1000.  Practice rooms are about a tenner an hour. Transport to and from practice and gigs is expensive.

It takes time, too.  Months writing music; weeks practicing it; days playing it live and recording it. Hours of burning CD-Rs, printing labels, folding, stapling and assembling. For what? 100 CD-Rs sold (eventually) at £5 a pop? A profit of £300-£400, split between the band. There are easier ways to make money. Lily Allen says free music damages these ‘up and coming artists’. How? They each lose £80 after spending £2000-£3000?

Against that, you can distribute your music for free. EL Heath would not have sold almost 5,000 CD-Rs; but he’s had that number of downloads from RoR and our uploads on Legal Torrents. Indeed, he probably wouldn’t sell that many CDs/LPs if he had a deal with a reasonably sized indie label and some nice reviews in  The Wire. The musician has lost their £80, but they have gained 4,900 listeners.

Releasing music for free can be good for musicians.

Free Music Can Be Bad For Musicians

There are limits on what you can do if you release your music for free.

You can never quit your job to become a full-time musician. You cannot use expensive studios unless you are already rich. You will not even make back the money you spend making your music. It is financially exclusive. Whilst new technology means anyone can make a decent sounding album for not a lot of cash, it’s always going to be beyond the financial means of some people. Yet given that any cash injection from sales or a label would only come after some initial recording, it is difficult to see how people financially excluded from making music are included in the present system.

Furthermore, we don’t believe it is the fault of free music that some people cannot afford to make music. It is a fault of the system. Our economics dictate that people are excluded from a number of activities. Free downloads can only be blamed for damaging DIY musicians from within the capitalist system.

Nevertheless, it is in a capitalist system that we find ourselves and this makes it difficult. Many of our dearest friends struggle to make music within that system and are finding it an ever greater struggle as people stop paying for their records because they believe music should be free.

Yet it is precisely because we are in a capitalist system that we will fight for something else. A system where people are not excluded from making music because they have no money. A system where people are not excluded from buying enough music to satisfy their desires because they have no money. Free music is a utopia, in the present; on behalf of the future…

Free Music can be Good for the World

We believe in things for themselves, not as market commodities. Hakim Bey laments the fact that the internet did not bring about the revolution it promised: he cannot find free carrots online. No, but he can now find free music. Perhaps our example will inspire others to think that they would like to share what they have produced with passion and love for others, for free. Perhaps if enough people did that money would be less important. A gift economy: from each according to their ability to each according to their interests. The prize carrot grower wants all to share her produce, and offers her carrots for free. Furthermore, she takes great pride in sharing her knowledge of how to grow such carrots.

In our utopia, all will be the property of all. The power of the commons will be restored to the people, and from the commons there will be land to farm, carrots to grow and music to listen to.

Free music is good for the world.