Mojo at Abbey Road – Electronic Music

Mojo ask Daniel Miller, Andy McCluskey, Martyn Ware, Mark Jones, Trevor Jackson, Matthew Herbert and Bill Brewster their thoughts on electronic music.

Electrospective-The Remix Album (2CD) release date 27 August 2012-  EMI Gold

shop.electrospective.com

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The record business? Its always been about the technology.

Edison, Berliner, Johnson invented the record business. They brought into being the modern music industry. Capturing sounds from the air so that they could be played back in any place and at any time. Imagine the revolution in thinking that brought about. And what do the three fathers of the music business have in common? They were all techies, not “music guys”. In fact, the more we trawl back through the history of recorded music and the more we look around today’s Apple led world it becomes clearer that all the great surges in music consumption have been driven by technology not necessarily by the prevailing quality of music. Sure there have been exceptions – Sinatra, Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson who have shifted game changing volumes and were exceptional in many regards, but ultimately people bought 78’s, 45’s, LP’s and CD’s not Frankie, Elvis, Ringo or Jacko themselves. And what also drove that 50 year upward curve of music sales from 1950 to 2000 was that people sometimes bought the same recording on each of those new formats as they came out. Conversely if it was the quality of music that drove the sales increase for those 50 years, then that must mean in these days of declining sales that our music is of inferior quality?


So why the rant on this site dedicated to the history of recorded sound? Because at the weekend I took the plunge and bought a Spotify Premium package and finally joined the latest music revolution. I’ve been using Spotify for free for a year or so but much as I found it useful as search and listen engine I never enjoyed the experience of listening on the computer and I don’t have space for my computer on my hi-fi rack….so I played about on Spotify and then bought the occasional record I liked on CD to listen to properly.


No longer. With the Spotify Premium account I can still search and listen but now I transfer what I like the sound of to my phone and can listen on headphones as I commute and can easily plug into the high fi and the docking station. So now I have pretty much all the music I could possibly want in the world at my fingertips. To be played anywhere, anytime. Its Edison to the power of Elvis x The Beatles + Berliner. Quite, quite fantastic.

This morning I threw on three new albums, Gruff Rhys, Sbtrkt and Little Dragon. Never heard of them? Neither had I really. I chose them because of reviews I’d seen. Pre-Spotify I would never have explored further as they were not on my top list to check. Boy, they are now. All three albums contain superb work and I’d recommend all of you to try them. Get Spotify. Treat yourself to the Premium model. And start trying the new music once again. Its the greatest music discovery engine ever and so easy to use. Edison, Berliner and Johneson would approve.

Congratulations to Tony Wadsworth CBE

Many congratulations to Tony Wadsworth on being awarded the CBE for services to the Music Industry in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Tony is Chairman Of the BPI and ran EMI’s UK operation for many years. It’s difficult not to sound rather creepy when somebody you know and admire gets a gong, but Tony is one of the real good guys. Liked and admired by artists, respected by colleagues and rivals and genuinely loved by his staff, Tony has had (and continues to have) a positive influence on the development of the UK music industry. And in a business that can sometimes lead to “executive cynicism” Tony retains a deep love of music. He’s put in his time at the coal face of Richard Thompson concerts but is equally excited by, and supportive of, the very latest quality music.

Tony is also a trustee of the EMI Archive Trust and occasional reader of this very blog which he calls “the dog blog”! This little gush will no doubt embarrass him but we really don’t care! Congratulations to Tony and family on this well deserved honour.

UPDATE:

The honours continue  to shower down on Tony Wadsworth. He was recently invited as a special guest on the much acclaimed Word Magazine podcast to talk about his career in the recording industry and his report for MusicTank on the future role of the record label which is called “Remake, Remodel: The Evolution Of The Record Label”. You can download the podcast here and obtain Tony’s report here.

Recording 2011. Gorillaz new record (largely) made on an ipad

One of the great records of 2010 was Plastic Beach by Gorillaz.

Whilst they were touring the record around the States last autumn they made a new album that seems to reflect the feeling of being on an endless tour. interesting thing about the new record is that Damon Albarn, who “is” Gorillaz, made the record on his ipad.

Well almost…..vocals were added later in a studio and it was mixed and mastered in a studio. But the underlying sounds were made on the tour bus on an ipod. Quite remarkable. The album is called The Fall. Here’s the lovely Revolving Doors.