Archive for gruntsplatter

New Digs

Posted in News with tags , on September 13, 2010 by scottsplatter

In an effort to better consolidate my web presence I have created a new catch all blog

Architectural Scarecrows & The Ashes of Effigies : The Aberrant Laboratory of Scott E. Candey

I find that by having too many sites going I don’t post to any of them nearly as much as I want to. Determining what content goes where results in no content going anywhere. My hope is by creating this new site I’ll post more often and while it may be eclectic it will be me. All of the relevant posts from Exquisite Dystopia have already been migrated.

This site will have downloads and a full overview of my activities as well. I hope you’ll check it out

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Writing vs. Music: Labels and Publishers

Posted in Rumination with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2010 by scottsplatter

Since making writing a serious focus, I have tried to find parallels between small press publishers and underground record labels. Chances are if you’re reading this it’s because you found the site via my own music or because of something I released on Crionic Mind. I understand underground music and labels pretty well I think, so I keep hoping that familiarity will assist in finding a foothold in the publishing world.

There are similarities in the spirit of both worlds, but the machinations really are pretty different. This will be the first of a couple posts looking at those differences. The more I look into it the greater the differences become.  The soul of the participants share common ground but the approach and relationships are unique.

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Underground music for this discussion refers to experimental music, dark ambient, lesser known metal, punk, industrial etc. Music that is released by small labels that operate out of the corner of the labels owners house. Limited edition releases that end up somewhere near the high/low mark of 1,000 copies,  There are publishing companies that fit this description as well, good ones.

Underground music functions more or less on a barter economy. Labels and distributors trade merchandise more often than not rather than buying from each other at wholesale rates. This allows each to diversify their mail orders while being able to put any real money into releasing new product. Bands or projects are usually paid in product that they can then sell. There are exceptions, but much of the music is obscure enough, and the pressings small enough, that a royalty arrangement is essentially agreeing to do it for free.

If you aren’t familiar with my music and found this through a tag search, there is a discography in the side bar. I never signed a contract, never received a check for any of it. I received product. This worked for me because with running the label I was able to convert my releases into other releases and build a nice mail order catalog (that I will get online again at some point). The bands I did releases for –  I would take care of the artwork and mastering if they wanted, but I paid them in product. No one even raised the issue of money because we all knew how it worked.

I’ve been releasing music since 1995, and recording it longer than that. What did I get out of this model? Reviews, contacts, interviews and friends on every continent but Antarctica. It helped me build a record label that  garnered some amount of respect, had an identity and supported itself. It put me in touch with people who remain friends and inspirations and people who I think might say the same about me. Those things have a value,  but none of them pay my bills. For what I do soundtracks are perhaps the one area that could be lucrative, even then there are a lot of variables.

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I’ve not yet published anything, in fact I have not yet submitted anything, though that time is near.  These impressions are based on the extensive research, market reports, submission guidelines, classes and the advice and comments of those who have.

With publishing, the battle cry is that the money flows to the author. If you publish something you aren’t paid for it’s seen as an invalid writing credit by many. If you self publish, it’s viewed with scorn and can work against you when you submit through the established channels. The editors and publishing houses have determined the chain of worth. It counts if they say it counts.

Print on demand services and e-publishing  have made it easier than ever to self publish, just as affordable home recording software, mp3’s and cdr’s made it easier to make and spread music. The distaste for self publishing comes from the amount of sub par writing that surfaces there. There is so much garbage that the gems are not worth the energy it takes to find them. However, I’ve read books published by reputable houses that contained work I’d have been embarrassed to show anyone. It’s not that published work is better, just that it is more likely to be better.

There is a saying, the hardest book to sell is your second book. Publishers will take a chance on new writers, but once you are published your track record is established. If you aren’t able to sell through your first pressing, your opportunities become more limited. Other publishers have access to the sales numbers for books published by other houses. Not only are your chances diminished with your original publisher if you don’t sell through, they are hurt with prospective publishers. This is with marketing budgets nearly non-existent in the small press world and the responsibility falling to the writer to hustle their work.

Joe Konrath, has a blog called A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing that makes a case for ignoring some of this conventional wisdom and ways to get the money flowing to the author without filtering it through the publishing houses. Paul Jessup had a nice bit of musing on the state of publishing recently on his blog as well. The model is going to change because the tools exist now in such a way that it will have no choice. There will always be garbage on the market, but the time will come when it is the market that determines what is garbage and what is not.

R. Thomas Riley has a post on the Apex Books blog regarding the differences between writing and publishing which I think is a good place to wind this down. This is incomplete, and maybe even ignorant. I wrote it for myself as much as anyone else. Having had success, at least as I measure it, with music and exploring this new parallel underground is an odd thing. There are more rules and more divides. Right now my goal is to write well. I will try to publish. Whether I am successful at that end of it or not I will still try to write well.

To be continued…

What Do Ya Know…

Posted in News, Projects with tags , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by scottsplatter

I just stumbled across something curious over at discogs.com

“I Hate The Tapes Fuck Them” C100 Cassette Compilation
Released in 1998 on Bizarre Audio Arts

“When the tape starts to run, you will hear two bands in the same time; one in the left speaker and the other in the right speaker. Edition of 25 copies.”

The most striking thing about this:  I am on it and had no idea. I’ve never even heard of it. I discovered this because someone added it to the Gruntsplatter discog page. There are 20 tracks on the release for a total of 40 contributors. The tape is limited to 25… no wonder I have never heard of it.

This is the second time Bizarre Audio Arts did something like this with Gruntsplatter. The other was a split cassette with Armenia allegedly released in 1999. The track that appears on the comp was one of the tracks from that release. After waiting over two years for the release to come out I withdrew the material because someone else wanted to release it. Just as the alternate release was slated to come out on Verbrannte Erde Prod. I got a package from Bizarre Audio Arts with two copies of the canceled split in it. Xerox cover, poorly dubbed cassettes that if I remember right cut something off… and took over two years to produce. I canceled the Verbrannte Erde release because of BAA release. I’m not sure the label ever produced more than those two I got in the mail. All the tracks from that (and then some) were included on “The Organ Harvest: Rare & Unreleased 1994-1999” CDR that Audio Savant released in 2004.

I don’t care at this point. It just reminded me of one of the very rare bad experiences I had in doing all of this music stuff.

The Prophetic Maw

Posted in Projects, Video with tags , , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by scottsplatter

I just stumbled across this “video” someone made for a Gruntsplatter track via NME of all places. The video is really just a photo with the track played over it. The song comes from the split release with Slowvent I released on Crionic Mind back in 1998. The track was probably recorded in 1997. The CD was limited to 500 copies and has been sold out for a very long time.

The title, “The Prophetic Maw,” was inspired by a dream that a co-worker told me about, and that I was  in. I’m sure there are other details I am forgetting but the basic idea was this… In the dream I was insisting that she was very ill and I could tell that by the look of her teeth. I continued to hound her about being sick until she relented and had me pull out all of her teeth so that she wouldn’t die.  Psychiatrists, take your marks.

The title popped into my head after she told me the story. I jotted it down and here is the result….

old live show 6.10.00

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , , , , on October 10, 2009 by scottsplatter

I was digging through an old box of masters and various musical odds and ends and found this recording. It’s a live performance I did in June of 2000 in San Francisco. It was only my second performance as Gruntsplatter. The performance was part of Troniksfest I, other projects on the bill included Control, Petit Mal, and Sleeping With The Earth. Hmm, none of the Petit Mal’s on Myspace seem to be the right one.

live_troniks1a

Things definitely got better after I had played a few shows and figured out what I was doing. But I thought some of you might have an interest in hearing it. This is an edited version of the set that was going to be released as a split LP with the Control set from the same night. It was truncated for time so it would fit on an LP side, but it’s just as well. I don’t remember why it never came out, but the world seems to have gotten by just fine without it. The huge white void behind me in the attached picture was a video screen, but pic was taken with a flash that washed it out. Hopefully it was a little more entertaining than the picture would suggest.

Gruntsplatter Live in SF 6.10.00

sound and fear

Posted in Rumination with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2009 by scottsplatter

Scientific American ran a story about a month ago regarding the brains reaction to “scary music” when paired with visuals and then without visuals. They looked the way music is used to heighten fear in movies and how the brain reacted when watching the scene, and when closing your eyes during the scene. The result was that those who closed their eyes had greater reactions in the emotional centers of their brains than those who didn’t. It was scarier not to see it.

Chalk one up for the imagination.

This was interesting to me with regards to listening habits of dark ambient and experimental music. I’ve always gotten so much more from a release when I dim the lights and just absorb it. It’s a canvas for the imagination. It’s something, probably the primary thing, I always hoped to achieve with Gruntsplatter and some of my other projects. It’s why I rarely use vocals or samples. I didn’t want anything that made the music too concrete.

Everything I have done has a theme or implied story behind it, but I hope that by leaving it abstract the listener has been able to fill in the blanks with their own ideas of what was going on. I’ve gotten some nice emails over the years that have related some of those visions, or from people who have used Gruntsplatter to augment their create processes while painting or writing. It’s about the best compliment I can think of.

I wonder with the way that ingesting music has evolved just how many of the secret stories hidden in atmospheric music will go untapped. Will people continue to turn out the lights and listen attentively or will it all just blend into the background din of life. Even I don’t do it as often as I used to.

Science has now documented the emotional charge the pure sounds can evoke without the distraction of other outside stimulus. Make a point to experience that with some of your favorite dark releases.

settling in and books aplenty

Posted in Rumination with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by scottsplatter

We are getting settled into the new place and making pretty good headway against the walls of cardboard boxes. I’m finding stuff I haven’t seen in years. There has been a lot of moving in the last 5 years and it’s good to finally be someplace that I don’t feel unpacking will be a waste of time. As I mentioned before this will be the first time I’ll have my full studio set up since I finished recording “The Aberrant Laboratory” in 2006. There will no doubt be some new music in the works before too long. Whether it’s Gruntsplatter or something else I don’t know yet.

It has been a beautiful thing setting up the new bookshelves and loading them up. I went on a bit of a bender and picked up several new titles to get me through the looming Oregon winter.

Omens by Richard Gavin
The Everlasting by Tim Lebbon
The Book Of Days by Steve Rasnic Tem
Poe’s Progengy Anthology edited by Gary Fry
Tales Of Terror by Guy De Maupassant
Stories from A Lost Anthology by Rhys Hughes
Sesta & Other Strange Stories by Edward Lucas White
Edgeworks I: Over The Edge, An Edge In My Voice by Harlan Ellison
The Complete Stories of JG Ballard by JG Ballard
Writers Workshop Of Horror edited by Michael Knost

Most of those were acquired from The Horror Mall, everything except the Ballard book I think… It will be a long, gray winter of weird tales around here.