If you like my music, you can follow me :
- by downloading it on Bandcamp (*)
- by sharing it on social media
- by crowdfunding : see the links bellow (Paypal & Tipeee); doing this, I'll send you a free download of a track.
(*) albums and singles are fully available on Bandcamp, in an audio lossless format, for free listening before purchasing.
The sound of the Highland bagpipes has a pitch higher than the current standard (A 440-442 Hz); most of the "chanters" (melodic pipe) are made for at least 450 Hz. Until the sixties, the standard was lower, sometimes under 440 Hz. This evolution brings some brightness to the sound but can shock some of you.
I've tried, like other soloists, by the choice of my chanters and the work on my reeds, to remain within a range of 444-447 Hz for my recordings and concerts, without losing the specificity of that Scottish sound.
(Michael Korb & Ulrich Roever)
(Joseph Mohr / Franz Xaver Gruber)
June 2023 - Some thoughts :
Why download (buy) music in 2023 (or 2024, etc...)?
That question often crosses my mind for all the bands or artists I’m following and I have some difficulty to answer it!
Like many of you, I’ve accompanied the evolution by swapping my library of audio tapes and CDs, yet so cleverly constituted (I am not old enough to have accompanied the first wave of vinyl...), for well-filled hard discs that I tried to organize according to a logic matching the old « physical » library.
And then here is a new jolt of God Progress by which I am told that all this is obsolete again and that the Cloud is THE ultimate answer!
Good. Again, good soldier of post-modern times, I follow the foot steps of this new convolution that made obsolete these digital libraries that I had taken quite a while to organize and refine.
When is the next step? Soon I imagine, progress for progress...
That’s for the background.
I also produce music as you know, both in my rehearsal rooms first and then in my Home studio. So, if I myself don't buy records anymore, after selling my soul to the God of Streaming, why the hell would you buy my music???
Before trying to answer that question, let's go on with some other thoughts:
So, times have changed. I think about long time gone « eras » when I watched out for new album releases and then rushed to my favorite record shop and then back with a lot of excitement and the precious object!
Speaking about that « object », the current second wave of vinyl record allows us to appreciate how much we could miss it, whether for its physical appearance (what a poor container than that of the CD in comparison) or sometimes even for the sound.
But, what is now the point of burdening ourselves with an object (ah… the dematerialization and its fantasies... there is today only the soul, again, that we are trying to materialize) and moreover why buy it?
That's the ugly word. Naughty especially when we talk about culture in our societies where we glorify the free concert while fattening - for example - the mass distribution with big caddies overflowing with an alleged vitality...
The illusion of free culture is a vast fool’s bargain for which live entertainment artists pay the price!
Yet it is true that the various streaming services we have subscribed to make the act of purchase a priori obsolete... What is the point of downloading and buying music, to clutter our hard drives and lighten our wallet while everything is permanently available and anywhere in the cloud (s)... What's the point?
Well, let me put forward some reasons to buy music today (the list is open just like the debate):
- let's start with the breakdowns of the cloud or internet: this dematerialization that surrounds us is based on very material foundations and therefore subject to breakdowns, crises, acts of vandalism or even terrorism, various accidents, etc... The digital world has dived its roots into physical reality, like a colossus with feet of clay. In summary, having music (or movies, this approach is obviously extensible) in local mode on your computer, laptop, etc... shelters us from these hazards. You will rightly tell me that power outages are another additional risk factor... well in this case, you will still have time to come and listen to us in "concert" mode!
- it is a corollary but important: if the size of hard drives is generally limited by the one of our wallets, the offer in terms of external SSD hard drives is increasingly expanded with high-performance products and with affordable prices
- losing the connection… in the car, on vacation, in the hotel and wherever outdoors, especially if you have no more credit for cellular data… But there is no problem to play music and videos installed (downloaded) in local mode on our mobile devices
- we pay a subscription to have unlimited access to streaming services, well; sometimes even we subscribe to several offers and the monthly bill can be significant... Certainly, there is this great possibility of unlimited access to the musical catalog. But our days have only twenty-four hours during which the multitude of our tasks never ceases to lengthen, often to the detriment of our sleep and always of a certain conception of a quality of life. In this context, if we could calculate the ratio between what we really listen from the cloud and the infinity of possibilities offered to us, it certainly would be dizzying but in the wrong direction! So what's the point of this unlimited available? Isn't it also against the current of ecological practices praised elsewhere?
- let's go back to the financial aspect: we feed, with the fruit of our daily work, the streaming multinationals and other GAFAMs; but what would happen to them without the content creators, aka the artists, whatever their discipline? On the other hand, if these services disappeared overnight, artists would continue to create, play, produce, only the media would change as well as the means of communication. No revolution here but a simple return to proven practices. I don't know if this is desirable, especially because we as artists find many advantages in modern marketing and I'm not really a supporter of "It was better before!" But conversely, what would do the Big Five without creators? I'll let you answer... Yet, despite this report, what’s the income for us artists-musicians? Close to absolute zero. Making a living by producing music AND counting on streaming revenues assumes an absolutely colossal number of listenings of each title or album, out of the reach of the majority of musicians.
So here it is, I don't want a revolution, I have no taste for it: there are obviously (very) good things in modernity and, being myself very connected, I would have a hard time today to do without streaming among other things... But couldn't we "mix" our practices?
Streaming certainly, to access to this incredible music catalog, but also, from time to time, we could reconstitute our own library, accessible without constraint of subscription, connection or use, especially with titles downloaded in maximum quality (audio lossless as on Bandcamp), which is rarely the case with streaming where various editing limits restrict the original sound.
If the prices charged for these downloads are mostly very modest by comparison with the price of a "physical" album and even more if you look at the hundreds, thousands of hours spent producing these titles, this participation is nevertheless better than streaming income. Because yes, each title produced is the visible part of a colossal iceberg that has accumulated layers of repetitions, arrangements, instrumental or vocal work, creation, recordings, sound mixing, etc... What other profession offers such a ridiculous and caricatural benefit/cost ratio? I don't know any and even less people - outside our small community - able to assume it, and this for very legitimate reasons... Do we have to be crazy we artists to accept this staggering imbalance, bringing water to the mill that wants that a good creator has to starve? ... Passion yes, certainly passion... Passion or suffering??
But what would a life be without music to share? Show must go on!
So, from time to time, please dare download and buy some titles: do not be surprised by the low price, it is not a reflection of poor quality but that of our economic model.…
As for me and regarding the new music to come: there will be a new album of Scottish bagpipe standards that will be released before the end of the year.
I also will release some singles and clips about Celtic culture (illustrated by some new music of mine) within the next months.
So, download, yes, and the few euros that I will get (in an infinitely greater proportion than those of streaming once again) will be perceived for what they are, that is a very real income supplement (small streams make the big - or small - rivers...) AND a recognition of our role of social cohesion in which I deeply believe.
Indeed we do not specifically seek to flatter an oversized ego but rather to be known for what we are, smugglers or culture relays.
As Keith Richards once said, we do not create, we catch things that are in the air at some point to transmit them…
Something rather than nothing.
If you have read me so far (so many words but written without the fallacious support of any AI...), let me know it by emailing me with your comments and please insert the number « 1962 » in your message: in return I will send you a surprise gift on your mailbox.
Jim McLean / L. Fhearchair Beaton & McLean / arr. McLewis)
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