One of the great things about Creative Commons netlabels is how international the environment is. You could be listening to an ambient album from Iran, collages from Paris, drones from St. Louis, field recordings from London, or, well, you get the point. With just a few downloads, you are connected to the world. Though this international flavor of the netlabel scene does have a drawback — you hear about so many exciting things going on around the world such as a concert in Chicago, a festival in Berlin, or, once again, you get the point. Now, instead of feeling connected, one may have the feeling of disconnection.
This disengagement can even lead to a feeling “the grass is always greener” − what they’re doing in Washington is more interesting in what’s going on in Philadelphia. But what the musician needs to understand is what she is doing is Los Angeles equally as important as what the netlabel manager is doing in Hungary or the downloader in Manchester. We need to embrace this awkward internalization and somehow use it to build stronger ways to approach music.
I bring this all up because I had a few email exchanges with Edu Comelles of the wonderful netlabel Audiotalaia on the eve of their 50th release, Desde La Atalaia. This various artist release is remarkable for two reasons. First, in bringing together 31 different musicians from Spain, Comelles has put together an exceptional showcase of experimental music. Desde La Atalaia shows no weakness as, track after track, a passion for music and art can be heard. Maybe you might not like one or two tracks, but any misses are greatly outnumbered by the quality of the rest. What Comelles and others are doing in Spain in quite astonishing. But this is one of those times that a non-Spanish listener, or even Spanish musicians not included in the work, need to sit back, listen and enjoy.
The other reason that this work is noteworthy and this is a testament to Comelles and his understanding of what experimental music is all about is that all the music on this album is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commerical-Share Alike license. Granted, I am a big believer that all experimental music is built on other music, so in necessity, experimental music should always be allowed to be remixed and re-imagined.
This is one of those times that all non-Spanish listeners, or even Spanish musicians not included in the work, need to sit back, listen and enjoy. Celebrate this work with a download. If you are a fan, download some other album from another netlabel. If you are a musician, compose and perform your music. If you are a blogger, write something. And if you are a netlabel operator, keep on discovering and releasing extraordinary works.