digital music

Streaming - Another Capitalist Enclosure

Photo by Todd Walberg

Photo by Todd Walberg

While technology can be a beautiful and powerful tool, when technology is monopolized for profit, it can be a nightmare. Streaming companies have become even more consolidated than the major labels were at the height of their power. So we thought to ourselves: "What the fuck?" and "We thought the internet was supposed to be beautiful and powerful?" But it is the same as ever, the capitalists have taken another public good and built a wall around it. It's true, this time the wall is prettier than the last one the major labels built, but artists still have no real power inside this new enclosure. We can't negotiate contracts with Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and the rest. They want to use our music to sell the attention of our listeners to their advertisers. They want to use our music to rake in subscription dollars for themselves while musicians have no opportunity to negotiate for what they'll get in return. This lack of choice leads to serious consent problems for artists. In the interest of brevity, this all comes down to distribution. When distribution is controlled by the few, the many suffer. We didn't distribute our album with any digital streaming platforms and we hope more bands will do the same. We know that all of this is not interesting to most music listeners, but we may not be for all listeners, sorry!

If you are interested in internet stuff, and larger structural issues surrounding consolidated power within societies, Bim wrote a lengthy piece titled "Death, Taxes, and Data: A Memorial to the Throne" on these things for Watt Magazine. You can read it here:

"Idiot" - About the Album

And And And is a band formed in 2009 in Portland, Oregon consisting of original members Nathan Baumgartner (vocals, guitar), Bim Ditson (drums), Berg Radin (guitar), Jonathan Sallas (bass), and Ryan Wiggans (guitar). Some of them grew up listening to YES and Pink Floyd, and some of them to Fugazi and The Clash. Their sound incorporates melodic, brutal guitars and angular rhythms. The band is comfortable diverging from that path towards delicate territory with stripped back piano-based songs and vocal harmonies. 

After releasing three self-recorded full-length albums between 2009 and 2011, a 10” E.P. and a 7” E.P. in 2012, a live album in 2013, and their first studio L.P. in 2015, they are releasing their second studio album in February, 2018. It is titled “Idiot.” Their previous album, “The Failure,” was largely a rumination on depression and disappointment. Their upcoming album continues to explore these themes with the addition of open-ended subject matter that looks at consciousness, knowledge, and the nature of reality. 

What does it mean to be conscious? How did consciousness arise? Does it exist on a spectrum? Each coherent answer we find leads to additional questions. Knowledge and awareness have led us to create beautiful things and evil things. Life and death are a package deal. The title track, “Idiot,” addresses this duality with the lyric, “if I never froze, then I’d never be warm.” The same theme is stated in “The Visitor” with “It’s bittersweet, the knowledge that everything must fall to rise again.”

There is much more going on here than we are detecting. A person can see colors a dog cannot see. A dog can hear pitches that a person cannot hear. Those colors and pitches still exist whether we can detect them or not. The album is bookended by theme, beginning with “Get Off My Lawn” which states, “Lately, I get the feeling this is all just fake,” and ending with “I’m still looking” which contains the lyric, “I’m still looking for a hole in the tapestry my senses wove within my mind.” We are bound by senses, which act as filters that deliver the minimum information required to keep us alive. We lack knowledge of the breadth of reality. A person can look at an ant and say “that ant doesn’t know anything.” Some 4th dimensional god could look at a person and say “that person doesn’t know anything,” and some 5th dimensional god says, “that god doesn’t know anything.”