Sunday, January 20, 2008

The World is Changed

A review of "The Elements", by Second Person, posted on Amazon.
I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the ... metal.

Once mighty men in high towers with vaults of gold and armies of assistants ruled the music industry. In many cases they were only obliquely concerned with the quality of the music, and more interested in whether it would ultimately add to their gold. Their cynicism grew, culminating in the mental laziness of reality TV shows and an increasingly rapid turnover of people who they could exploit as “the next big thing”. Through all these years, the really significant artists were those who controlled their own destiny, independent of the record companies.

But with the rise of the new media came a new breed of artist. It is possible to take work directly to the small people – people without vaults of gold, but people in their millions. Sellaband is an agency which seeks to link new artists and “believers” who are prepared to back them with anything from $10 upwards. If a band can raise $50,000 from believers, then the CD can be produced.

Second Person is one such band. Concepts albums are themselves as old as the industry, of course, and “The Elements” is one such. There are five tracks, each named after one of the ancient Chinese elements, with bonus video content. The music is well crafted and easy to listen to. Julia Johnson's voice reminds me of Leigh Nash's – but the musical style is more a gentle version of Fauxliage than Sixpence None The Richer. It is categorised as “trip hop”, though also somewhat confusingly as “post trip hop”. Perhaps that means the sort of thing that you'd listen to the morning after an “intense” party. Whatever, it is fairly mellow music that you can either play loud and enjoy, or have in the background.