28 November 2011

La Prima Nocte ::OR:: Proof of What We Do

Richard Clark is an all-around musician. He's a guitarist, pianist, drummer, composer, and songwriter/lyricist. He's a valued member of The Bored of Education, and co-founder of the Party Rock band Ferdinand Fox (now defunct, but once a killer killer band). Really, he's one of the most talented & multifaceted musicians that we know here at Rule 6 (and we know a LOT of musicians). Rich recorded this album (La Prima Nocte) himself, at home, with all his own gear. I'm thrilled to be releasing this set of songs by a musician that I really respect, which has been the guiding principle of Rule No. 6 Recordings all along. This label is all about trying to put music in the ear of listeners. (All the better if it's by some artist or band you've never heard of before.) We're still on the lookout for more music to release, more bands to affiliate with, and always looking for the next idea. So drop us a line (or link) if you have an idea or suggestion!

(This is the cover art for La Prima Nocte. Rich is in there somewhere!)

Coming up this week: The Inner Planets - another Invisible City improv session featuring Rich Clark, myself, and Aaron "Dr. Bracebeats" Brace. Stay tuned, stay in time, and stay hungry!

07 November 2011

A Quick One ::OR:: The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

First off, for your listening pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qrriKcwvlY&ob=av2e

Now that we have that out of the way, I just wanted to drop a line detailing what's been happening inside Rule 6 HQ for the last few months.....

I mentioned there's a new recording studio happening on the north side. There's a lot of work going on to bring that space up to maximum operation & comfort, and we're currently tracking a young man named Devin Braggula (formerly a member of fAbrics) who's creating his first solo record. Lemme tell you, I've heard a LOT of crappy teen music, and I can tell you that Devin has an incredible ear, great songs, and genuinely listenable melodies. This is going to be a great album, & I hope he'll consider letting us release it through Rule No. 6 Records. There'll be many more details on that (as well as pictures, maybe vids!) on the wordpress site I'm creating for the studio. I'll be posting the link to that as soon as it's live. It's going to be a real challenge

There's been a lot of music being made in Chicago in 2011. Every band I know is working on or promoting a recently-released album, EP, or single. It's been a busy summer for us at Rule 6, but we're coming back from this season with a strong schedule for the fall/winter. There's a two-pronged attack coming: The first prong is a new set of projected releases. I'm not going to mention any names at this time until we finalize the details, but there are possibly 3 recordings we're looking at releasing in the next 3 months. The best bit is that I'm not involved in the performance or recording of these releases, for the first time in Rule 6 history! If you go to our bandcamp page right now, I've either recorded or played on every single one of our releases. Believe it or not, when I founded this label my intention was not to release my own music. The goal was to provide an outlet for good music that didn't have much chance of distribution otherwise, from my friends or word-of-mouth friend networks. The issue at the beginning was a lack of things to release. After only two years of existing and squeaking by, friends are starting to take notice. We'll have more information for you on these upcoming projects in the next couple of weeks.

The second prong is going to drag this label physically out of the nebulous interweb cloud & toss it right into the faces of Chicago consumers. We're going to invent Point-of-Purchase display stations to plant at various consumer outlets (not just record stores) throughout the Chicagoland area! Each display will hold 2-4 (maybe 6!!) different albums chosen to represent the full range of Rule 6 releases. Each will direct potential consumers to all the various places online that showcase what Rule 6 does, of course. The real benefit of this is that for the first time we'll be able to reach consumers that would likely never have heard of Rule No. 6 otherwise. We won't be depending on friend networks or word-of-mouth to accomplish our advertising & promotion. We'll be standing out on the corner with our music in our hand, ready to do business. Exciting shit, if I say so myself.

So until the next time, when we can unveil the newest of the new, remember to keep on pushin'.

13 September 2011

Raw With Love ::OR:: Why Are We Doing This, Again?

There's a new release on our bandcamp page. After much deliberation, I decided to put out a project of my own. I'm not really the sort of musician who aspires to write songs & sing my songs in front of people. I normally harshly criticize the ever-increasing number of crappy guitar players who seem to feel that they should write songs because they play; and moreover, that people SHOULD listen to their crappy songs. I wonder what most songwriters (good, bad, or mediocre) are trying to accomplish with their actions. I wonder if they imagine there will be an audience for their (good, bad, or mediocre) communication of music, lyrics, & emotion. I wonder if they imagine a thoughtful mix of intelligent, discriminating adults (able to appreciate the nuances of each songwriters' personal style), who attend open mics & songwriter showcases & acoustic nights & fundraisers & neighborhood bars, and who would INSTANTLY RECOGNIZE the unique talent in front of them & SUPPORT IT.

I am not one of those people. I have learned that being a musician means difficulty in finding venues to show off what you do, and rarely finding people enthusiastic enough to support. I have learned that, in order to be TRULY good at what you do & have something to offer an audience, it takes an INTENSE amount of work; much more work than your casual, OTSFM-type guitar strummer is interested in. I've learned that for every fan of songs & lyrics there are no less than fourteen shitty songwriters. (Do the math, it ain't pretty.) My new question for everyone in the music industry is this: Why are YOU doing this? What are you trying to accomplish? What do you expect in return? How will you measure your success?

So I don't write songs for people to LISTEN to necessarily. I guess I've always approached songwriting as much as a recording exercise as writing. I developed my own abilities (composing, instrumental & recording) through the years by working out my own material all the way through to the end of the recording process. These songs were not written with the intention of being grouped together; they're pretty frighteningly honest as well, considering many were never intended to be released. They were all just song kernels that got worked on & worked on & left alone for years & rediscovered & worked on & disliked & finally called done to validate all the time & energy spent on them.

So why, you may ask, would I finally release a bunch of material that was never conceived of that way? Pragmatically, the answer is that there aren't enough people visiting our bandcamp, facebook, or now Soundcloud pages for me to fear what people will think when these songs get out there. There is no "there" out there. Our total obscurity makes this 'public' forum a safe zone, for the time being. The only people who follow this blog or visit our page are essentially friends of mine. That's a perfect environment for me to throw out an album like Raw With Love, which might be appreciated by some of the folks that I know. Perhaps those folks will listen in the bathtub (as was the purpose of this collection), and have an Art moment in that specialized location. Then, having experienced that moment, they may recommend the album to people close to them who might be interested in a similar experience. The good news is that you can set your own price for the download on bandcamp, all the way down to FREE. So download a copy, draw a bath, press play, and feel free to send us some comments. Via the interwebs.

06 July 2011

Revenge of the New

…Aaaannnnd, we're back!

After a brief hiatus, Rule 6 is back with a new focus, a new series of releases, and A New Hope. (Episode IV? Anyone? Moving on.)

Firstly, I'd like to mention that, by hook or by crook, our Bandcamp page is creeping up on 2 motherfucking THOUSAND visits. (As of this writing, 1,682. BAM.) I KNOW that's not one friend visiting 1600 times, so thank you. Thanks for visiting. Thanks for listening. Listen, and perhaps buy.

Next, check out the Invisible City Series. This is a set of jam sessions/recording sessions we're bringing to you from an undisclosed location on the northwest side. Rich Clark is responsible for gathering the players, and I'm doing the recording. The first features Rich and Peter Triolo on guitar, Aaron "Dr. Bracebeats" Brace on drums, and myself playing bass. We're not sure who's going to be involved next, or what the music will sound like, but that's pretty much right to the point of this series. I (& everyone I know) is working on challenging and unique projects that take up much time. Invisible City is about blowing off steam with random musicians; about letting sheer talent and instinct do most of the composition. Granted, if the jams sound like a bunch of butt roped together, we're not going to release them to anyone, so rest assured you're going to hear something interesting no matter when you check in.

SCHWINNTONATION just finished recording an EP over the July 1-5 weekend. We did all the tracking at a brand new recording studio on the far north side of Chicago, not far from where I grew up. I think everyone who hears it is going to be shocked. I can't say much more, you really need to hear it to understand. This improbable project is officially being released as a joint effort between the band and Rule 6 (at least until some moron label wakes up and thinks up a deal for the world's premiere bicycle music ensemble). We couldn't be more proud to be involved with artists of this caliber, doing what I consider to be really important cultural work for the 21st Century. Which kind of leads me to my next point, in my quickly-becoming-signature-tangent-drift-style >>>>.

I've been thinking a lot recently about the century we're living in. (Blame Arthur C. Clarke for that; every time I read something by that dude I'm momentarily overwhelmed with questions of human progress.) I'm wondering when society as a whole will begin to wake up to the fact that we're living in the future we envisioned for ourselves (more or less). I think it's pretty clear that the technology we have, in addition to what's on the horizon, will change human understanding and biological existence as we know it. That said, what is the art that will be relevant to this new era of human development? I don't necessarily think that the media and structures of expression in place are still doing their job. Much the way that new techniques, tools, and structures had to be invented last century in order to keep pace with the development of society, I think artists (in every media) ought to be focusing on that, if we're interested in making work that will have some lasting meaning in decades to come. I don't know about y'all, but that's why I'm in this. I'm thinking specifically about the experiences I had as a teenager when I had the remarkable fortune to witness recording sessions and performances by the electro-acoustic improv players and groups that put Chicago back on the world map of jazz in the 90s & 00s. (My father is a music writer and record producer who worked with many of these musicians.) When I saw and listened (really listened) to what they were attempting and what it actually SOUNDED like, it struck me hard that these people (who seemed like normal folks, pretty much) were responsible for stretching the envelope of what we called music and take for granted. They were taking full control of the very fabric of their medium (rhythm, harmony, melody, vibration) and experimenting to see what triggered that thing, that ultimate trigger that gets pulled in your brain when it encounters Art (as in the successful expression of humanity that we're all supposedly striving towards). That means a lot. In a world where there's little to no money in that kind of fearless experimentation, pushing the envelope pretty much has to be it's own reward.

Until next time; keep your mind free like Stan Lee, true believers!