March 2, 2008

Unfortunately I have come down with a cold, I’m not really one to take time off or wimp out but it has effected my sinuses and also my hearing. I’m always listening to music particularly on headphones so I’m conscious of the damage excessive use can do.

Last year I took a week off to mix our album, at that point my studio was in the spare room, I tried as much as possible to create a temporary mixing environment with spare duvets covering walls and pillows as bass traps in each corner of the room. As your ears start to become fatigued you instinctively turn the volume up, it’s crucial to take breaks when working like that. Since then I have noticed some slight tinnitus in my left ear. Although tinnitus isn’t actually caused by excessive noise it’s used to describe ringing in the ear. Tinnitus is actually caused by infection, although studies show that prolonged use of headphones encourages the growth of bacteria in the ear, so indirectly they do effect it. HA HA you even get medical advice on this blog!

So I haven’t done any music this weekend to save my ears, what I have done is add a really cool feature to our main website. A few people said “how come you don’t update your site that often” so I said check out this blog it’s updated most days. I decided to write an import script in Flash to load external XML from this actual blog feed. I tested it locally and it worked fine but then I realised Flash wouldn’t pull a cross domain XML feed. Having trawled the web for help I finally stumbled on a PHP feature that would do this, only to realise that my hosting accounts PHP config didn’t support this :-( I have it working on my works test server so I know it works, I’m just hoping that my NK hosting company can help.

Back to Alan WIlders letter. Apart from the sound quality issues he also went on to attack the record labels. Mute have always been a label I admired, manly because of its roster of great music but also it’s general ethos and humble beginnings. I think Daniel Miller is of the industries true heros, Mute was probably the largest indie label before its takeover by EMI. One of the other labels I really admired was Factory. I’m surprised that Mute haven’t had the attention of fIlms, documentaries and books like Factory has, then again I suppose Daniel Miller is a fairly tame character compared to that of the late great Tony Wilson. One of the main reasons for my love of Factory (apart from New Order / Joy Division) was their approach with the design and packaging of their products. Our first album was manufactured on a fairly small budget, therefore we were limited to what we could do with the CD packaging, the next album however will be much more special and hopefully something that people will treasure.

I think my biggest gripe with Alan’s letter was his overriding grumpiness with the state of things. He’s in a pretty good position having made no doubt a stack of money being part of Depeche Mode. If he is so disillusioned with the industry why doesn’t he go it alone. I enjoy all the aspects of being part of NK, as I have talked about before in this blog we do everything ourselves and really try to push the creative aspects of the music, imagery & design whilst having a full time job. I/We do it for the love of doing it, not for the money.

Who needs a record label?