Slaraffenland, Etc.


I was doing the usual blog rounds, and took a stop by Elastic Heart. Aaron’s an even bigger music fiend than I am, and so I know he’ll always have some little gem to download or check out. Thanks to him, I’ve discovered the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Lars Horntveth, and of course, Lamar Latrell.

This time around, it was a link to Dreams of Horses (apparently yet another MP3 blog that I’ll need to bookmark), specifically their entry for a Danish/Swedish band named Slaraffenland.

You can’t reference the likes of Sigur Ròs, Broken Social Scene, and The Go! Team without someone taking notice. Those are some mighty big words, and while personally, I don’t think they quite fit (I hear more Jaga Jazzist than anything else), there’s no denying this is some good stuff, full of breezy brass and instrumental fury.

This whole process got me to thinking. I visit a blog promoting a Danish/Swedish band by linking to another blog that writes about the band, the result being this blog entry of mine, which also ends up promoting them. (And now it’s your turn…)

It all seemed to bizarre to me, which got me rather excited (again) about how this whole Internet thing works. While the big labels are doing their damndest to control how their “product” is handled, dissemeninated, and presented online, there’s a remarkable energy happening on the fringe, where folks who don’t know each other from Adam are just clicking, linking, and typing away, spreading the word casually about great music. Casually, that is, at first, until it gains critical mass and suddenly, we have the next “Big Thing.”

It’s akin to those mixtape clubs in high school, only taken to the nth level, stripped of all physical constraints, and existing solely as one great big meta-mass of promotion, distribution, criticism, and above all, enjoyment and appreciation. And because it’s worldwide and driven by the passion of fans and connoisseurs, and not by figures, licenses, marketing indicators, and consumer trends, it has a far larger impact in the long run. (This is something the big labels know, and though they hide it well behind lawsuits, DRM, political influence, and claims of “artistic protection”, it has them scared pissless because they know they’re obsolete.)

I realize that some of you are probably thinking “No duh” right about now, and in all honesty, I am stating the obvious. I’m sure for the youngsters out there, who came out of the womb with iPod earbuds already in place, this isn’t even something they think about, that they’re even conscious of. But for those of us who remember the days before MP3 blogs and BitTorrent, who remember having distributors’ catalogs mailed to us, and whose only method for finding out about music “over there” was via Usenet (in Internet-speak, I suppose this makes us the “old farts”), this is exciting and revelatory stuff.

It’s exciting (and humbling) to think about, and to be a part of, however small a part that might be. Sometimes I do forget about it, but I think it’s something that will always strike me as bizarre from time to time. Bizarre, yet very invigorating.

Read more about Blogging and Slaraffenland.