2008 was a great year for electronic music fans, and one of the reasons why is the growing number of major electronic musicians that blog.
Here are five electronic musicians that had great blogs in 2008:
Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails blog was probably the most influential electronic musician’s blog of 2009.
Reznor, more than any mainstream musician, has deftly used Internet media and social networking, and his blog has tied his multi-pronged approach together.
In 2009, Reznor used his blog to tease fans about new projects, highlight NIN media from Flickr and YouTube, release two albums of Creative Commons licensed music, share an insider’s view of one of the biggest concerts of the year and just to share his thoughts about the world.
In 2009, Reznor set an example of how musicians can use new media that will be hard for other artists to match and hard for Reznor, himself, to duplicate.
In 2008, Jean Michel Jarre used his blog aerojarre to offer personal insight into his life and also to talk about highlights of his 2008 tour.
Readers got to see where Jarre went in 2008 and meet the people that Jarre met. Readers got to share Jarre’s excitement about things like trying out a new instrument and the story of how a street musician in Budapest got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to jam with Jarre.
When people were upset that YouTube was removing Jarre fan videos because of copyright infringement, Jarre made a video response and posted it on his blog, stating that he was sorry about the situation and that he personally approved of the idea of fans sharing their takes on his music.
Jarre is the oldest electronic musician on this list, but the way he used his blog and new media in 2008 shows that age is no hindrance for artists wanting to make intelligent use of the Internet.
Moby has been blogging a long time, Of the electronic musicians included in this list, he tends to use his blog in the most personal way.
In 2009, Moby did use his blog to promote his new album and a project that offers free music licenses for indie filmmakers. And he used it to engage his fans with a user-generated video contest.
But the main point of Moby’s blog is to share his take on the world.
That means Moby’s blog often featured mini-essays on his liberal-leaning concerns, ranging from his work on the board of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function to net neutrality to the environment to the 2008 election. It also offered tiny views into his life, ranging from the movies he like to things that he saw on the street.
Moby’s postings are frequent, chatty, unfiltered and uncapitalized, which complements his artsy everyman personae.
Whether or not you are a fan of Moby’s music, you can’t ignore the way he’s used blogging and Internet media to express himself and to promote his music.
David Byrne is not the most obvious choice for this list.
While his solo work and work with Brian Eno in the 80’s was seminal electronic pop, his more recent albums have focused more on traditional song craftsmanship and less on experimentation.
Much of his work, though, is as experimental and electronic as ever. His Playing The Building was an electroacoustic installation that let visitors to play a building as a musical instrument, through the interface of a hacked organ. And his recent colloboration on Julio, a robotic vocalist, challenges our concepts of what is human.
“Like many animals, humans sing for pleasure, for sex, for attention, to express pain, to relieve angst and to join and participate in a social group,” writes Byrne. “All of these urges seem, if not uniquely human, at least not at all machine like. To see machines mimic these aspects of human life, is to watch some part of our imagined souls being appropriated.”
Byrne’s blog offers some of the most interesting and intelligent writing coming from any electronic musician.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a Propa list without mentioning the journal of Charissa Saverio, aka DJ Rap.
Ever wish that you could get gear tips and insider industry info from an uber-hot superstar DJ/producer/model?
Then you’ll want to check out Saverio’s Propa Journal. It’s a basic blog and Saverio doesn’t update it very frequently – but when she does, she offers her take on what it takes to succeed as a DJ.
In her first post of the year, Saverio offered her take on DJ equipment:
Decks: Although I still own the one and only pair of turntables I’ve ever bought, SL-1200’s the Pioneer CDJ-1000 or DVJ-1000 is my weapon of choice. I simply LOVE Pioneer. [yes I love vinyl, no I haven’t abandoned it. but you try carrying 20 20lb. crates to Ibiza only to find the crates nicked when you get there!] So CD’s are what I spin.
Mixer: Now, I’m really fussy about this shit. It HAS to be a Pioneer-800 for me. I don’t care what anyone else says, it’s the best. For me the effects, are stellar. The Pioneer-600 sounded a little too woody and muffled, if you like, often there were feedback problems.
Monitors: In my home studio I use the M-Audio BX5’s and the 10-inch sub that goes with it. I find they are incredibly accurate and really translate well to the dancefloor. I also use a pair of NS-10’s which help me with what I call the “car radio mix test.” In other words, if it sounds good in my car, it sounds good anywhere. For my mains, when I’m writing and producing I just got a hold of a pair of VXT-8’s which have a MASSIVE sound.
Headphones: I only ever use Sony-MDRV700DJ’s. They’re solid. And I haven’t gone deaf yet.
In a more recent post, Saverio offers her perspective getting played by DJ’s:
Make sure you print a label on your CD with all the relevant contact info. Pictures of yourself on the CD are a bad idea (I’m not kidding, I get those too) unless of course you look like Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Ryan Reynolds… ok you get the picture!
A note (preferably typed on a letterhead) with a BRIEF explanation of who you are (this is why a small bio is a good idea) and why you think this label is right for your music. That’s right, you have to think about where you feel your music fits… no good sending drum and bass to a house label like Subliminal or Impropa Talent, when you know it needs to go to Propa Talent! lol…
Don’t spend all your time gushing how great you think the label/DJ is.
Ok – that’s my take on five great electronic musician’s blogs of 2008. Let me know what you think in the comments. And, if you know of an electronic musician’s blog that was better than these in 2008, leave a link!