Getting bootlegged! (sort of)

I’ve been putting off joining Discogs for some time. The obsessive work appeals to me, but I don’t want to get too much into that– there are enough things clamoring for time around me. Still, I thought it would be fun to browse it this morning, to see if any of my old material pops up.

Strangely enough, it did.

Of all things, some of my old “Electric Kitten Vomit” recordings are apparently on a Polish CDr compilation, entitled “Eld Rich Palmer Off-Line,” some sort of release of samples from recordings reviewed in the webzine of the same name. To say that this was unexpected really doesn’t cover it. This is far past finding out my lost tapes are in the hands of random Southern Illinois strangers– this is some actual bootlegging, albeit a free release.But let’s not get technical. I. GOT. BOOTLEGGED. How cool is THAT?!

Anyways, I ended up Googling the webzine, and found the original review, from back in 2002. It’s in issue eleven. It’s kind of funny, but mostly nice, depending on how you choose to interpret the “Engrish.” But hey, his English is better than my Polish, that’s for sure:

“That strangely happened that the last record in this review comprises most of what can be also found in the above described items from Public Eyesore. Inspired by home-taping network, Electric Kitten Vomit has produced mashes of sonic candies ranging from a sampling manipulation, ambient music, heavy electronics, guitar acrobatics, up to a noise crescendo somewhere in beginning of the record, and more besides…”The Avant-Garde Revolts” wanted patience and flexibility, that is for sure. Generally, everything worked out all right, but I have no idea why it is entitled so blusteringly…” –Krystof Sadza

I ended up typing Sadza an e-mail, to follow up on his question. Why not?

“The reviewer questioned why the album was titled “so blusteringly,” which I will explain– first off, the Public Eyesore release of this disc didn’t include the original liner notes, which really laid out the meaning of the title. So that was kind of a problem. The basic idea was that the meaning of “avant-garde” has its roots in military terminology… these are the soldiers who are the very front lines, often killed, and essentially there to provide a sort of human shield for the soldiers coming behind him. In a war, you would NOT want to be the avant-garde!

In music, the avant-garde is much the same– they are a group of artists taking all the risks and chances, but often with little personal recompense. To make matters worse, the musical avant-garde only seems to serve to allow a second group of lesser artists to plunder from these risk-taking creations. Usually, they are watered-down in the process, and the credit is denied the actual originators. I envisioned the avant-garde realizing this process, and revolting in some fashion– denying their work to the pop star second line. I wanted to claim my work as my own, and not as a piece of a greater “process” towards advancing someone else’s dumbed-down entertainment– so in some ways, it is an act of revolution.”

The moral of the story is that it feels weird to get bootlegged, but it’s mostly cool. I don’t think Sadza and company were doing anything beyond being excited about music– really, no different than what I do with my radio show, although in a different format. Some musicians might get wonky about this sort of thing, but they should take a step back and realize that these are not only journalists, but listeners as well.

Still, I like having a complete record of everything, so I signed up at Discogs. I also asked Sadza if he has any of those discs left!  –DaveX

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