At the end of 2011, we launched our [Reviews] section and to date we have completed over 65 reviews of releases that were put out by artists or labels from the Upstate region. Unfortunately, there were loads more releases that deserved reviews, but due to time constraints and limited resources 65 was what we had to settle with. Still, that’s more than we thought we’d get to when we launched the section. Plus, the reviews we did post expanded the blog’s audience to a size that was truly unexpected.
Despite everyone hating on music reviewers these days (and for good reason sometimes), people apparently still like to read reviews. Case in point: the reviews section has easily become the blog’s most popular section and the amount of visitors that it has brought to the blog, and then to the radio show, was totally unanticipated. So without further ado, a HUGE thanks to the all the writers who contributed their time and talent to this endeavor. You can read about these fine hard-working people on our [Contributors] page. Also, a huge thanks to the labels and artists for providing us with the music when we asked for it or–even better–just sending it in when it was ready for release. Hopefully, in 2013 we can build on the number and quality of reviews.
You may have noticed that there has been some very recent changes/additions to the site and the radio show, such as the [Events] page (which will be updated weekly and can be heard read on the air during each show), a master Upstate Soundscape Spotify playlist in the side column, and a FAQ that has been added to our [About] page for artists, labels, and other interested parties on how to get your recordings on the radio show and/or reviewed by the blog, etc. There are even more additions coming in 2013. Below are some of the new wrinkles we have in store for The Upstate Soundscape radio show and blog in the upcoming year.
Guest Hosts: We’ve already had Michael Vitrano of Desire Path Recordings on to guest host back in November, while Adam Richards of House of Alchemy is coming in for the December 26th show, and Adrian Bertelone aka Ay Fast is scheduled for the January 30th show. These guest host slots are intended to–on one hand–give Needles a break and–on the other hand–get more people into the WBNY studio to share the music and sound that they’re either personally involved with or just digging at the moment. We’re shooting for one guest host per month, so stay tuned to see who else we get into the studio. Interested in being a guest host? Spots are limited, but send us an email and we’ll see.
Batch reviews: One change we’re making in an attempt to cover more ground with the reviews is to begin reviewing batches of release that labels like House of Alchemy and cae-sur-a put out, instead of trying to review each individual release within the batches. These batches of cassettes are artistic statements in themselves like curated exhibitions and perhaps should be reviewed as such. We’ll continue to do individual reviews as well of artists and releases that aren’t necessarily released in batch form. Are you a label or artist who has something you think we might want to review and/or play on the radio? Check out the new [FAQ] page for details on how to get us your sounds and what our review policies are.
Mixes: Recently both Soundcloud and Spotify made it easier to share and embed mixes on various platforms, so we will begin posting mixes on a regular basis from both of those sites, which both contain a plethora of sounds by experimental artists at work in or associated with the Upstate region. These mixes will be curated mostly by the Upstate Soundscape, but will also be curated from time to time by artists, label heads, DJs, and other people from around the region. We will also continue to post regular mixes by Upstate artists when they arise. Interested in making a mix for us or curating one on Spotify or Soundcloud? Get in touch.
Spotlights: We’ve done several [Spotlights] in the past on Upstate labels, but the [Spotlight] series is going to get ramped up a bit in early to mid 2013. The goal is to now use the [Spotlight] posts to cover other things like organizations, venues, radio shows, artists, etc. The hope is to provide a more in depth view on these other entities through an interview and/or profile. Look for the first one to be published early in 2013. Know of an artists, organization, or other entity of an experimental nature from Upstate that you think deserves a [Spotlight]? Get in touch.
Compilation Series: The first one is in the can and it is fucking awesome and we can’t wait for you to hear it. HUGE thanks to the artists that contributed a recording. It will be posted for free download in early January via Bandcamp and Soundcloud. As of now, the plan is to do quarterly compilations. Eventually, we may decide to focus an entire compilation on a specific genre, or city, or something else along those lines, but for now the comps will serve as samplers of the sounds being created of all kinds throughout the Golden Horseshoe, from Toronto to Albany, and all points in between. Interested in submitting a recording to be considered for the next compilation (or radio play in the meantime)? Check out our Soundcloud group or our [FAQ] page for more details on how to get us your sounds.
All of these new components will launch once 2012 is in the rear-view mirror. In 2013 you will also see a continuation of our other regular posts, including [Free Music Friday], [Beyond the Upstate Soundscape], and [Soundmarks]. These have been going strong all year and will continue to do so in 2013.
For the remainder of 2012, however, we will begin posting Year-End lists by various people from around the region including radio DJs, label heads, and artists every couple of days starting tomorrow (Saturday, 12/15). These lists are intended to offer a different take on the critical posturing that has proliferated since the inception of music blogs. The lists you will see here are not intended to be any sort of “Best of 2012” lists, nor are they ranked. Instead, they’re lists compiled by sound enthusiast from around the region and feature very simply what they personally liked from the past year. Kind of a like a literary mixtape one friend makes for another. By no means are these lists intended to be the final word on music and sound from 2012. Instead they are intended to be a starting point to encourage dialogue within the region among people who are committed to and making experimental music and sound of all kinds.
Other things to keep an eye out for over the next couple of weeks. . .
-The Annual Year in Review radio program scheduled for this Sunday at 9pm. Tune in to 91.3FM WBNY or stream at WBNY.org
-House of Alchemy label head Adam Richards guest hosts The Upstate Soundscape on Wed., 12/26.
-The first release in our brand new compilation series, The Upstate Soundscape: Vol. 1 (Winter 2013). Coming in very early January. And its so fucking good, its not even funny.
. . . other than that, it looks like 2012 is a wrap. Here’s to hoping to an even better 2013 for the radio show, the blog, and the Upstate experimental community. Cheers!