I have decided to make ART ABSCONs’ entire discography available for free download – including the option to pay whatever you feel my music is worth and thereby increase the chances that there will be more music in the future. In case you belong to the vanishing few who are as old-fashioned as I am and still prefer to listen to your favourite music via physical formats, you can, of course, still obtain all AAs albums in a tangible form through my label Opus Abscondi, and maybe you will enjoy the little gifts and personal notes I usually include in my shipments. Of course I would prefer this, but I also see that the times have changed. Hence, if you only wish to get the digital music files, you are invited to download all AAs albums for free on bandcamp.
In case you are interested in the reasons behind my decision to offer my music for free, please read on. I warn you, it will be long, but hopefully also a little interesting.
I love music. Some people even say I love music more than people. That is not entirely true. I do in fact love a small handful of people just as much as I love music. But that is irrelevant here. I am talking about music, not about people. I can hardly imagine how sad and empty my life would be if some of my favourite records had never been recorded. However, I can easily imagine to live without a lot of people I know. Music is a strange thing. It does not occupy any space, it only exists in time. Time is a composer’s canvas. What are three minutes? Three random minutes in a lifetime? Hardly anything. But what happens to the same three minutes if they are filled with music? Time expands, it is enriched with so much meaning, it triggers so many thoughts, memories, premonitions, and it can cause such an incredibly dense intellectual and emotional resonance, so much joy, reassurance, comfort. It provides linear time with an additional dimension. And yet it hardly exists. It has no physical substance. It is like a ghost – invisible, intangible, immaterial.
As a teenager, I once had a dream in which a scientist had made it possible to touch music. Somehow he had managed to provide it with a physical body. I still remember the bliss I experienced when I entered the room in which the result of his work was exhibited. At first, I heard the most wonderful music and then… I saw it! I stepped closer, touched it, and then got immersed in its ethereal perfumes… It was inexplicably delightful to experience this beautiful music with all my senses. I also remember the horrible pangs of deprivation I felt when I woke up to a world where music was only audible, the sadness and the loss I felt when I realised that it had been just a dream.
You simply cannot touch music… or can you? As a musician I am at least used to touching the objects that produce music. I own a lot of musical instruments, many different ones. I love the way they look, and I also like to feel it when the sound waves cause them to vibrate. Making music, as opposed to just listening to it, is something you mainly do with your hands. Making music is a highly tactile experience, but also listening to music involves my tactile sense: I have a very good stereo system. I bought it when I was fifteen or sixteen. Its solid volume knob moves very smoothly when you turn it – after more than 25 years of permanent use. Things like that just aren’t produced anymore. I feel grateful each time the knob slides without causing any cracking noise in the speakers. I also like my collection of vinyl records – leafing through albums to find the one I am looking for, enjoying the sight of the super large cover artwork, blowing dust particles from the vinyl surface… and then, when you put it on the turntable, the needle will touch the vinyl to feel its way through the grooves in which the music is mechanically encrypted.
Vinyl records sound better than music that is reproduced digitally. It is a fact. You do not need to be an audiophile nerd to tell the difference when you hear it. Many people (including myself) find it hard to tell the difference in sound quality between an mp3 and a CD, even if it exists (it becomes particularly noticeable when you turn up the volume). But the difference between those two formats and a vinyl record is so dramatic that it will take your breath away if you make a direct comparison. The music on the vinyl will have a certain spatial depth – as if both mp3 and CD were lacking one entire dimension. By comparison, the sound from the vinyl seems as if you can TOUCH it. The more I crank up the volume, the more tangible the music gets.
I make music because I want to provide others with at least a humble approximation of what I witnessed in that dream about music that could be experienced with all senses. This is what drives me.
The inspiration for my music comes from a place that lies beyond the material world. However, I need material objects to bring it into this world: instruments and recording gear. These tools cost money. The music itself comes from a place where no money exists, but making the music available through objects like CDs and vinyl records costs money. Exporting and uploading a music file, however, costs nothing. A digital music file is an immaterial entity containing the pure spirit of the music. It has no material worth; and it provides no profound, tangible experience, except for the entertainment that the music itself provides.
This is why I have decided to give my music away for free. If you decide to pay something for it, maybe as a gesture of respect, I will use this money for the tools I need to bring the music into this world. If you buy a physical copy, you pay for the material that carries the music and which provides you with a material, tangible experience.
Thank you for having read all this.