From Aural Innovations #10 (June 2000)
Hello space fans! Welcome to the new Aural Innovations web-zine. For those of you who were readers of our printed zine then it's good to have you back. To all others... a hearty welcome and we hope you get hooked real quick. For the benefit of the newcomers, the brief poop on Aural Innovations is that we cover spacerock, psychedelia, and electronic music, but also include any freaky jazz and "out there" progressive rock that we think our readers will enjoy. We cover the great pioneers but quite intentionally focus on the lesser known and totally unknown bands that are carrying the torch proudly. Instead of publishing quarterly like the print edition did I've decided to make the e-version a monthly. The issues will be smaller, but I think the increased frequency will help raise our profile and keep us active in your minds given that I'm relying on you to come to me, rather than me showing up magically in your mailbox.
A number of people have expressed the concern that electronic media is transient and not "archival" in the way that a printed publication is. As much as anyone I too would much prefer to sit down in a comfortable chair with a real hard copy magazine. But I've given this much thought and would offer the following comments: First, printed media, over time, wears out and becomes fragile, eventually turning to dust. That's why libraries for years have converted periodicals to microfiche for their permanent archives. All the information printed in Aural Innovations is carefully backed up in multiple locations to ensure its permanence... just like a real library. Second, electronic media (just like electronic everything else) is not only here to stay, but will continue to move forward. I've tried hard to make the online Aural Innovations as "user-friendly" (an appropriately modern term) and easy to navigate as possible. I'm sure it will evolve as time goes on but all comments and suggestions are welcome because we want this to be a useful tool for you in your own personal musical journeys.
I've also been asked if online media is really "publishing". Good question. I don't have an answer. But this I do know... I discontinued the printed version of Aural Innovations because MANY more people were hitting our web site than subscribing, which made it difficult to justify the enormous expense of printing and mailing the mag when a web site costs so little. And in the month that we've been online with Aural-Innovations.com the number of hits to the new site has more than supported my reasons for going web-based. Am I championing online media? Blowing its whistle? Tooting its horn? I'm not. But why "publish" if you aren't going to strive to maximize the number of people that consume what you publish? If I was a publisher before with a handful of readers, but am not a publisher now that I'm online, even though I've greatly increased my readership, than I'll gladly let Aural Innovations be a non-publication. But no... this IS publishing... welcome to the future.
This is gearing up to be a great summer for SpaceRock in America. Things kicked off with the Quarkstock 2000 SpaceRock and Avant-Prog Festival here in Columbus, Ohio during the last weekend in May. It was so exciting having such fantastic bands performing right here in my town and a big thanks to Quarkspace for having the courage to make it happen. Full coverage and a photo gallery will appear in the July issue. But there's also The Mandelbrot Sets coming up at the end of June in Connecticut. And not only will Strange Daze take place for the 4th year, but organizer Jim Lascko is taking the show on the road for several dates leading up to the fest. It's growing folks!!!! See our news section for more details on the events that are taking place this summer.
Finally, I'd like to ask for your comments about CDR's. My personal feeling is that they are a perfectly valid medium which has made it easier for musicians on a budget to release their music. I know that probably half or more of the items I carry in the Aural Innovations mail order catalog are CDR's. Does this make a difference to you? Do you only buy manufactured CD's even though the quality of the music, including the sound, on band-released CDR's is just as good if not better than a manufactured CD? Let me know what you think. I know a lot of great music was unjustifiably ignored because people were leery of cassettes. But a CDR is still really the same as a CD. As one friend said, "the only difference is the color!". Comments on this matter are most appreciated. Now start reading the new issue!!