Those die hard rebels who consistently chip away at the foundations of the music industry are back. I had a lot of good things to say about Downliners Sekt before and all of those positive statements still stand strong, especially after the free online release of their latest endeavor, Still Engine.
This new material is a strong message from a small band to a huge industry. It’s free, high quality music that is much better than most of the stuff that the major record labels keep hyping for undeservedly high prices. If an artist is willing to give you better music at no cost at all then why pay out the ass for something that will be lackluster in comparison? The mere act of releasing their music for free is a message to the major records labels saying that their huge companies aren’t as necessary as they think they are. Granted, Downliners Sekt is one of few bands who will provide entire albums of awesome music for free, but they’re an extreme example of getting more for less via the wide possibilities of the Internet. And I think we’ve all seen how the music industry reacted to those possibilities (i.e. the RIAA pressuring the Copyright Royalty Board to raise royalty rates beyond the range of what Internet-based radio stations could afford, which would have forced most of them to shut down).
I remember an old episode of Loveline on which Henry Rollins was a guest. A caller asked him whether he thought punk was dead and Henry responded, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Punk is any music that comes along to show up the old fogeys who have lost their edge and forgotten what real music is all about, so punk will always be around.” I never really thought of punk in such a way, but that definition certainly makes a lot of sense. Modern independent artists, such as Downliners Sekt, who make great music without the interference of major record labels can all fit in the “punk” category if you think of it in that more generic way. They’re paving a new way for the creation and distribution of music, showing up the “old fogeys” in the major record labels who refuse to adapt. And Downliners Sekt in particular embodies that classic punk image of rebelling against authority that bands like the Sex Pistols popularized.
But I’ve gone on long enough about the ideology of punk, let me spend at least a little bit talking about what Downliners Sekt’s music sounds like. They describe it as “electro noise for breakbeat initiates.” To put it another way, it sounds like industrial ambient downtempo if you can picture that semi-paradoxical genre description. But the combination really comes out sounding great. It works well as something to keep on in the background or as something to just sit down with and give a good listen to. It’s engaging and complex enough where it can be listened to with an attentive and critical ear. And since they offer their most recent release as a single MP3 in the style of mixtape, it sounds like one 45 minute song that is constantly changing form. A lot the time, the changes are subtle and it’s sometimes hard to spot when one song has ended and another has begun. It’s like a classical piece with movements.
The Still Engine Mixtape may be a little much for those people who just like to shuffle through random songs by a whole bunch of different bands on their MP3 players, but if you’re someone who really enjoys sitting down and digesting a whole album, then this should be right up your alley. Even if you don’t like it, spread the word and send the message that the old fashioned ways of doing business in the music industry are going down the drain and Downliners Sekt is pulling the plug.
Download Still Engine by Downliners Sekt for free!
Downliners Sekt – Still Engine Mixtape
For more information on Downliners Sekt, visit their MySpace page.