Treating the release of his new album like an unfolding of chapters in a book or diary, Robert Kramer, local indie veteran of the Chicago music scene, comments that music consumption has become too instant and “fast-food” in today’s’ digital download landscape.
“There’s a lessened connection in many ways between the artist and the works they produce.” Kramer says. “You can listen and watch just about anything today instantly, but there’s a loss of overall appreciation for the artistry and the ideas behind songs and what birthed them.”
Reflecting back to the bygone “album” era, where one actually held a physical record album jacket, and fans could see cover art and read credits, lyrics, and pictures, the 60 year old musician/composer, who also writes music for film and TV, states the experience of getting to know an artist and their works is largely ignored.
“Today, you download a track. Boom. It’s done. You listen to it a couple of times, and then it’s dumped on a random playlist in your ipod or computer. Cold and impersonal. Theres no build-up, no back story, no warmth of the art or the artist…you can‘t appreciate Van Gogh on a cellphone…like any art, music was meant to be a much more personal experience.. in the 60‘s & 70‘s you could connect with the artist or band by reading the lyrics and credits on the inside of vinyl record album covers. Who played what…the liner notes and pictures. It made a real impact in the overall experience…we‘re missing part of that magic in today’s music.”
To Kramer, that was part of the excitement of discovering new music and new artists, and so this latest effort is an effort to bring back a little of the magic and charm to the experience.
Rather than a whole album at once, the choice was made to release one or two songs at a time, like chapters someone would write down and record in a diary. “You see the diary unfold as it’s being written…” he continues. “You get a chance to digest the artist’s music at an easier, less intense pace.”
“It unfolds the drama and emotion of listening to an album to experience it in developing sections. To see characters and lyrics evolve and change, and to get the unexpected just when you think you know where it’s going.”
As to why the album title is “Shadow Logic”, he comments, “We’re doing an album in reverse of traditional thinking. Doing one release per month or a “chapter” at a time has the effect of building drama and plot, and goes against todays’ cold digital “hurry-up-download-and-rush-thru-it” mentality everyone has about listening to music.”
The ironic cover of the diary, depicting someone watering a growing tree with a noose around their neck, creates a visual eerieness that draws one into the grim implications of the picture, a return to album covers as classic rock art.
As far as the type or style of music, Kramer muses that “it’s all different….piano, ballads, uptempo rock/pop, progressive, jazz. It’s an album in the works, a story that unfolds with each monthly chapter. Anything could happen. You never know what’s in the next one.”
The album as diary, which began with the release of the first two music videos, “The Last Of You” & “My Confession“, will be made available online for fans. Further chapters in the diary will include music and companion videos surrounding the theme of the album. Kramers’ releases are available on the Touchtunes Digital Jukebox system found in bars and entertainment establishments across the US and Canada. A worldwide internet special on his music scheduled for Tues. May 26th on ArtistFirst World Radio ( http://www.artistfirst.com) will play select tracks from the new album.
As to how long the entire release will take, Kramer says “until the diary is full…”