Wednesday, October 10, 2007

King Creosote and the death of the classic album

When King Creosote re-released KC Rules OK in a remastered version last year, just a year after it had been released originally, he willingly collaborated in the record industry farce of recycling product to resell it largely to the same market.

Whoever decided that KC Rules OK deserved the remastering treatment, that it was in effect an old classic dusted off the library shelves in need of a bit of jiggery-pokery so it could be repackaged and fans could be exploited?

Don’t get me wrong, I yield to no one in my love for KC Rules OK, but this remastering seems to contradict his guidelines just a little:

King Creosote maintains that the song is more important than the style, and that the performance outweighs recording quality. If a part can't be recorded in one take, scrap it for something simpler. No sample should be longer than four seconds, and although samples should be in tune or in time, not necessarily both. King Creosote detests noodling virtuoso, and thus has a go on whatever instrument is at hand. Anyway, duff tunes strengthen the songs on either side

Perhaps the King could concede some or all of these points:
a) he is a hypocrite;
b) KC Rules OK was his first album for Warners and he is now The Man’s bitch; and
c) he bowed to The Man’s pressure and in an attempt to emulate his former backing singer’s, KT Tunstall, success, he cleaned up his music to try to capture the James Morrisson/David Gray/James Blunt market.

It beggars belief that on his 29th album, King Creosote couldn’t maintain quality control. The song may be more important than the style, but nothing it would seem is as important as the money. So the remastered KC Rules OK got one new song and re-recordings of two, one of which was released as a single. Might it not have been better to release all three new/newly recorded songs as an ep? Yes, I say, but I’m not a fucking accountant.

This sad episode in the otherwise remarkable career of King Creosote has been in my mind since his new album Bombshell was released last month. You will know that it’s out on CD only. I haven’t bought it, as the clever money’s on it being issued on vinyl (180g, natch) in time for the Christmas market, to rake in some more money for Warners’ coffers.

The desperation in the dual release of Bombshell on CD and “limited edition” CD + DVD is a fairly common marketing ploy to get people to buy the CD/DVD at full price; the thinking is that anyone who would just buy the CD will download it for free. When the “limited edition” has sold out (don’t hold your breath) then the vinyl version, I reckon, will be released. I can wait, but I’m looking forward to it.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Hey FE
My best friend is KC's A&R / manager (not at Warners). You should hear some of the stories about the things Warners WANTED to do :(

Honestly, he is a great chap working in a vicious environment. And The Man would like to fack him a lot harder than he's currently being allowed, I can assure you.