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Old 09-23-2010, 10:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Socially conscious music

Hello everybody,

I've come on this forum to introduce you all to the concept of socially conscious music. Wikipedia suggests that social consciousness can "be defined as social awareness; to be aware of the problems that different societies and communities face on a day-to-day basis; to be conscious of the difficulties and hardships of society."

Most music is already socially conscious provided it wasn't created with the sole purpose of promoting oneself or for commercial gain. What is unusual is making social consciousness the primary focus.

I'm launching a project in the spring under the name Fold that aims to raise awareness towards positive change and will invest all profits from album sales into charitable causes. The project consists of a 10 track album due to be completed by the end of the year.

The music itself explores the natural, unintentional rhythms of human speech by carefully weaving the voices of people like Kurt Vonnegut, Martin Luther King Jr, Robert Kennedy, Nina Simone, Jimmy Carter and John Lennon into down-tempo beds. The intention is to speak loudly, clearly and directly about many issues that we often hide from ourselves using these familiar and often moving voices.

I am funding, writing, performing, producing, acquiring sample clearances, promoting, designing web & print materials, etc all through my own efforts with a bit of help from close friends.

I believe that achieving real change in the world is only possible if people can be encouraged to take responsibility for their actions as well as their emotions. That's all I'm trying to do myself. This is my way of giving something back to the community.

What do you think? Is this an idea that any of you would support? Please let me know.

Thanks for listening,
Seth Mowshowitz
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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That's a really interesting project, and if it's for a good cause I have to say - way to be creative about solving problems! I do enjoy music that is socially conscious, not necessarily political, but true to the human struggle.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm going to paraphrase a quote from a great socially conscious man,

"Ask not what your music forum can do for you, but what you can do for your music forum,"

-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Basically what I'm saying is are you here because you genuinely want to expand your music palette and form friendships with like-minded music fans, or are you here to post about this project?
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LoathsomePete View Post
Basically what I'm saying is are you here because you genuinely want to expand your music palette and form friendships with like-minded music fans, or are you here to post about this project?
It seems obvious that it's the latter. But if he has a genuine interest in seeing what we think about it as opposed to just hit-and-run spam, it's not the worse thing in the world. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've been kinda' on the fence on this one too. It definitely does seem like a worthwhile and benevolent cause, but rules are rules.
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think we can just kindly let it fade away into obscurity and disregard, just as long as it doesn't pop up all over the forums.
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I say delete it if he doesn't come back again within 4 days.
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks folks. That's exactly the kind of debate I was hoping for. Look, I am here to bring what I'm doing to an open forum to see what people make of it. I don't know yet what anybody but my own friends think.

I'm not a promoter. Part of the reason I'm doing this is to send a message to the music industry that I'm not interested in making money, I'm interested in making music and giving something back to the community. I KNOW that other musicians feel the same way. Everybody I've ever worked with is resentful of the fact that music has become an industry. That's why forums like this exist –*precisely because music has a life of its own and will continue to progress despite the confines imposed by industry.

Conan: I agree with what you said –*I dig music that is socially conscious and not necessarily pushing a political agenda. I do believe that everything social is also political but as soon as you get into alignments with parties and specific policies it becomes sinister. That is not what I'm about. I'm just trying find expression for how we all feel as any artist would. I mean every word I said in the original post.

LoathsomePete: (I have to say your avatar makes me feel at home) in one of the JFK samples I'm using the man says that "the artist – however faithful to his personal vision of reality – becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state." I strongly believe that this is the role that we as artists must take seriously in order to contribute something sane and useful to the increasingly desperate situation that society finds itself in. I'm committed to doing just that.

I'm hoping to find other like-minded music heads here who can tell me whether they think this is a good idea, whether anybody else has already done it better or anything else that could contribute to enriching my understanding of music and its role in society.
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Old 09-23-2010, 05:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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how is this not just making 'being preachy as hell' a new genre?

if you really aren't interested in making money and playing the music business game why are you proposing to follow in the EXACT footsteps of a money making music business act that's just starting out? ie: funding, writing, performing, producing, acquiring sample clearances, promoting, designing web & print materials, etc all through your own efforts

so you're doing it for egocentric err 'altruistic' purposes rather than economic ones, whoop-tie-do. your still playing the game the exact same way. you even make sure we know your full name and band name from the get go.

do YOU like being preached to and being told how to behave on a large scale level? why would anyone else? there's a reason hippies are considered annoying as hell to anyone who isn't a hippie.

also -



does anyone else find the older he gets the more he looks like Robin Williams?
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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mr dave:

I'm putting forward my own emotional response to and interpretation of what's going on in the world – as honestly and directly as I can. I'm not prescribing what others should do but I am trying to live by example. You can go ahead and call me a hippy but I'm concerned about the state of the world that my son will have to live in. I've been around long enough to have something to say about it and I don't hear anybody else saying it. That's my motivation. It is neither entirely altruistic nor entirely selfish – its a bit of both.

Again, just because I'm calling it like I see it doesn't mean I'm telling you what to do. I completely agree, I don't like being preached to.

As I work full time for a charity already and have a 2 year old son I don't have a lot of time to be a musician and a volunteer. This was the best way I could think of combining the two. I'm not profiting financially myself from all this – I'm making sure the money gets used to help people who need it more than I do. In the first year all of the profits (if any) will be invested in Kiva loans until I know how much there is. Then it will go directly to any number of charitable causes. Using many of the same channels of communication and distribution that the music industry does to achieve this is common sense. Getting samples cleared is a legal requirement if I want to reach a larger audience. It is easy to say that I'm just playing the game but forsaking the existing model altogether is only a good idea when you can conceive of a better way to do it. Can you suggest anything?

I did think about peer-to-peer, guerilla style file sharing but I figure if the music is worth listening to this will always happen anyway, which is fine by me – always has been.

Lastly, yes – I have put my own name out there straight away and the name of the project. I am being as transparent and down to earth as I can about everything involved with this. I have no interest or desire to create a celebrity persona or a band. The project needs a name but I'm not calling myself Bono or The Edge. I'm a plain old human being just like you.

p.s. You're right, Bono and Robin Williams are becoming one and the same person. Scary.
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