In 1998 an american college student in Boston, Mass. named Shawn Fanning invented a program to share the newly invented mp3 music files with friends in his dorm. He named it napster-- his own nickname, referring to his hair. He made it public in the summer of 1999 and pretty much changed the music world forever. He had no idea how huge his invention would become. For true music fans like me and probably everyone reading this it was like the heavens had opened up. After spending a lifetime buying records, cassettes, CDs (ironically, back to records now), to be exposed to such a wealth of riches and rarities was like being in a warehouse in imagination, like a platonic cave of shapes, a mathematician's universe with not just reality but all realizable entities in one place, like being in a planetary library of congress, like the famous ancient library of Alexandria maintained through the ages to now. What was really amazing was not to have so many well-known albums for free, but instead to be accessing rarities, out of print stuff, old soundtracks never rereleased. Those who had old records started to rip them, a simple cable from radioshack and a free program being all you needed. I scoured the record stores and sat by the record player recording to mp3. It was a time-consuming work and it felt a lot like a community service, since the rewards were so intangible-- a faceless person you’d never meet somewhere in the world could listen to your record instantly...
When Shawn invented his system he would never have foreseen that some people would hoard their rips and not share them, or that some people would leech records from others continuously, nonstop, without ever contributing to the pile. Of course according to mathematical game theory, this is inevitable in any complex process. There are cheaters who will evolve to take advantage of the trusting members of the group, there is a minority who remain extremely selfish, but as long as altruism persists in the majority, the system remains in an equilibrium.
Well I've been on both sides now, I've spent my life's income half on life, half on music. I’ve ripped records and hoarded, I’ve freely given and shared. But because there are so few of us who love this style, it now seems to me ridiculous to hold anything back. We should instead be trying to hold back the mediocrity that surrounds us. I am limited in time by real life and small children, but I think it is important to disseminate this music as much as possible, even if it means a number of people out there are stealing and leeching and not sharing what they have. Why is there music? You can't doubt that it evolved in humans along with all other culture, as a social bond, like humour and laughter. It is innately enjoyable for intellectual and mathematical reasons, as Pythagoras discovered so long ago, but its primary purpose, unquestionably, has been as a social strengthener, connector. Share freely, in the spirit of Shawn and napster. Now I'll stop the preaching.
Esa Helasvuo is one of the greats in Finnish jazz, here he plays with Vesala in Q from 1977. From dusty groove:
"Drum and piano duets -- handled in a really wonderful way! The core of the album features acoustic piano from Esa Helasvuo and drums from Edward Vesala -- both strong players on the 70s Finnish scene, jamming together here in a style that's always inside, and touched with modern piano experiments of the 60s generation that includes Bill Evans, Steve Kuhn, and Keith Jarrett -- with plenty of interesting tones and colors from Esa, supported by lightly snapping, almost melodic drums from Edward. But added to all of this are some gentle shadings from a small string section -- used in a way that almost recalls Charlie Haden's best string backings -- never intrusive, but just at the edge to inflect a bit more spirit to the tunes"
Again I have to mention the cover, what a work of art!! It just gives me chills to look at these beautiful covers.