What did Mark Rushton do in 2011?
I’m a busy guy and I can’t remember everything unless I write it down, so here’s a handy guide for what went on during the past 12 months.
Released the equivalent of 8 albums and an EP:
First up was my 5-volume Other Music series of vault-clearing odds and ends, released between March 19th and April 12th. Exclusively available in digital download formats at Bandcamp.com for $1.99 per album.
The different volumes are comprised of “leftover” music from various hard drives, DVDs, CDs, and flash drives over the years. They are pieces made between 2001 and 2010 that didn’t make the cut on any my “commercial” albums for whatever reason: couldn’t find a place to fit in thematically, just not good enough, never got beyond sketch phase, field recording, alternate mix, and so forth.
There’s no point in hiding them away, as I find these pieces still have something that interests me all these years later and so I hope there’s something here that might interest you. As always, you can stream every single track at Bandcamp to hear if it’s your thing.
- Volume One (2001-2004)
- Volume Two (2001-2004)
- Volume Three (2004-2005)
- Volume Four (2005-2008)
- Volume Five (2008-2010)
After that, I released Hide Yourself In Plain Sight
Hide Yourself In Plain Sight is an album of ethereal ambient music, jazzy beats, arranged field recordings, and distant drones.
The ten tracks were created by Mark Rushton between December 2010 and March 2011. Much of the sound was sourced from iPad apps (OMGuitar and the Korg iMS-20, mainly) and further processed using a computer. Field recordings were captured on a Zoom H1 and processed or arranged. Additional loops were created using Ableton Live and/or the Xiosynth. French Horn on “Office Ghosts” was played by Isabel Rushton and further processed by Mark Rushton.
A large amount of this album was recorded at the University of Iowa Main Library in Iowa City on the 5th floor. Most field recordings are from downtown Iowa City during January and February of 2011. Processing and mixing occurred at The Bunker, Mark’s home studio in Iowa City.
This album was released through a digital distributor, so it’s on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Spotify, and so forth. There is also a compact disc version through Amazon CreateSpace.
Jon Harnish and I met up at the Matyk Building in Cedar Rapids on September 22nd to record. We released a live album three days later called Live At Ambient Matyk, September 22, 2011.
In addition to being available at all the usual places: iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Spotify, and a compact disc at CreateSpace, I made a “megamix” of all the tracks mixed together just for release at Bandcamp.
Then in early December I finally released a “lost” recording of Jon Harnish and me playing live improvisational ambient music outdoors on the Ped Mall in Iowa City from September of 2005. It’s titled Live In Iowa City 2005 and was made available at Bandcamp, AmazonMP3, and Google Music/Android Market.
The final commercial release of the year is an EP called Highways.
“Highways” is my first attempt to completely bypass the notion of digital distributor middle men. While I appreciate the role that digital distributors have played in the past 7 years for helping get my music out to a worldwide audience, I often wonder if their services are really needed any more.
Sure, I need them now to get on iTunes, Rhapsody, and Spotify, but will I need them in the future? I don’t need them to get on Bandcamp, AmazonMP3, and Google Music / Android Market.
Do I really need to worry about ISRC numbers and spending money for bar codes? Maybe that doesn’t seem so important in the future.
I recognize that streaming services and subscription-based streaming is a growing market, but I am hopeful that businesses like iTunes and Rhapsody will adopt models in the future that allow inclusion of independent recording artists without having to go through third parties.
Released seven podcasts:
- #44 – Office Ghosts and more – 1/16/11 – (26:18) 37MB MP3 – New ambient and electronic music and remixes by Mark Rushton
- #45 – The Snowy Hill and more – 2/27/11 – (25:23) 36MB MP3 – 4 new ambient tracks by Mark Rushton plus a 10 minute live improvisational piece with Mark Rushton, Erik Schoster of hecanjog.com, and violinist Meg Karls.
- #46 – Other Music – 4/14/11 – (20:00) 28MB MP3 – 5 tracks from my Other Music albums available at markrushton.bandcamp.com
- #47 – Field Recording and collages – 6/4/11 – (31:20) 45MB MP3 – Field recordings and collages by Mark Rushton
- #48 – Hide Yourself In Plain Sight – 7/11/11 – (59:23) 82MB MP3 – Hide Yourself In Plain Sight by Mark Rushton
- #49 – Live At Ambient Matyk – 10/15/11 – (20:11) 27MB MP3 – Live At Ambient Matyk by Mark Rushton and Jon Harnish
- #50 – Highways – 12/10/11 – (30:00) 43MB MP3 – Highways
Combined, these podcasts had over 35,000 downloads during 2011.
To get the Mark Rushton Music Podcast feed, which syndicates my programming to your favorite RSS reader or music program, click on the feed icon here: or go directly to iTunes: – if you want an email everytime I make a new podcast then click here to subscribe. You’ll only get an email when a new podcast is added.
Got a bunch of my back catalog available on compact disc:
Amazon CreateSpace is an on-demand CD printing service I’m using to make my music available via compact disc without carrying any inventory. Some people still like a physical product, but I don’t believe in having inventory sitting around, so this is a good compromise. Here’s the page with links to all of my albums on CD via the Amazon CreateSpace site.
It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All Mark Rushton-related music (Mark Rushton, Rushton & Harnish, Ambient Matyk) all within a vague notion of the “ambient” genre. At the time I wrote this (December 30, 2011), I have over 4 hours of music playing in a random order.
For me, it’s an experiment. Do people even use these services? (Answer: Yes!) How many people will discover my music over the course of a year? Will it lead to additional listeners and additional sales? It’s always exciting to find out when somebody has added my station as a preset, which of course usually means return business. In the first few months the station has had over 2000 listening hours and about 100 presets added by random listeners who have discovered and liked the music.
Brought Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night to Iowa City:
Helped produce 12 editions of the Bound Off Literary Audio Magazine:
- January – Issue 60 (Justyn Harkin, Freda Love Smith) – I hosted this edition.
- February – Issue 61 (Cory Doctorow)
- March – Issue 62 (Mindela Ruby, Naomi J. Williams) – I hosted this edition.
- April – Issue 63 (Eric Rehm, Zdravka Evtimova)
- May – Issue 64 (Emily Darrell, Mark Budman, Laurie Knox) – I hosted this edition.
- June – Issue 65 (Adam Warren Cheshire, L.S. Bassen) – I read the story “The Unwilling Executioner” by L.S. Bassen.
- July – Issue 66 (Simon A. Smith, Rupan Malakin) – I hosted this edition.
- August – Issue 67 (Mark Sutz, Douglas Cole) – I read the story “The Swap” by Mark Sutz
- September – Issue 68 (Gerri Brightwell, Nicole Taylor) – I hosted this edition.
- October – Issue 69 (Merle Drown, Collin Blair Grabarek, Eric McKinley)
- November – Issue 70 (Michael K. Meyers, Alexander Danner, Dave Early) – I read the story “The Legend Of Christopher Mason” by Dave Early.
- December – Issue 71 (Tim Dicks, PDR Lindsay)
In each issue I provide background music, handle the mix, do any audio editing, and update/verify the XML for the RSS feed.
I started an email list:
I’m many years late to the game on this, but I’ve finally started an email list through Google Apps via Mail Chimp. I’ll only send out a notice every month or so, at least after every podcast and major release.
If you have one of those smartphones with a scanner, use this QR code to get you there:
I contributed a track and a photo to Disquiet.com’s Instagr/am/bient project:
You can read all about it at the Disquiet web site. I have some followup comments and “behind the scenes” details in this post.
I got on and off Facebook:
It was kind of superfluous to have a page there, plus they always seem to be changing things and almost never for the better. If people really want to pay attention they know where to find me.
Plans for 2012:
- Release of the Right Mindfulness album.
- Release of numerous Mark Rushton & Jon Harnish recordings from 2008-2011.
- Release of the Vacation Sketches recordings made in 2011.
- Creation of the Mark Rushton App Orchestra – a series of live and improvised recordings made with iPad and Android smartphone-based apps.
- Jon Harnish and I have plans to do more recording in Cedar Rapids in 2012.
- More new material released as it’s created – likely more EPs and singles.