While some record labels don’t appreciate their artists going rogue and posting their albums to file-sharing networks (ahem, Death Grips, whose major-label Epic allegedly shut down the noise-rap group’s website), others embrace it. To promote lo-fi artist Willis Earl Beal’s hypnotic experimental soul, his labels XL and Hot Charity have partnered with BitTorrent, of all “digital distributors,” to release a new Beal EP titled Principles of the Protagonist. Its songs are rerecorded and largely refigured versions of songs from his breakthrough release earlier this year, Acousmatic Sorcery. The press release states that this serves as a soundtrack to a novella Beal wrote in 2010 also titled Principles of the Protagonist. Judging from the song Beal posted to SoundCloud, the new work shows off a darker, more melodic side of Beal. For six minutes, he bellows over churning carnival-like organs and truly it is transcendent.
The press release regarding the partnership explains that Beal looks at this as an extension of the CD-Rs and music trading he did in the past, while BitTorrent seem happy to get some positive support. “We believe Willis is a creative force to be reckoned with,” said BitTorrent Executive Director of Marketing Matt Mason in that release. “And we’re incredibly excited to be working with him.” But making things more interesting, though, is that XL is offering 15 percent off purchases of Acousmatic Sorcery to reward those who check out Protagonist. Basically, this is win-win.
Principles of the Protagonist is available to BitTorrent here. Stream the reworked version of “Cosmic Queries” below: