Robert Valente – Alive
Label – Self-released
For many years, from the late ’70’s to the mid ’90’s at least, bands and artists seemed to be constantly trying to outdo each other as to how much money they could spend recording and producing an album. What started comparatively modestly with the then-huge budgets afforded bands like Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac later spiraled out of control as bloated act after act tried to spend as much as they could adding whatever gee-gaws they could to record their latest disaster-piece. Now, I am not talking about indie acts but mostly music released on the big labels at the time. Also, note that this endless spiraling of costs conspicuously coincided with the best money-making years of the music business and was a game played with artists as the labels wanted their artists to spend as much as they could so more could be recouped before any of these misguided artists got paid. Eventually, this spending proved their undoing as the business now sits, wasted and spent, headed towards certain extinction as the power of the Net has put business in the hands of the musician finally.
Enter artist Robert Valente, who seemingly prefers his music bare-bones and raw, which makes sense right now, with the music business in its’ huge sort of insanely terrible flux. Not that Valente seems to care a whit about the “music business” per se – this is music from an artist who sounds as if he recorded his album on his back porch. Which is not a bad thing, I guess, just a very interesting and often unsettling one, but in the way of the music being immediate and downhome, not in a “bad-quality” sort of way.