While music has always been a sonic medium, there’s always also been a sense of physicality within the art, be it dancing, the actual packaging of the music that we touch, or the effect that music can have on your mood or stress levels. Music does not stop at the ears – at its best, it engages multiple senses, all of which can play an important role in the musical process. But with the ever-increasing digitization of music, some of that physicality is disappearing. It’s essential that consumers understand why this matters, and artists have an amazing opportunity (and perhaps even a responsibility) to help remind them by highlighting how special and integral physicality is in their own music.
Recently, Kentucky singer-songwriter Ben Sollee has gone out of his way to do just that. With the release of his new live album, Live At The Grocery On Home, Sollee decided to use an artisan letter-pressing company to make his album covers. The process, documented in the video below, shows that there's a subtle musicality even in the making of a cover that will house his actual work.
Sollee takes it even further by teaming up with a local Louisville coffee shop and making the letter-pressed release a special event based on educating music consumers about the experience behind buying physical music. The video also has some interesting commentary from Gill Holland, head of SonaBlast! Records, the label behind the live Sollee record. Holland mentions that with every release he questions if it will be the last physical record he puts out. But with musicians like Sollee investing and rethinking the physicality of music and consumers understanding its importance, hopefully Holland, Sollee, and all musicians/labels will be putting out physical releases forever.
Louisville music fans can pick up a limited edition letter-pressed copy of Sollee's live album tomorrow, May 1st, exclusively at Heine Brothers Coffee.
People outside of Louisville can purchase a letter-pressed copy of the album HERE.