New Paltz-based instrumental psychedelic adventurers It’s Not Night: It’s Space (INNIS) play a dense, meditative, generally slow-pulse rock with occult underpinnings expressed in the song titles, the designs and the occasional spoken-word sample. It is raw but strangely euphonious, palpable music with a deep pocket and a transportive effect. INNIS is also the latest local outfit to turn to the Kickstarter model to finance its proposed full-length recording project.
What is Kickstarter? Remember when all the biggest, most powerful and wealthiest performers in North American music banded together in the ‘80s to instruct their fans to save, feed and just kind of be the world? And we did? It’s like that, but different. With Kickstarter, do-it-yourself artists appeal to the masses as to a collective, populist patron: a donor as bottomless as any Bill Gates or Cosimo de’ Medici, but a little more “facey” and distributed.
Supporters pledge any amount at the Kickstarter project webpage. The funds are only withdrawn (money-handling courtesy of Amazon) if the project meets its stated goal within a timed interval – in this case the prim, shoestring $5,000 that really is required to record, package and distribute a serious CD these days by June 14. The timed all-or-nothing terms lead to campaigns of escalating frenzy. It is a great motivator, though one might wonder how many campaigns can be run in a region before the target population gets a bit tapped and wearied. Remember, this is the same wealthy omni-patron who stopped buying records, cold, about ten years ago.
INNIS has set up a tiered system of incentives and rewards that range from digital download of the album at the low end up to an in-house performance for the platinum-circle donors – such as, say, Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence Pennybrooke and the Lamb Foundation. Of special interest is the limited-run vinyl pressing of the album, which can be had starting at the $25 plateau. In this way, Kickstarter can be seen as a glorified advance order system. Kickstarter and Amazon, of course, get their piece.
The INNIS project has online and offline branches. On June 4 at 8 p.m., INNIS will be holding a Full Moon and Venus Transit potluck and acoustic performance and a community discussion about astrology and divination hosted by “Are You Experienced?” a monthly public dialogue held by Simon Thrasher of the Hudson Galaxy Gazette. Two local artists will be showing short documentaries on New Paltz folklore and astrological synchronicity. The event will be held at the Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz.
As intriguing as the discussion and films sound, the real mystery is what INNIS – a typically high-wattage concern – will sound like acoustic. My guess: They make it work. So let’s be the world again and help this good band make a record.
The Elting Memorial Library is located at 93 Main Street in New Paltz. Learn more about INNIS’ Kickstarter campaign (and hear/see the band) at www.kickstarter.com/projects/innis/its-not-night-its-space-and-their-first-lp.