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Neil Leyton / The Betrayal Of The Self

15-Nov-2006 08:09 pm Contributed by: pete Music Reviews
13 Track CD
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike or
Listen Listen to The System Is The System Is The Problem
Enema Rating:

There are a few really interesting things about Neil Leyton and his latest album The Betrayal Of The Self, so I have no idea how anyone who writes about music could pass up the opportunity to write about Neil. The first interesting thing is that the music is really quite good. More details on that later, but it's an important point because without that attribute, I wouldn't have discovered these other bits of information.

When I go to write about an artist, I always like to start out with their physical location. Perhaps I'm just lazy, but I like to say where they're from, where they are based now, or at the very least where they are likely to be. But when writing an article about Leyton, this is not an easy way to start. I know for sure that he was born in Lisbon, Portugal. I know he lived in Canada in the 1990's, where he founded the Canadian indie label Fading Ways Music in 1998. I know his latest album, The Betrayal Of The Self, was recorded in Stockholm, Sweden. And last, but not least, I know that in 2004 he launched the label Fading Ways Music in the UK. Based on this last fact, perhaps he now resides in the UK, but as far as I can tell there is equal chance he resides in Canada. Perhaps with someone like Neil Leyton, stating his location is almost irrelevant as stating his shoe size (which I don't know, please don't email me asking for his shoe size).

And the thing about Fading Ways Music UK that is really interesting is that they have embraced Creative Commons licensing and openly endorse file-sharing and cultural freedom. You won't find a copyright notice on his CD because it licensed to the consumer under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Imprinted right on the CD, it says "We do not want to sue you for file-sharing our culture. Thanks for the support!" So while major labels were launching law suits against individuals for file sharing, Neil Leyton was figuring out how to use file sharing to gain potential fans. I can not say if this strategy has yet been successful, but I can say that the only way to gain fans is to provide them with the opportunity to listen to your music. If they never hear your music, they can never become fans. I really hope this works out for him.

But what about the music? I wouldn't be writing this if the music hadn't caught my attention. Leyton's music has an underlying base of the early glam-rockers like Bowie (as in the song Automatically), but is obviously influenced by punk rock (The System Is The System Is The Problem), and classic rock guitar (Flying Machine Blues). I could compare some of the music to bands like Spacehog (Hyperventilating), but then I hear something that reminds me of The Rolling Stones (Done This One Before). And even with all these influences, it is amazingly consistent and distinctive.

Put it all together, everything Neil Leyton has done, and you end up with an album worth your time. Partly for the music, partly for what it stands for. Be sure to check out Neil Leyton's website, and if you choose to support him, you can purchase his album at Scratch Records.


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