The Long Decline: The Final Chapter

January 31, 2013
By Brad Rose

2003 was a really big year for me. 2013 is going to be similarly monumental. Digitalis and Foxy Digitalis will both be 10 years-old in 2013. Eden and I will celebrate being together for 10 years. The first (and probably only) DIGIKID will be born. It’s no coincidence that these events all happened around the same time as everything relating to Digitalis and it’s various different veins would not exist without the partnership between Eden and I. Ten years is a long time, though, and obviously things will change. Eden’s role in the label and webzine has gotten smaller over the years and now that she’s working full-time, it’s as miniscule as it has ever been. As our lives get busier and more complicated and as the label continues to grow at a linear pace, 2013 was always going to be the year where something had to give.

Back up to mid-2004 and when I met two people who had a further reaching impact on FD than they probably ever realized. Let’s all hear it for Lee Jackson (R.I.P. – miss you buddy) and Mats Gustafsson, the first regular and serious contributors to Foxy Digitalis not named Brad or Eden. It was a big step for us, for me in particular in that I was wary of giving up any amount of control over something that was solely Eden and I’s vision. But Mats and Lee were the perfect people for the job. Their passion was contagious, their POVs unique, and their pedigree unquestionable. In some ways, them joining the FD crew legitimized what we were doing. They’d been publishing their own zine, The Broken Face, for years and it was a staple to the weirdo-music underground. For myself, it was a lesson that giving up a piece of the pie to people like Mats and Lee would only serve FD well going forward. It was the first step to FD becoming far more about the writers and contributors to the site than about anything I was doing.

Eight years later and FD has seen, literally, hundreds of writers pass through our ranks, many of which have gone on to bigger and (arguably) better things. I’ve met so many amazing people because of the site that I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Well, that’s not true – special nod to Bryon Hayes who has been contributing, regularly, to the site for over seven years now and shows no sign of stopping. But really, it’s been incredible. I still love that it provides an outlet for so many fantastic writers to ramble on about some great bands and records and labels that, generally, get ignored by much of the world. I never, ever want that to stop.

And yet, reality will always get in the way. With Eden mostly out of the Foxy Digitalis picture, it’s been on my shoulders to keep things going on a day-to-day basis. It’s also been on me to keep the label operating at the level we want it to. Add to that personal obligations and various outside work obligations and well… something has to give. The truth is that whenever my time is constrained (read: always) and there are tasks that need to be completed for both the label and the ‘zine, the label wins every time. As much as I love operating Foxy Digitalis, the label has always been my baby, it’s always first in line.

So what’s this mean? The immediate impact will be obvious and quick. This article that you are reading will be the last thing ever published here under the Foxy Digitalis banner. It’s been one hell of a run, but it’s time to put an exclamation mark at the end and move on to what comes next. What comes next, you’re wondering? Well the good news is that most of the Foxy Digitalis writing staff is staying together – the band is not breaking up. Over the past year I’ve been writing intermittently for Decoder and it’s been great. I’ve connected with all the folks over there in a lot of ways and so when the subject of Foxy Digitalis signing off came up, Dwight Pavlovic and I came up with the idea that FD and Decoder would, for all intents and purposes, merge. And that’s basically what is happening. Basically. Foxy Digitalis as a stand-alone entity is done with. Kaput. Goodnight sweet prince. But we’re in the process of completely redesigning Decoder’s website and will re-launch it sometime in late February/early March (date TBD as we work through various design & development issues). It will be a new start, in a lot of ways, for everyone. This site (much like the last incarnation of Foxy Digitalis) will remain as an archive for the foreseeable future. Decoder’s current site will do the same. We’ll continue processing promo materials through the Foxy Digitalis PO Box until further notice (and the foxyd@ email address now will reach our new reviews editor, Steve Dewhurst) – that aspect won’t change. Some content will get moved over (mainly the serialized columns so that the continuity remains), but generally it will be all new.

For me, the biggest change is that I, thankfully, won’t be at the helm anymore. I’ll still be around as a contributing editor and hope to finally do a monthly column (rather than the intermittent dumbass thing I’ve been doing for years that disappears for years at a time). From everything we’ve discussed about the new site going forward, I think it’s going to be a giant leap ahead for everyone involved. FD’s awesome writers will continue to cover all the same, weird-ass shit as always, but in conjunction with Decoder’s contributors we’ll have something a bit more well-rounded.

It’s been a hell of a run, but I’m really happy I’m not going to be in charge anymore. I miss actually writing and not worrying about the day-to-day boring stuff that keeps the site running. I look forward to actually having time to work on my own music for more than a few minutes here and there. And come July, I’m going to have a kid I’ve got to start corrupting. I can’t fucking wait.

Thanks to everyone who has read the site and followed us through the last decade – I can’t express my gratitude enough. Stick around, though, because I promise you it’s only going to get better going forward. But it’s definitely time for someone else to point the way forward, even if I won’t be able to help myself and will likely still be in the backseat badgering ‘em along the way.

I also realize I didn’t do any best of 2012 stuff here, so for that I’ll leave you with links to pieces I did elsewhere:

Top 25 Albums
Top 10 Mixtapes

And here’s my 20 favorite tapes from last year for old times’ sake:

1 Mars “Rehearsal Tapes & Alt-Takes: NYC 1976-1978″ (Anomia)
2 Foodman “Shokuhin” (Orange Milk)
3 Prinde ac Cadaver “Exercitia Spiritualia” (Tour de Garde)
4 Soft Mirage “Ionian Dream “ (Kinnta)
5 Decimus “Kemunculan” (Sangoplasmo)
6 Sagauche “Terrain” (Constellation Tatsu)
7 Inez Lightfoot “Three Weaving at the Well” (Biological Radio)
8 Perispirit “Strung Arm Brigade” (Arbor)
9 Josh Mason/Nathan McLaughlin “3440” (Tape Drift)
10 Karen Gwyer “I’ve Been You Twice” (Kaleidoscope)
11 Event Cloak “Reprogramming” (Tranquility Tapes)
12 Prayer “First Species” (Sunshine Ltd)
13 Bil Vermette “Archives I” (Catholic)
14 Eureka “Recognitions” (Avant Archive)
15 Berresheim & Thissen “SOS Kublai Khan” (Alarm)
16 Video Diaries “Watercolour Express” (Fadeaway)
17 Window Twins “Wish” (Crash Symbols)
18 Claudio “Long Weekend” (Los Discos Enfantasmes)
19 Grasshopper “The Day America Forgot” (SicSic)
20 Gunter Schickert “HaHeHiHo” (VCO)

Decoder can be found here: http://www.secretdecoder.net/
Follow me on twitter for the latest updates on the new site & when it will launch: http://twitter.com/charlatan_codex

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