While everyone else was over-eating and lying around the house watching football last week, Bradford Cox remained exceptionally productive. The prolific and enigmatic musician — best known as the creative mind behind the indie-rock band Deerhunter, as well as his own solo project Atlas Sound — self-released four collections of demo home recordings: Bedroom Databank Volumes1, 2, 3 and 4. Cox recorded the songs in an apparently highly productive fall this year, and put them up on his blog for free download throughout the week in quick succession.
But, like many of Cox's interactions on the Internet in recent years, the recordings proved controversial.
"Mona Lisa" appears on the recently released demo recordings from Atlas Sound.
On Friday, Cox received several copyright-infringement e-mails from Sony Music ordering that links to volumes 2, 3 and 4 be deleted. Those e-mails, which were posted on Cox's blog, stated:
"The specific reason for the removal was: unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyrighted sound recordings owned or exclusively distributed by Sony Music."
Cox wrote about the situation on his site:
"Apparently Sony Music owns my bedroom. Feel free to call or email and let them know what you think. I can understand them requesting for me to remove a cover but the only one I can imagine that happening with is Dylan. Which was on Vol. 1. Which was not deleted."
[Note: Cox does a rendition of Bob Dylan and The Band's "This Wheel's On Fire, as well as cover songs by Kurt Vile and Royal Trux."]
As newsspread on the Internet over the weekend, many have pointed out that this was especially odd considering Deerhunter is signed to 4AD and Atlas Sound to Kranky, neither of which is affiliated with Sony Music at all. And, as Cox says, while Sony does own rights to Dylan, the volume in which that song appears was not deleted. In addition, the other two cover songs are not on Sony, either: Kurt Vile is on Matador Records and Royal Trux has released music through Drag City, Domino and Virgin Records. Cox promptly re-uploaded the files and provided new links to the music.
Finally, today, The Guardian reports that Sony Music offered an about-face of sorts, explaining in an e-mail statement that "the Bradford Cox tracks were mistakenly removed. We advised Mediafire that the titles were mistakenly taken down. We have communicated all of this to Bradford Cox and his manager."
While the whole ordeal turned out to be a misunderstanding and now appears resolved, it has also overshadowed the music itself. The four volumes of Bedroom Databank are now available again for download and certainly worth checking out for their feast of gorgeous music.
Cox is no stranger to releasing songs on his blog, but these demo collections showcase his music in a raw, exposed form. Many of the songs are little more than rough layouts and experimental sketches, while others are more fully realized songs that run the gamut from gritty garage-rock to intimate acoustic performances to lengthy electronic vamps. All considered, it's a fantastic window into Cox's process.
"Cynics Recourse" appears on the newly released demos from Atlas Sound.
"Wild Love" appears on the recently released demo recordings from Atlas Sound.