In seems that even in a world where our dearly beloved shoegaze idols have been spirited off the mortal plane, we will (thankfully) never truly be left behind in a totally Dot-chan less world. Even now the ethereal beings slowly unravel little parting gifts that will allow us to continue reaping the rewards of their time on Earth.
The Dots dropped their final album “Points” last week, (along with a 7″ single!) gathering up their remaining unreleased tracks. There will be a review of that album here in the next day or so, so watch out for that a bit later! But let’s talk about this newest offering first…
While “PD” could certainly mean “Post Dots”, in this case, it stands for “Public Domain”, as in certain works in the Dot-chan universe have been placed into the care of all of us. Now before you start pressing your own Dots merch and bootlegs, keep in mind that there’s still ownership and restrictions that apply here!
I tried to read this as carefully as my admittedly limited Japanese comprehension allows, and what it comes down is a selected batch of Dots work has been cleared for creative usage, free of royalty cost when it’s applied reasonably. These chosen instrumental versions songs may be remixed, altered, used in projects, and experimented with and used to explore one’s artistic muse. Furthermore, the lyrics of these songs are included on the Dotstokyo Public Domain page, so you may cover the songs in conjunction with the instrumentals, and use them in creative manipulations as well!
The more I think about it, this is one of the most punk rock things I’ve seen a musical artist do in quite a while. It’s a cool move to encourage the DIY spirits of artistic minds everywhere, and could spark some truly interesting new takes on the Dots musical output. But also, this is a pretty brilliant way to help extend and nourish the legacy that this highly unusual group leaves behind. Idol groups do indeed come and go, but Dots seem destined to stay in our hearts and minds for a much longer lifespan than many would expect.
WAV format files of the songs in the Dots catalog that have been cleared as “Public Domain” are available on that page, so by all means, download them and have some fun! I’ve got a few ideas of my own that I’m kicking around, though I don’t know how successful I’ll be with making anything worth sharing with you just yet. If any of you make some stuff with these songs and you decide to post it online, please feel welcome to tell me about it! I already know a lot of you are pretty brilliant in a number of creative endeavors, and I’d enjoy seeing how your explorations work out.
One last thing I’d like to interject: There is definitely some room for misunderstandings regarding just what you might be authorized to do with these tracks. I’m not an expert of the exact extent of how Public Domain works in this instance, let alone how that may differ in Japan over the Western world. In a lot of ways, the gist of this feels more like Creative Commons usage more so than anything else, and my personal recommendation is to just play it safe and treat it as such. (I’m intentionally being overly cautious here.) Should you embark on any experiments with this work, then by all means please give attribution to the source material, and I would strongly urge you not to use this work in an overtly commercial way. And if in doubt, make the effort to reach out to Dots HQ and ask!
So get over to the PD page, dig into their freely available files, (Remember, only what’s on that page!) and let the Dot’s collective work inspire you take on transformative creative projects that will uplift people and pay tribute to what the idol shoegazers accomplished during their burst of activity. This is a gift, and let it take it’s own course in all the best ways!