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hecanjog on 07/21/2016 at 09:39AM
To celebrate 100,000 published tracks on the Free Music Archive, we've put together some data that we hope you will use for creative purposes!
There's a github repo over yonder with a handful of wavetables created using data from the first 100,000 published tracks. FMA benevolent software overlord Ross Oldenburg cooked up some more data for visualization / sonification use here: http://bit.ly/2agaoPM
To kick things off, I made a little song using the wavetables in the repo above. The wavetables created from monthly publication and creation dates were enveloped by the wavetables created from yearly publication and creation dates and used to drive a pulsar synthesizer whose pitch was modulated with the wavetables created from track durations. The pitches spell an F major Add 9 chord, because you know... FMA. :-)
Please share your creations!
cheyenne_h on 07/20/2016 at 12:08PM
Sometimes we get curious about our artists. Steve Combs is one of those great artists that came out of nowhere (and started on FMA as a contributor for our microSong and Masters Remastered challenges), and has been contributing tons of CC-BY goodness to FMA for more than a year now. We wanted to know more about Steve and his musical background, so we asked him a few questions. Read on!
FMA: Give us a little background about yourself.
SC: My name is Steve Combs, I’m from New York's scenic Hudson Valley, and I compose the hell out of little electronic jingles. I've been doing this since March of 2014, and in the past two and a half years, I’ve put out somewhere around 300 songs under my own name, as well as another 50 or so through various side projects. Pro-tip: remixing your first eight albums in their entirety is a great way to build up your catalog.
FMA: You're a very prolific composer. What inspires you to write music?
SC: I don’t usually use the word "write," since I never actually write anything down beforehand. I say I make music, because my approach to making music has always revolved around improvisation: I'll sit down at the computer and play around with the keyboard until I happen upon a chord progression or a beat that I like, record 4 or 8 bars of it, and layer complimentary parts on top of it. Once I have all of that A section, I'll spread it out and throw together a B or C section in the same way until I have a full song. So there's really never a moment for me where I feel moved to write a song - they're all just the result of me sitting down and seeing what happens. But on the broad scale, I think I compose music because I'm fundamentally fascinated with musical theory and want to see what I can do with it. Instrumental music seems to me to be the best way to explore that, since I can use whatever scale, time signature, or instrumentation that I want without worrying about it being accessible. I do tend to write hook-based major key songs, but I've also done an electro-orchestral concept album and free jazz interludes and president-sampling EDM, so I think that level of possibility and freedom to create whatever is a big part of why I do this. I think it's all about experimentation, and seeing how I can use music in new and interesting ways.
FMA: Do you enjoy collaboration with other artists/musicians?
SC: This is actually a really serendipitous question, since I just did a split LP with the FMA’s own Simon Mathewson for Netlabel Day. It’s called Notes and boasts 9 new songs - 3 of mine, 2 of his, and 4 that we did together.
(Also, while I’m doing plugs, I have a new album of my own out called To Kill A Messenger, which is 11 songs, most of which were on my Comma and Apostrophe EPs, but also 4 new songs - including a cover of "On The Banks of the Wabash," the state song of Indiana.)
But to actually answer the question, yeah, collaboration is always fun. I haven’t done as much of it as I'd like to, because it's more work than just churning songs out on my own, but I've done a few here and there, and have always enjoyed it. Working with Simon or The Pardos or James Dean Claitor (with whom I wrote "Irascible," which is on my album Anaheim) is always rewarding and always produces something I find worth listening to.
FMA: Why did you choose the Free Music Archive as a music distribution platform?
SC: I honestly think the FMA is the perfect distribution platform for anyone who works in non-jazz instrumental music, because with the exception of Yanni, we don’t really have an avenue to success that doesn't involve being used as background music. People don't really listen to instrumental music the same way they listen to punk rock, pop, or country. I had to make peace with the fact that my albums aren't going to be anyone's favorites. But what surprised me once I started using the FMA, and what seemed kind of paradoxical, was that once people saw my music as a commodity, something to be used, they actually appreciated it way more than they did when I was pushing it like you would push pop music. Once it was of use to them, they actually listened to it. So in the process of discovering this platform, I had to change how I pictured what "success" was for my music - I'm never going to hit the Billboard charts, but there are people that listen to and like my music, not just for what it is on its own, as art, but for what it is to them. I imagine this is what ambient artists felt like when spas and yoga studios started playing their music in the background. Moods of the Rainforest, Volume 4 finally found a home! Someone appreciates it!
So to circle back to the actual question, I chose the FMA because it provided me with a level of appreciation I never would have gotten had I not made those realizations. The most immediate feeling of success that I get from my music is seeing that a song on a new album put out the day before is already in the background of someone's vlog or podcast. That’s pretty much why I use the FMA.
FMA: How did you find out about Creative Commons licenses?
SC: Honestly, when I saw the little tab on Bandcamp that lets you change your licensing when I put out my first song. I had no idea what it was, so I followed a link and learned about this amazingly simple, amazingly ingenious system. It had never occurred to me how needlessly complicated copyright was, and especially as I grew to accept that I was making background music, it seemed like such a great fit. The idea that people can use your songs in their cat videos and you don't have to sue them? It’s revolutionary.
cheyenne_h on 07/19/2016 at 11:27AM
WOOO! WE MADE IT! We now have 100,000 songs in our database! Please go frolic amongst the free files forever! Though it's just a number, of course, it's a BIG one and we're delighted to have worked with so many curators, independent musicians, and community members to make this happen!
We'll be putting together some breakdowns of what's in here so far, and we're looking forward to the next 100,000 songs! Maybe now's a good time to help us keep doing what we do best -- either by pitching in for our expanding data & hosting expenses, or to contribute music to help us grow!
All the best,
cheyenne_h on 07/14/2016 at 10:34AM
Welcome to Netlabel Day 2016! Now in its second consecutive year, this event is in the spirit of Record Store day, but every release is available for everyone -- digitally! Collecting exclusive releases from artists hailing from five continents, this is a special occasion indeed. Put together by M.I.S.T. netlabel from Chile, last year there were more than 80 labels and 120 fresh releases! Today, there are more than that. Like, waaayyyy more. Like, 176 of them! So nab some killer free releases here!
To check out the full list of participating labels, unaffiliated mucisians, and of course, releases, please visit the Netlabel Day site, or stay tuned to our Twitter feed for announcements about Netlabel Day releases that are being shared here on FMA! If you live in Mexico City, Santiago, West Sussex/Worthing, Madrid, Montreal, or Ljubljana, head over to the event near you!
So far, here's what's been added to FMA (we will add to this list):