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lizb on 07/14/2010 at 08:00PM

The Bane of Broadcasting

Image by the|G|™ (CC by-nc-sa)

If you've never worked in TV or radio here in the U.S., you may be unaware of the crazy and utterly confusing rules that the FCC came up with long ago to guide broadcasters on what is not allowed to go out over the airwaves. We've got to avoid content that is "obscene" at all times, while "indecent" and "profane" material are only allowed in the late-night hours. But try reading up on what the FCC means by obscene, indecent, and profane, and you're likely to emerge with an even foggier idea of what the hell is ok for broadcast.

In contrast, podcasting, webcasting, and anything internet-based does not have to abide by these content restrictions (copyright, however, is a different story!). The internet floodgates were open before any content police could do a damned thing about censorship.

While preparing for my radio show each week, I try to pick out the best songs to play over the air, but I have to listen closely to lyrics for any hints of the elusive "obscene, indecent, and profane." Strange situations come up with song lyrics, and all of the sudden I'm debating with myself over whether a guy is singing "ship" or "shit," whether a song that mentions but does not describe masturbation is ok. Ditto for the fantastic song below by Funk Police. You probably couldn't even tell the lyrics say "fucking" if it wasn't in the song title... The vocals are pretty unintelligible, they could be saying "broken" or "rockin" or any other permutation of 2 syllable words ending with -ing. Still, I play it safe and don't air the song. Bummer. Thankfully, I have a podcast, where I can play any podsafe song that grabs me, regardless of its lyrical content.

Finally this week, a U.S. Court of Appeals came to the same realization that any broadcaster had the minute they stepped behind a microphone or videocamera: the FCC's indecency policies are "unconstitutionally vague." This means that either the FCC will need to rewrite their definitions of obscene, indecent, and profane (possibly coming up with a discrete list of words or terms that are not allowed for broadcast), or they will appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Either way, I'm hoping that broadcasters get some better guidance, and perhaps it will clear up what to do with those masturbation lyrics.

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jason on 07/14/2010 at 09:00AM

Vimeo adds Creative Commons licensing // Share Alike mix

cover art to the Russian duo Monokle & Galun's new album In Frame (12rec), artwork by Brandi Strickland

Vimeo is increasingly becoming the go-to video hosting platform for independent producers. And as-of yesterday, Vimeo has incorporated Creative Commons licensing options to help producers share their work on their own terms. They're one step ahead of YouTube, who have been testing CC licensing (only available in their partners program) for over a year now (source). Community Director Dalas Verdugo writes on the Vimeo blog: "We think this is going to be a real step forward for the creative culture here on Vimeo, and we're just as excited to use these new options as we are to see what you guys do with your new SUPERPOWERS."

This also means that "Vimeons" who find Creative Commons music with a ShareAlike clause (like a lot of the music here on the FMA) can more clearly/easily abide by the terms of the license. Creative Commons developed the concept of "Share Alike" as a way for artists to "allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work" (via http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/). For producers who use Vimeo, this just got a lot easier.

To celebrate, I've made a mix of Summer Jams to Share, with all tracks pre-cleared for use in video projects under a Creative Commons license. Most of the tracks' licenses have a ShareAlike clause, some also have a NonCommercial clause, and all require Attribution. If you hear something in this mix (or elsewhere on the FMA) that you'd like to use in your own work, be sure to check the terms of the track's license (click the "i" or the name of the track to visit the Track Info Page). You can also find out more about each artist that way, like Bud Melvin the banjo-weilding chip musician, Volumina from Guadalajara, and Twin Sister the Long Island pop group who offer CC-licensed stems for all of their music. Please leave a comment so we can all see what you come up with!

One nice example of a Vimeo video made using music from the FMA after the jump, and if you want more CC music picked out with video producers in-mind, check out Bennett4Senate's Music to Sync series of mixes.


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mikesdeathcoyote on 07/13/2010 at 03:00PM

Julianna Barwick - Live on dublab (11.17.09)

Julianna Barwick

Has this world’s maddening pace got you feeling down and out? Is your soul in need of nurturing? We felt like that too, until this serene “sprout session” wherein Juilianna Barwick flooded our studio with such a heavenly chorus that, for a fleeting 36 minutes, we left this world completely. We floated in the air as all of our hopes and dreams melted into layer after layer of vocal loops cascading down like beautiful, healing waves. We sat on clouds. We cleansed our minds and souls completely. Now it’s your turn. Inspiring, angelic and reassuringly human, this one woman choir will make time stop all around around you. For more Julianna Barwick, check out her latest EP “Florine” on Florid Recordings.

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herr_professor on 07/13/2010 at 09:41AM

The World Cup of Chip Final - Spain!

Luckily for fans of Spanish football, I saved this one for after their final game, and present to you the final installment of the World Cup of Chip Music with Barcelona's Rabato.

Released in the fall of 2006 on the mp3death netlabel, Rabato is one of my personal favorite Game Boy masters, with releases on such noteworthy compilations as 8bp50, tributes to the Beatles and Kraftwerk, and more. Rabato is a fine example to his countrymen and should be the soundtrack to what I hope is a protracted and enthusiatic week of partying for the free music loving Spaniards out there in the audience. Enjoy this EP Chorson Dival, and catch you guys in seven as we attempt to get back to a shade of normalcy with another great chip music artist.

Rabato - "pushups" (04:52)
Rabato - "pushups" (04:52)
Rabato - "simachip" (03:43)
Rabato - "simachip" (03:43)
Rabato - "lektrogirl" (03:50)
Rabato - "lektrogirl" (03:50)
Rabato - "superpila" (04:56)
Rabato - "superpila" (04:56)
Rabato - "gambitero" (04:57)
Rabato - "gambitero" (04:57)
Rabato - "ass slap" (01:56)
Rabato - "ass slap" (01:56)
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jason on 07/12/2010 at 01:05PM

LCL launches Creative Commons soundbank w/ composition contest

The French electro/dub label LCL (LibreCommeLair) is holding a composition contest to celebrate the launch of their Creative Commons-licensed soundbank.

The soundbank, aka "La boite a sons", is chock full of samples, loops and acapellas hand-crafted by the label's talented artists & collaborators. French dub-masters like Volfoniq, Arrogalla (of the Nootempo collective out of Sardinia, Italy), Disrupt (founder of Jahtari the 8bit dub netlabel), Jambassa, Taiwanese hip-hop group Kou Chou Ching, Peak and Vinlette. The sample packs include "bits of folkloric isntruments, reggae a cappella from Spain, hiphop a cappella from Taiwan, synth loops, drum loops and kits, lo-fi dub, electronics, organ slices..."

You can check out the sample packs here, hosted by ccMixter, along with the contest rules and info about each artist who has contributed to the soundbank thus far.

Highlights from the composition contest will be featured here at the Free Music Archive, and in a net release on LCL. More info after the jump, and you can enjoy some sounds from LCL's FMA collection below


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andrewcsmith on 07/12/2010 at 09:00AM

MV Carbon: ISSUE Artist-in-Residence

Photo by Olivia Wyatt

Brooklyn-based artist MV Carbon starts her three-month residency with a free concert at ISSUE on Saturday, featuring a couple of new works using our 15-channel speaker system. The first piece will use pre-recorded cello and synthesizers, with the addition of Carbon's homemade sculptural stringed instrument. The second, in collaboration with Steven Litt of CrudLabs, involves a step sequencer triggering solenoids creating heavy, rhythmic, industrial sounds, along with Carbon's cello, synthesizer, and tapes. These two pieces are part of an ongoing conceptual drive to Carbon's art, dealing in particular with communication, perception, paranoia, identity, and epistemology.

Her last solo performance at ISSUE was a nod to video and communication artist Nam June Paik, using a circuit-bent TV cello as an electromagnetic instrument (video after the jump). These (mis)uses of technology result in unnerving and often volatile musical materials. Yet, for its technological bend and the conceptual impulse, Carbon's work seems intensely personal and visceral. There is the conveyance at these site-specific performances that not just the music but the instrument itself is part of the art.

Check out the four tracks below, all brand new recordings by MV Carbon. I've also added some info and poetry (provided by Carbon) on the main album page. Her performance this Saturday starts at 8 p.m. in Brooklyn.


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mikesdeathcoyote on 07/11/2010 at 10:00PM

The Books - Live on dublab (11.23.09)

4134089031_9f8ce2bed5_b.jpg

Collage visionaries the Books are one of our favorite high-thinking/feeling bands. They were kind enough to stop by dublab again to share some of their conceptual magic with the world. As the finale for our 10th Anniversary Proton Drive they created an absolutely mind-blurring mix of wide sound sources. Once your ears have had a few decades to fully absorb this offering be sure to check out their dublab “Found Sound” session from a few years back.

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jason on 07/09/2010 at 04:30PM

Big Blood on your vinyl!

Colleen Kinsella's cover art for the new Big Blood LP Dead Songs (via Time-Lag Records)

Portland Maine's Dontrusttheruin label has contributed a good many homespun gems to the Free Music Archive by the likes of Uke of Spaces Corners, Garm, and of course the label's resident artist, the prolific & mysterious Big Blood. We've sung the praises of this "phantom 4-piece" many a-time, and that song of praise continues to this day as well as on into the future!

The excellent Time-Lag label -- who also distribute Dontrustheruin's handmade cd-r's -- have just issued a long overdue edition of Big Blood on vinyl, and it's a whole new set of material called Dead Songs. The above is a sampling of the beautiful painted gatefold artwork in full 12'' size, and then of course there's the music -- an amazing set of sounds ranging from Neil Youngish dirges to acidfolk and "acoustic transcendence." It's not available for download, it is available in 700 LP copies and 1000 CD's here.

We've previously blogged/ compiled (on FMA Sampler V1) the Big Blood songs "Oh Country (Skin & Bones)" and "The Grove Is Hotter THan An Ocean's Oven"

A few more of my favorite gems from Big Blood's massive FMA collection (8 albums!) can be found below, and if you like what you hear you can purchase these recordings in cdr or cassette formats or by hitting the $ button on Big Blood's page. If you're craving even more, check out Caleb Mulkerin and Colleen Kinsella's other projects Fire on Fire and Cerberus Shoal. And for a much more comprehensive overview please check out Scott Williams' original Strange Maine feature on Beware of the Blog.

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andrewcsmith on 07/09/2010 at 08:45AM

Psychedelic revisitations

Cover of Bobb Trimble's album "Iron Curtain Innocence"

In celebration of this Sunday’s courtyard concert at ISSUE Project Room, we’ve got a playlist packed with a preview of the weekend’s imminent psychedelic and freak folk grab bag. Each of these artists has tons of music up on the FMA, so be sure to check them out in full—this is just a small selection.

Bobb Trimble’s two early-1980s LPs, Iron Curtain Innocence and Harvest of Dreams, were for decades sought after by collectors, who would pay hundreds of dollars for original copies. More than retro recollections of psychedelia a decade late, this opening track on Harvest of Dreams, called “Premonitions: The Fantasy,” couples seemingly easy going folk grooves with skewed melodic turns and slightly out-of-phase vocals mixed a little too low to hear well enough. The strain involved in listening, and the slight veiling of the high falsetto behind effects and other instruments makes it feel like an exercise in vulnerability.

Jason Sigal, on WFMU’s Talk’s Cheap, has more to say about this and Bobb’s early career, including a wonderful half-hour interview with the band in which Bobb and the rest of the Flying Spiders alternately reminisce about the ‘80s and plan for the next decade. In the late ‘00s, Bobb got together with some of the members of The Prefab Messiahs in a band that is now called The Flying Spiders. Gary War, another musician extending psychedelia to its furthest reaches, is on guitar, with Nick Branigan on drums, Kris Thompson on bass, and Karina DaCosta on vocals.

Check out the rest of this mix to get an idea of the many other artists on the bill. Samara Lubelski is playing with Peter Nolan (of Spectre Folk) and Helen Rush of Metal Mountains, while Loren Connors, an undeniable ISSUE Project Room mainstay, is performing with his band Haunted House after a 10-year hiatus. In addition to one of his studio albums, I’ve also added to the mix a live performance from “Blue Octave Notebooks,” a response to a Kafka text performed at ISSUE in May of 2009.

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JoeMc on 07/08/2010 at 02:53PM

The Wedding Present: 25 and 4 to the Floor

At the Black Cat Club in Washington, D.C. this past April (Photo courtesy mehan/flickr)

Legendary British DJ John Peel was always vocal about the bands that he considered a cut above the rest. From the late 60s until his death in 2004, Peel made a practice of devoting large segments of radio time to the bands who pleased him most. Undoubtedly, his most famous endorsements were two bands that were so constantly celebrated by Peel that they became identified with him: the Fall and the Undertones. The Fall appeared on Peel’s program more times than anyone else (24!), and as for the Undertones, his feelings about them may best be gauged by the fact that he asked for a lyric from “Teenage Kicks” to be carved on his tombstone after his death (to at least one commentator’s displeasure).

But coming up not too far behind the Fall and Undertones on Peel’s list of perennial favorites were those lads from Leeds, The Wedding Present, who appeared on Peel’s show so many times that you can now buy a six-CD set of their sessions. In fact, if you were to add in the sessions Wedding Present founder and only consistent member David Gedge logged as Cinerama, then Gedge and mates are second only to the Fall on the Peel Love Index. A worthier tribute no man could ask for.

Well, Peel may be gone, but the band he loved lives on: The Wedding Present continues to record and perform, 25 years after their first show and single. And they still play on the radio, as evidenced by this track from an appearance on KEXP earlier this year. The song is as yet unrecorded, so it’s all exclusive-like; they’ve been playing it live, but it hasn’t yet made its way onto a 7” or CD. Go out and get it, boy!


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