Recent FMA Blog Posts
This is a feed of featured blog posts from FMA users. Blog on, bloggers!
herr_professor on 05/11/2010 at 09:32AM
At times the chip music community can seem a little insular at a distance. Fiercely protective from exploitative outside elements, many feel that they cannot break in from outside, but the fact is that many chip music insiders are themselves huge music fans, eager to hear infinite variations on the chip music concept. This week we bring you the work of Nathan Meunier, and his ep The Beacon.
Like many chip artists, he comes to chip based production after writing and performing elsewhere, in Nathan's case it was indie rock. The tracks here reflect that, with a series of moody instrumentals punctuated with jangly guitars and soft squares. Nathan's path to chip came through his other focus, writing, He is currently working on a nonfiction book entitled Geek Beat Manifesto, which explores the rise of spazzy subcultures like Chip Music, Video Game Cover Bands, and Nerdcore Rap. Take a look at the EP, and check his writings on his website, and we will catch you in seven.
andrewcsmith on 05/10/2010 at 12:00PM
The Bristol quartet Zun Zun Egui takes no prisoners; theirs is the music of a post-apocalyptic tropical house party. The songs combine constantly shifting African rhythms with the ecstatic shouts—in Mauritian Creole, French, English, or in no language at all—from Kushal Gaya. Gaya moved to the U.K. from the coast of Madagascar (and the island of Mauritius) and brought with him memories of the Creole dances and rituals that French colonists had earlier attempted to squelch. But far from being a cliché melange of cross-cultural feel good pop tunes with an African veneer, Zun Zun Egui does the opposite; instead of incorporating a djembe into some four-four meters, they use thoroughly modern instruments on top of flowing, rhythmic patterns that seem to go on for miles. Bassist Luke Mosse and drummer Matt Jones are the prime components of this groove, and the reason that these songs can continue for upwards of nine minutes without getting stale.
It would be impossible to discuss this band without bringing up Yoshino Shigihara's visual art, which seems akin to the other-worldly screeches she elicits from her keyboards. The above photo doesn't do the psychedelic visuals justice—an overstimulating counterpart to their spare setup—but the brilliant light and color is as much a part of the environment as the music. Both of the tracks below are from their latest EP, Bal La Poussiere, (loosely translated from the Creole: "the best dancer raises more dust from the floor") released on Blank Tapes.
TAGGED AS:zun zun egui
andrewcsmith on 05/08/2010 at 11:00AM
Between 1965 and 1971, the composer James Tenney wrote a series of pieces later collected as “Postal Pieces,” in which he wrote the entire composition on the back of a postcard and mailed it. Many of these were later published in Peter Garland’s journal Soundings, and have since been performed as independent pieces as well as recorded and released on CD by everyone from the classical ensemble The Barton Workshop to Sonic Youth.
Some time in the early twenty-first century, the poet Sara Wintz founded the Pretty Panicks Press with the purpose of documenting, in reduced form, the compositional ideas of rock music. Partly about the compositional process of rock musicians, and partly an homage to Garland and Tenney, these postcards tie the twentieth century into the ambiguous zone that many classical/alternative/rock/hyphenated musicians today find themselves in. The recordings of rock preserve the sound of the songs, and the sound of the musicians, but these extreme reductions preserve the idea.
The electric guitar quartet Dither, typifying this nebulous twenty-first century, brings massive chops with an egalitarian sense of purpose to every piece of music. For this concert, they took up Molly Thompson’s postcard piece “Roar and Spit,” containing the statement, “you could basically use any instruments as long as the accordion and voice remained intact and it would be different every time.” Check out their recording below, along with Sara Wintz’s reading of part of her long poem “Twentieth Century” (from which I copped this post title).
There’s more music available on the album page as well, including Lisa R. Coons’s “Entropion” and quartet member Josh Lopes’s “Pantagruel.” Both of these tracks will be available on their debut studio album on Henceforth Records, celebrated by an album release party at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, on Saturday, June 12.
JoeMc on 05/07/2010 at 11:00AM
A timely reminder from your friends here at the FMA: If you haven't yet sent out that card or those flowers to your M-A-double M-Y, then it's time you got FTD on the phone, or at least staggered down to the Duane Reade to pick up a Hallmark. it's pretty much the least you can do. Even if your own mom makes Mo'Nique seem like Mother of the Year, you still ought to show a little respect to the woman who thrust you out of her loins and scrambled up her innards for the remainder of her natural life for you.
OK, so you've got the card. To get you in the mood to write that inscription that will make the ink run from your mother's happy tears, here's a little gem from the great Mamie Smith, along with her Happy Jazz Puppies (probably their original name). If you aren't packing the camper in route to Hometown, U.S.A. after hearing this one, then your heart is colder than the look on your boss' face when you come in late for the 47th time.
I'll say a little bit more about Mamie Smith below, but be sure to listen to the song.
pranay on 05/07/2010 at 09:30AM
I have mentioned the Coffee Break show before, and there’s a high probability that it will come up again and again. And for good reason. Aside from playing the familiar tunes and the occasional novelty record, Coffee Break has also showcased some serious local talent. One of these regulars is the NJ resident, the Custodian of Records. The Custodian produces sample-driven hip hop in an age where the practice is becoming increasingly scarce. Boasting an impressive body of work, TCOR is constantly working on new beats. Recently, while asking him what he’s worked on lately, he hit me with the news that he is moving to South NJ. Before I could even mentally register this news he asked if I could help move some of his records and without thinking I volunteered.
What initially started as one person helping another eventually turned into a guided tour of TCOR’s personal laboratory. The first thing I noticed as we got down to the basement is that it was exactly as he had described it. Music everywhere. Album covers all over the floor. Almost every square inch of deskspace is cluttered with LP’s, cassettes, and CD’s. There were a few boxes with records already packing into them, but it looked like there was much more work ahead. By the way, I don’t mean to insult the man’s cleanliness or organizational skills. In fact, quite the opposite. It definitely speaks volumes about his unique process of creating beats.
It was at this point that he started laying out some things I might be interested in. The next thing I know, I’m confronted by a pile of 45’s and various hip hop tapes, one of which is Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s ultra-rare cassette-only release Future Development. Already, I’m impressed with his collection. When I asked him how he acquired such a massive collection of 45’s, he replied that he is no stranger to flea markets. He himself has also volunteered to move other people’s record collections, which gave him an opportunity to keep some gems along the way. “You might recognize this,” TCOR says as he places an unmarked cassette into the tape deck. It takes me a second before I realize it’s an alternate Beatminerz mix to Black Moon’s heavy hitter classic “I Gotcha Opin”. He claims to not be a fan of the other remix, the one which sampled a Barry White tune.
lizb on 05/06/2010 at 02:00PM
During my weekly FMA blitzkreig, I kept falling upon great songs that were all from the same netlabel, Los Emes Del Oso. The label is based in France, but has tentacles reaching into Argentina, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and beyond. A few of my favorite picks are posted below.
First up is a South American gal group called Kellies, who I think are using their song "Old Man" to ward off an old lech. The tune comes from a great compilation of South American freeform weirdness entitled "Gauchito Gil Contra Colocolo," which is definitely worth checking out.
Mellow French experimental pop is up next with "Sexy Chaton Uber Alles" by On Va y Aller Comment a Poulainville. I think this descriptor by Los Emes Del Oso is apt for OVYACAP: "one thinks of music cartoon Croatian or demos of electronic music of the Middle Ages."
Harsher sounds come from Jim Morrison Mon Cul (which translates to "Jim Morisson My Ass" from French): like a combination of no wave and Louise Huebner's incantations.
jason on 05/06/2010 at 10:30AM
WFMU is pleased to announce a major grant received from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in support of the Free Music Archive. The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. We are inspired by MacArthur's values, and honored that the foundation shares in our vision for the Free Music Archive.
The Free Music Archive has grown rapidly since our beta-launch; our library now houses over 20,000 free and legal mp3 downloads curated by a broad spectrum of organizations. The project began at WFMU-FM, where we originally envisioned the Free Music Archive as a means to extend its mission of "free public access to curated audio" into the Internet era. But it has become so much more than that. Today, the Free Music Archive is a platform for curators of all stripes -- not just radio stations like WFMU, KEXP and CBC Radio 3, but also live arts presenters like Brooklyn’s ISSUE Project Room, established cultural institutions like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, many of the world's top netlabels, world-renowned commercial labels, and key forces in the free culture movement like the Creative Commons organization -- to reach a global audience and build community through shared content.
Support from the MacArthur Foundation will help our library continue to grow alongside significant new functionality and social features; including a recommendation system based on user listening preferences, last.fm scrobbling, and an enhanced API. Though it does not fund the project in its entirety, this grant brings us significantly closer to achieving our ambitious goals, helping us work toward a sustainable charitable model that will further enrich the work of everyone involved. Support from the MacArthur Foundation is good news for artists with music to share, curators in need of an online platform, producers in search of quality audio for their creative projects, and quite possibly everyone who likes music. You can read more about what's in store here, and donate to help make it possible.
katya-oddio on 05/05/2010 at 09:00AM
Halas_Radio on 05/04/2010 at 12:00PM
I’ve known Beton over 20 years. We were in a band together when we were about 15-16 years old, at the end of the 80s. We were into experimental and electronic music, we even had one cassette out (special edition), The newspaper review said: "Better the kids make this kind of music than shoot people on the streets"….
One day, 20 years later, I met Beton on the street; I was thrilled to find out that he was still making music (thankfully, he didn't shoot anyone yet).
In his own words: Beton music is in some ways organic music, all tracks here were recorded live, with no sound editing, everything was based on midi controllers manipulating Clavia nord modular.
herr_professor on 05/04/2010 at 09:22AM
Chip music has long had a love hate relationship with gamer culture, an the internet in general. Is chip music hipster kitsch or is it something more? The issue becomes further cloudy when it comes to the now ubiquitous 8-bit Cover comp concept, where chip music artists attempt reworkings of popular hits as chip music soundtracks. The successful ones, such as ones dedicated to Kraftwerk, Weezer, Tron, and even Miles Davis, succeed largely due to the arrangements of the chip music artist, and of course with the strength of the source material. The danger with such compilations however is the consumptive nature of gamer culture, and it's relentless search for the novelty factor. Sure covers will get you noticed on the blogs, but will it get you noticed for your skills as an artist, like Wendy Carlos, or will it date you as an object of kitsch, like Rolf Harris?
One artist who seems to be able to toe the line between the two extremes is New York City's 8bit Betty. Stating with a picture perfect cover of the theme to "Reading Rainbow", he keeps up the energy up with his original compositions and an exciting live set. The challenge now for chip musicians is to find ways for their original music to capture Internet mind share, so your legacy as an artist is your own, and not simply "THE DUDE WHO COVERED THE A-Team"
The version uploaded on the FMA is missing the Reading Rainbow cover, but you can find that over on archive.org. See you in seven!