Recent FMA Blog Posts
This is a feed of featured blog posts from FMA users. Blog on, bloggers!
jason on 11/30/2009 at 10:53AM
With 20 days left to go in the contest, we've already received a great batch of remixes by talented artists from all over the world. Some familiar faces like junior85 and Salakapakka Sound System, as well as new ones like Mongoose out of Hungary, Malaventura from Spain, and Noventa from France.
You can check 'em all out so far here -- there's a great range of sounds from ambient, dubstep, 8bit, some bangin hip-hop and some seriously off-kilter avant-garde.
The remix contest is ongoing until Dec 20, more info, prize-lists, and multitracks can be found here.
macedonia on 11/28/2009 at 10:42PM
When I fired up my computer yesterday and made my way over to the Free Music Archive, I almost fell off my chair upon seeing a tune by the one and only Raphael Saadiq amongst the new arrivals. Singer, songwriter, and producer best known for his work with Tony! Toni! Toné! and Lucy Pearl, he has been a torchbearer for quality soul and R&B since the mid-1990s. His 2008 album The Way I See It has garnered loads of critical acclaim for its immersion in classic soul production and composition.
"Big Easy" is a selection from that album, written for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Like New Orleans itself, it's a bittersweet mixture of instrumental joy and lyrical sadness, heightened several times over in this version captured live in Seattle. Serious thanks and gratitude to the good people at KEXP for sharing this gem with us. Allow Brother Saadiq and company a few minutes to take you to Bourbon Street...
mwalker on 11/27/2009 at 10:45AM
Guess it’s just a Mary Halvorson kinda week and believe me, there could not be a better way to bulldoze away those post-Thanksgiving blues, disintegrate that red wine hangover, and jolt yourself out of the turkeyfied stupor then to curl up in the middle of your kitchen floor and blast this absolutely nasty set from guitarist Halvorson and co-conspirators of dopeness Ingrid Laubrock (saxophone) and Tom Rainey (drums).
Mary and Ingrid allow you about a minute of time to brace yourself, casually preluding the affair with some start-and-stop fragments of sharp angularity that quickly coalesce into flowing cascades of terse rumination. And then Mr. Rainey completely explodes the proceedings into a total maelstrom of relentless muscularity – an entrance raucously sick enough to merit 2 or 3 or 12 rewinds. Somehow managing to freely barrel through time, evocatively groove, and pack in enough polyrhythms to leave you in a face-punched daze, Tom shoves the easily-convinced melody-makers into full-speed freneticism. The guitar erupts into scorched chords that pulse and quiver as the sax spews out heavy slabs of coarse trilling. And from here, there’s really no looking back for the next 20 or so minutes – the few pockets of dynamic and rhythmic reprieve last just long enough up to ramp up the tension and let you steal a few sloppy gasps of breath.
So just ride it out, bring it back to the beginning, and crank it a second time. You’ll feel better, I promise.
lizb on 11/26/2009 at 01:00PM
If you're looking for a digestive aid this Thanksgiving, the FMA has a chirpy, gurgling solution: Portland, Oregon's Eet.
The duo are Alyssa Reed and Ryan Stuewe, who create mellow, loopy, and almost twee experimental music featuring toy instruments and childlike, humming female vocals. Eet has uploaded selections from their album "Spookfish," and I can't think of a better way to space out under a tryptophan (turkey) coma. Thanks to KBOO for bringing this to the FMA!
superhumanoids on 11/25/2009 at 02:38PM
This Monday, we began a guest curation series at our Free Music Archive portal. Rather than attempt to distill the vast landscape of CC-licensed music on our own, we thought it better to reach out to those on the ground working to support and expose these type of artists in their given communities. What better way to start then with a selection of tracks from ccMixter admin/developer/mentor Victor Stone:
For all the activism in the Open Music movement, nothing pushes the ball forward like brilliant, evocative music. While there is plenty of underground music of all sub-genres at ccMixter, there is also a growing collection of mainstream, above-ground producers who understand the value of sharing as a means of boosting their own creativity along with their exposure.
Nat_Roe on 11/25/2009 at 08:48AM
Wow, is NYC lucky! A few weeks back, San Francisco's finest purveyors of angsty punk slash girl-group harmonies Grass Widow flew across the frickin' continent just to play a few New York shows. Now wasn't that nice of them?
Sandwiched in between concerts with Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts and The Beets, Grass Widow took the time to visit my radio show for a live set and interview. Between BSing with the band about the Yankees parade that nearly delayed the recording and a totally aggro recording session, November 6th is officially on the books as my favorite Friday of 2009.
Unfortunately, listeners won't get to hear the tune Grass Widow warmed up with in the studio, a cover of The Urinal's "Black Hole". To hear that, you'll just have to check out their new 12" on Captured Tracks.
doncbruital on 11/24/2009 at 02:02PM
This hemisphere's shaggy mess of continental drift is hardly uniform, but one factor currently uniting its disparate elements is that of the setting sun, which, arriving earlier and relentlessly shortening the concurrently-coldening-days, seems to be perfectly pleased to lean over and confirm yeah, batten down, for winter's coming.
And while it's alright to eat hot meals and put on heavy coats and make other feeble attempts at offsetting what amounts to a fundamental shift in the character of the world, I can't help but think of those who've gone out to face winter's harshness, to confront it, and wonder what it is they might've felt, this intrepid few: Alfred Wegener, for example, the German scientist who, in 1915, first proposed that whole theory of continental drift in the first place. He was ridiculed by the era's scientific elite, and set about trying to prove his theory by himself, heading north to map the movement of ice. On one such obstinate drift through Greenland, in 1930, Wegener disappeared--a generation before his theory'd be accepted--taking attendant experiential knowledge of the icy north with him.
As I can't claim any comparable experience of the cold's reaches, I've settled for making it the organizing principle for a holiday mix, avaiable over on the left, with which, if afforded a break this week, you might do a little pondering. Its artists bear north in east coast-ratcheting, north-baiting order, from Philadelphia to Providence, up through the snaky wilderness trails of Western Massachusetts, across the border to Montreal's heavy psych furtrading outpost and on into infinity. Some tracks trade in comfort, others in confrontation, but all will help furnish the necessary impulse for facing up to the approaching and sure to be encroaching winter winds.
herr_professor on 11/24/2009 at 08:47AM
"The X68000 was a short lived ('87-'93) home computer released by Sharp in Japan. The sound engine is the Yamaha YM2151, programmed using the x68's MML language. Anyone looking for a similar sound might want to try the Yamaha FB-01 which uses a virtually identical sound chip.
Many fans in Japan still make music on the Sharp x68000, one such group is Ground Zero, who compiled this release. FM Ongen (meaning "sound source") Super Maniacs is a fairly old compliation dating back to around 1999-2000. Originally only an extremely limited numbers of CDRs were produced so were are very proud to be able to share this collection with you. A couple of names are probably familiar to old school fans of the Japanese scene and the rest might be less well known. Either way, its just under 45 minutes of awesome tunes with an FM driven Gabber feel.
And speaking of Blip, we have announed a video contest for a chance to get free passes and to have your video screened at the festival. More details here! Enjoy this hally track, and see you in seven!
mwalker on 11/22/2009 at 02:10PM
Violist Jessica Pavone and guitarist Mary Halvorson have established a much-deserved, highly welcome presence in the NYC jazz and improv world, playing regularly in the company of such luminaries as Anthony Braxton, John Zorn and Elliot Sharp. However, their ongoing recording and performing project together carves out a unique and fascinating niche unassignable to any scene, exploring intersections of timeless folk, elegant chamber composition, and fierce improvisation. The two women have been so kind as to share a few live recordings from their wonderful performance at ISSUE last year – two from their most recent album Thin Air and one from 2007’s On and Off.
As a duo, Pavone and Halvorson create beautiful songs out of an endless series of naturally-evoked tensions between extremes on a spectrum where the middle-ground has been removed. Nonetheless, movement back and forth between the two poles occurs freely and convincingly. Traditional song forms disintegrate without warning into unruly improv before being reconstituted with equal unexpectation. Gingerly-picked arpeggios and hauntingly-simple string melodies give way to the violent screeching of Pavone viciously sawing through her viola strings amidst a flurry of sparks as Halvorson grinds up jagged blocks of discomfiture amidst car-backfiring distortion. Loose vocal unisons drift apart into subtly-dissonant, distantly-disconcerting harmonies as the child-like innocence in the tone of the women’s voices belie often dark, unsettling lyrics. Together, they create an intimate space cohabited with equal parts rough fragility and vulnerable ferocity.
macedonia on 11/21/2009 at 11:40AM
"So far ahead we're behind you..."
If memory serves me correctly, that phrase pops up on Anti-Pop Consortium's first album, Tragic Epilogue. That's the takeaway phrase that has always stayed with me whenever I think about them and how to describe their music to people who don't know their work. I can still remember the first time I listened to that album nine years ago and how I thought that nothing else in hip-hop sounded like them. Beans, High Priest, M. Sayyid, and Earl Blaize created sounds that were experimental yet unquestionably bangin' at the same time. Their wordplay seemed wrapped in Dadaist thought while posturing on NYC street corners. I wanted everything that Anti-Pop touched, from their collaboration with producers like DJs Krush, Vadim, and Spooky That Subliminal Kid to their full-length conversations with Matthew Shipp (their interview with DJ /rupture on his Mudd Up show hinted at another project with Shipp in the works).
Their signing with Warp Records was a brilliant move, one that would usher in other left-of-center hip-hop artists after them. Their 2002 release Arrthythmia hinted at the greatness to come and was their best effort to date. And then the unthinkable happened: APC disbanded. Believe me when I tell you that no one, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, was more pissed off about that than I was. Beans would go on to record solo while Priest and Sayyid formed Airborn Audio. While it was good to see them all active, it wasn't the same as when they were together.
All would become right with the world soon enough, however. Talks of APC getting back together and recording new material began to circulate. Their reformation resulted in new performances and a new album: Fluorescent Black. Even with the rhythmic advances that have occurred since their hiatus (the subwoofer-destroying bass of dubstep and the new school beat concoctions of producers like Hudson Mohawke), these guys sound hungry and very inspired. Their live set at All Tomorrow's Parties features them firing on all cylinders. You can hear a number of selections from their set after the jump or check the full streaming archive here.
Don't forget about the remix contest for the album version of APC's "Reflections" (live version is attached below). The deadline for entries is December 20th, so you have some time to download the raw audio and put your own spin on Anti-Pop...