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undRess_Beton on 12/31/2016 at 12:04PM

Final Classwar Karaoke Survey released!

Classwar Karaoke was, is and will be. When it was, it was centrally a series of large-scale quarterly surveys of music and film, published each February, May, August and November, from May 2008, until a final grand 34th iteration at the very close of 2016. This vast repository ranges over outlets such as Free Music Archive, YouTube and Internet Archive, with fragments and remnants dotted around the now effectively defunct or forgotten MySpace, Sonic Squirrel, Reverbnation and LastFM, with total hits running into the many millions, and still growing - always free to download, stream and view. 

 

At its peak, there was nothing like it anywhere on the Internet. Classwar Karaoke stands as unique and valuable intense and intimate documentation of an expansive international scene, experimental and progressive in outlook, comprised of such genres as Noise, Live Electronics, Spoken Word, Sound Poetry, Free Jazz, Improvisation, Industrial, Ambient, Soundart, Musique Concrete and Modern Classical, as well as environs further out, nameless and ever more difficult to define. Classwar Karaoke's trademark inclusive, light-touch curatorial policy meant that those participants having huge and long-standing reputations lay equally alongside others less well-known and less experienced; with everyone arranged alphabetically, with no headline acts, no also-rans, no differentiation. With this in mind, though, it is expedient now, at this juncture, to note the participation of names such as Bob Ostertag, Fred Frith and Rhys Chatham .... of ex-King Crimson luminaries, such as Adrian Belew, Keith Tippett and Michael Giles .... stars of the human-voice-as-instrument such as Jaap Blonk, Bryan Lewis Saunders, Adam Bohman, Phil Minton, Crank Sturgeon and Dylan Nyoukis .... of heavyweight Jazzers and Free Jazzers like Lol Coxhill, Peter Brotzman, Evan Parker and Elton Dean .... of ex-Zappa percussionist Terry Bozzio .... of ex-Henry Cow Geoff Leigh .... of Einsturzende Neubauten's Jochen Arbeit .... of The Three Johns' John Hyatt .... of Wolf Eyes' Nate Young .... of Volcano the Bear's Aaron Moore .... of artists and bands as great and varied as Otomo Yoshihide, Mark Dresser, Leif Elggren, Leafcutter John, Gerd Bressler, GX Jupitter-Larsen, Zoviet France, Pas Musique, Gino Robair, Steve Beresford, Sharon Gal, Anton Mobin, Graham Dunning and Astral Social Club. 

 

The roll-call is considerable, in fact - and goes way beyond this brief selection; earning the project its rightful presence within the wider scene. Indeed, single or mere minor degrees of separation connect Classwar Karaoke directly to everyone from towering figures such as David Bowie, Scott Walker, La Monte Young, Frank Zappa, John Zorn, Robert Ashley, Paul Simon, Robert Wyatt, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Anderson, Mike Oldfield and Tom Waits, to bands like Talking Heads, Faust, Henry Cow, Can, The Fall, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Sonic Youth, Tortoise, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, H¸sker D¸, The Brecker Brothers, UK and Nine Inch Nails, to Jazz giants like Chet Baker, John Abercrombie, John Scofield, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Andy Sheppard, to those from the orchestral world such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Glenn Gould and The Kronos Quartet, through to figures as diverse as Vic Reeves, Zeena Parkins, Tony Conrad, Morton Subotnick, Robert Longo, Glenn Branca, David Torn, Mick Karn, Tony Levin, Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, John Duncan, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jon Hiseman, Phil Collins, Jeff Beck, David Toop and Hans Reichel. 

 

Classwar was never about mainstream validations, however. These surveys are themselves more exactly characterised by extensive, often complex collaboration; each survey a metting-place; each survey a font of new possible associations, friendships, project-mates. Camaraderie and inclusivity defined this project. Nothing about it reproduced the devisive logic and nepotism of the mainstream. In fact, opposition was inferred and expressions of it doggedly pusued. We are Classwar Karaoke: take us at our word.  

 

In this way, though its surveys are now suspended, Classwar Karaoke is. Indeed, other aspects of activity under that rubric persist as an ongoing series of live events and mini-festivals and a sprawling crowdfunder initiative currently boasting 46 full-length albums, featuring the likes of ÿystein J¯rgensen, Lezet, PARAL-LEL, Jukka Pekka-Kervinen, Stomhat, Dental Dames, Daniel Heikalo, Spidey Agutter, Jaan Patterson, Paul Mimlitsch, {AN} Eel, Damien Olsen, Ronny Wearns, Subversive Intentions, LIL, Sound Inhaler, Cousin Silas, Crush!!!, Chris Silver T, Miguel A. Garcia & Sebastien Branche, Jeremy Gluck, Eun-Jung & Charlie Collins, Arthur Henry Fork, Berthelot and Fiver's Stereo, as well as several compilations, of Noise, guitar pieces, bass solos, percussion pieces, and more. 

 

About 0034 survey specifically, it is enough to say that this final release is clearly no skirmish, no fizzle-out .... it is, in point of fact, another beautiful monster, dense with love, camaraderie and content, full of daring, full of interest; as good as anything else out there. From your hosts, Anthony Donovan and Jaan Patterson, dear friends of Classwar Karaoke, please enjoy! 

 

Heartfelt thanks and admirations to everyone who has taken part in and supported this project. over its eight-and-a-half years. It's been such a wonderful and interesting adventure! 

 

Love & best, 

Anthony Donovan and Jaan Patterson

December 2016


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cheyenne_h on 12/28/2016 at 05:00AM

2016 Year In Review, Part VIII: 56 WFMU Highlights

Sadly, there are too many good bands in the world to know about or listen to in our too-short human lifespans - but WFMU endeavors to being in as many as possible, as often as possible. WFMU shares many of these sets with us at the FMA, all collected here! We are eternally indebted to the freeform behemoth and its genre-bending DJs and guests.

2016 was a phenomenal year, in terms of live music added to the FMA, and we've selected 56 WFMU-flavored tracks to entertain, amuse and confuse you. If you liked the sets here, consider visiting the artist pages on FMA, or better yet, pay wfmu.org a visit and see what the fuss is all about. If you already know and love WFMU, maybe you should browse our collections of live sets organized by DJ/show. WFMU's concert venue, Monty Hall, has its own collection as well. 

Listen or download below, or visit the playlist page here.

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cheyenne_h on 12/27/2016 at 02:22PM

2016 Year In Review, Part VII: LizB's MegaMix

As we look back on the soundscape of the last 12 months, one thing is clear: our curators have been busy this year! FMA has reached new heights in recognition, use, traffic, and killer playlists! One of our most dedicated and regular mixmakers is LizB, who often peppers her weekly WFMU radio broadcast with FMA tracks, and she broadcast 3 hours of FMA tunes to wrap up 2016. Liz's show happens every Tuesday afternoon from 12-3pm Eastern, which you can listen to as an FMA playlist (featured every week on our iOS app and at the bottom of the main page), in the WFMU archive or subscribe to it, since it's also distributed as a podcast. She also created a monstrous mix of her TOP 100 tracks!

Listen up:

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cheyenne_h on 12/23/2016 at 11:52AM

2016 Year In Review, Part VI: Highlights from Needle Drop Co.

As the end of 2016 approaches, some of our curators are looking back on what 2016 had in store for them. Needle Drop Co. is a curator whose music is intended for use in noncommercial videos and broadcasts. They shared some highlights of this year with us. There will be more highlights coming next week, but this should last you through the holiday weekend!

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cheyenne_h on 12/21/2016 at 11:40AM

2016 Year In Review, Part V: ccCommunity's Indie, Rock & Punk

We've made it to the last of the 2016 ccCommunity compilations - part 5 of 5: Indie, Rock & Punk!

Indie, Rock & Punk is the fifth of our 2016 Year In Review series (which will be appearing on this blog all month long), and the final installment of the ccCommunity Year In Review playlists. There'll be more Year In Review features from other curators, so stay tuned for the next installment! The ccCommunity is a vibrant & diverse group of artists who are not affiliated with other formal FMA curators, who ask the FMA directly to join the party. Not everyone makes the cut, but we encourage artists to contact us if they want to be included in the FMA's collection. And please bear in mind: these are just from one curator page, our ccCommunity, and these songs loosely fit in the genre designations we gave them, but not everything by all of these artists is the same -- you may find a wide variety of genres represented in one album. 

Here are some of 2016's indiest, rockin'est, and punkest ccCommunity cuts:

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cheyenne_h on 12/20/2016 at 05:41PM

2016 Year In Review, Part IV: ccCommunity's Experimental & Miscellany

We're decking the blog with ccCommunity mixes - and we're on part 4 of 5: Experimental & Miscellany.

Experimental & Miscellany is the fourth of our 2016 Year In Review series (which will be appearing on this blog all month long). There will be separate playlists for other genre groups, so stay tuned for the next installment! The ccCommunity is a vibrant & diverse group of artists who are not affiliated with other formal FMA curators, who ask the FMA directly to join the party. Not everyone makes the cut, but we encourage artists to contact us if they want to be included in the FMA's collection. And please bear in mind: these are just from one curator page, our ccCommunity, and these songs loosely fit in the genre designations we gave them, but not everything by all of these artists is the same -- you may find a wide variety of genres represented in one album. Without further ado, here are a few highlights from the weirder end of the ccCommunity spectrum: 

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Spettro_Records on 12/19/2016 at 01:48PM

章4 : 真っ暗闇の人生 : Spettro Records' 3rd Compilation

Artwork by Akis Karanos

Spettro Records: a small place for experimental music. Celebrating 6 years with its third compilation!

It's been 6 years of Spettro Records. 6 years is a long time, if you want it to be. And at this moment in my life it feels as they've been forever, and I certainly won't be getting them back...

Spettro started more as an outlet for what me and friends were doing and recording ( Salomè Lego Playset, STUFA, Achievements, all of them dead projects... ), then grew into something different, a netlabel sui generis, mostly net / sometimes physical label ( of abysmal sales ), but anyway a home to us, and then to so many artists from everywhere in the world, so many I can't thank enough for trusting me and my instincts and who have allowed me to share their wonderful and unique music. It's still a home for me, for my own work ( SLP, which in the years has become more and more secondary), and of those artists which made up most of 2010's first compilation only few remain. So many have passed by, donated their work and passed on to different, probably better, labels. Some have quit music altogether. Some have moved to bigger things and achieved much deserved success, while some have freely and so generously donated a release even if Spettro was much below their label standards. I'm happy to think that Spettro has been The One, out of so many, that they chose, out of their free will, despite all the other, maybe better, choices around. Spettro can't offer much but a tiny and cozy home of uproaring silence, "a small place for experimental music" indeed.

So many artists are still joining, from everywhere in the world, and it's this fluctuating and stateless nature that makes Spettro so special to me and, hopefully, to you. It is an honor to host your music, and seeing younger people writing and joining Spettro gives me hope and pride.

This third installment offers the best that Spettro has and will have to offer in the years to come. Hopefully, other 3 years, and then another compilation will come, new people will join, and new pages will be written and leafed through. Perhaps at least. Fingers crossed. That's why the title, Chapter 4: Makkuraysmi no Jinsei : La stagione della Notte )", starts with "chapter 4", hence a compilation looking ahead, at another chapter. Then the "season of darkness", "la stagione della notte", 2016 and what remains of these last few years: very little, loss, hardship, confusion and despair, a night never ending, nothing but darkness ahead. Hope and despair.

This sampler is also in memory of Kelly Churko, incredible musician, unpredictable improviser, fierce alchemist of sound and composer of truth who passed away too soon. I'd also like to remember Ryo Tsuchiya of Senseless Records and of so many old and new school punk and rock'n'roll bands, whose path I briefly crossed back in 2008 and whose memory I will cherish.?

This album is for those who know Spettro, those who chose Spettro, and those who never heard of it, and maybe never will. This is for me as much as it is for you.


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Ultra Bide' - "LED" (04:11)
Ultra Bide' - "LED" (04:11)
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cheyenne_h on 12/15/2016 at 02:07PM

FMA Data Set for Researchers Released

Oh, Flickr Commons, how I love thee. "Science Gossip" from flickr commons/Internet Archive Book Images. No known copyright restrictions.

A team of researchers recently released three data sets with music from the Free Music Archive. The team is from the Signal Processing Laboratory at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

The FMA data sets consist of audio excerpts and metadata from a collection of songs from the Free Music Archive which will be used to 'train' and 'test' music information software. The sets provide a legal and up-to-date alternative to other available music data sets, which are outdated, sometimes inaccessible, and fettered by copyright concerns. By embracing the "some rights reserved" philosophy of Creative Commons, artists are not only making their music available for the public to listen to, but also for educational and research applications.

Kirell Benzi, a PhD student at the lab, said "[R]esearchers now have access to large datasets for image processing, pushing science forward... However, because of copyright issues, Music Information Retrieval researchers had no equivalent. As a results the image processing community methods are more advanced than the ones for audio. Indeed, the former biggest dataset was the Million Song Dataset with Echonest features but no access to raw files. We noticed that Echonest features are subject to intellectual property [laws] and are outdated. Worse, the website Echonest for developers seems down for good, leaving MIR [Music Information Retrieval] researchers with the old GTZAN dataset of 1000 illegal mp3 excerpts. With the new FMA dataset, all these issues are history!"

"The main goal is to advance Machine Learning research for music, and we think this dataset can have a great impact," said Michaël Defferrard, another member of the team.

If you're interested in learning more about the rationale behind the project, or see a quick survey of other data sets that are currently available to music researchers, you can read their article (PDF) here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.01840

The actual sets can be found here (small and medium are the only ones available at this time) and the code is on github.

Thanks to Kirell Benzi, Michaël Defferrard, Pierre Vandergheynst and Xavier Bresson for sharing the FMA in a new way!

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cheyenne_h on 12/14/2016 at 05:02PM

2016 Year In Review, Part III: ccCommunity's Pop, Country & Folk

We're decking the blog with ccCommunity playlists all week long! We're excited to bring lots of unique artists to the fore, from dusty corners of Soundcloud and homebrewed band pages, to your ears!

Pop, Country & Folk is the third of our 2016 Year In Review series (which will be appearing on this blog all month long). There will be separate playlists for other genre groups, so stay tuned for the next installment! The ccCommunity is a vibrant & diverse group of artists who are not affiliated with other formal FMA curators, who ask the FMA directly to join the party. We are honored and privileged to have these artists in our ranks, and can't wait for you to get to know them. And please bear in mind: these are just from one curator page, our ccCommunity, and these songs loosely fit in the genre designations we gave them, but not everything by all of these artists is the same -- you may find a wide variety of genres represented in one album. Without further ado, here is the playlist for your enjoyment!

 

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thewomb on 12/14/2016 at 04:30PM

The Womb - Where The Lemon Meets The Teign - the video album.

 The Womb's 23rd studio album and first ever video album 'Where The Lemon Meets The Teign' is out now. You can download it right here from the Free Music Archive, and the video album is available to watch in full here. There is also a Youtube playlist of the individual videos here.

 If you've never heard The Womb before, this album is the perfect introduction to our diverse array of styles, ranging from dark and emotive trip-hop to catchy pop and Floydian ambience, always with a lyrical focus.


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