Recent FMA Blog Posts
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ange on 04/30/2013 at 03:53PM
For this month's Revitalize Music Contest, artists from Lisbon to Austin dug through public domain songs, got inspired, and submitted their creations to our contest repository. Our talented judges from the music, radio, and public domain worlds loved hearing the wide range of incredible entries, but eventually had to select a winning song.
OUR WINNER IS CROWN THE INVISIBLE
Crown the Invisible created an incredible power pop rendition of the 1911 revenge anthem "The Spaniard That Blighted My Life" by Billy Merson. The song tells the story of a man whose girl is charmed away by a Spanish bullfighter.
'Twas at the bull fight where we met him
We'd been watching his daring display
And while I went out for some nuts and a programme
The dirty dog stole her away
The band's been around for about a year, and are a blend between a studio compositional project and a raucous psychedelic band. They are all grizzled rock dudes who live and work in East Williamsburg warehouses, where they've been cultivating their space/stoner rock sound. They describe their band as "if Rick Wakeman played with Ride, but the songs were written by The Pretty Things while they watched Planet of the Apes and listened to Hawkwind." That is to say, they all grew up on early '90s and '60s British stuff.
TAKING A SONG FROM 1911 AND MAKING IT SOUND 2013
When the band began working on their arrangement they describe the process as "vibe hunting." There was a lot of stomping and clapping involved, which is how they ended up deciding to keep the waltzy 3/4 time signature without over-emphasizing it. This also how they found the song's distinctive sound, a swirling whistle made by playing a hammond organ sample on a keyboard through a guitar amp.
During this process, singer CG Foisy says he kept waking up in the middle of the night with the lyrics stuck in his head. He says it's a terrible song to have in your head because, "it's cheeky, evil and weird. It's a portal into male territoriality. How men are these vindictive monkeys."
Overall, the challenge was good practice for the band. This summer CG is traveling to Beijing, where he'll play a few shows, and then spend a week traveling the silk road looking for music along the way. What he finds will eventually be adapted into song challenges for the band. Whenever he travels, CG loves to pick up a new instrument. You can even hear (kinda) one of these instruments in the winning song. It's an Indian instrument he bought in Singapore called the gopichand. It sounds part sitar, part mouth harp.
Participating in the contest speaks to the bands' interests in being part of a community through their music. Some bands get really into making an album, then going on tour, then making another album, then going on another tour, and hoping to be signed by a label. CG says, "That works well for some bands, but other bands like to take on weekly assignments, making videos and vignettes, and to have different kinds of conversations with their fans."
Crown the Invisible includes Jared Barron, CG Foisy, Steve Schwadron, with a guest appearance in this recording by Gabriel Berezin on bass. Check out their summer series Fantastic Planet, which installs different bands in different warehouses, merging live noise rock with visuals. You can also see them play live on May 9th at Don Pedro (90 Manhattan Avenue), where they might be performing their winning song.
ange on 04/29/2013 at 06:30AM
On this month's edition of WFMU's Radio Free Culture, multi award-winning producer and sound artist Francesca Panetta joins the Free Music Archive to discuss Hackney Hear, the winner of this year's Prix Europa Radio Production Award. It's a smartphone app that asks you to put it in your pocket as you explore London Fields and Broacway Market in London. As you travel, the app scores your journey with a blend of location-specific interviews, archived audio, music, and poetry.
We'll discuss the future of app-based storytelling, the challenges of GPS accuracy, and learn how Francesca pins two lapel mics to her left and right ears to capture a wide stereo sound.
Then, later in the show, listen back to this past year's Radiovision Festival, where Francesca spoke on a panel with Pejk Malinovski (East Village Poetry Walk) and Ellen Horne (RadioLab). The three super-producers will discuss how they're pushing the boundaries of audio with walking tours, immersive apps, and live events. Plus, the significance of taking risks and experimenting with new methods of storytelling. Jim Colgan (Soundcloud) moderates.
Here's our interview as heard on WFMU's Radio Free Culture:
ange on 04/23/2013 at 08:44AM
Bring the public domain into the future! This April, WFMU and the Free Music Archive are challenging artists everywhere to create new recordings and contemporary arrangements of historic compositions available in the public domain. We’re calling this our Revitalize Music Contest.
Every song (except for perhaps "Happy Birthday") will someday fall out of copyright. Archives such as the IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library, Musopen and the Public Domain Information Project chart the vast and ever-expanding troves of public domain music. Participants in our Revitalize Music Contest will help bring these works to life by creating new recordings, and feeding them back into the public domain.
To inspire entries, we’ve handpicked a selection of out-of-copyright songs with compelling lyrics, beautiful melodies, and unusual stories. Keep in mind that unless materials are listed in our contest repository, the recordings of performances we link to are still within the scope of copyright. After learning about the songs and contest rules here below, you can browse our pool of entries.
TAGGED AS:free music contest, public domain, petrucci music library, contest, revitalize music contest, See More...
jason on 04/22/2013 at 07:16AM
Brattleboro is a small town in southern Vermont with a high per capita of home-recorded experimental-pop. From King Tuff's scuzzy glam, to the prolific Happy Jawbone Family Band, to new migrants like Chris Cohen (former Deerhoof/Cryptacize) and Bird Names, this historic river region seems to fuel creativity.
OSR Tapes Dax Bills has released some of the most exciting new sounds from Brattleboro: cassettes by the likes of Nals Goring, Horse Boys, Heat Wilson, Blanche Blanche Blanche, and Zach Phillips. Phillips, the force behind the label, is also the enigma behind pretty much all of these projects. FMA's doncbruital tried to help us wrap our heads around the OSR phenomenon back in 'Dec '09, but the OSR Tapes well of creativity continues to flood down the Connecticut River.
Blanche Blanche Blanche is Zach Phillips' collaboration with vocalist and lyricist Sara Smith, doing something they describe as "open session rock." They performed with members of Punks on Mars, Big French and Great Valley as a tight-knit 5-piece opening for Howling Hex at Brooklyn's Secret Project Robot last month, slipping a Royal Trux cover into a set that came across like Philip Glass scoring a prog-metal/hardcore-punk opera. I asked Zach how the guitar, synth and V-Drums so fluidly follow Sara's pink-haired poetic punk incantations. He explained how he writes scores for each song in his own notation—"four E's, one C, etc"—where each number is a beat.
On their home recordings, Blanche Blanche Blanche paints a lofi atmosphere that should appeal to fans of Ariel Pink, Gary War and James Ferrarro's Nightdolls With Hairspray. The songs are semi-linear, and the sound changes with each release along with the lineup. On their latest 7" (Scam b/w Press Dumps), they wanted to do something without keyboards, so they enlisted guitarist Graham Brooks from the local metal band Atlatl, and fellow home recordist Chris Weisman. Available from Adagio 830, they've also worked with Feeding Tube, La Station Radar, Night People. You'll find all 8 BBB releases for sale + free download at osr-tapes.com, alongside gems from other OSR family members. You can dig deeper here on the FMA, too, with the fantastic Songs For Music by the mysterious Bruce Hart, after the jump.
katya-oddio on 04/19/2013 at 04:45PM
Saturday, April 20th is the anniversary of the 1910 premiere of Ravel's Ma Mère l'Oye in Paris, France. Ma Mère l'Oye: Cinq Pièces Enfantines (Mother Goose: Five Children's Pieces) was originally composed for two pianos, a duet for Mimi and Jean Godebski, ages 6 and 7. Later the same year, the work was transcribed for solo piano by Ravel's friend Jacques Charlot. In 1911, Ravel orchestrated the work for a full orchestra, and in 1912, he expanded it into a ballet. It was recently arranged for a string quartet, as well.
The five pieces of both the duet and the solo piano suites of Ma Mère l'Oye are:
1. Courtly Dance of Sleeping Beauty (Pavane de la belle au bois dormant)
2. Little Tom Thumb (Petit Poucet)
3. Little Ugly Girl, Empress of the Pagodas (Laideronnette, impératrice des pagodes)
4. Conversation of Beauty and the Beast (Les entretiens de la belle et de la bête)
5. The Fairy Garden (Le jardin féerique)
Pavillon36 on 04/16/2013 at 09:59AM
Based in Nîmes, France, our DIY netlabel Pavillon36 Recordings is celebrating 5 years of abstract, IDM, dubstep, drum & bass & breakcore releases. As an anniversary gift for everyone, we're offering three compilations called "Circuits Imprimés," which is French for "Printed Circuit Board."
Circuits Imprimés Vol. 01: A collection of tracks picked up from other netlabel collections as a tribute. This songs, artists and labels inspired us create Pavillion 36 and to start making our own great music for free. We hope you'll discover some music you've missed from past years in this mix, though for us these are all classics.
Circuits Imprimés Vol. 02: New and unreleased tracks by our main artists including Anagramm, Le Perche Oreille & Kez Le Zek to name a few. From IDM/Glitch to Drum & Bass, this is the essence of our netlabel.
Circuits Imprimés Vol. 03: For this release we invited some of our favorite artists to make their own 'PCB' sound to celebrate 5 years of our netlabel. Abstract, IDM, Glitch or whatever the style, you'll find on this final volume some great interpretations of what we call "Circuits Imprimés." We hope we have succesfully connected all these electronic components together to create a complex circuit. These 'PCB' tracks are not intended to be printed only on your hard drive, but to be printed on your brain.
AS220 on 04/11/2013 at 10:45AM
For AS220's first contribution to the Free Music Archive, we're presenting a nascent version of legendary Rhode Islanders, Throwing Muses, recorded live on the Noise from Neville radio show on January 26, 1985. This set features Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donnelly in the lineup, before the band had recorded their debut album, with only 1984's self-released "Stand Up" EP under their belts.
The Noise from Neville show aired on WRIU 90.3 FM out of the University of Rhode Island beginning in 1982 and running, more or less, for the next 12 years. "NFN" gained notoriety, not only for the free-form programming, culled from a massive selection of tapes submitted by independent bands and artists from all over the world, but also for the weekly live sets featured on the show. Neville and his radio show also played a crucial role in the early history of AS220.
"One evening, the host of a local college radio show, whose program had been banned as a result of some sophomoric power struggle at the radio station, wandered into AS220. As with any visitor we explained the intent and philosophy of the fledgling group. I played some recordings of my own musical invention during the conversation. He seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the space and its goals.'
"The radio show was instrumental, informing the public of our existence and intentions...'
"AS220, the Noise from Neville Show.....attracted bands both locally and far a field. Whenever we booked a band for the radio show we would try to coordinate an appearance at AS220....that same weekend. This co-operation benefited all parties concerned."
This recording actually pre-dates the opening of AS220's first physical location (above the Providence Performing Arts Center at 220 Weybosset Street), which happened in August of 1985. As far as we know, or can remember, Throwing Muses never played at AS220. However, Kristin Hersh has mulitple times. So, this may seem like an odd choice, but consider it a pre-history lesson as many of the people involved became entwined, and some would stay that way, with AS220 soon afterwards.
Many of the live sets from Noise From Neville are now in the care of AS220, and we will be presenting them to you, along with more recent live sets recorded at our own spaces!
10khrs on 04/10/2013 at 12:53PM
Paris based Diotima string quartet returns to New York to present a characteristically eclectic set of works from the 20th Century to the current era. Works include the illustrious Henri Dutilleux’s Ainsi la Nuit (called “the only repertory French string quartet of the postwar period” by The New Yorker’s Russell Platt), Japanese modernist Toshio Hosokawa’s Silent Flowers, and two works from LA-based composer Hugh Levick: The Unimagined and Empire Inc, both featured on Diotima’s new CD on Signature Records.
We would like to offer two tracks from Hugh Levick's work for string quartet, Empire, Inc: the first and fourth movements, as performed by the Diotima quartet.
ange on 04/09/2013 at 03:00AM
With winter and the hiccup of daylight savings time behind us, our taxes filed, our yearly vacation time used up already and our New Year's resolutions long forgotten, we set to the tasks of re-populating the Earth and making beautiful music.
For this Spring Compilation from Peppermill Records, enjoy a lovely string of more acoustic-based artists to brighten your weeks. Some of my favorite gems here include the bouncy French indie pop opening track from Montag, and the intimate and textured vocal duos in "Pony Rides" by Candy Claws.
jason on 04/05/2013 at 10:30AM
Here's a classic from Olneyville Sound System. Like their namesake System—the inspirational former workplace of David Byrne that churns out hot weiners covered in a legendary meat sauce—OSS also specialize in a flavor that is distinct to the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence RI.
OSS make bass and drum music. Not to be confused with "drum 'n' bass." This is real raw bass sludge from Dan St. Jacques (Landed, Six Finger Satellite) and Adam Autry (Boredoms' Boadrum, Plate Techtonics). Their sound is akin to Lightning Bolt doing ESG, concise noise-funk with the experimental humor of Men's Recovery Project. "These Guys Don't Take Requests, They Don't Play Showtunes" comes from their '97 Load Records debut Because We're All In This Together, which featured "anti-blues" harmonica by Roma and maniacal vocals by Jon Von Ryan.
"Olneyville Sound System was very influential on Usaisamonster," Colin Langenus wrote in a post describing a recent collaboration Adam Autry. The Colin L Orchestra joins in on a rare OSS Brooklyn performance this Saturday at the Silent Barn. Providence's Russian Tsarlag, recent WFMU guests Source of Yellow, DJ Greg Fox, and a ventriloquist who goes by the name of Bernard Herman are also on the bill.
Feel free to request "These Guys Don't Take Requests" at an upcoming OSS show, but they'll be playing new material. Word is they have a new album tracked at Machines With Magnets. I got to see some of it live about a year ago and it is going to rule. We'll hear some when they swing by Talk's Cheap / WFMU on April 18th. For a deeper voyage into the history of OSS, check out On Safari, recorded live at Providence's defunct Safari Lounge.