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ange on 04/22/2014 at 12:30AM
This month, the Free Music Archive celebrates its 5th year since it emerged from the Internet-hole. Can you imagine the web without it? In that time, the FMA has helped user generated content flourish, helped artists connect with new fans, and filled all of our personal harddrives to the brim. We are one of the largest collections of Creative Commons music online, reaching 70,000 curated tracks this Spring.
It's time for me to go, and leave this vessel in the hands of a new captain. I've accepted a new position working at Slate, and now it's time to find the next person to lead this project into its bright future.
More info about the job here.
During the transition, continue to share share all your troubles and victories with contact (@) freemusicarchive.org, and someone will always get back to you. That person right now is the wonderful Faye.
In my time at the FMA, we've worked together to remix public domain ephemera with the Prelinger Archive, and overthrow the Birthday song. We've welcomed exciting new FMA curators including AS220, Radio Bunker, Radius, CKUT and Boston Hassle. We even built an app for iPhone, and launched our own Free Song of the Day Podcast.
I've adored being a part of our parent project WFMU, and learned so much from watching how the staff, volunteers & DJs keep the magic factory full of magic. Thanks to the FMA's founding director Jason for all of his guidance and bottomless enthusiasm for the project. No one has made more mixes on the FMA than my old desk-mate WFMU's Liz B, who broadcasts her favorite FMA uploads every Monday morning on WFMU. Also infinite credit goes to WFMU's stellar volunteers Matt Marando and Mario Santana who masterfully master and upload all the sessions that come through WFMU over the years. Big kudos to Lou Z and Chris M who have led our team of volunteer submission screeners.
Thank you all again! Viva FMA!
lizb on 04/16/2014 at 09:45AM
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that WFMU's Free Music Archive is one of 886 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Arts in Media grant. The FMA is recommended for a $75,000 grant to support the Re:Invent:Media Project.
Re:Invent:Media is a four-part project that will broaden access to the FMA’s rich and diverse audio library, strengthen public understanding of music in the contemporary digital setting, and foster creativity through hands-on engagement with the arts:
- Re:imagine will be our second series of themed multimedia contests and workshops to encourage hands-on engagement through the creation of new works inspired by Creative Commons and the public domain.
- An Education Portal and instructional webinars will be developed on the FMA to help educators, audio producers, podcasters, filmmakers, and others navigate the complex rights issues associated with using and appropriating music in new creative projects.
- Radio Free Culture is a weekly radio segment/podcast that will explore the changing landscape of music, the arts, and digital technology, as well as celebrate the transformative potential of the digital era.
- Mobile Apps will be developed for both iOS and Android platforms, providing mobile and tablet users with full access to the audio works available on the FMA, as well as artist information and music discovery features.
We are honored to be recommended for the NEA's Arts in Media award for the second time, and it's a great way to commemorate the Free Music Archive's 5th anniversary this month. The Re:Invent:Media project will allow us to expand access to the FMA's 70,000+ songs, to cultivate the creation of new multimedia digital arts projects, and to provide better educational resources for navigating rights issues online.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Arts in Media grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov. Here's NEA's official announcement as well as our own press release if you'd like to help spread the word.
Perhaps a birthday celebration is in order here at the FMA? Take a listen to our winning entry from last year's NEA-funded contest to create new, alternatively-licensed Happy Birthday songs.
hfayekay on 04/11/2014 at 09:15AM
That sound of Houston's shadow music collective Ak'chamel that has been hovering over Houston has congealed again in a release known as "Pus Ch'en" under net-labels suRRism-Phonoethics & Have You Said Midi?. Like their earlier albums Old Norse Mara & The Divine Vine Tapes, they continue to evoke tribal rituals from abstract hinterland cultures with haunted throat-singing, guitars, percussion, drones, & more-only this time with a heavier (if possible) & more refined sound. The title of track 2-"Underworld Sweat Bath" is a pretty accurate description of the Ak'chamel sonic experience. The occaisional brightness of a chime might punctuate the music now & then but it's perfectly contextualized to simply add detail before the sounds give way to gutteral chant.
Pus Ch'en could be described as psychedelic improv, but there's nothing sloppy or hokey about it-the members of Ak'chamel are skilled at their musical craft & all textures are intuitively organized to create a sincerely chilling soundtrack. Really wish HBO knew about this when they were scoring True Detective. -Faye
ange on 04/01/2014 at 05:00AM
Arrington de Dionyso is interested in blurring the lines between sacred ritual and popular entertainment. A former Old Time Relijun freak-folker, his recent solo work incorporates overtone-singing, shruti-box, jaw harp, and Kadri Gopalnath-inspired bass clarinet, and many of his latest releases feature recordings from his travels and collaborations. Whether it's a 13th century chapel in Italy, a volcanic cave in Java, or his homebase at K Records' Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, WA, his music is influenced by (and influences) his surroundings.
His work also strives to form human connections, both with his fans and musical collaborators. Back in 2011, de Dionyso traveled and recorded music throughout Java, Bali, and Lombok Islands with support from a successful Kickstarter campaign. With help from another Kickstarter push, he went back in November 2013, and is planning another trip for the end of 2014. Many of the concerts and improvised recording sessions are available for pay-what-you-wish on Bandcamp and the Free Music Archive, including his latest in the Unheard Indonesia series.
Many of your releases directly relate to where you were when you recorded them. What's the role of traveling in your music?
Although I have lived in Olympia, Washington for over 20 years, and I have a wonderful label and studio to work with here. (K Records' DUB NARCOTIC STUDIO, just ten blocks from my house!) I am traveling on tour doing art shows and concerts almost half the year. This puts me in contact with an incredible variety of different people playing all kinds of instruments with different approaches to the music they make. But even when I am working on a solo recording, I think the place in which you choose to make a recording has a huge effect on the kind of result you're going to get, whether it's the specific acoustic properties of a 13th century chapel in Italy, a volcanic cave in Java, or a fancy studio in Berlin—the way I play my music is going to change according to how I respond to being in these places. The music changes even more when other people are involved!
Tell me about UNHEARD INDONESIA VOL. I: The Trance Music of East Java. What did you learn about trance music from your travels in East Java, and from collaborating with other musicians there?
That's a recording of the very first opportunity I had to perform with Jaranan groups in Java, back in 2011. Jaranan, or "Jathilan" is an incredible living tradition that takes many different forms, sometimes including forms of spiritual possession. People have a lot of different ideas as to what really constitutes "trance" but I approach these experiences as a participant and collaborator with many years of experience with my own versions of "trance music" via the rock and roll tradition (a tradition derived almost completely directly from African trance musics, by the way, this is very well documented).
When I perform with these groups I am joining a shared experience and sharing my own unique contribution to that experience. I guess I am particularly drawn to Jaranan because in this tradition there isn't a clear line between what is "sacred ritual" versus "popular entertainment." It's all mixed up there, as I feel it really should be. Why shouldn't something entertaining also be "sacred"? and what do we mean by "sacred" anyways? In much of Indonesia, musicians are performing to entertain the world of spirits just as much as the world of humans. It happens at the same time, and nobody sees any contradiction there, so why should I?
ange on 02/28/2014 at 10:44AM
The Free Music Archive is seeking a skilled backend engineer, with solid background in modern languages and techniques, who loves going down the rabbit hole to solve difficult problems related to performance, user experience, and long-term structural stability of a modern, high-traffic website (and who doesn't mind working with legacy code).
We're also ideally looking for significant overlap with our current stack:
• Mostly backend: PHP, MySQL, RDS, S3, Redis, Sphinx, Memcached, Chef; REST & API design generally
• And sometimes frontend: HTML5, JS, CSS3, Flash
Along with experience with reasonably modern source control (Git/SVN/Hg) and build practices. Note that we aren't zealots about any of the above; what we're most after is solid engineering chops -- if you're currently working with Rails or Django or Scala but don't mind digging into modern PHP for a good cause, that's fine. We need someone willing to roll up their sleeves and take long-term ownership of the project and address problems holistically. Here you'll have the chance to make valued, long-term strategic contributions to one of WFMU's most important projects.
ange on 01/20/2014 at 03:30AM
Take some time today to listen back to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech at Santa Rita Prison from January 15, 1968. It was preserved by the Pacifica Radio Archives.
In this speech he spoke to the crowd after visiting Joan Baez and her mother in the prison. He reports that they are in good spirits, explaining, "When you go to jail for a righteous cause, you can accept the inconveniences of jail with a kind of innocence of calm and an inner sense of peace. And this is they way they are accepting this experience." He then goes on to explain his controversial decision to mix the issues of civil rights with the anti-war movement.
"There can be no justice without peace, and there can be no peace without justice. People ask me from time to time, 'Aren't you getting out of your field? Aren't you supposed to be working in civil rights?' And they go on to say the two issues are not to be mixed. And my only answer is that I have been working too long and too hard now against segregated public accommodations to end up, at this stage of my life, segregating my moral concerns."
The audience applauds wildly.
"Because I believe absolutely that justice is indivisible. And injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
In this recording, an audience member yells out "Hey!" as if the strength of that statement just knocked him over.
ange on 12/30/2013 at 03:00PM
Since the classic New Years Eve toasting tune Auld Lang Syne is in the public domain (unlike a certain other celebratory song), many of our Free Music Archive artists have shared their own unique versions for you to download and enjoy. Cheers to that!
The phrase "Auld Lang Syne" literally translates into "Old Long Since" but is meant to mean something like "days gone by" or "long, long ago."
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you'll buy your pint cup!
and surely I'll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
ange on 12/25/2013 at 10:14AM
I'm not your typical crafty DIY dilettante, but I do have a quick recipe for how you can turn these pictures and links into the ultimate gift that won't cost you a thing!
First, click on an album below, download the songs you like, and burn the files on to a CD. Then make your own folded paper CD case, draw a picture of drunk santa on the cover, and give it to someone you like. It's the ultimate way to tell that certain someone you care, and that you're sick of hearing them sing Wham.
A Very Badgerland Christmas
Me and Santa
TAGGED AS:holiday music
ange on 12/06/2013 at 04:00PM
The Free Music Archive now has our own iPhone app! Download it here (or search "FMA" in the app store), and enjoy our library of 65,000 free and legal tracks on your iPhone. The app lets you explore music by genre, listen to the song of the day, check out hand-picked mixes, and share and download until your thumbs go raw.
The app is compeltely free, but we need your help to spread the word. Please write us a friendly review in the iTunes store. Since this is a brand new app, your review will do a ton to help improve our rankings and discovery so more folks can learn about what we do. We'd also love to hear your candid and technically specific feedback over e-mail. We know the app has its flaws, and we have grand plans for version 2.
If you have any technical questions about using the app, check our our app support page.
Don't fret Android users! We're busy seeking funds to make an Android app possible. In the meantime, one of our fans made you this.
ange on 11/28/2013 at 12:45AM
While scooping generous heapings of food into your plate this Thanksgiving, here are a few more ideas for what to do with all your do-good feelings. A few Free Music Archive artists and friends are amid interesting crowdfunding campaigns worth a quick shout out. Plus, all three offer incredible releases worth discovering here on our site.
1) FREAK FANDANGO ORCHESTRA
Crowdfunding Mission: Save the world! Also, making a new studio album with great songs to brighten your day.
Free Releases: This Barcelona street orchestra offers 2 free albums mixing east european folk music, polka, gypsy music from the Balkans, with a dose of punk-rock.
2) IONOSONDE RECORDINGS
Crowdfunding Mission: Creating their first first physically released CD, written and produced by sound artist Telegraphy. It will contain 7 tracks of dub techno, IDM and ambient soundscapes.
Free Releases: 15 free releases form a netlabel from Detroit Michigan U.S.A. that focuses on experimental, ambient, sound collage, and electronic music.
3) CASH MUSIC
Crowdfunding Mission: Creating a sustainable future for music through a series of summits. Summit events bringing together musicians and technologists in ATL, CHI, NYC & SEA for new ideas, conversations, and workshops.