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blocsonic on 10/08/2009 at 06:20PM

They Made Their Bed (Processed Music Product Revisited)

Back in January of 2007, I launched with our premiere “netBloc” compilation. In the PDF booklet for that first collection of free, Creative Commons licensed netaudio gems was included the introduction “Processed Music Product”. Here I revisit that introduction, it’s topics and add further thoughts.

Being a child of the 70s, I clearly remember a time when popular music was alive. Radio playlists weren’t limited to 10-12 tracks endlessly played over and over. Yeah kids, there was actually a time when FM radio was relevant. You could easily dial into your favorite station(s) and catch something new and interesting or even old and classic being played. Because stations were more independent and DJs were able to make playlist decisions instead of some corporate “radio consultant” dictating it, there was diversity being broadcast over the airwaves.

Before videos, before the independent music industry sprouted, before CDs, MP3s and iPods. Somehow the major music industry, even with it’s monopolistic control, allowed artists to develop and create great music. Artists’ first albums weren’t expected to become hits. If they did, so be it, but if they didn’t the label knew that they could expect the artist to further hone their sound and image on subsequent releases. In the 70s there are numerous examples of major music stars who required 2 or 3 album releases before they hit it big. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Pink Floyd, Judas Priest, AC/DC… etc. Then came MTV and CDs.

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blocsonic on 08/26/2009 at 11:11AM

Welcome to “The Catastrophic Connection”

Back in February, Joey Ripps approached me about releasing one of his projects through blocSonic. One of the projects, a collaboration with 13aDLucK produced by Catastrophe, turned out to be quite a strong set. After hearing the drafts Ripps sent, blocSonic was officially down for a release! What you’re about to listen to is a fantastic collection of raw, NYC style, boom-bap hip-hop. It’s packed with smooth soul-drenched beats, classic B-Boy braggadocio and introspective rhymes. Luck & Ripps’ vocal styles are both quite compatible, so their collaboration on this project feels natural and unforced. Catastrophe’s production throughout serves as the perfect bed for their verses to rest. Once again, we feel that we, blocSonic, have dropped another solid contribution to the world of independent hip-hop. Check it out… and remember… share this with everyone you connect with. Thanks goes out to Luck, Ripps and Catastrophe for being part of the blocSonic fam. Thanks also to you for taking the time to download!

Check out the complete album, here at FMA

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blocsonic on 06/03/2009 at 02:35PM

Givin’ the instrumental and experimental world some love, introducing netBloc Vol. 22

The cover of blocSonic’s “netBloc Vol. 22: Life on Ceres”

It all started sometime last year with a friend of mine, Rob Pitt, saying that he’d love it if there were a “minimal” netBloc release. However, with the netBloc series being about variety, I felt that I couldn’t release something so narrowly focused on one sub-genre. If I were to put together something remotely like that, it had to be something more varied. I decided to begin slowly pulling together instrumental netaudio gems as I came across them while developing other netBloc releases. After many months, this eclectic mix of instrumentals became what it is today — a joy for the ear. I was able to find songs that were not only “experimental” but also accessible to those of you who may not be as keen on sonic experimentation.

While I was still on the hunt for interesting instrumentals, another friend, Marco Kalnenek, began to make music again and tweeted about a particular new experiment on Twitter… I downloaded, listened and instantly fell in love with it. It’s name, as you may have already guessed, “Life on Ceres”. I wasted no time in requesting permission to include it in a future netBloc release. Shortly thereafter, Marco also released an alternate version of “Life on Ceres” – to me it sounded like a perfect reprise and I wanted to include it along with the original! From there it followed that “Life on Ceres” was an excellent title for a collection of instrumental music. With Marco’s blessing, this netBloc release was christened “netBloc Vol. 22: Life on Ceres”! This netBloc also became the very first to have a title track!

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macedonia on 05/31/2009 at 05:45PM

Netaudio Examined Through The Lens Of blocSonic...

Dig Deep album cover. courtesy of blocSonic.

Just shy of its two-month anniversary, the Free Music Archive currently hosts over 8400 tracks and is growing at a rapid pace.  Already I can sense the ease of getting caught up in what's brand spanking new in terms of uploads at the risk of forgetting about what blew my mind the previous week.  Diving into Creative Commons selections confirms once and for all that I could live several lives and not know all of the incredible music that's out there.  I will always be in a perpetual state of catch-up.  And you know what?  I'm actually okay with that.  It means that I can focus on an increasing backlog of sonic goodness and sidestep the audio okie doke.  Sounds like a win-win, if you ask me.

Prior to the FMA's existence, my primary source for finding the best in net audio was blocSonic, a website founded by Michael Gregoire.  From Old Orchard Beach, Maine, he holds it down for free and legal sounds from across the globe and has proved his dedication to the music time and again through his netBloc series.  With over 20 volumes under its belt, not only does the series cover artists from numerous genres, but each volume comes with a beautiful booklet in PDF form featuring interviews with the artists.  I'd never seen anything like this before and was immediately impressed with the hard work and meticulous detail going into something that was being given to the world for free.  I still consider blocSonic to be an invaluable resource and I can personally attest to my hunger for Creative Commons releases growing sevenfold just by following the site on Twitter.

It was only a matter of time before blocSonic started releasing original works.  This year marked the premiere of an album by Just Plain Ant, a producer from Richmond, Virginia.  Dig Deep is reflective hip-hop of the highest order and a reminder of what can happen when boom bap gets grown and deals with the peaks and valleys of life, only to notice that the valleys have been outnumbering the peaks.  The album deals with love lost, not letting go of friendships, attempting to make sense of your dreams, loneliness, and so much more.  Heartfelt and heavy, it's emotional without falling into the "emo" side of things.  And while there's always the threat of too many guest artists on producer-led albums, a delicate balance is struck on Dig Deep.  Highlights include "Still Dreamin'" featuring Jay Slim, "Can't Say Goodbye" featuring Elijah, and the beautiful poetry of Caitlin Meissner on "Love Letters."  However, the featured track below showcases one of Ant's instrumentals.  "If You're Not True To Me" somehow manages to be seductive even in its underlying sense of distrust within a relationship. 

Respect due to Just Plain Ant for a phenomenal release - certainly one of the best hip-hop albums to drop so far in 2009.  I'll be looking forward to the next blocSonic original release with great anticipation...

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