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bennett4senate on 09/27/2010 at 01:00AM

Genre Judo Throw: Javelin

Tom VanBuskirk of Javelin live on WFMU.
Somewhere between the cozy confines of their home studio and the stages they've steadily toured for the past year and a half, the radio seems like a good fit for Javelin. It has a flattening effect, bringing together the detailed textures of their samples and the looseness in their live performance. Cousins George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk stopped by WFMU on a sunny afternoon to talk and drop a live set of rambunctious, channel surfing beats, including unreleased new tracks.

Javelin developed their sound in Providence, a small town with a scene that they say encouraged people to not wait around for recording budgets, and instead grab the closest 4-track and start putting something down; shoot first and then edit, maybe come back to it. This high-volume production process seems to be how they developed their signature eclectic thump. Where other producers flip beats, Javelin's style is judo throw, re-directing the momentum of pitched up disco, soca, and r&b records back into fun percussion-driven vignettes. With a healthy skepticism for both band and DJ culture, the duo sucessfully created a show that avoids the trappings of electronic musicans forced to "go live". Surrounded by tables of MPCs, mini mixers, and pedals, George paces out the shows in deep concentration, sweating over an electronic drumpad, with Tom meandering around the stage singing a mix of his own lyrics and earworm pop hooks, ocassionally noodling on the keytar or kazoo. The rest of the music is playing itself, sequenced by the machines.

The net result has rappers wanting to drop verses on it, other producers wanting their remixes to sound like it, and just about everybody wanting to dance to it. A triple threat. Their tastes do not sit still, and this thirty minute session mirrors the variety found on their new album for Luaka Bop, ping-ponging from r&b to country in an effort to keep themselves entertained. Buying thrift store records like they listen to the radio on tour: whatever's local.

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bennett4senate on 09/09/2010 at 06:21PM

Sound Nests of Alarming Realism: Chris Kucinski & Owen Osborn

Chris Kucinski and Owen Osborn have been making music together since 1998. They began building battery powered home-made electronics as a way to take their art/jam sessions outside, and eventually gained enough intest in their simple instruments from friends and consumers for Osborn to open the Critter and Guitari online storefront. As the original beta testers, Kuckinski and Osborn have developed various games, rules, and scenarios to guide their improvisations, and every sound recorded by their Kaleidoloops is saved to flash memory, uploaded, and tagged in their ever growing online database. They came to the WFMU studios with a sack full of children's instruments, some guitar pedals, and many generations of their own musical hardware for a series of free-roaming, circuit-bent mini odysseys.

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bennett4senate on 05/26/2010 at 04:00AM

Ten Tracks to Sync - Vol. 4

We're only at volume four, and already the worlds of still photography and video have come smashing  together like two tectonic plates, thanks to the drag-race-paced continental drift towards digital Pangea.

I'm speaking of course about the release of the first pocket-sized SLR digital camera that shoots 1080 HD video.

While my music video director friends may have already traded their camcorders for camera backs, what this means for you is that pretty soon photos of your newborn child are not gonna cut it - the extended family demands widescreen. Yo Lumiere brothers -pics or it didn't happen.

Vimeo user Ciaran is getting a jump on the game by sourcing his home video soundtracks from the FMA. Check out his video below, which utilizes a beautiful track from Twi the Humble Feather's live performance on WFMU.

You might not want to set your company softball game highlight reel to the lo-fi clanging of Asian Women on the Telephone or Welcome Wizard. But the gauzy, stumbling glitch hop from the Error Broadcast label (KenLo Craqnuques and Pixelord) makes another appearance in this volume and compliments summer evening lulls. Try Dither for wide open spaces.

Look, I know its graduation season. You've already got your son's After the Prom Party olde-time sepia-tone photo booth  pics. Just add classic ragtime and bam! Slideshow complete - take that, family email list!

As always, many thanks to the WFMU DJs playing FMA stuff on their shows - you're doing lots of the research legwork for me (Jason, Liz, I see you!!). To all readers, please keep the suggestions coming in for the 10 Tracks to Sync series.

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tracks to sync
bennett4senate on 04/29/2010 at 08:59AM

Ten Tracks to Sync - Vol. 3

I like curating this series because I get to set aside context. I try to forget about 'the scene' from which the tracks came, and instead imagine a scene to which they might be set. Since the backstory of each song is not my main concern, putting these mixes together involves a synethetic exercise of rapid sampling, clicking all over the FMA website in search of a feeling. With no ethnomusicological agenda, I'm happy to look back at my tracks see that this mix tromped from Brooklyn to Lyon, Providence, Spain, and Switzerland.

Its a nice refresher from planning radio sets and DJ gigs, as long drone tracks from Diablo and That Thing Over There are right at home with the bump-worthy one-shots from Lee Maddeford and Bacalao.

Its cool - I may have missed The Downtown Scene by a couple decades, but I can always find a chase scene track that's just waiting to get filmed, know what I'm sayin?


A big shoutout to user Phil who made this longboarding video set to music he found on the FMA. Phil properly credited the artists, spinningmerkaba and I, Cactus, by linking to them on his Vimeo page, and selected the right license for his video work based on the licensing restrictions of the tracks. He also took the time to drop a comment on the artists' FMA pages to let them know about the video. Good form, Phil! I've included the tracks Phil used as two bonus cuts in this Vol. 3 mix.

If you use FMA music in your videos, or have track suggestions, send me a link so I can feature it future posts!

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bennett4senate on 03/22/2010 at 10:00AM

Ten Tracks to Sync - Vol. 2

After writing Ten Tracks to Sync - Vol. 1, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and use one of the songs I had selected in a video I was making.

I used Ergo Phizmiz's track in a short promotional video I was making for a book called Collaborative Futures.

In the process, I learned a few important lessons.

The video that I made is considered a derivitive work (or 'adaptation') of the song I picked, according to the legal description of a Creative Commons 3.0 license:

"For the avoidance of doubt, where the Work is a musical work, performance or phonogram, the synchronization of the Work in timed-relation with a moving image ("synching") will be considered an Adaptation for the purpose of this License."

Also, if the original Work (the song) has a 'Share-Alike' license, any derivitive works must share that same type of CC license.

This was a problem, because Collaborative Futures (and all its related materials) already had a different type of CC license than Ergo's track; Attribution-ShareAlike and Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike respectively.

I really liked the song and wanted to keep it in the video, so I contacted Ergo and asked him if he'd be willing to change the license type of his track... and he agreed! Score one for copyright alternatives!

So remember kids, when syncing up these jams to your sweet vids, make sure that your derivitive has a license that jives with that of the original work. And sometimes all you have to do is ask.

With that, here's ten more instrumentals from the Archives ready for you to slap into your timeline. Thanks to those of you who made suggestions of tracks to include; please keep them coming!

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bennett4senate on 02/22/2010 at 01:00PM

Mardi Gras Hangover

I spent last week in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. It was my first time there, but let me tell you, its a magical, musical place.

The young white music hipsters in the old-time jazz bands dress kinda like turn of the century baseball players (at least on stage), play washboards, and can smoke a cigarette for a whole song without changing facial expressions or ashing. One club over, a brother in an all white suit who sings like Stevie invites his uncle on stage - who just so happens to be Meters bassist George Porter Jr. - to join him in covering a Donny Hathaway song. Outside, a Cadillac with 26" rims, painted in stripes like a pack of Lifesavers, is parked in the middle of four lanes of traffic, with a chick in black tights 'walking the dog' on the bumper while the latest track chronicling the Saints' improbable Superbowl victory blares from the stereo. Slightly-too-peppy Christian missionary teen groups put on choreographed hip-hop dances in front of the cathedral, and a child prodigy trombonist is the frontman of a brass-rock jam band that just signed a 5 album deal.

After losing track of how many high school marching bands I had seen in the parades, and about halfway through my daiquiri-to-go (from a place called 'Jazz Daiquiri'), I was rid of any lingering doubts of New Orleans' status as a geyser of awesome musical expression.

The one act that I missed down there was Quintron and Miss Pussycat, the husband and wife duo who have been playing organ, soldering homemade drum machines, puppeteering, and hosting shows from their base of operations at the Spellcaster Lodge for some years now. I did catch their show at the New Orleans Museum of Art, which contains Miss Pussycat's puppets and Quintron's Drum Buddies. Quintron has moved his studio into the museum to record and album over the duration of the show, and surrounded himself with a nice selection of paintings from the museum's storage holdings.

Check out Quintron and Miss Pussycat's broadcast on WFMU from last year, Live from the Spellcaster Lodge on Sound and Safe with DJ Trent, or their 1995 Live WFMU Christmas Eve special right here on the FMA.

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new orleans, quintron
bennett4senate on 02/04/2010 at 03:45PM

Ten Tracks to Sync - Vol 1. (mp3) (video)

One of the biggest problems facing filmmakers and online video producers is the high cost of licensing copyrighted music to sync in their work. Many a YouTube account has been shut down for using copyrighted music without permission, and the process of securing permission can be a major barrier for non-commercial/non-profit producers.

The FMA provides a much-needed resource for interesting, soundtrack-worthy, Creative Commons-licencesed music.

This post is the first in a series hightlighting (mostly) instrumental tracks culled from the FMA that would make for great video soundtracks. All the tracks in this series have licences that allow for derivitive works.

If you make a video that uses a track from the FMA, link back to the site and let us know! We'll be featuring videos that we like on the frontpage of the FMA, and we'll keep digging for interesting music to set your movies to.

(*Be sure to hit "i" to check the song's license type before you use it in your video. And it's important to note that not all of the content in the FMA is licensed for derivitive works. If you're not sure, check the description of the different CC license types at

Here's a video collection of Street Art Photos taken in Nagano City, Japan by Jim Atwood Photography, featuring Creative Commons music by Sunbyrn, the song "If I Wait"

Street Art Japan from Jim Atwood on Vimeo.

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