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dvd on 01/08/2013 at 10:00AM

Best of 2012: dvd's Picks

a tough nut to crack

Hey! I'm David - former FMA librarian, admin, and thing-doer. I spent a lot of time this year hunting the virtual stack for lost gems and Creative Commons treasures, and I come to you now with my Top 10 Albums to hit the Free Music Archive in 2012. They're presented below in alphabetical order... enjoy the tunes, and here's to another couple years of free sonic goodness at the FMA!


Hisko Detria

Static Raw Power Kraut

As a sucker for all things Krautrock, this Creative-Commons licensed demo from Finnish psych-rockers Hisko Detria hit all the right buttons for me. Long cuts of interstellar guitar/keyboard explorations, delay-laden vocal outbursts, and a steady rhythm section from a group that doesn't shy away from its influences. Looking forward to hearing them build on this sound in 2013!


Howie Mitchell & Ruth Meyer


If you haven't been keeping up with The Howie Tapes pseudo-label here at the FMA, then you're missing out on some of the, er... freshest archival recordings on the net. David Mitchell, son of famed Hammered Dulcimer player Howie Mitchell, has been methodically digitizing and releasing his father's recordings - so far dating all the way back to this unreleased 1958 tape. They're all excellent!

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dvd on 09/01/2012 at 12:00PM

Salute to the Sun

This past week the FMA participated in a radio broadcast installation based out of the Soundfjord soundart gallery in London. The Radeq Summer of '12 radio experiment started at sunrise (6.06am) in London on Monday the 27th of August and did not stop broadcasting live from sun-lit land until 120 hours later. As the sun set in London the broadcast switched to a geniusly placed microphone in None Gallery, Dunedin, New Zealand to capture the sun rise and the day's soundscape. Then, as the sun set in NZ the stream switched back to London's sunrise... This continued until London's sunset on Friday 31st at 19.48.

For our part, we put together a diverse one-hour mix of sun-themed Creative Commons tunes from the FMA. We tried to cover a lot of musical ground, so you'll hear soundart, field-recordings, ambient electronic, chiptune, folk, pop, punk, funk, psych-rock, free-jazz & more. We also threw in some dialogue from the Public Domain film "Our Mr. Sun" which is worth checking out over at the Prelinger Archives. With September now upon us, I guess it's our little way of saying goodbye to a fun and productive Summer here in Jersey City. 

Check out the tracklist and download individual songs at the MIX PAGE. You can find more info about the Radeq broadcast here.

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dvd on 08/31/2012 at 03:59AM

Music for Video: August 2012

Tracks to Sync is a monthly mix of music curated with the video producer in mind.

As more and more people begin to create video in the digital era, they are faced with the music licensing hurdles that have hindered many a film project. This series aims to unite independent video producers with independent musicians; creating videos that want to be seen with music that wants to be shared.

More than half of the 50,000+ tracks at the FMA are available under Creative Commons licenses that allow for "derivative works," (like a video) while retaining the parts of copyright that the rightsholders wish to keep. You can search through all of these tracks by using our "sync to video" search filter, or check out our list of featured tracks. You can read more about the various CC combos here, and check out FMA's HELP & FAQ for more resources.

Before using any Creative Commons music for a project, you need to make sure you follow the track's license in order to avoid copyright infringement. If you're not sure whether your use is pre-cleared by a particular license, it's always a good idea to reach out to the artist directly. Click the "i" button below to view the license along with a URL or email address where you can secure 'more permissions.'

 Rock the Baby from The NED Show on Vimeo feat. music by Ant Neely

We always love to hear about collaborations inspired by FMA music, so if you use one of these tracks, please post a link on the track page as well as to our Video Showcase. Here's one of our favorite videos made using last month's tracks! We'll feature another video next month that uses tracks from this month's playlist.

1. Fhernando [www] is a mexican DJ/Producer putting out some very nice Disco-Funk tunes. Throw this track underneath some dialogue to keep the sonic backdrop pulsing, or use it to bring some energy to your visuals. [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike

2. This Björn & Gorden [www] track is bit more down-tempo and meditative. There's a lot of room in the mix if you want to focus in on the bass or mids, and when those guitars come in you've got yourself a nice dreamy electronic track to fit many moods. [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike

3. This CHLLNGR [soundcloud] remix has a bit more of a house vibe, while still keeping that ethereal chill-out ambiance. Great as an unobtrusive music bed for your urban scenes. [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike

4. Another selection from a very similar palette of sounds. Risey puts the bass up front and keeps it pulsing all the way through. Another house track that would be great for slideshows or how-to videos. Find more on this  compilaton of house sounds from Toucan Music. [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial]

5. Ghostandthesong's [soundcloud] poppy synth sounds make for a great chilled track. With a solid, catchy baseline, interesting samples, and super smooth production - snag this if you need some hip music to go with your indie film. [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike

6. This single from Isle [facebook] made quite an impression when it first landed here at the FMA. We normally don't put too many tracks with vocals in the Tracks to Sync feature, but this song would make a stellar addition to any soundtrack. [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike

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dvd on 08/30/2012 at 04:30PM

MP3 of the Day: Sexteto Tabalá de Pelenque, "Maria Palo"

Today we've got some cross-cultural Afro-Colombian Carribean music to whet your international apetite. Sexteto Tabalá de Pelenque plays  a mix of Cuban song and Colombian rhythms like Cumbia, Bullerengue, Porro, and Balie Cantao.

Natives of San Basilio de Pelenque in Colombia, the group began taking traditional Cuban Sexteto rhythms of the 20s & 30s and mixing them with local flavors. In 2005 the town was declared a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO for its unique Afro-Colombian creole language and culture.

This recording comes from a live session they played at WFMU in 2011 on the Transpacific Sound Paradise Program

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dvd on 08/29/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Chahadé Saadé, "Samaii Hijaz Kar Kurdi"

If you're not already familiar, Excavated Shellac has a wealth of historical recordings from all over the world stockpiled at their FMA curator portal. One of their first contributions was this amazing recording from Chahadé Saadé.

Saadé was a Lebanese musician and this oud solo, probably recorded in Syria circa 1926, was likely composed by the late 19th century Istanbul Armenian composer Tatyos Efendi. This digital recording was recovered from the original 10.5" 78 disc, so you'll hear some accoustic artifacts common to the format. In fact, this is a remarkably high quality recording considering its age, so don't worry about the noise -- that's just the sound of authenticity!


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dvd on 08/28/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Veena Kinhal, "Haratanaya Sree"

Inspired by yesterday's well-received #FMAmp3 post featuring Balinese Peliatan Gamelan, we've decided to continue highlighting some of the great international music hidden at the depths of the archive for the rest of the week.

Veena Kinhal is a sixth-generation vainika and daughter/disciple of famous Veena guru and musicologist Mysore L Raja Rao. She began her vocal and veena training with her father at the age of five and since moving to California in 1979 has continued to contribute to the carnatic classical tradition.

In this excellent public domain recording she pays tribute to her father, playing one of his original compositions. If this strikes your fancy, be sure to check out this 1930s recording we have of her father and uncle playing together here.

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dvd on 08/27/2012 at 05:15PM

Mobile Rekodi Situdio

In mid-2010, Brother Sister Records traveled to Nairobi, Kenya and set up a mobile recording studio in the slum township of Kibera in the offices of the Pamoja Youth Foundation. Word of the studio quickly spread amongst young local Kiberan MCs for an opportunity to lend their talents to BrotherSister's makeshift recording sessions. The recordings were then flown back to Australia and disseminated amongst Melbourne producers for the second phase of production.
The result is an astounding 12-track compilation in which dynamic Kenyan rap sub-genres such as Rocco Hip-Hop, Genge, Bongo, and Swahili-Jah are routed through a range of styles ranging from R&B, Bass, Experimental Pop to Minimal Techno. This album marks the first of a projected series aimed at remapping local audio-geographies cross a global terrain.
Artists include local dub veteran Jackie Zebraz to more raw and emerging artists, such as Madcat (a market rastaman otherwise known as Fred Odemba), X-Cute (his friend, Hilary Otiendo) and Whipstar (a dedicated local MC still at high school). 
Download these great selections from the album right here on the FMA, or stream the album in its entirety here.
If you'd like to learn more about the project, be sure to check out the BSR blog, where you'll find some thoughtful reflections on the project as well as pictures of all of the artists, Kibera, and the makeshift studio. 
BROTHER SISTER RECORDS is an independent music label based in Melbourne, Australia with a focus on experimental and electronic music. Be sure to check out their collection here on the FMA, and you can find all of their releases at their website.
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dvd on 08/27/2012 at 03:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Peliatan Gamelan, "Kapi Radja"

It's not everyday that we unearth an archival Gamelan recording here at the FMA, and today is no different. This track from the Peliatan Gamelan, originally recorded in 1952, was uploaded way back in 2009 by Arbiter Records. I say it's about time we throw the spotlight on it and give some of our great international collection a little love. 

Kapi Radja (Ape King) is meant as an accompaniment for traditional Balinese dancers. This excellent recording is typical of the Balinese style, featuring an assortment of bronze gongs at a fairly upbeat tempo. If you're more of a Javanese Gamelan person, don't fret! We've got you covered. Check out these two albums from Gamelan Nyai Saraswati.

Arbiter Records at: Free Music Archive | Online Catalogue

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dvd on 08/24/2012 at 02:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Ex Cops, "Spring Break (Birthday Song)"

Earlier this Summer NYC band Ex Cops strolled over to the WFMU studios in Jersey City to record a few songs for Duane's Show. This new take on the birthday salute hits me in all the right hazy-pop places but be warned: it is catchy as hell and WILL get stuck in your head. 

With some expert mixing and mastering from Mr. Scott, what we have here is a well-crafted pop gem, or as Duane writes, "an intoxicating blend of the hazy psychedelic dream pop, that combines the best elements of Flying Nun-styled jangle, the dark lucidity of Love, and a heaping helping of dirty lo-fi shimmer."

Ex Cops at:

Free Music Archive | WWW | Facebook

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fmamp3, wfmu, ex cops, dream pop
dvd on 08/22/2012 at 05:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Okey Szoke, "Siren"

Today's MP3 comes from an excellent collection of electronic producers put out by Brother Sister Records. IO is a compilation of six LED-lit dance tracks from artists in the Brothersister stable, extending motifs of constant and rhythmic data flow into spacious, tactile worlds that respond to elements of house, RnB and Jersey club.

We've got two tracks from the compilation here at the FMA, including this slick production (and video) from Okey Szoke. You can stream the whole compilation here, and be sure to check out some of the other great stuff Brother Sister Records is doing at their website

Okey Szoke - "Siren" (04:53)
Okey Szoke - "Siren" (04:53)
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