You came this way: Home > Tag: Fma Qa

“Fma Qa” (Used 8 times)

Related Articles

cheyenne_h on 10/02/2018 at 01:57PM

FMA Q&A: Blue Dot Sessions

Courtesy of Galen Huckins

If you've looked for instrumental music for podcasts or film, you've probably come across Blue Dot Sessions. They are a group that write and record music for public radio, podcasts and more. They're based out of Turners Falls, a small town in western Massachusetts. They are a studio, not exactly a 'band,' since various composers and musicians appear in their catalog. They are approaching their 100th release to FMA, and we wanted to ask them some questions about their work. My conversation with member Galen Huckins follows:

 

FMA: How would you describe Blue Dot Sessions (as a group and in terms of genre/style)?

GH: It’s a very pared down style. We’re often trying to strip away a lot of instrumentation to get to a core small ensemble, figure out how few instruments and textures are needed to really make a piece of music work. In terms of genre, it’s hard to say exactly, we’re often working in very different mediums, trying to get a minimalist sound out of a garage-rock setup or working with ultra-quiet classical players, or even drum machines. It feels like more of a density than a genre or a style sometimes.

How did you start off making music (as a group or as individuals)?

GH: I originally started off writing and recording music for my own radio and podcast projects. Some friends and I were traveling down the Mississippi River on an old riverboat and making a podcast about the trip (The River Signal). I found that there wasn’t a lot of music that worked well with long-form audio pieces where the music needs to be so understated and unobtrusive. I started writing more and more and found and we ended up with a whole library of music by the end of the trip.

FMA: What drew you to the Free Music Archive, and why did you want to put your music on our platform? I’m a real believer in alternative copyright and the work of the Creative Commons. Making my own personal projects, I’ve often turned to the Free Music Archive and other CC-licensed work, it’s really an amazing community. I figured that people starting out would really benefit from the work we do like I did from other CC artists. It also helps people find your music, many producers started out scoring little projects with our library because they found it right here at the FMA. Because podcasting has boomed so much in the last few years, people ended up monetizing their projects with ads or crowdfunding. When that started happening we figured out how to blanket license with podcasters and radio producers so they could have access to our whole library on a monthly basis. Our music is now on hundreds of podcasts, NPR, Radiotopia, Gimlet. Honestly, I think that’s just because a lot of the producers on public radio and podcast networks knew our music from their own pre-professional work.

FMA: Can you tell me about some of the places your music has ended up as a result of being on FMA?

GH: The first time hearing our music on the local NPR station was a rush, now we are often on Morning Edition or other programs that I can listen to right where I live. That never gets old. I make a point to look at YouTube every few days to see new uses of our library out in the wild. Sometimes sitting around the studio all day obsessing about fret noises you forget where the music you’re making actually ends up. I have to say I’ve picked up some strange things from YouTube instructionals just because they use our music. I’ve learned fly fishing techniques, fluid-dynamic modeling principles, the history of Nintendo 64 speedrunning. Just this morning I was watching a Christian ASMR channel, I would have never guessed!

FMA: Blue Dot Sessions is a very prolific group. How do you make so much music on such a regular schedule? How do you stay inspired?

GH: One thing that has helped me stay productive is to always be mixing fully composed music with improvisational work. Sometimes you run out of ideas in front of a blank sheet of paper, but if you can get yourself to just play around for a while, you’ll come up with something. We make a point not to stop rolling tape (or whatever we’re supposed to call tape in a mostly digital studio). We make a lot of alternate versions and stem files available through our website and weird little ideas that never quite seemed like a song end up out there in the world... in a Croatian fly fishing tutorial.

FMA: What project are you working on right now (musical or not) that you're excited about?

GH: We just finished a project recording a custom soundtrack for a podcast called Heavyweight. We were working with a mallet percussionist from a nearby university and string players to do a whole session of light and pizzicato ditties with concert marimba in the middle of it all. Scoring short films and podcasts is always a joy because you get to make up a whole little sonic microcosm. There are 2 other podcast scores we’re working on right now as well as our regular recording schedule, it’s been a really busy summer!

To hear some of their music or contact Blue Dot Sessions, check out their page at sessions.blue or their FMA collection here: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blue_Dot_Sessions/

» 2 COMMENTS Share
cheyenne_h on 08/01/2018 at 09:53AM

FMA Q&A: Yan Terrien

A laser harp, created by Yan Terrien, played by Jean-Michel Jarre. photo via Facebook.

Yan Terrien is a French musician who experiences inspiration for his music all over his life: from mathematical experiments and outer space, to time spent in hospitals, his music is an expression of his mind, body and soul. We find his music compelling, as well as the stories behind his songs. Give our interview a read below: 

 

FMA: Tell us a little about yourself. 

Yan Terrien: My name is Yan Terrien. I am French and live near Marseilles. I was born in 1951 and worked all my life as a show technician. I am self-taught and have learned computers as artists have asked me to create systems for them. I made laser harps, show-control software, giant image projectors, fireworks sequencers, and so on. [Note: the photo above is of a laser harp made by Yan, played by Jean-Michel Jarre.]

FMA: How would you describe the music you make?

Yan Terrien: I make algorithmic music, but, not having the level nor the basics in mathematics, my approach has been empirical from the beginning. The path that I took consists of writing computer code to create sequences of MIDI commands. The method that I used in the albums "Music For Corridors" and "Streaks" was to write JavaScript code in "Max For Live" modules. I wrote scripts that send commands to the MIDI tracks of the Ableton software, and then reworked the recorded tracks to make them sound according to the emotions I wanted to express. When I used this method, I was under morphine treatment for lung cancer, which explains the atmosphere of the album "Music For Corridors." I used the same technique in the album "Streaks" but with less audio effects to maintain a raw piano sound. For example, the song "Bond Band" repeats random arpeggios and the algorithm varies the velocity of each note to obtain a different resonance at each repetition. I also used my scripts to generate random solos in music with a different genre, as in the song "Secret Latch" of the album "Music For Me" (is it Pop ?). 

FMA: How did you start making music?

Yan Terrien: I learned piano when I was young. As a teenager, I was playing bass guitar in a rock band that became "The Rockets" afterwards, a space rock band! 

But I stopped music when I became a father at 22. I started to create computer music in 1984 on a MSX, but the first music software that I wrote on PC, Synthia, was an interface that controlled oscillators. I used it recently to create the sounds of the Thiasyn song. In the 90s I wrote Katorzer, where you had to enter some fancy parameters that created note and velocity loops. It was my first attempt with the method that I use now. At this time, composer Forrest Fang used it in some of his compositions. 

FMA: How did you find the Free Music Archive, and why did you want to put your music on our platform?

Yan Terrien: I was looking for a platform where I could put music with a CC license and where people could download it to use it for their own creations. I was not happy with Soundcloud because, apparently, only musicians go on Soundcloud, it's a closed world. On FMA, people come because they know they can find good music without being sued because they use it.

I like the fact that people can download my music to use it for their own creations. At the moment it's mostly for videos but I dream that my music can be used in a contemporary ballet, I would be overjoyed to see artists dance on my music.

FMA: Tell me about some of the places your music has ended up.

I have created a YouTube playlist with all the videos using my music since I put it on FMA (57 videos since June). 

FMA: Do you have any artistic influences? What or who are they?

Yan Terrien: My influence are multiple. I like all music genres, from hermetic electronics to syrupy classic. But my favorite artist is Ryuichi Sakamoto, for his sensitivity, his eclecticism, his sense of beauty, his aura. He is a master.

FMA: What project are you working on right now (musical or not) that you're excited about?

Yan Terrien: Today my lung cancer has woken up, although it has been quiet for a year now, so I will focus on the treatments. But at the same time I'm looking for a new way to use my computer skills to create music. I try new programs, I explore, something will eventually end up ...

» 0 COMMENTS Share
TAGGED AS:
yan terrien, fma qa
cheyenne_h on 10/23/2017 at 03:03PM

FMA Q&A: The Freeharmonic Orchestra!

Last year, the Freeharmonic Orchestra made its debut with "Freeharmonics Vol. 1," a groundbreaking round-robin music project that spanned the globe. I interviewed a couple of the artists last year for Radio Free Culture when the album dropped. This year's project is called "Space, Robots, the Future!" and features an impressive roster of musicians: Steve Combs, Lonely Punk, simon_mathewson, Monplaisir, Tapes & Tubes, Scott Holmes, gentil, Monk Turner, Matt Oakley, springtide, Ketsa, Art of Escapism, Jahzzar, Nic Bommarito, Matteo Berni, half cocked, Unthunk, Blue Dot Sessions and Small Colin. Needless to say, it's a profoundly varied listen and was a labor of love by these artists. Check it out (for free of course!) right here. I asked a few of the artists to tell me about their experiences and you can read answers from Simon Mathewson, Offal Tunes, springtide & Unthunk (lightly edited) below.

FMA: How did you get involved with the Free Music Archive?

simon_mathewson: I make music and put it on the FMA. In the past I've put music on Myspace, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Bandcamp etc but I've found that people who use the FMA to find music are far more responsive and my music has been used for film, animation, games, choreography, documentaries, podcasts and more.

Offal Tunes: I have been a participating artist on the FMA platform since July of 2015 and have been releasing material on the site ever since. At first I put out a bunch of tunes by a band called Bad Ronald until they broke up late in 2016. At that point I put together a new act called half cocked. Through the site I have been contacted more than a few times by video artists looking to use our material for their projects, which I found quite exciting. That has never happened on any of the other music distribution sites I have worked with. I also volunteer my time helping produce live sets for the WFMU community as well as helping out with some of the site's curatorial duties. It is a labor of love and I am thankful for the services that the FMA provides!

springtide: I’m the only member of one-man band called springtide. I have been releasing my tunes on FMA since 2012, and it allows me to connect with listeners around the world, including talented videographers.

Unthunk: I use FMA as a distribution hub for my recorded music. I got involved through Lee Rosevere of the netlabel Happy Puppy Records. He graciously agreed to put out something I was working on, and as you know, the label operates through FMA.

FMA: Where do you live and make music?

simon_mathewson: South West England.

Offal Tunes: I reside in Manhattan and can be found walking the streets of the East Village with my rat terrier, Jackie.

springtide: Tokyo, Japan.

Unthunk: Bowen Island, BC Canada.

FMA: How did you become involved with the Freeharmonic Orchestra?

simon_mathewson: Last year I made an album with Steve Combs and he suggested the idea getting lots of FMA musicians together to make a collaborative album. He organised Freeharmonics Vol 1 and I organised Vol 2 (Space, Robots, the Future).

Offal Tunes: Simon Mathewson, who put the whole thing together along with Steve Combs, contacted me through the FMA site back in 2016 to ask me if I wanted to participate in a musical version of an "Exquisite Corpse" where artists would begin a composition and hand it off to someone else for completion. I loved the idea from the get go and agreed enthusiastically. I had a blast working on both projects!

springtide: I didn’t know about this project before Simon asked me if I’m interested in this type of collaboration. Actually, I have no idea why Simon selected me ;-) 

Unthunk: When Steve and Simon hatched the plan to produce the first album, I gather they browsed the FMA artists looking for likely participants. Simon sent me an email, and I was thrilled be included. I was therefore looking forward to Simon's call to action for volume 2.

FMA: Tell me about the song(s) you worked on.


READ MORE
» 1 COMMENTS Share
cheyenne_h on 03/20/2017 at 11:57AM

FMA Q&A: Public Domain Wonders from Monplaisir

Monplaisir: A one-man public domain music machine. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Monplaisir is a man of many bands, and if you've ever cruised through the Public Domain offerings at FMA, you're likely to have encountered a project or two of his! He is devoted to sharing his music as openly as possible with a CC0 license, which allows for any type of re-use, and is internationally recognized as being dedicated to the public domain. Of course, it doesn't hurt to give credit when you use a Public Domain track, but there are no limitations to what you can use this music for. You can find some "Best Of" tracks in this collection: "Let's Hear That Crap!

FMA: Tell me about your music projects on the FMA - you have a few. (Monplaisir, Alpha Hydrae, Komiku, etc). Do they each represent a different style or approach to music?

Monplaisir: I've started producing music under the name of Alpha Hydrae and after few years the name became boring so I've changed to Monplaisir. Monplaisir is like my nickname for everything that fit in noise rock/folk, Komiku is dedicated for the soundtrack of videogames that don't exist which can have some similarities with work under the Monplaisir nickname, Demoiselle Döner is for harshnoise/remix/cold electro, BG du 72 is french noisy songs about love and kindness. With this, I've some bands, SUMMER, frontwave/noise rock, Cuicuitte, a brut folk band with my friend Otite Noire, Pas Dans Le Cul Aujourd'hui, a heavy noise & guitar band, U-Man, improvised french songs... All those names are different ways to approach the music and reach the flow.

FMA: Do you collaborate with others or do you prefer to make music alone?

Monplaisir: I love to collaborate with musicians and to do music alone. Doing music alone is really cool to make fast and precise music, but sometimes it's difficult to make new music because of the lack of chaos and influence. I often collaborate with musicians to do improvisation like in U-Man and Pas Dans Le Cul Aujourd'hui, it's sometimes a pain but really surprising and rewarding.

FMA: Where do you get ideas for songs and albums?

Monplaisir:
Most of the time I get my ideas by trying to do the same kind of music as other bands I listen often (like Cindy Lee, Vampillia, Xinlisupreme, Natural Snow Buildings...). Also I love to have challenges, like, to produce a maximum of music in a short time (Baisers de Sonora was recorded in 26 hours for the FAWM2017), to only use one instrument or two, or like for my project Komiku to create a soundtrack for something that doesn't exist. And when I'm stuck, I look for new guitars and effect pedals.

FMA: Why do you choose to license your work with a CC0/Public Domain license?

Monplaisir: I've chosen the CC0 licence for multiple reasons. First, because I hate the copyright logo, a little C alone in a bubble, so sad. Second, for obvious political choices. I find the actual copyright in France and USA completely absurd. It's based in a philosophy I really don't like, an old individualist way of seeing the culture, which is really sad and greedy. So I want to participate to the alternative. I've seen how it's hard for some people to remix stuff for their own project because of copyright. If I can help to save other artists some time and money to express themselves, all the better. Also, I really don't care about what people do with my music, except when people are oppresive against other people and using my music to do so. I find that a bit rude.

>>  CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO READ MORE!  >>


READ MORE
» 1 COMMENTS Share
cheyenne_h on 01/25/2017 at 02:44PM

FMA Q&A: "The Gateway Bug" Soundtracked with FMA's Help

A still from the film's trailer. Find it here.

A few weeks ago we got a message from a couple of producers, Johanna Kelly and Cameron Marshad, who were working on a film. They wanted some help getting in touch with the band Atlantic Thrills, because their song "Bed Bugs" from a WFMU Live performance had caught their attention. They wanted to use it to accompany the ending credits of their upcoming documentary, "The Gateway Bug."

The film is an exploration of 'entomophagy,' or, as you might call it in plain English, eating insects! Many have touted this practice as a way to conserve natual resources and take advantage of a food source that is nutritious, easy to cultivate, and plentiful, especially in parts of the world that have not embraced the practice. The film will debut at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 2, 2017. More info can be found here.

FMA: Tell me about your project, "The Gateway Bug."  

Johanna: Our fully independent documentary exposes America's disconnect with food as pivotal tipping point for climate change and global warming. Following the terrifying paper presented in 2013 by the UN that food production must double by 2050 to feed Earth's exploding population, and their warning that at this rate, that’s impossible - we needed to know how and why. Upon finding that nutrition is direct result of culture and policy, everyday activities like eating, gardening and grocery shopping become revolutionary acts. This film converts viewers into activists, inviting exploration of taste, ethics and taboos to ignite social change through education.

Cameron: "The Gateway Bug" explores the booming edible insect industry now taking hold in Western countries as a direct response to the unsustainable agricultural practices we’ve witnessed over the last several decades. We discovered the topic through our friend studying at UCSB, and for his thesis he was tasked with developing a business that solves an ecological problem. The problem he was most familiar with was the overfishing of our oceans, and he proposed we start using insects as fish feed, rather than wild fish. Johanna and I found this fascinating, especially when we started talking about insects for human consumption.

FMA: Why did you want to make a film about this topic?

Cameron: The earth and its population are facing many crises at the moment, and food is one big part of that puzzle. We can't survive without it. I am an adventurous eater, and when I heard about humans starting to eat insects in the US, the land of the free and home the quarter pounder with cheese, I was immediately entranced. The reason I wanted to make this film was to tell the story about climate change from a different perspective, one that involves food culture breaking social norms.

Johanna: I'm a filmmaker because I'm a film-lover and I watch a lot of documentaries. It's kind of my favourite way to learn these days and I think a lot of people feel the same way. You can spend weeks trying to finish a book on something you want to know more about, or you can just sit down on your couch and be an expert in a couple of hours. These issues and solutions stand to change the world, so what better way to share them than in the easily digestible (HA!) form of a film? I hope our film helps people see how easy it is to help the planet and minimise climate change. Which in turn hopefully also makes them feel damn good about themselves, improving their health through better nutrition is just a happy side effect in my eyes.

FMA: Do you consider the purpose of the film educational, social, culinary, or something else?

Cameron: I believe the purpose of the film is to enable free thought around how our food is made and how we define what is food. It's a mix of educational, social, and culinary commentary; we meet chefs, farmers, celebrities, and Washington leaders, so we show the burgeoning edible insect industry from multiple angles. We also use archival footage throughout, which is meant to invoke a feeling of "Wait, we've been talking about this stuff for years, why hasn't anything changed?" I think it is a call to action, to encourage new ways of thinking about food production and food culture and their environmental consequences.

Johanna: I think it covers a lot of ground: social impact, environmental, culinary exploration of culture, what it means to survive in America, eating an American diet and how that's a vastly different experience depending on where you were born. We go from cricket farms in food deserts across the rust belt and the water crisis in Flint Michigan to high end restaurants on the lower east side in New York City. From tech geeks in Silicon Valley to Aquaponic farms in Santa Barbara and everything in between.

>>READ MORE below for more answers, further reading, and links!


READ MORE
» 0 COMMENTS Share