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tcamhi on 06/29/2009 at 03:53PM

Pandora Records: Variations on a Theme

via flickr

Pandora Records is one of the more recent new additions to the Free Music Archive. The label, which is now defunct, had an extensive library of classical music -- posted here under an EFF License -- that I have been rummaging through with the hopes of bringing the cream of the crop to everyone here at the FMA. So now I present to you the first of many more works recorded for the Pandora label.

I’ve chosen to start out with a piece written for two pianos. I’ve always had an affinity for piano…always wishing my parents had molded me into one of those child prodigy piano virtuosos, who play repetoire like Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev at age 8, but instead I chose to play viola and the rest is history. Anyway, what could be better than one piano but two? Pandora has a wide selection of works for two pianos by the duo pianists Neal and Nancy O’Doan. I did a quick google/wikipedia search on these two but was unable to find any dirt on them. So here is what I know from listening to their recordings: The pair are very sensitive to each other; balancing their individual sounds off of one another. One pianist will take off on a scale run while the other plays a lyrical melody all while making a seamless transitions in the music; It’s almost as if it’s one player (Liszt anyone?). Don’t believe me? Take a listen for yourself.

The first work from the duo I’ve chosen to bring to the FMA is Lutoslawski’s Variations On a Theme by Paganini. The piece is just under five minutes, but explores the theme in depth in a variety of different lights. It’s definitely worth a listen, so get to it!

Check back on the FMA in the coming weeks for more from Neal and Nancy O’Doan and the Pandora archives. Happy Listening!

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jason on 06/29/2009 at 11:00AM

The Goodnight Loving live on WFMU's Cherry Blossom Clinic

Goodnight Loving on dino feet (via Dusty Medical Records)

Terre T recently played host to Milwaukee country punks The Goodnight Loving, featuring members of Jail and The Midwest Beat. Greg Cartwright of The Reigning Sound produced their debut album, Cemetary Trails, and their third album (self-titled) is out now on Dusty Medical Records.

The set was engineered by Dave Amels, check out the mp3s here on the Free Music Archive. WFMU's Playlist & Streaming Archive for The Cherry Blossom Clinic is here, and kicks off with set in tribute to Sky Saxon of The Seeds

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calebt on 06/28/2009 at 03:00PM

Every Girl's Dream

TGIF E.P.

Wikipedia has a lot to say about the Pukeko, a New Zealand-bred relative of the Purple Swamp Hen. Most interesting, however, is the section on the birds' "roadside behavior" -- they forage in packs alongside New Zealand highways, looking for food and grit (preferably red, preferably not blue), until they wander onto the highway and are killed by passing vehicles.

Luckily, the Pukeko behind the production of the most recent Teengirl Fantasy E.P. lives nowhere near any New Zealand roads, and stumbles upon much more palatable grit. BJ Rubin is the face behind the blog, responsible for digging up high-quality gems like ancient Black Dice recordings and a High Places demo robbed straight from their cradle. But Rubin has matured from scavenger to predator and started a record label of his own, dubbed Dick Move, whose inaugural release was Knyfe Hyt's recent 12". Teengirl Fantasy struck his fancy when BJ saw their show at Vassar, and he happily released a digital copy of their new E.P., TGIF, on his blog.


Teengirl Fantasy, as Rubin notes, make computer music without computers. Their catchy, lethargic electronic compositions are constructed on a variety of samplers and synthesizers - notably a mini-Korg and a Roland Juno-G augmented by a variety of pedals. As a bonus, the duo records direct to tape. The difference is noticeable -- there is an analog/human warmth to their songs that would make Kraftwerk roll over in their grave. The E.P. is four catchy tracks that float along effortlessly, demonstrating an impressive amount of taste and control over their repeating melodies. Captivating, but not belligerent -- the music would be happy playing an Eno-esque background/ambient role, but never ceases to be interesting or engaging. Certainly a sign of good things to come.

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Nat_Roe on 06/26/2009 at 10:57AM

If you love high pitched screeches, this is a must listen (no, this headline is not a joke)

I first ran into Kyle Bruckmann's oboe shredding insanity while listening to the (recently uploaded on the FMA) comp of Chicago avant-gardists, Winter Construction.  Turns out Bruckmann's garnered quite the reputation for his improvisations. 

As of late, I've been really enjoying the free saxophone improvisations of Kang Tae Hwan, and Bruckmann's solos are definitely in that vein - tons of reaching through overtones (especially the highest reaches of the instrument) and exploring the extended faculties of the oboe.  I always used to kinda scoff at circular breathing because of the Kenny G connection, but listening to music like this makes me realize how crucial it can be to give proper space for an idea.  You can find Bruckmann's homepage here and listen to his other tracks on the FMA here.

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JoeMc on 06/24/2009 at 11:39PM

Sitar Love

This is not Yoshino Travel.

Everybody’s got an instrument that tickles their ear in the right way. For a lot of people, it’s the guitar; for plenty of others, it’s the sax; and there are some very romantic people out there who love nothing quite like the sound of solo cello. For me, though, it’s always been one of India’s oldest instruments that makes the hair stand up on my neck: the sitar. I’ve loved the sound of the instrument ever since I was a kid, and that feeling has grown over the years. Now, of course, I can appreciate and admire the sound of the sitar in its natural and proper setting—that is, in Indian classical music—but my first exposure to the sitar was in Western pop music. As a result, although I enjoy genuine ragas, I still have a real weakness for the sitar when it pops up in pop music.

A recent dip into the FMA revealed a new pop music sitar find, which I’d like to share with you today. But not before I blab some more about sitars in pop!


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lizb on 06/24/2009 at 05:20PM

Liechtenstein: DIY from Sweden

I recently watched the BBC's excellent documentary "Do It Yourself: The Story of Rough Trade" (check it out here on Google Video), leaving me wanting to listen to nothing but the Raincoats, Liliput, Essential Logic, The Slits, and Vivien Goldman for the forseeable future.

What a ripe time to discover Liechtenstein from Sweden! DIY hooks and charmingly inept girl harmonies aplenty, these ladies rolled into the WFMU studios recently, performing live on Choking on Cufflinks with Michael Goodstein (check out the whole set here).

Liechtenstein's most recent CD, "Survival Strategies in a Modern World" (Slumberland) also delivers great pop sounds that are sure to please anyone who digs the Vivian Girls or has a hankering for the modern counterparts to Girls At Our Best (whose material has been reissued recently, by the way).

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tommy on 06/24/2009 at 12:38PM

Collecting Collectables from Curating Collectives

If you're beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by the 9500 tracks now housed in the FMA, have no fear.  Curators have been compiling collections and mixes of some of their offerings to help you along.

Excavated Shellac hosts 91 digital captures of rare 78rpm records from the first quarter of the 20th century and has compiled an outstanding mix of some gems from the collection called International Association of the String, "A collection of early masterful fiddle and violin performances - including a few variations on the instrument, such as the kemence of the Black Sea, and the hardanger of Norway."  Listen below to a beautiful guitar duet from pre-tango era Argentina.

The Faux Fetus Collective's featured collection, "John Dwyer for Hire," includes a series of exclusive FFC releases from the current frontman of Thee Oh Sees.

dublab is currently featuring a collection of over 14 live performances from their dublab.com sessions including the likes of Smegma, Peter Walker with Jack Rose, and Bradford Cox.

CASH Music (Coalition of Artists and Stakeholders) has a collection featuring only full albums and EPs, and a killer mix of music from the likes of Xiu Xiu, Superhumanoids, and Learning Music.

And if all else fails, find that fellow FMA-er whose got your taste in music, dig their mixes, and browse through their favorite artists, albums, and tracks!

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pushbinlou on 06/23/2009 at 04:23PM

Ears Wide Open: Jeva

artwork by Jeva

Jeva is another cool electronic artist that I recently found out about here on FMA.  Jeva (Scott Partridge) is a visual artist (an example of his work is posted here) and musician based out of North Carolina.  Jeva's tracks have a cool loungey vibe with lots of great samples that remind me of artists like Mr. Scruff and Kid Koala.  The tracks are also reminiscent of Jeva's artwork which is very playful and carefree.  Check out "cestsoir" featured here as well as tracks like "outotune", "babyface" and "daylitesavingtime".

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longrally on 06/23/2009 at 03:12PM

Glows In the Dark Live on WFMU

Sc-cr-wfmu A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting Richmond, VA's Glows in the Dark on WFMU.  Representing a nice little active scene in Richmond, Glows exists on an axis where avant jazz and film soundtracks meet.  And while that may sound on paper like it could be a mess, in reality the seamlessness between the two styles is pretty astonishing.  So when I marveled to guitarist/chief songwriter Scott Burton at the audible effortlessness of moving between driving four-on-the-floor beats to free scree to lounge music to creeping horror film scores, he confessed that the band spends a lot of time working on transitions.  That work pays off. 

The comparison that Glows brings to mind is a less bludgeoning version of John Zorn's Naked City, yet I can't help but position Glows as part of a tradition of jazz's relationship to the movies, whether it's the appearence of countless big bands in talkies during the Ellington/Basie era, to Miles Davis's soundtrack Ascenseur pour L'Echafaud and Herbie Hancock's The Blow-Up, to the funk jazz of blaxploitation and crime films and beyond.  Check out their album, Music to Listen to Glows in the Dark By.  Someone should hire this band to score their next film!  Thanks to Sean Austin for engineering.

The Long Rally; Air date: June 10, 2009; Engineer: Sean Austin

Scott Burton, guitar, composition; Scott Clark, drums; John Lilley, sax; Reggie Pace, trombone; Cameron Ralston, bass

Full set here on the Free Music Archive

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herr_professor on 06/22/2009 at 07:29PM

A Matter Of Professional Courtesy

Live at Blip Festival 2007

The last few posts, we have been slowly focusing on more pure chiptune artists. These are artists who eschew post production, and focus on things that are more in the spirit of the original game programmers limitations. Philadelphian Alex Mauer's approach to game music is measured, methodical, scientific, and extremely heartfelt. First arriving on the scene with Blast, a soundtrack for a game that never was, started by Mauer when he was only a child, is innocent yet very sophisticated. He has carried this moody style into his later works, acrossvarious platforms and styles, culminating in creating what the scene is calling "Rom Albums". The concept takes game music full circle with music and graphics created by Mauer and distributed on actual honest to goodness NES Cartridges.


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