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cheyenne_h on 12/21/2016 at 11:40AM

2016 Year In Review, Part V: ccCommunity's Indie, Rock & Punk

We've made it to the last of the 2016 ccCommunity compilations - part 5 of 5: Indie, Rock & Punk!

Indie, Rock & Punk is the fifth of our 2016 Year In Review series (which will be appearing on this blog all month long), and the final installment of the ccCommunity Year In Review playlists. There'll be more Year In Review features from other curators, so stay tuned for the next installment! The ccCommunity is a vibrant & diverse group of artists who are not affiliated with other formal FMA curators, who ask the FMA directly to join the party. Not everyone makes the cut, but we encourage artists to contact us if they want to be included in the FMA's collection. And please bear in mind: these are just from one curator page, our ccCommunity, and these songs loosely fit in the genre designations we gave them, but not everything by all of these artists is the same -- you may find a wide variety of genres represented in one album. 

Here are some of 2016's indiest, rockin'est, and punkest ccCommunity cuts:

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cheyenne_h on 12/20/2016 at 05:41PM

2016 Year In Review, Part IV: ccCommunity's Experimental & Miscellany

We're decking the blog with ccCommunity mixes - and we're on part 4 of 5: Experimental & Miscellany.

Experimental & Miscellany is the fourth of our 2016 Year In Review series (which will be appearing on this blog all month long). There will be separate playlists for other genre groups, so stay tuned for the next installment! The ccCommunity is a vibrant & diverse group of artists who are not affiliated with other formal FMA curators, who ask the FMA directly to join the party. Not everyone makes the cut, but we encourage artists to contact us if they want to be included in the FMA's collection. And please bear in mind: these are just from one curator page, our ccCommunity, and these songs loosely fit in the genre designations we gave them, but not everything by all of these artists is the same -- you may find a wide variety of genres represented in one album. Without further ado, here are a few highlights from the weirder end of the ccCommunity spectrum: 

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2016 year in review
cheyenne_h on 12/15/2016 at 02:07PM

FMA Data Set for Researchers Released

Oh, Flickr Commons, how I love thee. "Science Gossip" from flickr commons/Internet Archive Book Images. No known copyright restrictions.

A team of researchers recently released three data sets with music from the Free Music Archive. The team is from the Signal Processing Laboratory at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

The FMA data sets consist of audio excerpts and metadata from a collection of songs from the Free Music Archive which will be used to 'train' and 'test' music information software. The sets provide a legal and up-to-date alternative to other available music data sets, which are outdated, sometimes inaccessible, and fettered by copyright concerns. By embracing the "some rights reserved" philosophy of Creative Commons, artists are not only making their music available for the public to listen to, but also for educational and research applications.

Kirell Benzi, a PhD student at the lab, said "[R]esearchers now have access to large datasets for image processing, pushing science forward... However, because of copyright issues, Music Information Retrieval researchers had no equivalent. As a results the image processing community methods are more advanced than the ones for audio. Indeed, the former biggest dataset was the Million Song Dataset with Echonest features but no access to raw files. We noticed that Echonest features are subject to intellectual property [laws] and are outdated. Worse, the website Echonest for developers seems down for good, leaving MIR [Music Information Retrieval] researchers with the old GTZAN dataset of 1000 illegal mp3 excerpts. With the new FMA dataset, all these issues are history!"

"The main goal is to advance Machine Learning research for music, and we think this dataset can have a great impact," said Michaël Defferrard, another member of the team.

If you're interested in learning more about the rationale behind the project, or see a quick survey of other data sets that are currently available to music researchers, you can read their article (PDF) here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.01840

The actual sets can be found here (small and medium are the only ones available at this time) and the code is on github.

Thanks to Kirell Benzi, Michaël Defferrard, Pierre Vandergheynst and Xavier Bresson for sharing the FMA in a new way!

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cheyenne_h on 12/14/2016 at 05:02PM

2016 Year In Review, Part III: ccCommunity's Pop, Country & Folk

We're decking the blog with ccCommunity playlists all week long! We're excited to bring lots of unique artists to the fore, from dusty corners of Soundcloud and homebrewed band pages, to your ears!

Pop, Country & Folk is the third of our 2016 Year In Review series (which will be appearing on this blog all month long). There will be separate playlists for other genre groups, so stay tuned for the next installment! The ccCommunity is a vibrant & diverse group of artists who are not affiliated with other formal FMA curators, who ask the FMA directly to join the party. We are honored and privileged to have these artists in our ranks, and can't wait for you to get to know them. And please bear in mind: these are just from one curator page, our ccCommunity, and these songs loosely fit in the genre designations we gave them, but not everything by all of these artists is the same -- you may find a wide variety of genres represented in one album. Without further ado, here is the playlist for your enjoyment!

 

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cheyenne_h on 12/13/2016 at 06:46PM

2016 Year In Review, Part II: ccCommunity's Electronic Beats & Hip-Hop

ccCommunity playists will festoon the blog all week long! We're excited to bring lots of unique artists to the fore, from dusty corners of Soundcloud and homebrewed band pages, to your ears!

Electronic Beats & Hip-Hop is the second of our 2016 Year In Review series (which will be appearing on this blog all month long). There will be separate playlists for other genre groups, so stay tuned for the next installment! The ccCommunity is a vibrant & diverse group of artists who are not affiliated with other formal FMA curators, who ask the FMA directly to join the party. We are honored and privileged to have these artists in our ranks, and can't wait for you to get to know them. Crank the bass for this one!

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cheyenne_h on 12/12/2016 at 07:11PM

2016 Year In Review, Part I: ccCommunity's Ambient & Instrumental

Our Year-In-Review playlists are rolling in! Since 2016 was a banner year for the Free Music Archive in lots of ways, we decided to give some special attention to the artists who aren't represented by curators - our ccCommunity! Due to the great number of submissions we took in this year, it quickly became obvious that many of these artists deserved attention. The vibrant diversity of this year's ccCommunity lend themselves to multiple playlists, so that's what we're doing! 

Instrumental & Ambient music is the first of our Year In Review series (which will be appearing on this blog all month long). There will be separate playlists for other genre groups, so stay tuned for the next installment! Til then, here are some lovely instrumentals - we hope you like 'em. And please bear in mind: these are just from one curator page, our ccCommunity, and these songs are instrumental, but not everything by all of these artists is instrumental -- you may find a catchy pop tune with lyrics alongside some of these instrumentals, or they might be instrumental versions of other songs you'll find on FMA.

 

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2016 year in review
cheyenne_h on 12/08/2016 at 04:02PM

Dana Boulé: "We All Need To Calm Down"

Chilling for real: this photo of reindeer is from flickr/the Preus Museum

[Guest Post by Dana Boulé, edited & shared by cheyenne_h]

Part film score, part folk, and part spacious meditation, We All Need To Calm Down is Dana Boulé’s homage to the calm, the quiet and to solitude. Eight musicians from around the world collaborated to make this soundtrack for the mindful.

The album, which is almost exactly an hour long, is all the instrumental tracks from her last album for meditation. You can listen to a few of its tracks below, or visit the album page for the full release.

The album is CC BY-NC-ND, so any commercial or derivative uses should be cleared with Dana first, but feel free to use it to relax, reflect, and chill out.

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dana boule
cheyenne_h on 12/07/2016 at 02:09PM

FMA: A Resource for Video Producers

YouTuber and online video tutorial-producer PremiereGal gave FMA a shout-out on her latest video about places to find music for videos. She's also rockin' our 2016 fundraiser shirt!

She also mentions a blog entry that gives a quick run-down of the licenses and whether or not they're suitable for video, which you can find here. As always, we encourage everyone to read the licenses carefully and contact the artist if you're in doubt, but don't let that stop you from utilizing all that our archive has to offer!

OK, enough about us. Here's the video!

 

You can find more of PremiereGal's tutorials and updates at her website.

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music for video
cheyenne_h on 11/10/2016 at 05:48PM

FMA Q&A: Monkey Warhol

Image courtesy of Monkey Warhol

Here are the FMA, there are few ways to measure the popularity or success of a new artist - downloads, streams/listens, and, probably most importantly, distribution. By sharing songs under Creative Commons licenses that allow for reuse in video, many artists get to reach an audience that they would have never touched before. This has been the case with recent addition Monkey Warhol. His music has shown up in skateboarding vids, reverse cooking tutorials, video game play-throughs, drawing demonstrations, and even a creepy Dada-esque fan video!

You can lisen to Monkey Warhol's first FMA release, the Darwin LP, here - or watch the official music video for "Lovely Lady":

 

 

FMA: Where are you from?

MW: Minnesota.  The land of Bob Dylan, Prince, The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, Owl City, and Steven Greenberg (he's the guy behind the disco hit "Funkytown")!  Amazing place, isn't it?

FMA: Yeah, not bad! How long have you been interested in music?

MW: Forever (or at least as long as I can remember)...  As a young padawan my parents would prop me up against the family piano, and I would annoy them with my insistent pounding.  Now that I have a family of my own, I continue to annoy them with my insistent pounding; but since I'm the dad, they can't tell me to stop!  (Actually, they can…  I just don't have to listen.)  I guess some things never change.
 
FMA: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it?

MW: In general… electronic, poppy, hyper, energetic, and fun!  Of course in my mind, my music sounds like a super hip amalgamation of Andrew WK, Daft Punk, and the Flaming Lips.  However, in reality, it probably sounds closer to Moby moonlighting at a "Weird Al" Yankovic concert.

FMA: Where does your name, "Monkey Warhol," come from - and do you consider Andy Warhol to be an influence on your creative process?

MW: "Monkey" is what Mama and Papa Warhol called me when I was a little baboon pounding on the piano, and I guess it just kinda stuck!

However, digging a bit deeper and to geek out, I remember hearing about the "Infinite Monkey Theorem" which states that given enough time any monkey could type Shakespeare and Andy Warhol was quoted as saying "In the future everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes."  So I guess that sums up my musical aspirations and "Internet Culture" in general... Mama Warhol knew best!

FMA: There are many layers to your songs. Where do you usually begin?

MW: The majority of my songs start with silence, and then I build them from there with a chord progression, hook, or pattern.  Through years and years of experience, I've learned that it's best to have an idea for the various parts of a song complete before I hit "record" or else I end up with a hard drive full of half-finished tracks.

As for the layers, I think it's largely due to being self-produced where on playback I'm constantly tweaking, refining, and adding a little "spice" to the mix in order to keep the energy up and keep myself interested.  Actually, it's funny that you mention the layers as I've been consciously trying to refine my production skills and scale back the layers thinking that sometimes less is more... I've actually gone from about 100 tracks a song to 50, so I'm gradually scaling back, but I realize it's still a bit excessive.

FMA: It sounds (and looks) like there are some kids involved in your music (judging from Lovely Lady, in particular). Would you consider your music to be "for kids"?

MW: While I don't set out to write music specifically for children, I'm not surprised that my "sound" combined with my willingness to follow through on stupid/silly ideas (i.e. the "Lovely Lady" video or playing live in a monkey mask) might catch the attention and enthusiasm of some kids.  That said, I still make music for myself, but am honored and flattered by anyone who is willing to take the time and give my music a listen! 


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cheyenne_h on 10/24/2016 at 02:16PM

FMA Q&A: Birthday Songs Find New Life On YouTube

"Greg's Birthday" by Fred Karklin on flickr. CC BY-NC-SA.

AppleBerry Blues (May) is a Youtuber in Toronto who runs the Youtube channel "Birthday Songs" which has been running since July 2016 and already boasts around 100 videos. She is currently a student and spends most of her time attending classes, writing and studying. She's also on Facebook. FMA Director Cheyenne tracked her down and asked her some questions about her channel and how it's bringing fresh eyes (and ears!) to many of our Free Birthday Songs. We at FMA HQ are especially pleased that the charmingly-NSFW "Foul Mouthed Birthday Robot" got a video and does a little dance:

FMA: Why did you decide to start making birthday song videos and posting them online?

ABB: I wanted to have a Youtube channel with videos that could be watched forever and never become dated.  Since birthdays are celebrated by people everyday I thought birthdays would be a good topic.  I also wanted to have a Youtube channel with a positive focus and I generally feel that birthdays have a lot of positive energy associated with them.

FMA: What's your favorite part about making birthday song videos?

ABB: I have the freedom to be creative and do anything I want because I work alone on the channel. I enjoy that I can wake up with an idea on a Saturday morning, and have a video using that idea posted for the world to see by Saturday afternoon. One day I might be working on secret birthday codes, the next day I might do a collage, the following day I might sketch something, the next day I might collect some birthday themed pictures from flickr and assemble them.  I don’t really have a plan, I just do whatever feels inspiring that day with the channel.

FMA: Had you known about the Free Music Archive for long before you started making videos with birthday songs from our public domain collection?

ABB: I had never heard of the FMA before working on my birthday channel.  After deciding to make Birthday Song videos, I stumbled upon the FMA while searching for free birthday songs online. As of October 14, I’ve used 46 songs from the FMA. Some I've used more than once. 1 song  I've used 7 times! In total I have made 84 videos from birthday songs from the FMA. The songs I used the most are:

1. Happy Birthday To You Alternative by Armin Rüdiger Vieweg (7 times)
2. Simple New Happy Birthday Melody by Sascha Ende (5 times)
3. Swine Flu Birthday by The Mostly Bad Virus (4 times)
4. The PD Happy Birthday Song by Iron Curtain (4 times)
5. Happy Birthday by Technetium (4 times)

FMA: What do you use to make the videos (software, equipment, etc)?

ABB: I use a pocket size spiral notebook that I take everywhere where; I jot down ideas whenever they come to mind. My computer, a Dell Pentium 4 running Windows XP. The software I use includes PowerPoint 2003 and Windows Movie Maker 5.1. I also use a FujiFilm FinePixL30 that I use for photography.

FMA: Do you post anywhere besides YouTube? Why or why not?

ABB: Youtube is the main place that I post videos.  I log into youtube everyday to upload a video and respond to any comments. At the end of September, I posted some videos on Dailymotion.  I haven’t decided if I will keep posting videos on Dailymotion and have honestly only logged in a few times since initially posting some videos.I also started a new facebook page at the end of September and directly share my birthday videos from youtube to facebook. I have only posted 6 videos directly onto Facebook.  After seeing the Danish documentary, Facebookistan, I purposely spend as little time on Facebook as possible. I was never really a major facebook fan anyway but seeing that documentary solidified my reasons for using it as little as possible.

Lots more after the jump!


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