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Visager on 04/29/2016 at 02:46PM

Making Music for Unknown Worlds

How do you make music for a world that doesn't exist? This was the question I began my project with. To answer it, I have just released an album -- Songs From An Unmade World 2 -- which features both standalone and loopable tracks that are available for indie game developers and designers to use in their own projects. These tracks are inspired by old-school adventure/RPG video game music, and they mix classic chiptune sounds with more modern electronic elements. In releasing this album, it is my hope fill a void for game creators by placeing high-quality music in the Creative Commons so that projects on a tight budget come to life!

As a composer and music producer for almost five years, I have worked collaborated with makers in dance, theater, film, and more. But making music for games, to me, feels like an entirely different, exciting category of composition.

The biggest difference comes in the way music is literally woven into the fabric of your players' experiences. In film, theater, and dance, music generally lives a linear existence -- bits of music are tied to specific moments that the performers and audience experience simultaneously. In this framework, music becomes strongly tied to emotional moments.

In video games, however, music often serves a much more textural purpose -- the player lives inside of your music. They encounter your notes, rhythms, and melodies around every corner as they play the game. Figuring out how to make an almost living soundtrack is a much more intriguing puzzle to solve than working on a linear project. Both Songs From An Unmade World 2, and its forerunner, Songs From An Unmade World (released on FMA last fall), were a fantastic exploration for me in this organic side of musical world-building. 

I hope you're reading this because there's something useful for you in one of these two albums! If so, I would love for you to drop me a line on Twitter. If you're just here because you are curious about video game music, that is awesome in and of itself -- there is so much great video game music out there to discover. Happy exploring!

You can find more music from Visager by visiting his website: www.visager.us.

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cheyenne_h on 04/28/2016 at 12:19PM

A Ton of Public Domain Songs

via Flickr Commons/State Library of New South Wales. Long live the Public Domain!

We know you've seen them floating around our pages... PUBLIC DOMAIN SONGS! But... then, you lose track, and they're hard to find again. Well, we updated our search filters to include CC0 content in our Public Domain results -- so now you can find all the Public Domain songs on FMA. These are either ones whose copyright has expired, a la Antique Phonograph Program, or songs which have been dedicated into the Public Domain using CC0, such as our Masters Remastered entries and microSongs, as well as some generous artists who want their music to be heard, shared, and used free of limitations!

To find these songs, just click on the "Public Domain" box at the bottom of our search filters. Currently, we have almost 1,500 of these tracks!

Are you interested in sharing your music with us under the Public Domain dedication? Get in touch.

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TAGGED AS:
public domain
Black_Lantern_Music on 04/15/2016 at 02:52PM

RETURN OF THE DOOM-CRUNK

Photo credit: Fiona McKinlay / TBreak

When CHURCH OF WHEN THE SHIT HITS THE FAN were, by some strange twist of fate, selected to play at T In The Park—Scotland's largest outdoor music festival,normally dominated by twee-indie-rock or techno tents—there was an outcry over the name. Not from outraged Christian fundamentalists or anything so exciting like that, but just from your average, 'normal' music fans. Many tweets proclaimed it the worst band name they've ever heard; The Sun newspaper couldn't understand why they we're called something more sensible; people wanted band names to be proper nouns: The Something, The Name, The Bla Bla Blas. People want things to be simple, to be the same as everything else; for things to be boring. Maybe it is a silly name, but so what? In the word's of Heath Ledger's lip-licking Clown Prince of Crime, “why so serious?”

But more importantly, the name fits perfectly

By no means Black Lantern Music's weirdest band, COWTSHTF are certainly the one band that best straddle the weirder, more experimental elements of the label with the hippiest-hoppiest sunshine rap bounce that the label also releases.

With lyrical concerns that touch upon sci-fi, surrealism, tentacles and the all-pervasive imminent threat of total apocalyptic annihilation ('when the shit hits the fan' is used as a byword by preppers for total societal collapse), and classic electro beats that draw upon reggae, boom-bap, funk, and David Lynchian-soundscapes, COWTSHTF are the end of the world as viewed through the lens of 90s-era Saturday morning cartoons. Pow! Zap! Boom! They are their own genre: DOOMCRUNK.

I can think of no other band that will touch upon lounge jazz covers of Slayer and double time rapping in such close proximity. Maybe if Dr Octagon and Mr Bungle had a baby and dropped it on its head....

Formed by two of Black Lantern's founding members—rapper HQ also spits with grotesque glitch death-rap titans Sileni, and Asthmatic Astronaut is the ubiquitous producer with over 80,000 downloads on FMA alone—that together perfectly encapsulated not just what Black Lantern Music, but also a strand of experimental hip-hop that is simultaneously unique and steeped in tradition.

Between 2010 and 2013, they released three EPs and one spectacular music video to much critical acclaim.

Now, all of their songs, both from those EPs and from other collaborations or offcuts, they release REPROGRAMMED, a monstrous remix album that elevates their songs to a new level.

Featuring new interpretations that cross genres and sensibilities—including, but not limited to techno, goth-misery, boom-bap, math rock, and dubstep—REPROGRAMMED is at once a loving tribute to this unique power-duo, but also the perfect place to get acquainted.

Get your voodoo on....

 

 

 

 

 

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cheyenne_h on 04/13/2016 at 10:30AM

"The Daily Dose" Documentary Soundtracked With FMA's Help

A screenshot from the film.

A little while back, we got an email inquiring about using a song from the Free Music Archive for a documentary film. We get requests like this a lot, and sometimes the filmmakers aren't as fluent in CC licenses as we are. Since the song was CC BY-NC-ND, it wasn't licensed for use in film or derivative works. But we put our heads together and tracked down the right people to ask for permission.

Jackie Ruth Murray, the South African filmmaker who contacted us, co-runs a production company called Reel Epics Productions in Cape Town. She found out about the FMA via a web search and was looking for music to score her short documentary film, "The Daily Dose," an autobiographical account of taking antiretroviral medication.

The film has recently been selected to screen at the Encounters International Documentary Festival, a South African documentary film fest that also hosts classes and film industry related events.

CH: How did you search for music, and what did you find?

JRM: I searched for a general genre which i felt was fitting for the narrative of my film. I then narrowed it down to approximately 10 songs which supported the tempo of my film. I found a song titled “Heaven is The Other Way” by Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. The song is written by the band’s frontman, Robert Williams. The lyrics of the song uncannily match the message of my film.

CH: Do you prefer Creative Commons music to fully copyrighted music?

JRM: I don’t have much experience with fully copyrighted music. However before finding FMA, I did originally attempt to acquire a licence for a song which was fully copyrighted. My search became very laborious as i was directed to a number of different companies. I eventually gave up for lack of clear directive and because of the length of time that it took.

CH: Was the process of contacting the artist/record label intimidating or difficult?

JRM: My experience with FMA was not in the least bit intimidating or difficult.  The director of FMA, Cheyenne Hohman was extremely helpful and timely in her responses to my enquiries. She assisted me in contacting Bill Hunt from Cow Island Music, the band’s record label. Bill put me in touch with Robert Williams from Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. I sent Robert a link to my film to give him an idea of how i wanted to use his song. Robert was very open and willing for his song to be used and even went so far as contacting the record licence companies, Yep Rock and BMG to give his permission for me to use his song. From there, BMG and Yep Rock speedily organised the licence for me. I then received an email from The David Gresham Music Company here in South Africa, who arranged the music licence for me. They took the fact that i made my documentary on a next-to-nothing budget with no commercial gain purposes into account and gave me a discount which i was very grateful for. To sum up, i was blown away with the support i received from all involved.

CH: Did the FMA help you achieve your goal of using this piece of music?

JRM: Yes, as explained above, absolutely. The FMA also helped me understand the Creative Commons legalities.

CH: How did you ultimately end up using the song?

JRM: I used the song in its entirety and split it into three consecutive parts: for the introduction of the film, as a link between act 1 and three of the film and finally for the end of the film.

CH: Will you use the Free Music Archive for projects in the future?

JRM: I have told my colleagues at Reel Epics Productions about the FMA and we will definitely be using the archive for future projects.

You can find out more about the film at https://www.facebook.com/thedailydosedocumentary/

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cheyenne_h on 04/06/2016 at 10:30AM

Relax! It's just a playlist

Image via flickr commons.

The FMA has such an abundance of music from all genres, and even though I've been swimming through it for years, I'm still impressed by the variety and depth of the FMA. There are things ranging from headbanging metal anthems to field recordings of sheep to things like the contents of this mix.

This playlist is designed to be relaxing, help you focus, and breathe. Perhaps you'd like to use it to accompany a yoga session, part of a meditation, or possibly even to help you focus while you work on an art project or homework.

If you have a favorite relaxing song or album from the FMA, feel free to comment below! A full description of each song is past the 'Read More' link at the bottom of this blog entry, including license and artist information, in case you are curious about how you can use each song in potential projects, videos, or to accompany your latest aerial gymnastic routine.

At any rate, we hope you will kick back, relax, and enjoy this mix!

 

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TAGGED AS:
playlist, sleep, relaxation
cheyenne_h on 03/25/2016 at 05:12PM

Using CC Licenses: A Helpful Guide!

Get those ducks in a row, y'all! Photo via Swedish Heritage Board on Flickr Commons.

Are you new to the world of Creative Commons licensed stuff, or just need a refresher? Need to get those ducks in a row before you can get your project out into the world? Have a specific question about what you can - or can't - do with a song on our website, based on its license?

We've put together a license guide to help you answer these questions!

To make it extra-easy-to-find, we've added links to every FAQ, or you can look it up right here:

Free Music Archive License Guide!

And then once you know which license is right for your project, you can do a general search, filtered by license, or check out our pre-filtered Music For Video curator page.

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Adrianna_Krikl on 03/14/2016 at 02:00PM

new EP "Sonic Escapes" featuring a bliptronic

Sonic Escapes is an unique, electronic 3-song EP. The inspiration for the EP was drawn from incorporating Bliptronic sounds into each song. A Bliptronic is an inexpensive minimalist, almost toy-like synth that creates simple patterns and retro style sounds. Sonic Escapes releases today on FMA as a free digital download.  The album will be open under a Creative Commons License. I want to encourage listeners to download, utilized and share the music.  I am a female-independent artist from Los Angeles who blends analogue synths, digital software, loops, and samples for a cinematic sound. The Flux Presents declares "Sonic Escapes is audaciously beautiful whilst keeping you engaged throughout." I hope you enjoy a listen.

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idiotprogrammer on 03/14/2016 at 02:37AM

Monk Turner’s God Complex”: A Suburban Rock Opera with Mythical Overtones (Review)

"God Complex" album cover

Monk Turner is a talented and prolific songwriter who has glommed onto the “concept album” genre (producing about 25 concept albums so far). (Note: He won the grand prize for his birthday song in the FMA birthday song contest). I wrote a long profile of Monk Turner a few years ago and have followed his recent releases over the years. A few years ago the concept was “Emergency” (imagining disaster in Los Angeles). More recently the concept was colors; each song was about a different color — and that includes a lot of obscure colors like fuchsia, cerulean,  Zymenchlora (yes, it’s a color — I checked). (Check out my 6 word review of it).  A central aspect to the concept album is that it lets the artist  explore a variety of moods and styles within a certain theme. Turner mashes a lot of retro pop styles with contemporary instruments and idioms.  All the albums have elements of 50s  rock and 60s folk and funk, but they still feel “new.”

For this concept album, each song is sung by a different Greek god or goddess (but transplanted into an era of modern suburban angst).

My questions when approaching a Monk Turner concept is to ask: will individual songs stand out more than the concept itself?  Is the melody decorating the lyrics or vice versa? Also, how much do the songs abide by    traditional pop song formats (in terms of catchiness and production values)?

For this album, I feel that the overall concept stands out more than individual songs, that the lyrics drive  the melodies (PS, they’re also hilarious!) and that the songs are quintessentially anti-pop; I don’t even think it would fall into the category of alternative (though there are certainly rock elements on the edges). In fact, the songs strike me as very theatrical — something which belongs  onstage or (heaven forbid!)   a Disney animation movie. To invent a category for this album, the first thing which comes to mind is    offbeat suburban rock opera.

Turner wants to make the Greek gods recognizable to modern audiences, so he depicts them with  modern personalities. We are supposed to sympathize with their perspectives and  see a little bit of ourselves in them.


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cheyenne_h on 03/02/2016 at 03:27PM

Curator Highlight: Black Planet Records

Black Planet Records is a Serbian independent alternative DIY (do it yourself) label and FMA curator whose aim is to promote diverse music and forward-thinking artists from Serbia and the Balkans, especially their hometown Niš. The label was formed by Serbian industrial pioneers Figurative Theatre and Crocodile Tears. In their own words:

”We had plenty of our own music, and a lot of interesting people around us who have made interesting music, so we wanted to archive it all in one place. FMA seemed like a great place because it skipped all the mediators. We also have all the releases in higher quality on our bandcamp page (https://blackplanetrecords.bandcamp.com/). We decided that music we release music should be free (under CC licence) as a karmic debt payoff. :)

Our releases gained praises from underground music critics from regional music sites, webzines and Black Planet attracted some of the most eminent alternative artists from the area (Borghesia, Nikola Vranjković, Mizar, Goribor etc.) – even though it is a non-profit organization. We also record video and radio shows, organize concerts, book DJ nights, and produce other cultural events in our hometown.

Each of us has done a lot of research in music and always encountered something really good that was from our area. After a few of our own releases, we came up with the idea that it was time for a compilation that would be a cross section of the music and vibe that we represent and that represents the environment that we live in - and so it was.

 

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cheyenne_h on 02/25/2016 at 11:33AM

"Upsidedown Cross" Soundtrack Release: FMA Exclusive

excerpt from an image on IMDB.

[Guest blog entry from Wiliam Hellfire]

From controversial filmmaker William Hellfire (Duck! The Carbine High Massacre, Devil’s Bloody Playthings and Curator of Severed Lips Recordings on FMA) comes a shocking new film starring David Yow (The Jesus Lizard), Erin Russ (Porkchop), Tina Krause (Bad Biology) and adult film star Rick Savage - UPSIDEDOWN CROSS. Abandoned, abused by the police and in the throes of withdrawal, Nadine, a drug addicted young prostitute, returns to her childhood home and the mother she ran away from. Nadine's mother, Delilah; a fanatical Christian who believes demons have possessed her daughter, searches for a cure for Nadine's erratic behavior. When she finds a rogue preacher willing to exorcise her daughter for a fee, neither realizes they have invited the devil into their home. While her mother turns a blind eye to the bizarre practices unfolding in her own home, Nadine, wracked with mental and physical pain, has no choice but to put up with the preacher's increasingly violent charade. This collector's edition of Upsidedown Cross contains an illustrated Chick Tract by successful notorious underground comic artist Mike Diana, Print run is limited to 1,000 copies!

The soundtrack is only available on the Free Music Archive, and includes music by:
Mike Hunchback (Hunchback, Screeching Weasel)
Miranda Taylor (Hunchback, Black Wine)
Jeff Schroeck (Erggs)
Craig Mileski (Hunchback, Blank Dogs)
David Yow (Jesus Lizard, Scratch Acid)
T.S. McBride (Smokestack, Starless, Saturday Man)
William Hellfire (Currator Severed lips Recordings, Ghidorah!, Tyrannosaurs Dracula)
And Tyrannosaurus Dracula

Download or listen here: Upsidedown Cross Soundtrack

DVD release party with cast and crew at Forbidden Planet, 832 Broadway, NYC. Feb 26, 2016. 7pm-9pm.

Click through for trailer (adult themes):

 


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