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ilzetzki on 01/11/2017 at 09:16AM

Experimental Israel

Experimental Israel

A quick look at the Wikipedia page entitled Experimental Music roughly two years ago would have disclosed that whoever wrote that article relates experimentalism in music pretty much exclusively with the NY school. As intertwined as these two might be, any person who knows the first thing about experimental music today would immediately see this definition as gravely insufficient. And indeed, visiting the same page just a few days ago disclosed some heavy editing attempting to put the topic in some broader perspective. However, the many quotes on that page from admired composers – notably, Michael Nyman and Pierre Boulez, disclose the general attitude towards an attempted definition: It seems that every side is trying to define experimentalism to the benefit of the school s/he’s affiliated with (whether this definition is favourable or not). And then, of course, there are the many musicologists trying to make sense of it all without inserting any judgement, as should be the case when trying to define something… poor souls.

My PhD research attempted a (pretty failed) look at the spectrum between open (supposedly experimental) and through composed (supposedly avant-garde) 20th century scores. Not only did I start getting a feeling throughout the research that these supposed opposites (avant-garde and experimentalism), are not in any way mutually exclusive, but I also realised time and again that the definition of experimentalism in music is as open as Walmart on black Friday! Just take a look at the “experimental” tag on this site: you’ll get anything from South American spoken word to Japanese minimal noise. And these two extremes travel through a plethora of styles that seem quite distant from, if at all exhibiting any awareness of the NY School or any other music mentioned on the aforementioned Wikipedia page. And so, a strengthened resolve started growing in me to try and make some sense of this opaque term! And I also immediately knew what methodological route I was bound to take: Past research had already taught me that that the best way to look at a subject was not from its macro to micro situation, but rather the opposite. And thus, Experimental Israel was born.


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andygcohen on 01/10/2017 at 02:27AM

(A little over) A year as a musician on FMA

Instruments I regularly use in my songs

Introduction

I am Andy G. Cohen, a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who, since October 2015, has had my music available under CC-BY licenses on Free Music Archive. This blog post is my story about how FMA has been helpful to me as a musician. In short, it directly led to about a 1/3 million plays directly on FMA and most likely tens of millions of plays indirectly (through the videos and podcasts which feature my music). 

Before FMA

I am a musician in my spare time -- for me, it's a hobby to play different instruments and compose songs; I've been doing this since I was about 9 years old. After many few years of making music for myself (or playing in little bands), I decided that I would share some of my original songs online, originally on the platform SoundCloud. Some of my songs started being used in different homemade videos on YouTube. When I saw that some of these videos were quite good, and that my music was really adding something to them, I decided to license almost all of my songs with the CC-BY (attribution) license.

Once I changed the licensing to CC-BY, I was eligible to be featured in SoundCloud's moderated Creative Commons Group (sadly and frustratingly for CC musicians, SoundCloud has gotten rid of the groups feature). I then saw my listens jump from a few dozen to a few hundred. I also started occasionally seeing videos pop up with my music in it. Nice!

Enter FMA

At this point, I realized that releasing my songs under CC licenses significantly increased the total number of people who heard my music. I started getting emails from people who liked my music, and some even occasionally voluntarily paid for my music! At this point, I tried to get myself onto FMA, probably the biggest site for CC-licensed music. Initially I contacted an admin and was added to ccCommunity -- later my music also got picked up by the Music for Video curators.

 


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Honnda on 01/09/2017 at 12:32AM

Orange Milk Compilation to Benefit Victims of Ghost Ship

Artwork by Keith Rankin (detail)

The emergency vehicle siren is the unofficial national anthem for every country, each wailing on a different melody.

Organized by Seth Aaron Graham and Keith Rankin, Orange Milk has released an expansive compilation; 100% of the proceeds will go to the Fire Relief Fund for Victims of Ghost Ship Oakland Fire.

The international underground music community will never forget you.

Feel free to donate here, directly, too.

-Honnda 

[Honnda is a member of Mouthguard88, and a contributor to the compilation.]

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cheyenne_h on 01/04/2017 at 12:05PM

Hidden In Plain Sight: FMA's Pop-Out Player

Look at all those fancy features!

We often get messages from users asking how they could preview songs efficiently, without having to download everything that looked interesting. Well, friends, you can! And it's right at your fingertips! 

Ever notice the little symbols next to tracks on our site? There's a star (for those of you who log in -- clicking the star marks a song or album as a 'favorite' and allows you to find it again later; all favorites are stored in a big ol' list at your profile page), a plus sign (which launches the pop-out player), and a 'down' arrow (which is the download button). 

We know, the plus sign isn't the most obvious ideogram for "add this song to the pop-out player," and we're sorry about that. But now you know what that arcane little symbol means. 

Anyway, once you click, it'll launch a separate player that has features you've come to expect from audio players across the web: the ability to scrub and skip through a track, and the ability to control the volume. The tracks you click on will add themselves to the queue in this magic little box. If you've made playlists in the past, you'll be able to find them in the drop-down menu (the default is called "Working," as in "Working on my next killer mix"). 

You can add and remove songs, or even clear the whole playlist and start fresh. This tool is indispensable for anyone who wants to leverage the full power of the FMA to their advantage! Go forth, FMA'liens, and mix like the wind! (And if you are proud of your mixes, send us links, we always wanna share new & exciting selections from our community.)

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undRess_Beton on 12/31/2016 at 12:04PM

Final Classwar Karaoke Survey released!

Classwar Karaoke was, is and will be. When it was, it was centrally a series of large-scale quarterly surveys of music and film, published each February, May, August and November, from May 2008, until a final grand 34th iteration at the very close of 2016. This vast repository ranges over outlets such as Free Music Archive, YouTube and Internet Archive, with fragments and remnants dotted around the now effectively defunct or forgotten MySpace, Sonic Squirrel, Reverbnation and LastFM, with total hits running into the many millions, and still growing - always free to download, stream and view. 

 

At its peak, there was nothing like it anywhere on the Internet. Classwar Karaoke stands as unique and valuable intense and intimate documentation of an expansive international scene, experimental and progressive in outlook, comprised of such genres as Noise, Live Electronics, Spoken Word, Sound Poetry, Free Jazz, Improvisation, Industrial, Ambient, Soundart, Musique Concrete and Modern Classical, as well as environs further out, nameless and ever more difficult to define. Classwar Karaoke's trademark inclusive, light-touch curatorial policy meant that those participants having huge and long-standing reputations lay equally alongside others less well-known and less experienced; with everyone arranged alphabetically, with no headline acts, no also-rans, no differentiation. With this in mind, though, it is expedient now, at this juncture, to note the participation of names such as Bob Ostertag, Fred Frith and Rhys Chatham .... of ex-King Crimson luminaries, such as Adrian Belew, Keith Tippett and Michael Giles .... stars of the human-voice-as-instrument such as Jaap Blonk, Bryan Lewis Saunders, Adam Bohman, Phil Minton, Crank Sturgeon and Dylan Nyoukis .... of heavyweight Jazzers and Free Jazzers like Lol Coxhill, Peter Brotzman, Evan Parker and Elton Dean .... of ex-Zappa percussionist Terry Bozzio .... of ex-Henry Cow Geoff Leigh .... of Einsturzende Neubauten's Jochen Arbeit .... of The Three Johns' John Hyatt .... of Wolf Eyes' Nate Young .... of Volcano the Bear's Aaron Moore .... of artists and bands as great and varied as Otomo Yoshihide, Mark Dresser, Leif Elggren, Leafcutter John, Gerd Bressler, GX Jupitter-Larsen, Zoviet France, Pas Musique, Gino Robair, Steve Beresford, Sharon Gal, Anton Mobin, Graham Dunning and Astral Social Club. 

 

The roll-call is considerable, in fact - and goes way beyond this brief selection; earning the project its rightful presence within the wider scene. Indeed, single or mere minor degrees of separation connect Classwar Karaoke directly to everyone from towering figures such as David Bowie, Scott Walker, La Monte Young, Frank Zappa, John Zorn, Robert Ashley, Paul Simon, Robert Wyatt, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Anderson, Mike Oldfield and Tom Waits, to bands like Talking Heads, Faust, Henry Cow, Can, The Fall, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Sonic Youth, Tortoise, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, H¸sker D¸, The Brecker Brothers, UK and Nine Inch Nails, to Jazz giants like Chet Baker, John Abercrombie, John Scofield, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Andy Sheppard, to those from the orchestral world such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Glenn Gould and The Kronos Quartet, through to figures as diverse as Vic Reeves, Zeena Parkins, Tony Conrad, Morton Subotnick, Robert Longo, Glenn Branca, David Torn, Mick Karn, Tony Levin, Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, John Duncan, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jon Hiseman, Phil Collins, Jeff Beck, David Toop and Hans Reichel. 

 

Classwar was never about mainstream validations, however. These surveys are themselves more exactly characterised by extensive, often complex collaboration; each survey a metting-place; each survey a font of new possible associations, friendships, project-mates. Camaraderie and inclusivity defined this project. Nothing about it reproduced the devisive logic and nepotism of the mainstream. In fact, opposition was inferred and expressions of it doggedly pusued. We are Classwar Karaoke: take us at our word.  

 

In this way, though its surveys are now suspended, Classwar Karaoke is. Indeed, other aspects of activity under that rubric persist as an ongoing series of live events and mini-festivals and a sprawling crowdfunder initiative currently boasting 46 full-length albums, featuring the likes of ÿystein J¯rgensen, Lezet, PARAL-LEL, Jukka Pekka-Kervinen, Stomhat, Dental Dames, Daniel Heikalo, Spidey Agutter, Jaan Patterson, Paul Mimlitsch, {AN} Eel, Damien Olsen, Ronny Wearns, Subversive Intentions, LIL, Sound Inhaler, Cousin Silas, Crush!!!, Chris Silver T, Miguel A. Garcia & Sebastien Branche, Jeremy Gluck, Eun-Jung & Charlie Collins, Arthur Henry Fork, Berthelot and Fiver's Stereo, as well as several compilations, of Noise, guitar pieces, bass solos, percussion pieces, and more. 

 

About 0034 survey specifically, it is enough to say that this final release is clearly no skirmish, no fizzle-out .... it is, in point of fact, another beautiful monster, dense with love, camaraderie and content, full of daring, full of interest; as good as anything else out there. From your hosts, Anthony Donovan and Jaan Patterson, dear friends of Classwar Karaoke, please enjoy! 

 

Heartfelt thanks and admirations to everyone who has taken part in and supported this project. over its eight-and-a-half years. It's been such a wonderful and interesting adventure! 

 

Love & best, 

Anthony Donovan and Jaan Patterson

December 2016


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cheyenne_h on 12/28/2016 at 05:00AM

2016 Year In Review, Part VIII: 56 WFMU Highlights

Sadly, there are too many good bands in the world to know about or listen to in our too-short human lifespans - but WFMU endeavors to being in as many as possible, as often as possible. WFMU shares many of these sets with us at the FMA, all collected here! We are eternally indebted to the freeform behemoth and its genre-bending DJs and guests.

2016 was a phenomenal year, in terms of live music added to the FMA, and we've selected 56 WFMU-flavored tracks to entertain, amuse and confuse you. If you liked the sets here, consider visiting the artist pages on FMA, or better yet, pay wfmu.org a visit and see what the fuss is all about. If you already know and love WFMU, maybe you should browse our collections of live sets organized by DJ/show. WFMU's concert venue, Monty Hall, has its own collection as well. 

Listen or download below, or visit the playlist page here.

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cheyenne_h on 12/27/2016 at 02:22PM

2016 Year In Review, Part VII: LizB's MegaMix

As we look back on the soundscape of the last 12 months, one thing is clear: our curators have been busy this year! FMA has reached new heights in recognition, use, traffic, and killer playlists! One of our most dedicated and regular mixmakers is LizB, who often peppers her weekly WFMU radio broadcast with FMA tracks, and she broadcast 3 hours of FMA tunes to wrap up 2016. Liz's show happens every Tuesday afternoon from 12-3pm Eastern, which you can listen to as an FMA playlist (featured every week on our iOS app and at the bottom of the main page), in the WFMU archive or subscribe to it, since it's also distributed as a podcast. She also created a monstrous mix of her TOP 100 tracks!

Listen up:

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cheyenne_h on 12/23/2016 at 11:52AM

2016 Year In Review, Part VI: Highlights from Needle Drop Co.

As the end of 2016 approaches, some of our curators are looking back on what 2016 had in store for them. Needle Drop Co. is a curator whose music is intended for use in noncommercial videos and broadcasts. They shared some highlights of this year with us. There will be more highlights coming next week, but this should last you through the holiday weekend!

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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
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