Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I like the architecture of songs, and the way that the same song can soundtrack different visions. My song 'Sawmill' is one I built using samples from ccMixter.org. The samples used go a bit like this:

"Sawmill" by Gurdonark
Attribution (3.0)
"Drums1" by eggodeus
Attribution (3.0)
"Little Bit" by Raymond Martin
Attribution (3.0)
"Percussion on LSD" by MrDumBass
CC0 (CC Zero)
"011009 drums 04" by Morusque
Attribution (3.0)

with better links set out here.

This all translates to mean that I put samples in my sequencer, and built a new song structure from the sounds above.

In a Creative Commons world, people then can take this song to new places, and yet still build structures sawmills would appreciate.

I wrote the songs about the sawmills of my youth. I never worked in a sawmill, but I
grew up in a sawmill town and my grandfather bought cross-ties for the railroad from little rural sawmills to which he would travel from town to town.

Yet "Sawmill"'s use in video has had a non-sawmill orientation:

In "Eine Film", Abby Brandon uses it for a mini-documentary about graffiti artist Ben Eine:

In "Dome in Peka Peka", video-maker Gaby Lingke presents a documentary about Fritz Eisenhofer, who designed and built an earth dome in Peka Peka, Aotearoa / New Zealand.

In "Ollie", video maker Pritika Nilaratna uses "Sawmill" as the soundtrack for a feature about an ambient robot blimp:

Ollie from Pritika Nilaratna on Vimeo.

As I view each film, none are about the south Arkansas boyhood to which my song originally refers. But each is about building something new. What I love about instrumental music is that it is a canvass for daydreams--one paints one's own.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

We live in a time of format transition. The mp3 holds sway, while other lossy formats develop their own followings. People make bold declarations about the death of music via this format or that format, when in fact music lives, a bit wild, despite corporate attempts to domesticate it. Traditionalists, meanwhile, seek to bring back the LP record. I loved LP covers.

I have a soft spot in my heart for the cassette movement, which seeks to bring cassettes back into use as an easy way to make independent releases in an alternate format to the digital. Digital recording combined with cassette media for listening offers a lot of possibilities, whether seen as fad or the future.

Yet my heart is aglow over an odder format, thanks to Pharmacom-rec.de's maestro Sascha Mueller, because I got a package from Germany this week. It's the release by Pharmacom of "The Low Times of High Fi", a various artists compilation of MIDI songs. The songs are released on
individual disks. Three songs of mine are disk 8.

The album released a year or two ago, but due to one of those "in the mails" issues, my copy had never arrived. Now it's here, and I'm overjoyed. Never mind that I don't keep a floppy disk drive on my current computer. I can solve that. Instead, just revel with me in that secret joy of a solid, tangible, and yet entirely obscure release. This is just the type of thing that makes a weirdbient heart beat in tune with the rhythm of the universe:

The Low Times of Hi-Fi