Coming August 1st – 31 Days of Ambience

31 Days of AmbienceBack at the end of May, I posted that for one month, I would create every day. Make something new… I called this 31 Days of Ambience. I had initially aimed for July, but, you know, life happened. I am however, going to do this for August.

August will not be easy to pull off, I am going on a week-long vacation with family on a lake in the middle of nowhere, I am closing (hopefully) on our new home… and so many other things that can easily push this to the back burner. This shall not rest there, and be delayed over and over.

I vow in August to publish a piece of ambient music each day. It will go here, on BandCamp, SoundCloud, and various FB groups. It will be available on Bandcamp for purchase if you see fit to do so… otherwise, it is yours for free. Do what you want with it. Create new works. It is free for the world to consume, in the spirit of Moby’s Long Ambients1. Like he said “and feel free to share it or give it away or whatever, it’s not protected or anything, or at least it shouldn’t be”. All I ask is a wee little credit line somewhere. Even a mention on twitter is fine 🙂

If for some reason I miss a day, due to, you know, life happening… I will make up for it. I promise. By the end of August, you will get 31 new tracks, ranging from short samples to long form pieces.

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Copyright Claims and YouTube

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Ever get an email like that after posting your own music? I get them all of the time. When I first saw this, I was all confused… I knew this was my original work! How can someone else have a copyright claim on my music?!

Generally, it is not something to worry about. If, like a lot of indie musicians out there, you are using CDBaby to distribute your music, you most likely then signed up for Sync Licensing when you distributed your music there. The link there to Sync Licensing will take you to this page under your artist account, which explains more on how it works:

 

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In fact, if you scoll down to the bottom of that page, you will see this important notice:

Important note for YouTube users: If you log into your YouTube account and see a copyright notice next to your videos, don’t worry! CD Baby will collect money for the usage of your music in videos (this includes videos you upload). This notice means the content ID system identified your song and it’s now setup to generate revenue for that video. You don’t need to take action. CD Baby is not claiming ownership of your song.

See? all should be just fine. This confused me when I first saw it… so hopefully this post helps another artist along the way.

Ambient Musician (or really any genre) HOW-TO Posts

In addition to letting folks know about my new releases, projects, etc., I am also going to start publishing posts about industry trials and tribulations, and even as granular as using some tools – physical or software.

For my day job, I am a Senior Architect who works around assisting customers with Microsoft SharePoint and Azure. I am also very involved in the SharePoint community. I speak at conferences, run the Boston Area SharePoint Users Group, I run a fairly popular blog (according to the stats) on SharePoint, Azure, and other things… I do a lot of knowledge sharing for my work life. And thinking this might be useful for my non-work life as well, well, one aspect of it at least.

FEEDBACK folks! Would this be helpful? Am I wasting time? Let me know! Drop a comment below…

The MP3 Is Officially Dead… or is it?

npr-music-rgbInteresting article on the evolution of MP3 format via NPR… I still use MP3’s daily. Maybe I am just old school? I even used to have a close friend about 20 years ago who went to college with Shawn Fanning, the creator of Napster. MP3’s will always be a thing for me. It’s kinda like holding on to all of my cassette tapes after I got my first knock-off Discman.

http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/05/11/527829909/the-mp3-is-officially-dead-according-to-its-creators

Almost everything I create gets exported into a 44. KHz WAV file, and then shortly thereafter, gets converted into 360 bitrate MP3’s for distribution. For hour-long+ tracks, I convert those into FLAC’s for BandCamp so I can get around the 600MB file limit, and not have to split up my long form tracks.

I am interested to know, from other ambient artists, or any musician out there… do you think the MP3 is dead?

Props go out to Keith Ritchie for sharing this originally on the Book of Faces.

31 Days of Ambience

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In an effort to create more… I came up with the idea to take a month to generate some sort of ambient music each day and release it to the world. Be it a minute, be it an hour… to produce some piece of music on a daily basis for an entire month.

What would you, my few followers, think of this? Would you listen? Would you want to get the collection of this afterwards? Would you want to have this as a resource to use in your own music?

Let me know. Planning on July to start doing this… more updates to come.

Test of Wedding Cocktail Hour Music Installation

This is a test of the music installation I am doing with my music for cocktail hour following the ceremony at my wedding.

See this post for more information on the setup: https://musicalnature.net/2017/04/27/new-music-installation-my-upcoming-wedding

One change I have done from that post was use a separate cheap MP3 player into the auxiliary port on the DOSS Touch portable speaker so I could better control the playlists themselves.

In the video I say the track is “The White Horse” off my album Eavesdropping, but, it is actually “Victoria”. “The White Horse” was on JUST before this video was shot… sorry for the confusion!

Please, if you feel so inclined, throw this video a like and leave a comment!

I put one of my tracks to some photos on YouTube…

I put a video together of one of my tracks, “Measured in Kelvin – Part IV” from the album Solstice Chill to a progression and looping of photos I had taken at Ice Castles in Lincoln, NH last year, to give it some background while watching it on YouTube, rather than just looking at the album cover in the background.

I think this works better when viewing on a TV, or even on your computer… What do y’all think? Do you want some more of this? Let me know in the comments here or on the video!

New Music Installation… My Upcoming Wedding!

We’ve got less than a month to go before the “big day”… we’ve been planning out music, and my fiancée would love for me to play some of my stuff. However, since most of it is ambient and minimal, there really wasn’t much of a place for it, except for maybe dinner or cocktail hour.

Then, collaboratively, we came up with a plan. Using two small portable speakers on either end of the porch we are having cocktails at, I will layer some of my tracks so each end of the porch plays different layers of those tracks, together making up the actual track, very similar to my installation pieces can be used (Layers 1, Layers 2, and Layers 3). Below is a representation of how those will be configured:

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This however created a problem…

  • I need these to be re-usable, so I can duplicate this process again if needed for other installations down the road.
  • I need the speakers to be independent
  • I need them to be battery powered
    • ….and have a decent battery life
  • I need them to support playing MP3’s from a Micro SD card
    • Keep this simple, not multiple gadgets strung together
  • They need to also be loud enough for people to hear on an open porch with lots of people talking
  • Needs to loop at the end of the playlist to the beginning
  • Also, be reasonably priced. Due to the cost of the wedding thus far, I did not want to break the bank even further!

Because of the prevalence of Bluetooth speakers, it is very difficult to find something that matches these specifications! I started ordering from Amazon and Jet (free returns!) to test out speakers. After a couple of failures, and hitting up my friends on Facebook for their recommendations, I finally found something that works! Enter the DOSS Touch.

It’s a Bluetooth speaker with an SD Card slot, AUX 3.5mm input jack, rechargeable with a 12 hour playtime, and is decently loud at 12 watts. The controls are easy to use, and, it WILL loop at the end of the playlist, so I do not have to load even more songs on it, and can just use a cheap 8GB Micro SD Card.

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Everything I needed… and… it is only $32.99 from Amazon. So, if you are ever in the market to do something like this, or, just need a REALLY good Bluetooth speaker for just over $30, then check this thing out.

If any of you are interested (and let me know in the comments), I can release a special edition on Bandcamp once I’ve done all of the processing on the tracks to be used (tracklist below) and their layered components for your own use?

Track listing:

I made an album entirely out of Windows Vista default sounds once…

Yes. Yes I did. Used just some of the default Windows Vista sounds one time as source material to create this experimental ambient album 10 years ago… maybe one of the only good things to come of that Operating System?

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Atchafalaya

I recently took a trip down to New Orleans with my Fiancé, and got to experience the city in a whole new light than I have before. It was a wonderful trip, and we had an amazing time.

We did a couple of things while we were there:

  • Ate really, really, really good food
  • Met with some friends we have not seen in a long time
  • Visited the Singing Oak at City Park (follow link for video)
  • Walked along the Mississippi
  • Ate some more really, really, really good food
  • Walked around Magazine Street
  • Walked around the French Quarter
  • Listened to street performers
  • Viewed some amazing art
  • Ate even more really, really, really good food
  • Visited the Tree of Life at Audubon Park
  • Rode the streetcar up and down St. Charles Ave
  • Gazed in amazement at all of the gorgeous mansions and houses in the Garden District
  • Drove across and back the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway (~24 miles each way over the lake)
  • Walked through the swamp at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
  • And visited the Singing Oak again

IMG_20170404_183441_processedThe Singing Oak easily became my new favorite place in New Orleans. Also, while I was there, I brought along my trusty travel recorded and gear, and captured sounds inside and outside of the city. Below is my take on the rendering and mixing of these sounds of one of my favorite cities.

It is long, slow, and wandering… just as if it was on New Orleans time.

The name itself comes from not only one of the amazing restaurants we ate at while we were there, but also the Atchafalaya River. While we did not visit the River on the trip, it provides more of a Southern Louisiana feel to this track, because all of the sounds captured were from both inside and outside of the city.

This is the first rough cut, so please be honest, even brutal in your comments if you need to be. All feedback is welcome and will help render the final version of this piece.

Thanks in advance for listening (and hopefully commenting!)