Presenting: I Support New Music

leviathan600Do you like hearing new and original music when you go to orchestral concerts, rather than the same works from years gone by? Then head on over to I Support New Music, where we have the crowdfunding campaign you’re looking for!

We’re crowdfunding for a full professional recording of Sarah’s 25-minute concerto for 6-string electric violin, EWI, Synth, and orchestra: Leviathan. We have lots of rewards available at various levels and are running the campaign ourselves, so there are no fees and no end date (the campaign is done when we get what we need for this project).

The site is powered by WordPress and Give, hosted by Pressable, and so far everything has gone smoother than expected. I’d also like to offer a huge special thanks to the folks behind Give for offering some help, and for featuring us in their Stories. They’re great to work with!

Assuming this current campaign does well, we hope to find some way to extend this to other composers looking to crowdfund their projects, but most importantly we’re learning a little bit more each day and having fun while doing it. If you’re a fan of new music, don’t miss out on I Support New Music!

Internet Archive: Free Media

internetarchiveContinuing our series on the Internet Archive, I figured we’d start with the obvious bits. At the Internet Archive, you have access to a wide variety of public domain or owner-donated texts, audio, videos, and photos. That’s right, it’s just a like a library online, because that’s exactly what it is!

There are over 8 million texts available to browse or download in eBook formats on the Internet Archive, anything from text books for higher education to US government studies into UFO sightings. If what you’re looking for isn’t freely available for download at the Internet Archive, stop by its side-project, the Open Library for even more titles available to check out in eBook formats.

There are almost 3 million audio files available to stream or download, including voice recordings, radio shows, music, whole albums, audio books, and almost 2 hundred-thousand full live concerts. You’ll never need to buy an album or pay for a streaming music service again, unless you wanted to hear recently released music of course.

There are just over 2 million videos available to stream or download, including movies and television. If you’re feeling nostalgic, stop by the Perlinger Archives for over 6 thousand public service announcements and educational films, or perhaps almost 1 million TV news clips.

There are over 1 million images available to browse and download. From NASA Images to 16th Century artwork, it’s your history stored digitally in so many ways.

Take some time to tour the Internet Archive and see what you can find, and don’t forget, they take donations to keep everything freely available. Next time? Software!

My Dad’s Jazz Music, Everywhere

technicolourFor many years, the only way to hear Polyhedra outside of a performance was to attend anyway and leave with a physical album. Almost thirty years after the release of their first album, my Dad’s Jazz group can now be heard and/or purchased through your favorite online music venues!

Polyhedra’s albums are now available for purchase on CD Baby (MP3 and FLAC available), iTunes, Amazon (Iridescence and Technicolor because Amazon doesn’t do artist listings), and Google Play. If you’re a fan of streaming, you can listen to Polyhedra’s albums now on Spotify and Rdio. They’re also available at ninety other online music venues I won’t even bother to list here. If your favorite one isn’t listed here, I’m sure you can find them by searching.

We used CD Baby’s distribution service to bring Polyhedra into the modern era of digital distribution. If you’re looking to do something similar with your recorded music, I highly recommend them. The process was quick, simple, and inexpensive.

We hope you enjoy listening to Polyhedra’s albums wherever you are as much as this group of wild musical animals enjoyed recording them!

Edit: Bill Huff, my Dad, is on the saxophones.

Soul of the Machine: Now Available

Sarah’s first professionally produced album, Soul of the Machine, was released last week! This was indeed one heck of a ride with professional orchestras and chamber groups all over the world recording some of her best compositions under the watchful gaze and mastering of Navona Records.

The album comes with full copies of the scores so you can follow along with the music, and can be purchased on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Classics Online. If you’re a fan of streaming music services, you can listen to the album on Spotify and Rdio too.

And, if you’re in the area on September 3rd at 6 PM, stop by Brave New World Comics for the official launch party!

Postmodern Jukebox’s Great Arrangements

I’m a fan of music, of course, but I’m also a fan of great arrangements. Taking an existing piece of music and changing its style and instrumentation, while still maintaining the soul of the original, is quite fun. What makes an arrangement different from a cover tune? Great question! Listen to this arrangement of Pompeii by Postmodern Jukebox while you read the rest.

As you’re probably noticing by now, it’s still Pompeii, but the style and instrumentation is very different. When your local bar band performs a hit song almost exactly like the original, maybe with a different solo and in a different key, it’s a cover tune. But this, what you’re hearing right now with Pompeii, is an arrangement. I have enjoyed writing arrangements in the past, though the only ones that I have ever really put online so far are my instrumental and electronic Iris arrangements, but the folks in Postmodern Jukebox are masters, and I’m always amazed by their work.

If you’re looking to treat yourself to some great music this weekend, you can buy Postmodern Jukebox’s music on iTunes and Google Play, listen to new tracks weekly in their YouTube Channel, listen to everything on Spotify, and fund new arrangements on Patreon.

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Valentine’s Day with Batman and Catwoman

Before you settle down to celebrate Valentine’s Day by binge-watching the second season of House of Cards, here’s a true love story featuring Batman and Catwoman with music by Lolita Ritmanis.

New Theme with Larger Text

I was previously using Superhero on this blog. I really liked the design, and I had customized it quite a bit. Well, call me crazy, but I’m really starting to like large, readable text. I wear glasses, and I can see quite well, but I really enjoy reading when I can comfortably lean back in my chair and read what’s on the screen without squinting or leaning forward. While I loved what I made under Superhero, I was never happy with the text size, and the design itself just looked odd with the text boosted to comfortable levels.

Ryu is a gorgeous, minimalistic, and simply huge theme. I really hope that you can lean back and comfortably read this, because I sure can. Besides simply being designed for large text, Ryu is a single-column theme, so you have no distractions off to the side. As a blogger, I love sidebars. As a reader, not so much, so I decided that it was finally time to let go of the sidebar. Instead, you can find my widgets tucked away in Ryu’s super-handy top navigation panel. Plus, Ryu does this rather fascinating trick with the background colors of image posts, which are automatically selected to complement the image. Go ahead, check out my image posts, but please come back.

When I say Ryu, most of you are probably thinking of Ryu from Street Fighter. Well, this theme has nothing to do with that, so to celebrate the new theme, here’s Guile’s theme covered by Smooth McGroove, because Guile’s theme goes with everything.

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Metallica vs. Herbie Hancock

Music mashups are magical things which combined two or more songs into one. It takes a real artist to create a mashup that sounds like it should have actually been a performable piece at some point, especially when combined two entirely different styles, and Master of Doin’ It by Wax Audio is no exception.

Master of Doin’ It combines Master of Puppets from heavy metal legend Metallica with Doin’ It from jazz legend Herbie Hancock into a magically smooth yet edgy masterpiece.

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Iris (Electronic Arrangement)

Two days ago, I shared my seven-year-old Iris arrangement. As a bonus track, here’s what happens when you spend the night messing around with GarageBand’s seemingly endless synthesizer settings.

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Iris (Instrumental Arrangement)

Sure, I work for Automattic now, but when I was in college, I actually wanted to be a music teacher. While pursuing my degree in music education at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, I took an instrumental arranging course and one of my assignments was to arrange a pop song for an entirely instrumental group. I choose Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls, and since then, my arrangement was been played regularly by the university’s MIDI Ensemble (which I have volunteered in as a coach since graduation).

There are so many great arrangements and covers on Soundcloud, that I figured I might as well dig through my old school archives and finally put it somewhere more appropriate than a dusty CD in the corner of closet. So, without further chatter, here’s my 2006 arrangement of Iris for flute and other stuff, mechanically performed by the heartless instruments of GarageBand.