Monday, February 28, 2011

My song "Library" appears on Classwar Karaoke 13, which has just been released.
Here's the song:

Here are the notes I wrote for the release:

Gurdonark: In a time when information is more available and more important than ever, access to information is being treated as a commodity. Among the potential casualties of this change is the public library. In Library, the music explores the quiet complexities of this common but un-commonplace institution. The music was created with the Sawcutter 2.0 software synthesizer, using simple samples I created. I used two Bolivian flutes, a tarkas and a ponquillo, as well as a pewter cup and a circular kitchen bowl, to create the sound samples used in this song. I believe in self-education, in upward mobility through learning, and in closing the educational gap between rich and poor through libraries and schools. The image is a view of the surrounding mountains from the rooftop of the Salt Lake City, Utah public library.

Here is a link to the whole album:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ever since I began making Creative Commons music, people have been using it in podcasts, films and fun projects. By saying to people "just give me credit and you can use my work", I open it up to all sorts of interesting uses. Once in a while, a use is commercial in a small-business way, like the woman from Estonia who makes hand-made dolls, or the American who emigrated to Germany and now sells baby slings. Usually, though, the use is non-commercial--a fun video about a family thing, or an art piece, or a mini-documentary. The Danish voodle maker Sam Rensiew makes innovative films about form and space, and posts them over at I'm always delighted when, as has often happened, my work accompanies his film. Over 400 films have now been made, from video-makers here, there and yon, using my songs, and they keep on coming. My work has been on the radio, in art galleries, and in video games.

I like to use the search engines at google and vimeo and youtube to hunt for instances of use of my music in films. I am grateful for tags. Today, for example, I found two new films over at I found the German film "Raum-Licht-Schrift", by, a project of Jens Weber and Andreas Wolter. This film shows a set of art projects, apparently as part of a lecture. In Sack, by Gary Voland, the film is a mini-doc of artist Sam Mitchell who makes cool craftings from used coffee bean bags.

A lot of this happens because I participate and post at ccMixter, a site known as a good source for Creative Commons works. My non-mixter songs also get used, but the mixter songs are the majority of such uses. My songs tend to be instrumental and either ambient-ish or just simple little electronica dittys. This kind of thing fits well into a 1 or 3 or 5 minute little video show. Though once in a while I wish I sang folk songs over an acoustic backing, my songs go the places I want them to go--and take me into films and projects which I enjoy. Once in a while I suffer a mis-step, as when I offered recently (gratis) to edit a soundtrack onto a film, but never could make the two folks responsible for the film happy with the things I tried. Usually, the experience is wholly positive. I get fun e-mails, like "can you make a song by this pop band, only using computer noises?" or "would you like to be a feature in our podcast?". For the latter, podcast matter, I hope to complete a song cycle, and merely have to put a little slight dose of perfectionism aside. Perfectionism is rarely my friend, in music or work. I am better just doing my best to do my job, and getting out there.

The whole thing has made me believe even more strongly in the power of sharing, and in what liberal licensing and 'feel free to use this' can mean.