Catching The Waves of great free music

The Catching The Waves (or is it “sound the free trumpet”?) blog is an interesting place to go exploring for good free music. As the tagline says “Reviews of (legitimately) free netlabel and/or Creative Commons music. Yes, the music is completely free. Yes, the musicians know. Yes, they welcome donations and purchases. No, you won’t be arrested. Dive in.”

It has some excellent reviews of truly free and independent music and appears to be a genuine labor of love. Well worth a bookmark for friends of new independent music. I love days when I bump into sites like this! And maybe one day it will even feature a section for the creative commons remixing scene. đŸ™‚

DJ Cary’s Chill Podcast Extraordinair

UPDATE 2018-05-22: Looks like the podcast links from the original post  below aren’t working anymore. However, I found this: Magnatune albums curated by DJ Cary:


Original Post:

For people who like chill and downtempo music there’s are the most excellent chill/downtempo podcasts of DJ Cary (Cary Norsworthy). She is featuring mostly independent music makers in her podcast treasure trove of sonic goodness assembled from a wide variety of sources. Lovingly assembled in iTunes compatible AAC and generic mp3 formats, she offers a new podcast about once or twice a month.

Also worth bookmarking is Cary’s list of sites for downtempo, chillout, nujazz and trip-hop artists and fans.

Free Music Software and Discounts on Commercial Software

DontCrack.com is another interesting place to look for music making software. It lists quite the collection of free music software along with regular special deals for commercial software.

I’ve also previously mentioned some other good resources for free music making software:

FreeMusicSoftware.org – A blog by Crispin with the tag line: A collection of the best Free Audio and Music floating around in Cyberspace.

GERSIC.COM – the giant free audio plugin database

KVRaudio.com – The premier news site for everything related to audio plugins. Fabulous search engine for plugins and host software, which makes it easy to find only free plugins or also commercial one’s.

RemixComps.com tracks remix contests

I just found out about RemixComps.com, who’s 20 second pitch looks like this: “Are you a musician, DJ, music producer that enjoys taking sound samples and loops of other musician’s pieces of music, loading them into your favorite music production software and remixing them into your own track. Remix Comps lists remix contests found on the internet so that audio DJs and musicians can quickly and easily find a great music track to remix.”

From my brief look at the site, this sure looks like the best effort to track remix competitions I’ve seen. For each contest it lists not only the place to download the stems (parts), but also the prizes, the deadlines, noteworthy rules and notes including IP issues like a contest, where remixes become the property of the contest holder. There’s even a page for listing the winners of the various contests.

If you sign up, you can even rate the contests, and participate in forum discussions. There’s a blog and they’ve just added the capability to run a remix contest through the site.

For the contest junkies in the remixing world, this looks like a great site and I can only congratulate Edward Cufaude, the man behind RemixComps.com and he also releases is own music under a Creative Commons license and finally, he also has an interesting site containing tips for audio production called RhythmCreation.com.

I don’t think, that at this time he has a thriving business model, just a few of the links (not all) appear to maybe get him a little commission. So this looks like a labor of love, and I hope he’ll enjoy doing it for a long time and/or maybe figure out how to make it economically self-sustaining over the longer haul.

The Need for Public Domain

CBC Spark features an excellent episode featuring host Nora Young interviewing James Boyle, law professor at Duke University. As one of the original board members (serving from 2002 to 2009, in the final year as chair), of the Creative Commons he is one of the leading thinkers on copyright reform.

The interview starts around the 7:50 mark right after the excellent winning remix of teru (at about the 6:00 minute mark) of the little contest I mentioned a couple of blog posts ago. Congratulations teru – well deserved recognition for your remixing prowess!

Back to Professor Boyle: His new book “The Public Domain” is not only available commercially, but also for free under a creative commons license. Professor Boyle is not against copyright laws, but is very concerned about the overreach of those laws, and makes an eloquent case, that this is not only robbing society of new art and science, but also a classic case of industries shooting themselves in the foot. With their strategy of locking every intellectual property up for longer and longer time, they are killing their own future revenue potential.

To quote the book’s website: “James Boyle introduces readers to the idea of the public domain and describes how it is being tragically eroded by our current copyright, patent, and trademark laws. In a series of fascinating case studies, Boyle explains why gene sequences, basic business ideas and pairs of musical notes are now owned, why jazz might be illegal if it were invented today, why most of 20th century culture is legally unavailable to us, and why today’s policies would probably have smothered the World Wide Web at its inception. Appropriately given its theme, the book will be sold commercially but also made available online for free under a Creative Commons license.”

Brian Eno and David Byrne collaborate and publish online

It’s good to see, that not all of my musical heroes have turned into grumpy old men since the advent of the Internet. Having listened to The Talking Heads as well as Roxy Music during the final golden days of vinyl, I was delighted to read a recent interview of theirs with the UK’s Guardian headlined ‘The business is an exciting mess‘.

A couple of my favorite quotes: “It was simply made: two men in their home studios, Eno supplying the music and Byrne the lyrics, sending sound files back and forth across the Atlantic by email.” and “When I finish something I want it out that day,” says Eno later, in a phone conversation. “Pop music is like the daily paper. Its got to be there then, not six months later.”

So us online music makers have pretty good company in the way we make music, including this urge to publish quickly after a work is done!

Their Album “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today” can be tracked down via David Byrne’s web site. But here’s where it gets really amazing: David Byrne’s website invites the sharing of this album. It is with great pleasure and excitement that I’m taking Mr. Byrne up on that.

And for those who may not know, Mr. Byrne was one of the featured artists on the WIRED CD which led to the birth of ccMixter.org.

MC Jack in the Box features Cool Music from ccMixter

MC Jack in the Box has an excellent blog which he calls CoolMusic – My flavs of the week from ccmixter.org in which he assembles some of his favorite ccMixter remixes on a weekly basis and presents them in the style of a relaxed radio show.

While open music is becoming increasingly plentiful, good curation (weeding out the signal from the noise) is relatively rare, so having MC Jack in the Box (a great remixer in his own right) do this with so much loving care is a real treat.

CBC radio call for remixes of Kutiman interview with Nora Young

Talk about timing. Just a couple of days ago, I wrote about this amazing video remix by Kutiman and now CBC Radio’s Spark is calling for 1 minute long remixes of an Nora Young interviewing Kutiman. The deadline is April 6th, 2009 and the 2 source files can be found here.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your DAWs!

(p.s. there’s supposed to be a little prize for the winning entry)

End The Loudness Wars


Much of popular music these days is overly compressed, by the motto, whoever screams the loudest gets heard. Music isn’t supposed to be a shouting match — maybe it’s time to re-address this issue. I found this at KVRaudio:

“In January 2009, The Pleasurize Music Foundation launched a wide-ranging initiative for ending the “Loudness War” being waged by successive music releases. This initiative aims to introduce a dynamic standard through several phases. The free TT Dynamic Range Meter plug-in (and stand-alone app.) makes it possible to provide releases with a whole-number dynamic value to be printed on the recording medium as a logo, giving consumers an immediate means of knowing the dynamic quality of a recording. It is currently available as a VST effect plug-in for Windows with Mac OS X, RTAS and AU versions expected to be released later this year.”

With the advent of so much amazing DAW software, overcompression is now also in the hands of independent music makers everywhere. So this issue is not only about the big bad record labels anymore, but about many music makers who are using mastering plugins.