My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

True Open-Source MP3s

We discover music that’s new to us in various ways: a snippet heard in a movie, a fragment caught mid-broadcast on radio, an entry in a random podcast and, certainly the most dependable system, tracking down original work attributed to someone with a small supporting credit on an album one already admires. Well, here’s a new route entirely: if you have a favorite piece of shareware, check out the website of the software’s programmer.

Aaron “Jomdom” Ransley wrote a popular plugin for Firefox, the web browser, that allows one to use another piece of web-based software, YubNub. None of that matters in this context, except that a routine scan of Ransley’s site reveals an entry that begins “Yeah, believe it or not, I also make music!” (jomdom.net). He does indeed, and it’s music with an ear for detail that may correspond with the skills required by his day job. Listen to the range of individual sonic layers that make up the pointillist opening of “Rastafarian Hackysacks” (MP3) or how the piano-like lead on “Creative Bandwidth” (MP3) is echoed and reflected in subtle ways. Those are just two of the recommended tracks currently available.

Comfortable in the open source world of shareware, Ransley/Jomdom has released his work through the Creative Commons’ Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 license. “Feel free to do what you will within the restrictions of that license,” he writes, “and please give proper credit if any works are used in remixes, performances, or public broadcasts. Also, while it’s not required, I’d love to hear from you if you decide to use my works.”

All of which has left me wondering what music composed by YubNub’s own programmer (Jon Aquino) and by the programmers behind my other favorite freeware and shareware (NoteTab, FileZilla, SlickRun, AVG, QReader, Fring, Handy Safe, etc.) might sound like.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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