The idea of community is a thread that runs through Lawrence Lessig’s book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, which I’m in the process of discussing as part of a group at the “Mind the Gap” blog at ArtsJournal.com.
As of this writing, my most recent post (artsjournal.com/gap) is partially concerned with what Bach, Bartók, and Tallis would do with the technology — software and hardware — that we take for granted today. In Remix, Lessig singles out, as examples of “community,” various open-source software projects, sometimes known as “freeware,” and there are many such examples in the world of electronic music.
I’m using each daily Downstream entry this week as an opportunity to touch on a different aspect of Remix. Today’s is a netlabel (also a subject on Monday) dedicated to a particular piece of freeware:
The latest track from the Hexawe netlabel (at hexawe.net) has a messy, grab-bag, hodgepodge feel that so much vibrant, seat-of-your-pants, web-based electro-pop revels in. It’s equal parts bad Russian disco (is there any other kind?), video-game score, pachinko madness, regional-TV-advert jingle, culture jamming, and overall syncretic joyride (MP3). Titled “Thank You Mr. Clap” and credited to Frostedtreeandsnowyfloor, the track was made on a piece of freeware called LittleGPTracker (littlegptracker.com), which is related to a bit of music-making freeware developed for the Gameboy (activity not condoned by Gameboy manufacturer Nintendo, and a strong example of the unintended aftermarket garage ingenuity brought to bear on common household goods).
As I’ve mentioned in coverage of Hexawe in the past, part of what makes releases on the netlabel special is that along with each MP3 comes the code and samples that made the related song possible, so you can also listen to the 28 parts that make up “Thank You Mr. Clap,” and, if you’re up for it, install the software and drop in your own replacement tracks.
More on the musician at 8bitcollective.com.