Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Making Sound Choices in the Cloud

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

As part of my "creative outlest," I like posting some of my musical creations here, and I certainly hope you like it too. But I do have to confess that I don't want to have to make a video every time I want to post an mp3 file into a blogger post, like I had to do with my first music post ("First Thoughts").

So I needed some other way to get an mp3 file linked or inserted into a blogger post.

In a comment to an earlier music post I made, David List suggested using SoundCloud as a site to host my music mp3 files so they could be inserted into my blog posts.

So I checked out some potential music hosting sites, and compared their offerings, and you know what? David was right. SoundCloud offers the ability to upload two hours of tracks free, provides a slick interface, gives a central site to point people to, and also offers a cool widget to be able to insert the mp3 right into this blog.  I don't have to send you away to another link in order for you to have a listen.

Evidently there's also a huge community of other sound uploaders, and -- as with almost every form of social media -- you could spend all your time interacting with other people there.  But for me, all I want at this stage is just a bucket to store my files in so I can use this blog to share them and discuss them.  And SoundCloud seems to fit the bill extremely well -- thanks, David!

I've uploaded an mp3 of "First Thoughts" as well as another track -- something I recorded shortly after that first piece I did on the PC. For this one, I found some free MIDI drum loops and used a couple of them as the basis for this piece.  I chose two that were pretty far apart -- a metal beat and a jazz shuffle -- and I decided to try and merge them together. I like the idea of juxtaposing radically different things and trying to unite them in a creative way.

I called the piece "Choices".  Have a listen:

Everything besides the MIDI drum loops is my multi-tracked guitar.  I was going to use a MIDI track to insert some bass but instead I ended up making a track with an octaver effect on my guitar.  At this stage in my recording experience, it's easier.  I don't have either a bass or a MIDI keyboard to work with, but I'd very much like to get both eventually. I'm rapidly discovering that tapping away at the Q-W-E-R-T-Y keys to try and record a MIDI track is not the best way to go.

"Choices" seemed like a good name for this piece -- the tune seemed to evolve out of the idea of contrast, and juxtaposition, and hard versus soft, and even making choices about how to get a dang bass track on the piece.

Feel free to let me know what you think.

Oh, and also -- in my last music post, Alex commented that his musical tastes weren't very jazzy, so I'm hoping that at least the framing parts of this tune are more like the musical choices he might make.  ;^)

Thanks for listening!  And if you want to stay up on future tracks I add to SoundCloud, just visit my page HERE.


  1. I liked it very much. It started kinda Santana, went Clapton in the middle and had sort of an 80s vibe at the end, though I'm not very knowledgeable about guitar work. I really enjoyed listening! However, because of a stiff limit on my download service, I may not listen very often. (It took me about 5 minutes to download this.)

  2. Great info. The music sounds great too. I re-follow with my new identity.

  3. That was wicked! Really dug the opening and ending. It jammed.
    I'll have to look into SoundCloud. So many have asked to hear me play (nowhere near as good as that!) and I'd rather not upload it to iTunes.

  4. @Lexa: Thank you very much! And I completely understand if you can't download everything. I really appreciate you taking the time to wait for this. Thanks again!

    @Tonja: Hi! Thanks for the kind words and the re-follow!

    @Alex: Thank you very much, good Cap'n! I'm really glad you liked it. And count me among the many that have wanted to hear your playing! I'd vote for SoundCloud -- So far, the only drawback to it I've found is that it's a site blocked to me from work.

  5. Ooo, that's really cool about SoundCloud! I've been wondering about how to add mp3s to blog posts (not that I have any, but it's just something I've been wondering).

  6. Absolutely love the title of this post.

    'as with almost every form of social media -- you could spend all your time interacting with other people there.'

    Honestly, every day I struggle a little bit to balance the solitude required for making some worth consuming and the warm draw of community--on which we all thrive.

    Listening to 'Choices,' the beginning was a bit abrasive but I trust you enough, having heard some of your other ear candy, to take me somewhere better suited to the vibe of my kitchen table and my cup of coffee. So you are, though mixing it up with a bit of unpredictable edginess. I love what you're doing hear and find I am now quite looking forward to 'listening' while I blog.

    What are MIDI drum loops?

    1. some*thing* worth consuming

    2. I was going to also correct that 'I love what you're doing *here*' but I think that Freudian slip should stand. :)

  7. Fantastic! You've got talent out the wazoo. I really liked this... a lot... but I think I'd like it even more with a strong bass backbone.

  8. I thought it had kind of a Jefferson Airplane vibe to it! Great composition, Chris. And Soundcloud is fabulous. One of my kids was in an old time string band and they had some tunes on Soundcloud. It was fun to click and listen!

  9. @Cherie: Yeah, I scratch my head at why Blogger doesn't have a way to embed mp3 files, but will let you upload a video. Maybe it's because there's a concern that mp3's are more likely to be copyrighted material? But SoundCloud seems to work well, at least at first impression...

    @Suze: Thanks! A more accurate title would have probably been "Making 'Choices' in SoundCloud" but it was more fun to break it up. And thanks for sticking with it through the edgier parts -- I appreciate it! As to "what are MIDI drum loops?" -- this could be a very long explanation, but they are basically short snippets of beats using a pattern of electronic data to trigger sampled sounds (rather than "live" recorded audio files), which are then repeated ("looped") to create a recurring beat structure. Hopefully this makes sense...

    And Your slip works for me! :)

    @Susan: Thank you very, very much! I've been playing out my wazoo for a very long time. :) And you're right -- needs that strong bass... Maybe Santa will bring me one... :)

    @R.T.: Thank you. Jefferson Airplane was cool, and all those years of listening to the Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the Airplane have surely seeped into my musical subconscious. ;) And I'd love to hear the tunes your kid did! Give em a link. So far, one thing I've noticed about SoundCloud is that it's kind of hard to search for other things unless you now an artist name.

    1. My kid, Gordie (29 years old) played with this band until he moved to Portland, OR in August. They moved form Soundcloud to MySpace. The one title they have you can click on (#7) has Gordie on fiddle.

    2. Oh, and he plays a VERY nice Mark Hough fiddle!

    3. Thanks, R.T.! I'll have to check this out! And from the pictures I've seen, all of Mark's instruments are gorgeous!

  10. Good sounds. I'd like to get into some sound uploading, but there are so many things I'd like to do and only so much time to do them. It's crazy the things we are able to do with computers.

    A Faraway View

  11. Aloha Chris,

    Listening to your music as I type - nice job (and I'm not even a major guitar fan :)

    Thanks for helping out with my 50 States of Pray event - and I'll put you down for Indiana :)

    Keep rockin' - and writing :)

  12. I liked it. I fear that I don't have much constructive to add in terms of making it better (or worse). I didn't know anything about Sound Cloud until this post, but it does sound like an excellent platform for your needs. Yay David!

    I received your comment on one of my Battle of the Bands postings. Did you realize that it wasn't for the current battle? I am totally cool with you commenting on old ones, just because I like hearing the opinions... but the current one is for the song I Heard It Through The Grapevine. I posted it on Tuesday. Hope you vote on that one, too:)

  13. I really liked this piece. It's quite varied and dynamic, which so much music these days just... isn't.

    Sound Cloud is a great resource. My partner is a sound engineer and he uses it sometimes for getting rough mixes to everyone in the band.

  14. I like your variety, Chris! Big fan of jazz guitar AND rock.

  15. I really like that, Chris.

    It's amazing how many things are in the "cloud" now.

  16. I really liked that selection, Chris!

  17. @Arlee: Thanks! Yeah. It's kind of amazing to me that I'm using my laptop to get a great high-fidelity digital recording studio with essentially as many tracks as I want. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was thrilled to death to finally have a Fostex 4-track tape recorder. It was noisy, lo-fidelity, hard to work with, and had serious sound degradation if you tried to bounce tracks more than once.

    @Mark: Aloha! Thanks! And it's on my calendar!

    @Robin: Thank you. And -- LOL. That's the drawback of trying to post comments from your phone. I didn't realize I was on an old post until after Id tried to posted a comment, and then had it lock up, so I wasn't sure it had posted and made another, and THEN realized I was on the wrong post. :) I did then comment on your current BOTB post (and voted for Marvin). :)

    @Kate: Thank you very much. Yeah, I like varying dynamics and tones and I probably mix too much stuff together in a single tune, but hey -- I'm doing it because I like it, not because I'm trying to be commercial. ;)

    @Milo: Thanks -- I really appreciate it!

    @L. Diane: Thank you! And you're right. I always picture "the cloud" as a massive governmental warehouse in a secret remote Nevada location, filled with rows upon rows of servers and zettabytes of personal data. There is no such thing as "private" data in "the cloud."

    (...and if anyone's curious -- "zetta" is a totally legitimate SI prefix. One zettabyte is a billion terabytes.)

    @Tyrean: Thank you very much!

  18. The music sounds really great!

  19. Thank you, Gina! I really appreciate that!


Don't be shy -- feel free to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts.