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Showing posts from March, 2005

A short Intermission

We are off on our hols for a couple of weeks - normal service will resume on the 18th April. Yes its sun and sea in the Seychelles for us. In the mean time today's streaming sample is a HiFi clip from our arrangement of part of Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No1 - Opus no 25 . If this interests you there is more on the Mendelssohn page so that you can hear the quality of the paid for recording. This is a relatively simple steel drum and Mega Moog combination - the latter is a bit 'buzzy' but I think the overall effect heighten's the drama of the piece. Ta Ta for now!

MP3 Music Blogs

Still casting around to find similar sites to link up with - using some aggregators and RSS portals without much success. Even leaving aside the blatant keyword stuffers, who will eventually be eliminated I suppose, it is like walking through treacle trying to find the material you want. Clues anyone? Today's streaming sample is a 30 second lofi clip from our remix of the Grand Fugue by JS Bach in E minor - enjoy and if your really like it buy - no strings on our MP3s!

MP3 Collection - Work in progress

This blog chronicles a work in progress - so here is a bit of a progress report. The initial classical collection has been completed and published. From this we can see that there is interest in all the composers that we have included but some of the less familiar names attract a surprising proportion of our traffic - perhaps because the big names are addressed so thoroughly elsewhere. There is also a surprisingly high level of interest in free 30 second lofi clips where as the handful of free full length pieces go largely ignored. For the last couple of weeks we have been working on putting a ragtime collection together - this has been accompanied with a technical advance which means we have been able to make greater use of the Moog marimba - so there are some treats in store. In the meantime today's streaming sample is a lofi clip of Beethoven's Bagatelle no1 - enjoy!

Dance Music MP3s

I suppose that it was ever likely that our selection of classics for percussion based arrangements would be biased towards dance music because of it's inherent rhythmical qualities. Dance and music have always been inextricably linked and we have chose to bring out this association with a page which highlights where dance music appears in our collection. Sometimes this is because a folk dance tune was the base material of a composition or in other cases like today's podcast it was composed specifically to accompany dancing because today's streaming sample is the Pizzicato Polka by Johann Strauss Junior - just click the title or the link if you are viewing this through an appropriate RSS2 reader.

Children's Music - Classic MP3s

One of the features of our collection of remixes is the music composed for children. A special Children's classics page includes sign posts to the composers involved which include Faure, Debussy, Saint Saens and Tchaikovsky and some examples of the tracks for sale. Our new world percussion approach leads to playful interpretations of the music and seem to suit this kind of music well. The streaming sample of the day is a lofi clip from Fossils out of the Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens - just click on the title of 'link' to download and play this mp3 file.

Exploring the MP3 corner of the blogging universe

Its a bit like going back in internet time - trying to find your way round the search engines and directories of yore when they didn't all work too well. I am trying to see if there are more sites like ours that we could link up with - if you know some please comment with the details. Today we saw one of our podcasts make it over the threshold into our weblog stats so something is happening - since it was our most sought after track - Offenbach 's Can Can - it has a ring of authenticity about it. In an effort to raise the tone today's streaming sample is a lofi snippet from Carl Maria von Weber's Rondo Brilliante which really does live up to its name!

Checking MP3 Blogs

Just been checking around to see how easy it is to find this blog. Answer: not very - so I 'm going to have to emphasise the key words a bit more. Apart from Blogger itself we use Feedburner to provide an RSS2 feed and Ping-o-Matic to flag the updates to various aggregators and blog search facilities but this doesn't seem to be doing the trick. The whole idea is to support the web site and help people find us. Also to provide another channel for people to hear what our music is like. Today's streaming sample is one of those lovely sunny afternoon pieces from Faure - Apres un Reve .

Widor - last but not least!

Those who have been following this semi alphabetical tour through the great classical composers of the eighteen and nineteenth centuries will not be too surprised that we have ended up here. Charles-Marie Widor was one of those great French church organists and composers who is famous for just one piece and we make no apology for including the Toccata from his 5th Symphony in our collection. Here the unlikely use of Marimba and steel drums to replace an organ has the effect of bringing the music out of the church and into the sunshine. Naturally our streaming sample for today is a lofi clip which gives some hint of the features of the HiFi track which we offer for sale.

Carl Maria von Weber MP3s

Weber is particularly well known for his meliflouous clarinet concerto and we are lucky enough to be able to offer 9 minute of the Andante rendered on marimba, xylophone and steel drums. The marimba does a good job on the clarinet part but in some respects the drums steal the show - the sunny Caribbean sound just makes you want to smile and so the lofi clip from this piece is today's streaming sample . The real discovery for us however was the Rondo Briliante which truly lives up to its name. We have rendered it on harp, vibes and steel drums which is particularly effective on the long rippling runs. For the time being you will have to visit our website to hear the clip from this one.

Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite

Our Tchaikovsky page is based on a MIDI file of the piano version of the Nutcracker Suite. We maintained the same arrangement of steel drums, vibes and harp with modest support from a vox angel in the left hand but separated the components of the suite into manageable MP3 files of which the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies is today's podcast. Just to complement that we have included February from Les Saisons arranged on steel drums with vibes.

Johann Strauss Jnr MP3

Remixing this dancing and marching music from Strauss was fun. Fast paced music like this lends itself readily to a percussion interpretation. Naturally they were arranged for a full orchestra and some simplification of the instrumentation was required. For example in the Champagne Polka the steel drums again worked surprisingly well with the string parts and and the ocarina replaced the wind sections with some support from a synthesizer pad while the marimba carried much of the melody and a woodblock the punctuation. By contrast in the blue Danube Waltz a Pancarina brings a breathy Andean touch to an old favorite. The streaming sample today is a lofi clip from the Champagne Polka .

Vivaldi MP3

Not the Four Seasons but a Violin Concerto. Never the less this piece is typical of Vivaldi 's work and clearly deserves a place in the collection. Yet a gain we surprised ourselves with ease with which a piece written for strings would translate in to a percussion remix. The Steel Drums take on the orchestral part with ease and a xylophone and flying sine synth combine to tackle the violin lead. The overall effect is rather more ethereal than the original orchestration but the clear lines and counterpoint come shining through. Naturally the streaming sample is a lofi clip from this our A minor Violin Concerto Remix .

Robert Schumann Toccata

For some reason Schumann doesn't seem to have attracted MIDI sequencers in the way that other composers of a similar profile have done. However the Toccata we have just published is a thoughtful and entertaining piece. On this occasion the steel drums were augmented by vibes and underpinned by a bass synthesizer. This combination displays the free flowing and sparkling music to good effect. It is one of several famous examples of the Toccata form in our collection including examples from Bach and Widor . Incidentally the name toccata comes from the Italian for 'touch' and I suppose this describes the exposition of keyboard dexterity and touch that these works display. Not surprisingly today's streaming sample gives you 30 lofi seconds of the Schumann Toccata in C Major Opus 7

Press Release

" Classical Collection Completed Today One hundred and fifteen MP3 tracks - original arrangements of music by twenty five Composers have now been uploaded. This collection is equivalent to around 10 CDs - available to buy and download at reasonable prices on a pick and mix basis at . (For all tracks a short 'LoFi' MP3 sample is provided to guide your selection.) The composers came from France, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Italy and worked in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many visited, performed and composed whilst in England but none were born here. Download2MP3 have re-interpreted selected pieces on a variety of combinations of synthesized instruments - all based round a steel drum band. Other featured instruments include Marimba, Vibraphone, harp and a Mega Moog Synthesizer. While keeping faithfully to the score these new arrangements show this music in a new light, encouraging us to listen again wi

Your Favorite Tunes No 1

One of the tunes, which is most frequently sought for specifically, is Beethoven 's Turkish March. This was one of the early surprises for us - when it became apparent that our percussion instruments could produce interesting and lively renditions of orchestrated rather than keyboard music. Naturally we have to simplify things some what but the added sparkle that a percussive approach can produce more than compensates for that. So we have made it the streaming sample for today.

Finding music online

Part of the preparation for this site involved an extensive search for free MIDI files over several years. During that time I ranged far and wide over the internet following seams of information about particular music genre and finding the sites run by the enthusiasts involved. The types of site ranged from a simple one page site to much larger ones, through the huge FTP archives available at some university sites in those days to the binary news groups. Having put the collection together I republished it for a while but the activity was progressively curtailed by copyright concerns and ultimately by a careless free ISP - you get what you pay for in the end. But through all that I learned a bit about searching and I also saw the search engines develop their capability. At one time broad searches generated leads but now they are all invested by the big commercial sites. Today you are better off with rifle shot searches and narrowly defined requests because the big three search engines

Back on stream

Broadband is back up and running better than ever with the new router set up. While access has been problematic we have been working on production of tracks from composers in the last part of our alphabetical list and we will be publishing them in a few days. This will complete the first phase of our classical production programme and we have now started looking at ragtime. The popularity of individual composer's pages keeps changing as they appear on the search engines and Liszt is currently flying high so we have included a lofi sample from one of his Hungarian Rhapsodies as our streaming sample for today.

Comms is everything

Clinging on by my technology fingernails as our comms are upgraded/rationalised - it'll be worth it in the long run - exercise. To be precise an old modem, choked by an adsl filter down to less than 20K! Normal service should be resumed next week and in the meantime here is a lofi snip from a Handel Concerto Grosso cunningly remixed on new world instruments.