Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Music Within

Recently the Czech ambassador (Jan Fury) showed up at my house asking for a copy of the Akar Umbi CD.

I had told him there are only 20+ copies left - and they are all with Rafique. So I burned him a copy and also gave him Marina Roseman's CD, Dream Songs of the Malaysian Rainforest, since he's so keen to get his hands on it. That made me realize there are many who really enjoy off-the-beaten-track music, especially if it's aboriginal stuff.

Since June 2009 I have had 7 Akar Umbi tracks on (downloadable for 75 cents a track) - but there appears to be have been no downloads so far, so I made all the tracks downloadable for free.

Later I realized that SoundClick compresses their music files to low-grade mp3 (128 bits or less!) - whereas allows high-grade downloads (320-bit mp3 or flac) which is almost as good as wav or cda quality (original CD encoding).

I only discovered BandCamp a few days ago, thanks to a German DJ & audio wizard who stayed with me for a week and helped remaster some ancient tracks.

Well, I realized BandCamp was a much better platform to keep Akar Umbi and Mak Minah's songs online - people can listen for free and also download by paying a small fee.

That's how it should be - those who want to possess the tracks can easily afford a few bucks, while everybody else can still access the music at the best possible quality.

Also, BandCamp allows me to include detailed program notes for each track -  so a complete album download also comes with all the notes and images. This makes it unnecessary to ever consider reissuing the album as a CD - too much trouble to replicate in small quantities - and too difficult to distribute globally.

Digital albums make perfect sense to me, because binary codes are weightless. (A few years ago Universal Music actually expressed an interest in repackaging and distributing Songs of the Dragon - at first regionally, then perhaps globally - but the recording industry went into a slump and they simply dropped the idea.)

So on 7 September 2012, one week before Minah Angong's 82nd birthday, Akar Umbi has found a permanent home (I hope) in cyberspace!

It doesn't matter much to me whether most folks opt to just listen - if even a handful decide to download, I might earn a few extra bucks over the years, to cover my internet bills.

Amazingly, Mak Minah is worth money even after her death. Last year, Solaris Publika embarked on a "TextWalk" project, inscribing short quotes from 60 Malaysian writers & poets in cement.

I was asked to contribute a couple - then they wanted something from Orang Asli folklore, so I let them use a few lines from "Kuda Lari" and they eventually paid me RM500 for that, which I handed to Semboh, Mak Minah's favorite granddaughter, who was so delighted.

I told her Mak Minah still cares for her!

The link to Akar Umbi ~ Songs of the Dragon is

Guano Breath is an umbrella name for all my musical experiments :-)

By Antares

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