Cloud Sourcing Experiment

If you are a musician of any description and have at some stage recorded some music, please read on. If you are not a musician or have not recorded any music, then you’re welcome to read on too, but I don’t require your active participation at this time thank you. If you’re going to try and catch me out by claiming that you’re not a musician but that you have recorded some music, then you can read on too, I may require your active participation, and furthermore I question your definition of the term musician.


This is an experimental project, but I reject the use of ‘experimental’ as a credible musical genre. It might be the case that the album ends up being filed under ‘bluegrass’ or ‘hip hop/R&B’ or ‘2-bit wet-tech physicswave’ in all good record shops, time will tell. But the process is an experiment in the truest sense. I intend to compile an album of non-genre-specific music, and to do this I need contributions from the public. Taking my cue from classic/conventional rock/pop production, I’ll use guitar, drums, bass, vocals, maybe even a splash of keyboard, and maybe the occasional background vocal. You, the general public, will provide the separate components. I will then be responsible for compiling and mixing.

If you have access to separates from your recording session, then great, this is what I’ll be using. The album will be produced in a conventional way by arranging and mixing separate audio tracks from various instruments, only the difference between this project and a normal album production process is that none of the submitters will have heard any of the other submissions. You might send me a 4 minute hi-hat track from your nu-metal band, and I might decide to use that along with a kick drum taken from a country and western ballad, a snare from a free jazz combo and floor toms from a bunch of psych-rock revivalists. That’s none of your business. This might sound like a terrible idea to you, but that’s okay because you’re not doing it. I think it’s a great idea and will sound fantastic, which is why I am doing it.

I’m asking for uncompressed audio separates that fall into the following categories:

1. Guitar (electric or acoustic, lead or rhythm or whatever)
2. Bass (electric or acoustic/upright)
3. Kick drum
4. Snare drum
5. Toms
6. Hi-hat
7. Ride cymbal
8. Crash cymbal
9. Other rhythmic percussion (eg. tambourine, triangle, conga, bongo, handclaps etc)
10. Vocals, lead (spoken/sung/shouted/screamed/rapped)
11. Vocals, other (background etc)
12. Keyboard (piano, harpsichord, analogue synth, computer based etc.)

What I do want:
Good, clean, professional quality audio separates ideally with no bleed-through from other instruments that might have been recorded at the same time. I realise that this is pretty tricky where drums are concerned, in which case I’m after drums that have been recorded with separate mics on each piece of kit, rather than the whole kit being recorded simultaneously with a single mic. If this proves to be too difficult then I’ll settle for whole kit recordings.
Tracks taken from a single credible piece of music.
Anything between 3 and 6 minutes in length (give or take – I mean, 2:50 would be okay, but 25:00 wouldn’t be).
Original music that you own the copyright to.
Material in any genre or style, as long as it fits into one of the categories above.
Tracks from amateurs and professionals alike. Separates are welcome from all.

What I don’t want:
Your solo version of a popular hit recorded in your bedroom on your phone.
Complete stereo recordings of your whole band.
A 5 minute solo jam. As in, don’t just noodle away aimlessly on your Fender Jazzmaster and submit that – I want the audio to have been recorded for inclusion in an ensemble piece, not intended as a stand-alone.

How to do it:
Upload your uncompressed audio file (no mp3s, please) to a third-party file hosting site such as Rapidshare, YouSendIt or Mediafire etc and email the link to me at Or else get in touch for my address and you can post me a CD.

Other info:
In the first instance this is just an experiment. By submitting a track or tracks, you are agreeing to let me use the piece unaltered as a component in a new work, and you will still retain ownership of and copyright to your specific bit. You also agree to let me make the results available as low-quality mp3s. You are not giving me permission to do anything else with it, unless I specifically ask first and you say it’s ok. If it turns out that the results are spectacular (and I strongly suspect that they will be) and a major label wants to release the album in a massive worldwide distribution in multiple deluxe formats (as I strongly suspect they will), then I’ll make sure permissions are sought and contracts are signed and profits are shared. But I’m not doing this to get rich, certainly not at the expense of talented musicians like yourself, I’m doing this because I’m a restless, creative explorer.

Snow Idea

Amuse, confuse and disturb your fellow citizens with these fun suggestions for urban virgin snow mischief. These are best performed very early in the morning after a settled snowfall. The resulting patterns left in the soft white powder will then be ready to be discovered by the day’s early risers.

1. Walk around for a bit with your left shoe on your right foot, and your right shoe on your left foot.
2. Hop on one leg down the entire length of a street
3. Walk with a companion halfway down a street. At some arbitrary midpoint the lighter of the two should jump on the other and receive a piggyback the rest of the way.
4. Walk halfway down a street. At some arbitrary midpoint, pause, create some mysterious scratchy marks in the snow immediately in front of where you’ve stopped and then continue walking in the direction you were initially travelling but facing the other way. If you’re worried about bumping into things while walking backwards, you could attempt to put your shoes on the wrong way around, although this might not be as straightforward as it sounds.
5. Cut some human hand shapes out of rubber, wood, or half a potato, and strap one to the underside of each of your shoes. Experiment with various sizes of hand, from tiny baby hands to freakish over-sized monster hands with terrifying spindly elongated fingers.
6. As above but instead of human hands, replicate the paw/hoof prints of various animals. There are lots of variations of this idea – the one you choose might depend on how subtle you wish to be, or how perceptive and intelligent you believe your intended audience to be:
a) prints of species that would not be expected to be present in your town. A kangaroo in Doncaster, a Shropshire Rhinoceros in Staffordshire, a sperm whale in Tamworth (I know sperm whales don’t have characteristic paw prints, but maybe they’d slither along the ground in a distinctive manner – do some research).
b) prints significantly larger than the current largest known example of that species. You might wander into your local pub in the evening to frenzied reports of an upright 10 foot tall Etruscan shrew stalking the area and causing people to disappear.
c) prints of species hitherto unknown to science.
d) waddle down the street as a penguin, but with your left shoe as a Magellanic penguin, your right shoe as a Western Rockhopper.
e) dressed as an upright 10 foot tall Etruscan shrew, carry two small children on your back. The children could have fake penguin feet prints on their shoes. At some arbitrary point in the street, stop, let the children down from your back, change your shoes into some penguin feet prints, and then the three of you walk off in different directions.
f) with the help of two small children, enact three tiny Etruscan shrews merging into one gigantic supershrew
g) get a friend to don gazelle hoof print shoes. You should put on some lion paw print shoes. Get your friend to chase you, the lion, zig-zagging in a manner consistent with a real lion chasing a real gazelle (i.e. prey becomes predator). This will work best in an empty car park rather than the street. After a while, stop in the centre of the car park, make some marks in the snow as if there’s been a scuffle, jump on your friend (the gazelle)’s back and return home.
h) carry a bag or backpack with a number of custom shoes, each one of them of one of humankind’s ancient ancestors. Leave your house as a pierolapithecus and swap your shoes every 20 yards or so, evolving down the street as you go. Alternatively, you could start out human and regress to a shapeless slithery thing by the time you get to the end of the road.