Ghosts of the Living Dead

George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is a classic, defining an iconic monster in our culture, and with it a genre: the zombie story. Also, it’s in the public domain. Anyone can copy it, distribute it, and use it to make new works.

Several years ago Nine Inch Nails released Ghosts I-IV, a collection of music largely devoid of vocals. It was released under a Creative Commons license (BY-NC-SA).

I’ve re-scored the film with this album, and removed 36 minutes of footage, in a one hour fanedit that I’m calling Ghosts of the Living Dead.

Purposefully made using legally distributable media, you are free to download and distribute this as you see fit as no money is made.

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Awesome soundtracks for all games, for no cost.

How can you give every game (indie or not) a blockbuster (and meaningful) soundtrack? It’s easier than you think. All it takes is a little work, and a little cost (Okay, it’s not “no cost,” but, considering the payoff…)

All you need is an online database, users to populate it, and API for developers to use it.

The database notes each user’s library (just taking the track titles, paths, and metadata, not actually uploading the music,) and asking users to tag the tracks by context, for use in interactive media when the appropriate context arises. Bam. Free million dollar soundtracks for anyone who wants to implement the system. The only cost being the user buying the music. It’s like playing music over games on consoles, only smarter.

(Sidenote: I don’t think any cloud services offer APIs for other developers, but it may be possible in the future to ask users for that data too, if you feel like streaming their music.)

Of course, users won’t be required to tag ALL of their data, but some should be required to lighten the load (and better personalize things.)

So after users’ data is pinged, the tags are of the veins “fast-paced, thrilling, scary, romantic, sexy, slow, energetic, sad, etc” to fit mood. But also consider an extra layer of “8bit, by instrument, etc.,”. To make it pitch perfect, ask users to rate each tag’s value. Especially if you want to do this after a game. (For instance, play the music, and ask “Do you feel this music was appropriate suspenseful during the standoff with ?” Let users pick if they want to use yes/no, a five point, or a ten point scale.)

It will take time for an entire library to populate. New users should be required to tag at least ten tracks, but power users (anyone logging in and investing the time) can categorize to their heart’s content. Maybe a deal could be struck with Pandora to import their categorization metadata? Power users should also be able to specify portions of songs instead of the entire track. (“Start this track :10 in, bypassing spoken words.”)

The idea is to give any game that wants to use the system a soundtrack custom-built by context needed in the game, with music already knowingly enjoyed by the user, at zero dollar cost to the developer at point of purchase. The only investment needed is the time investment required to learn the API to use it in your game.

Now, am I over- thinking the problem? Probably. But I’m okay with that. This is a blog post, not a plan to actually do this. Now, how does this get done? Get Microsoft to do it. Or Valve. Someone with a large interest in PC gaming. (Of course, Microsoft doesn’t REALLY have that, but, they like to claim they do with “Games for Windows Live.”)

But, it has to include a large, open music selection as well, like populated by tracks available for public use and distribution, so developers can pack that music in, giving the install base something to begin with, to make sure bases are covered.

Okay. Done. Just had to get that out of my brain. It was bugging me. Thanks.

Gaming's future
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Five Albums You Should Download (Legally)

Everything that can be copied freely, will. And for some of the better stuff, it’s even legal. For instance: Five free albums you should download:

AmpLive‘s album “Rainydayz
Freely at:
I apparently missed the fan outcry that surrounded this album (you can read about it on the link,) but whatever process it took to get it hosted freely on the net, then I’m glad it happened. The remix of Radiohead’s In Rainbows, with four of the seven songs featuring hip-hop vocals, could have been horrendously bad, but AmpLive never approaches that territory, and instead keeps is surprisingly fresh all throughout. There are a few effects such as ‘stuttering drums’ that you just really don’t associate with Radiohead, but you can only smirk at them, given how great the album is as a whole. Normally when a rock album is remixed by a DJ, it becomes “a rap album with rock samples and the original singer is nowhere to be found.” And to that we all typically roll our eyes, right? Right. Well, of the seven tracks on the album, four have other artists’ vocals, three don’t. Of those seven albums, Thom Yorke is noticeably sampled on six of them. Of those six, he’s the sole voice on three, and heavily featured on another. If rock albums are to ever be remixed with rappers over then, then AmpLive has just written the blueprint on how to do it. The rappers, singers, and music aren’t card board cut-outs to be glued where he sees fit, but instruments in themselves to be guided by his turntable, mixing board, and creativity, to create on cohesive song.
Best tracks: 2, 4, 7, 8

NIN‘s album “The Slip
Freely here:
The Slip is Trent Reznor’s first full album since he told his record label ‘fuck off’, and decided he wanted to do things ‘his way’. As such, he gives the exemplary NIN experience: a story within an album that reeks of personal complication and near-futile struggle, only, this is different. If The Downward Spiral was the story of a person coming apart and failing, and The Fragile was an attempted rebuilding that ended in failure and realization at the fragility of the attempt, then The Slip is the realization that it’s not strength and overpowering that gains freedom, but simply agility and speed to keep other’s hands off of you; slipping away. And that’s exactly what Reznor did when he finally got out of his contract, and with that new found freedom, this album slips into a more comfortable pair of shoes as he realizes that the opposite of the pain previously felt isn’t happiness, but absence of feeling. And it (seems to) show that he’s come to realize his role in all of this, ending strongly on Demon Seed. And it’s a comfortable one too, as it plays almost like a greatest hits album that you’ve never heard before.
Best songs: 2 (though the vocal echo is a tad annoying,) 3 (noisecore, but it grew on me,) 5, 7 (Ahhh Clara, forever with us, forever not.)

100 dBs‘s album “Aphex Twin Mashups
Freely at:
DJ 100dBs (one hundred decibels,) mixes a work of techno-rap genius. Discontent that his every-day average hip-hop-head friends can’t appreciate finer techno works of Aphex Twin, he takes to task of mixing Richard James with lyrics that we all know well (assuming you’re into hiphop.) The result isn’t a molesting of Aphex, as some may imagine, but instead hip-hop that belongs on the soundtrack for The Fifth Element, or an equally hip futuristic film. Also, he has tons of other mixes for free here:
Best songs: 2, 6, 8, 10

Harvey Danger‘s album Little by Little…
Freely at:
Before it was cool to do so, Harvey Danger knew that giving away their album for free would not ‘make them worthless,’ but in actually ‘get them more fans’. Seems kinda obvious now, huh? But after a few years of hiatus they were back at it in 2005 and in September they gave away Little by Little (even though a physical copy was on the shelf.) The result? According to the Wiki: “Within two months of release, the album had been downloaded 100,000 times, while the first pressing of physical copies (packaged with a disc of bonus material) had nearly sold out.”

And amazingly, if you’re the kind of person who actually read blogs, like this, I think you’ll agree that it’s really stood the test of time.
Best songs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

DJ Z-Trip & Radar‘s album Live at the Future Primitive Sound Session Vol. 2
Freely (DIRECTLY) at:
From the first time I heard DJ Z-Trip I’ve been unable to pick my jaw up– No, wait, that’s not true. Not unable. UNWILLING. If history says nothing else about Z-Trip, it should be “He is the man with the golden ear.” Given any two sounds, I’ve no doubt he could figure out the way to optimally fit them together like an audial jigsaw puzzle that when completes shows a sonic picture of pure kickass. Now, this isn’t to slight Radar. DJ Radar is the turntablist who created sheet music for turntables. Yes, sheet music. He has since produced “Concerto for Turntable,” which he performed (along with an orchestra) at Carnegie Hall.

But this recording was done live, and as the liner notes say (something to the effect of (mine’s in a closet):) “Two men, five turn tables, and forty years of music.”

This is the album you want to own. Well, this and DJ Z-Trip and DJ P’s Uneasy Listening, which can also be found on DJ Z-Trip’s download page here:
Along with a remix of Mamma Said Knock You Out, Prince’s Kiss (with Murs,) Murs’ Beginning of the End Remix/Sampler, and tons more. Seriously. They’re good. They’re god damn good. They’re that good, and they’re free. And you should download them all.


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