Saturday, May 2, 2009

Brevity Is - blame the Ffundercats and my wife for the return of Ontario Emperor synthetica music

I'll tell this story in order.

We need to start with the Ffundercats, combined with my addiction. Basically, I only want to listen to audio if it can be scrobbled. It's gotten to the point when I hear a song on my car radio and start reaching for the "Like" button...and then realize that I don't have one.

So when I listened to Ffundercats episodes 25 and 26, I made sure that I had up and running so the audio file could be scrobbled. Unfortunately, those two episodes of Ffundercats didn't have proper ID3 tags, so my Ffunderlistening wasn't scrobbled on, completely messing up my universe as I know it.

Fast-forward a few days to my wife, the newest Apple fangirl. Back when we had our Finnish visitors a few weeks back, one of them bought an iPod Touch (I guess they're cheaper in the United States), and my wife got intrigued. After a visit to the Apple Store at Victoria Gardens, my wife was convinced, and she went out and bought an iPod Touch of her own.

I got to help her load it, and that's when we discovered that the renaming of albums (designing to fit within the space constraints of her former MP3 player) ended up messing up her recorded album collection. That's when I figured out how to use the "Get Info" on each track to modify the artist name, album artist name, album name, and other pertinent information.

I had forgotten about this a few days later when I continued to muse on the whole ID3 tag thingie. I ended up searching for information on the topic, and found this CNET article that described how to edit ID3 tags using...well, using iTunes' "Get Info" capability, or the same capability that I used to rename my wife's album collection.

Unfortunately for you, this gave me an idea.

You see, I've been writing MIDI songs for over a decade. Years ago, when I owned a Mac, it was a fairly easy matter to convert those MIDIs to MP3s, upload them to, and let them tag them appropriately. When I bought a Windows computer, I never really did figure out all of the MIDI to MP3 conversion issues. I've used Anvil Studio to write MIDI files for the last several years, but with a few exceptions (e.g. "Non Sequitur 15") most of those files have remained in MIDI format.

However, I knew that the free version of Anvil Studio could convert MIDI to audio, provided the MIDI was less than one minute long. So I began thinking - if I could round up some of the very short MIDIs that I had never uploaded, convert them to MP3s, and then use iTunes to add the ID3 tags...well, who knows what could happen.

After a couple of false starts and the downloading of a WAV to MP3 encoder (MP3 output from Anvil Studio was not of sufficient quality, so I had to output in WAV format and convert it), I ended up uploading six songs to

Style-wise, things haven't really changed for Ontario Emperor music since the 20th century. It's still self-described as "synthetica music," for what it's worth. But at least the Anvil Studio free software limitations ensure that none of the songs lasts over a minute.

So if you're in the mood for some short synthetica, visit the page for "Brevity Is,", my six-song collection.

Tracks (all available for free download):
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