MacJams is a very open community. One of its greatest assets are members who seek to create, join and support collaborative opportunities. MJ Online Events are almost always grassroots activities started by a single member with a great idea. Many of these events, like WoodstockMJ fest and CBGBs Demos, became long running reasons to create new music under a fun and inspiring theme. In this blog, I want to highlight some of the most successful events we’ve had so far, to archive them in a single place. (Maybe this retrospective will inspire new ones!) I list some of my favorite events below, including highlight tracks from those events.
But first, a brief history of Online Events in the Macjams community…
The first event that energize the entire community was a giant collaboration organized and mixed by Alimar under the moniker MacJammersUnited. It celebrated the first year anniversary of Macjams. There were so many participants, the resulting mp3 had to be divided up into 2 parts and specially submitted because just Part One exceeded the normal size limit. Happy Birthday MacJams! (part 1) and Happy Birthday MacJams! (part 2) made people realize how large events could unify and heighten the sense of community here. This was followed up by a very satisfying group collaboration celebrating one of the most likable early members, SlimGirlFat, called SlimGirlThat, a huge birthday tribute that involved something like 39 performers.
Hundreds of fabulous collaborations have developed over the past 4 years. I will discuss many of these in future blogs under a separate Collaborations category. I just had to mention the first MacJammersUnited efforts in this context. Those experiences gave us a taste of what large online events could achieve, how rewarding they felt.
The first major project that gathered multiple tracks under a single theme was the brainchild of chikoppi. His genius was to marry the idea of free stuff with a contest/challenge spearheaded by a member instead of an MJ Administrator. He ran the entire thing from the MJ Forums. Loop It Or Lose It (LIOLI) challenges, sponsored by BandmateLoops.com with free loops, was a huge success. (See bottom of this blog entry for all main LIOLI Forum posts to date.) Other dedicated members (bud, SmokeyVW and Rik Berryer) took up the cause when chikoppi went on hiatus, keeping the spirit alive. Bud has been involved since LIOLI3. There have been seven LIOLI challenges so far, with no end in site.
It was only a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of combining collaborations with the challenge concept and create Invitationals, events that posted a loop, lead track, groove or song snippet and then invited members to create derivatives, to add on and change the original. The idea of Festivals came next, using clever themes as the organizing ideas behind creative music collections. Most of these events used both the Forums and Artist Profile Pages to gather and promote their collections/compilations. I list a few below, but feel free to add more in the comments section at the end of this blog.
SAMPLE MJ ONLINE EVENTS:
Analogapalooza hosted by the Vintage Music festival crew. Analogapalooza was billed as “Macjams First Annual Vintage Music Festival” in which members were invited to post their music of the 20th Century created without the use of computers - recorded by analogue equipment and actual audio tape. The only requirement for posting was that the work predate December 31st 1999 and be created using analogue recording equipment. It was a chance for members to dust off old tape and show off music done decade(s) ago. Some of my favorite surviving tracks include:
- Ratboy - 1994 steck
- Lullabye - 1981 guitapick
- Stealing Water (1992) racerat
- Lady-Killer 1979 J.A. Stewart
- Reaching - 1997 bug67
- Walls - 1991 TobinMueller
- Taking the Time by Jasmine - 1975 william devine
- Make Me Hope - 1999 twonicus
- Down and out - 1992 apb and Down and Out steck (remastered)
- Blueboy - 1984 biba_nova
- The Brickwork Poems - 1982 biba_nova
- Get You Home - 1976 SmokeyVW
- All Strung Out - 1996 Norman Goodman
WoodstockMJ hosted by Feter on his WoodstockMJ page. As if MacJammers had been participants in the 1969 festival at Yasgur’s farm, we were asked to post the songs we would’ve played. Many of the tracks sound like live open-air performances. Some of the lyrics perfectly capture the era. There are too many great tracks to list my favorites, this has been such a successful event. I just wanted to mention a few. (I contributed Sitcom Psychedelica, pretending it was performed at an after-party club, unable to resists the retro moment):
- Simplify by jiguma
- Raining Bows by McBoy
- Green Noodle Chow by thetiler
- When Is The Day by Dadai
CBGB’s was a direct outgrowth of the WoodstockMJ success. “A little while back,” states the initial PR Blurb, “Egobandit mentioned a similar idea based around CBGB’s - the legendary Lower East Side NY music club. I decided that he had a good idea that could roll - though he’s too busy with his new kid and work to admin - so I’ll run with it. I got his stamp of approval. WoodstockMJ showed us that there is no shortage of aging hippies and fellow travelers here - it’s time for the Punks, New Wavers, No Wavers, Rockabillys and Hardcores to step up. The concept is simple. You are a band trying to get a gig at CBGB’s and the only way to do that is to send in your demo tape and pray…” This project has just begun (as of this writing), but you can listen in to all the submitted demos at CBGB Demos. (Even tho this is, strickly speaking, an invitational event, it will end up sounding like a festival, so I placed it here. No categories, really, just cool events.) CBGBs also is the first Online Event that included a series of Poster Art submissions (and flyers) starting with five-extra-arms (Bob Dorsey). Some of my favs from the event:
- Zoom Bang Bang with Sir Dennis Crowther & Rebsie by DWL
- WAKE ME UP by Brian D
- Let’s Get Drunk Demo by Allen Dean
- Pretty Ones by Vic Holman
- A Handful Of Something by michael2
- Getaway by rsorensen
- If I Was God by PickQuick Records
- Little Baby Razorblade by echoroom
- BullSh@#t by Nick_Flash
Invitationals: (open ended collaborations)
The Voice4Choice Challenge “vocal game” that used an old Irish standard, “The Minstrel Boy,” as originating raw material. Two versions of the vocals were provided, male (rschletty) and female (rebsie). A series of fascinating arrangements resulted. Here are two very haunting submissions:
- Minstrel Boy w/R.Schletty/Rebsie (V4C01) by cchaplin
- The Minstrel Boy (w/Rebsie vocals) by Rik Berryere
- Flying Salad by datafunk
An open invitation to play with an a cappella track by ledebutant became the Saturnine Project. It spawned all sort of interesting styled mixes:
- Saturnine w/ktb by The Orbiting;
- Saturnine (a Polka remix) by ledebutant/illuminati/alfalpha
A Hero’s Journey Project invites members to post music with a philosophical theme. It is run via a Member Profile page by Doug Somers, originally announced in the Forums, this is an example of an opened invitational without time limit based on a. Sample tracks:
- Heroes by apb
- Revolution’s Son by Audiocracy
- Lady of the Lake by Mystified/TobinMueller
- Before There Were Gods by TobinMueller and Michael Hedges
- Haecceity by Alimar
Ember-Rekindled project (archived on drakonis’ Profile page) garnered over 30 different versions/derivative tracks. The variants go from classical through muzak, surf guitar, ambient, even rapping chicken, all based on the same music bed. My fav:
- The Legend of Drakonis by drakonis (Comedy-Satire-Parody).
Lost Songs Project run through the Lost Song (Deja Tune) project page, was a clever challenge/invitational designed to “blur the line between originality and imitation,” as its intro thread announced. Step One asked us to choose a record that we love and record a song that was left off the album, then submit it with an LSP tag in the title. Step Two asked members to listen to each song and guess what album and band/artist was being imitated on each participating song page. The exercise forced members to write and arrange music in another style. I had a great time imitating Tears For Fears “Elemental” with my submission You Can’t Touch Me (LSP), even tho it ended up sounding more like ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ by Duran Duran. Lost Songs Project produced some very fun submissions, for example:
- Crazy Star Vic Holman (in style of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd)
- God Only Knows michael2 (in style of Nirvana)
- I’m a Dreamer Moviz (in style of Fats Waller)
- Inner Light Vic Holman (in style of All Things Must Pass by George Harrison)
- Today Peter Bauckham (in style of Out Of Time by R.E.M.)
- Porton Down Rebsie & Dick Langford (in style of Fairport Convention’s Liege & Lief)
- Twenty-Nine paul f. page (channeling J.S.Bach, with psychic interference from Beethoven)
- Lost and Found lostsongs
Members: If you can recall online events that I haven’t listed, or if you’d like to share your own experience participating or observing these activities, please add your comments or drop me a note.
Admin: I think all events as described above should be listed under the EVENTS link in the top menu. It would be much easier to find and promote events, and nicer for members seeking participation. Perhaps there could be an active/archived toggle button. The Forums can get congested. As EVENTS get more common, a separate menu heading becomes handy/desirable.