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The Scarlet & Black

Freesound opens doors, enables music

“I play music all the time. It’s what we do in this group,” Michael Kober ’10 of Freesound said.
Freesound is a student-run group of musicians that facilitates sharing, performing, and recording music. Bands and solo artists can rent out Freesound’s equipment—including various instruments, speakers, and mixers—to play music. Freesound also records and releases music of participating bands.
“If you think you can get up on stage, and you have something to say, you should try,” Eliyah Afzal ’11 said.
Kober and Afzal are, along with a score of other musicians, “active members” of Freesound. Active members are responsible for running the organization, maintaining the equipment, and making any decisions about what the Freesound should do. Anyone can become an active member, simply by attending the meeting held every Wednesday at 9:00 in Bob’s.
If this seems ambiguous, it’s because it is. The members of Freesound specifically wanted to avoid a hierarchical structure. “[We asked,] ‘how would your favorite musicians organize their music?’ So we did it,” Afzal said. “We had to do it with no rules. We had to do it with no leaders. It’s better that way… I consider myself an active member of a living democracy.”
On this note, one of the underlying principles behind Freesound is that anyone should be able to join and the rules are simple. “If your group is active in Freesound,” Kober said, “you’re allowed to borrow our equipment.” According to Kober, this includes about ten bands.
Both Afzal and Kober want to see Freesound expand over the coming year. To this end, bands in Freesound will be providing an original score for a showing of avant-garde shorts hosted by the Cultural Film Series on November 6. Members have also proposed an outdoor performance, a show during a meal in the dining hall, and an increase in the number of Freesound performances overall.
Also, in addition to the collection of Freesound music released each Spring on cd and online, the Freesound website may post LPs available for free download.
Freesound is highly available, with a website at Their campus username and Grinnell Plans username is [freesoun] and they also maintain a blog and MySpace page available through their website.
Beyond their online presence, Afzal believes there will always be a place on campus for a collaborative group of student musicians.
“It’s important for students to express themselves in a musical fashion,” Afzal said, “because music speaks to one’s emotions, which can be drowned by the toil and tedious study over the dark weeks that lay in our future. You should probably save yourself by witnessing a Freesound production.”

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