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Messages - Altus

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Hey Jim,
Thanks for the comments.  I'm glad you enjoyed it.


City of Ashes

Altus proudly presents City of Ashes, an audio/visual project pairing the music of Mike Carss and the photography of Shawn Sintzel. A mix of ambient and orchestral works, this is by far the most cinematic music Carss has released to date, and acts as a film-like soundtrack to Sintzel's stark and austere photography.

Active listening is encouraged.

Available as 320kb MP3, and FLAC for those who rather to burn to CD.
Full-length previews also available at

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Ambient in pictures
« on: June 22, 2009, 06:38:20 PM »
Those are some excellent finds.

It's interesting you should post this.  I'm about to release an album in collaboration with a photographer, with each track having a photo associated with it.
It was a fun project, and I'm definitely going to do it again.

Everything and Nothing / Re:
« on: May 14, 2009, 05:10:24 AM »
Yes.  People using the software were listening to your music, hence scrobbled.  You can easily take control of that page and essentially make it your own, adding proper information and links to more of your work.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Best way to organize studio layout
« on: May 10, 2009, 08:06:29 PM »
Some very nice designs.  The price is outrageous, but I'm not that surprised given it's a niche product.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Best way to organize studio layout
« on: May 10, 2009, 12:12:52 PM »
I have the exact same problem where my midi keyboard is at a 90-degree angle from everything else.  Seren, I see you do the same thing as well.  ;)  I've been on the lookout for a desk with a very wide slide-out shelf that would be long and strong enough to accommodate a midi keyboard (instead of a standard computer keyboard).

Has anyone seen such a desk?

Everything and Nothing / Re:
« on: May 10, 2009, 12:03:36 PM »

It's an interesting tool to see what people listen to, which in turn tells you what people are enjoying.  For example, one track I wrote called "Magellanic Clouds" has a huge spike in plays compared to anything else.  As a result, I'll be re-working and expanding the sound of that relatively short track into a longplay album later this year.

Everything and Nothing / Re: found sounds
« on: May 04, 2009, 04:43:14 PM »
"The researchers add that the tones are far beyond the edge of human hearing, some 12 octaves below the lowest detectable note. While orchestras tune up to the A above middle C, at around 440 Hertz, the Earth rings at a much more stately 100-5000microHz. That is one vibration every 278 hours, or 11.5 days."

As much as I'd love to hear it too, I don't think it's possible.   :D

Gah!  I'm still waiting for my copy.  This is torture!    ;)

Everything and Nothing / Re: Music, free or for sale ?
« on: April 10, 2009, 06:37:07 AM »
Also, I think that if you give something away once, people may be unwilling to pay for something in the future.

I'd have to disagree on that.  The model to give something away, and then charge for more is a model that's used in the games industry with much success.  For example a company will release a free demo of the game, allowing access to a few levels or limiting access in an open-world type game.  It gives players a chance to check it out first before dropping their hard-earned money.  The massively multi-player genre (such as Warcraft) usually allow players full access to the game for 10 days for free, to get them hooked.

Now take that model to our music.  Give away an album or two and use those as a hook to garner attention and fans.  Then charge for the third, fourth and fifth release, etc.

Another idea to really hook your fans, give away your sixth album as a thank you to everyone who's purchased your albums.  The idea is to create loyalty in your fans, who are the best at spreading the word of your music.

I could be used as an example.  I started releasing my work publicly in 2001 as free downloads.  At the end of 2006, I setup my first (and probably only) release available to purchase (Winter Embrace II) as a benefit for StillStream.  Between 2001 and 2006, I had 11 free releases.  Since I already had a fan base, it actually made money.  It's been purchased around 350 times.  The fact that it was benefit for StillStream definitely had a part to play in those purchases, but it's also available on iTunes and eMusic which has no mention of StillStream... and that's where 85% of the purchases came from.  I can guarantee that if I charged for all my releases, would be far lesser known and would result in less profit.

And I still consider myself in an obscure deep hole of a sub-basement when it comes to underground "unknown artist".  ;)

Everything and Nothing / Re: US Copyright rant
« on: April 07, 2009, 06:52:25 PM »
and he also might decide the $600 or $1500 or $3000 he might make is a lesser consideration than the possibility of getting 5,000 people to hear his work as a free download, rather than just hundreds who might have bought it.
Exposure is the main reason I release through CC.  Sure, a lot of people might download my stuff casually, listen to one track and just delete it afterward.  But at the same time, I know that there's a lot of people downloading it, enjoying it and keeping in their library.

Loren, I may be reading you wrong, but you seem very defensive on the subject.  I hope you understand that these are my personal opinions and certainly don't think my way is best.  It's just what works for me.  :)  I'm just glad to see other artists take the same approach.

Everything and Nothing / Re: US Copyright rant
« on: April 07, 2009, 04:23:50 AM »
No, CC is not about compensation or money, just sharing.  Distribution?  I would imagine freely distributing your work to anyone and everyone gets your music out there quite well.  And yeah, I agree it can be used as viral marketing by the big boys, such as Radiohead and NiN.  But the plus side of having well known artists use a license they really don't need, I think it legitimizes the whole CC concept and in turn helps people like me.

Anyone have any other thoughts on this?

Everything and Nothing / Re: US Copyright rant
« on: April 06, 2009, 07:26:38 PM »
Curious.  Why would you think releasing through CC would mean giving up the rights to one's own work?

Everything and Nothing / Re: US Copyright rant
« on: April 03, 2009, 06:40:14 PM »
Creative Commons is the way to go in my opinion... although I have a feeling you were being sarcastic.  ;)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Discovering New Labels
« on: March 04, 2009, 05:17:25 AM »
hearing a recording of a small dog constantly barking and what sounds like someone urinating on a sidewalk looped for minutes on end can catch one off guard and start the questions coming :-\
Haha!  Wow, that does sound irritating.  I understand completely your thoughts on whether the artist is trying to express something important to them, or just trying so hard to be different that they fall flat on their face because it's horrible music that nobody could enjoy.   ::)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Discovering New Labels
« on: March 03, 2009, 08:12:50 PM »
Here's something to consider...  How many people out there don't "get" ambient music in general?  They say it's pointless... where's the melody, etc.  You could say the same thing about us not "getting" the really avant-garde stuff.  Just playing devil's advocate here.   ;)

Everything and Nothing / Re: Fringe - anyone watching this show?
« on: February 14, 2009, 07:00:06 AM »
Yeah I'm enjoying it as well.  Sort of like X-Files for the 21st century.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Too loud!
« on: February 13, 2009, 05:12:09 AM »
maybe my receiver has some kind of internal gizmo that automatically "adjusts" quieter sounds
My amp has a setting like that.  It's called Midnight Mode.  The idea is you have the volume fairly low, so it brings up the quieter parts so you can still hear it.  No chance a settings like that is on?

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Camel Audio - Alchemy
« on: February 12, 2009, 05:03:45 PM »
I've been hearing quite a bit about this synth.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on it once you've had some playtime with it.

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