Author Topic: Koude Handen  (Read 14707 times)

matthew

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Koude Handen
« on: August 28, 2010, 02:34:02 AM »
Instead of creating a new topic for every news-bit (and spamming the entire topic) I will add new information at the bottom of this treat. I'll change the headline of the article accordingly. Any news relating to the headline, can be found at the bottom of this thread.

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Kouden Handen - Release on 01.10.2010



You might remember that a while back I have asked you about your thoughts regarding digital distribution of music. More specifically, I asked if an online release is perceived equally “valuable” as a physical release. As diverse as the answers where, they have helped me understand and make a decision regarding my latest album.

Although I realize that not everyone will be happy with the following news, my new album; Koude Handen (Cold Hands) is going to be a download only. But that's not the full story and since I did promise a surprise, here we go:

  • Matthew Florianz' 8th album is called Koude Handen (Cold Hands)
  • The release date is set for 01.10.2010
  • The album will be available as a download (only) via www.matthewflorianz.com
  • Two formats will be available: a vbr mp3 and a lossless 24bit Flac file
  • The album will be free to download.

To help promote the upcoming release of Koude Handen, my previous album; Maalbeek is available right now, also as a free download!

I hope this is a solution that appeals to most of my listeners. Although I would have really liked to release Koude Handen on a disc, the times have changed. It's not so much the cost of manufacturing as my albums fortunately always sold enough to cover cost (thank you once again!). I simply couldn't find a distribution channels that takes care of posting, customer care, billing and all the other things that are part of a physical medium. There aren't that many (ambient) labels left which release compact discs and most of those that do don't take on new artists. I saw that as a problem at first but....

Your response, the state of album distribution and the lack of finding a “perfect-fit” label, helped me get comfortable about the idea of distributing the album myself. The moment I finally flipped that switch from physical to download, I got really excited about the idea. I can now release music in its native 24bit format which is impossible on a regular compact disc release. A free release takes away barriers, might even reach new listeners. Although a non-physical medium might take away some of the “prestige”, I have been lucky enough to be allowed seven releases on compact disc already. As one of the commenter's rightfully wrote; "... It's about the music, stupid ...", though I may have interpreted that comment slightly.

So there it is, the actual release is still a month off, but I have some more teasers, audio-clips and even some short “visuals” planned before release, so check back regularly. I'll post those updates here also. Until then, you can catch up on one of my older works, Maalbeek (2008) which is available right now and the 24bit Flac (519mb download) sounds better than the album has ever sounded.

Your thoughts and ideas are of course welcome!

Links
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Download maalbeek for free - http://www.matthewflorianz.com/maalbeek.html
News and updates – http://www.facebook.com/Ambient-Environmental-Soundscapes/
Koude Handen Teaser video -
Matthew Florianz - http://www.matthewflorianz.com
« Last Edit: October 05, 2010, 12:46:43 PM by Matthew Florianz »

hjalmer

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m

thanks so much for maalbeek sound art
very generous and much appreciated

h



SequenceC

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Hi Matthew,

Many thanks. Maalbeek is an excellent album with lovely artwork. My favourite track is the title track, excellent sounds.

Blackinfinity

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thanks a lot for 24 bit flac!
I hope it will be an growing trend...

Blackinfinity

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Not sure what Mp3 codec you use ?
It usually hard to tell the difference between 16 bit mp3 LAME codec VBR standard and flac.

But the differences between the 16 bit  mp3 and the 24bit flac was certainly astronomical.
The flac is more clean and smooth not as grainy. Also there seem to be a volume difference...
Maybe you did by mistake enable "replaygain" ? it's a complex form of normalization.

Which is the correct one ?
The FLAC seem to have lower volume and sound in overall better..

This program is fantastic to encode/decode music to different formats...with a great GUI and multi-thread support.

http://www.dbpoweramp.com/dmc.htm

matthew

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Thanks for listening all and the kind comments about my work! The album was downloaded well over a hundred times on the first day alone.

@terraform, The mp3 files are not close in quality to the FLAC files. For one thing, I presented the FLAC album in 24bit whereas the mp3 is presented in (only/compact disc) 16 bit format. That makes a huge difference and probably explains what you call grainy. FLAC is lossless, so it is sonically an identical copy to my original files, whereas mp3 uses a psychoacoustic model to group frequencies together. I always hear water running in mp3-files because of the way it compresses sound. I find OGG Vorbis or apple's acc superior, but mp3 is the "catch-all" format.

As stated on the http://www.matthewflorianz.com/maalbeek.html page where the albums can be downloaded; the mp3 album has been deliberately volume maximized (you heard it right indeed!). My assumption is that the mp3 album will be used more on-the-go and possibly in a nosier setting, perhaps a pc that's running in the background. The 16bit (mp3) album has been deliberately mastered with a higher volume before I converted it to mp3. The FLAC album is how Maalbeek sounds when I listen to it.

For my personal information, didn't you read this on the page? Your answer can help me make the information more visible or notable, thanks for the reply.
 

Blackinfinity

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No I did not read the text..

OGG is an obsolete format, I do not know anyone else who says it sounds better then lame 3.98

Ok...this is actually the first time I compare 24bit flac with 16bit...

But if you have remasterd the cd/mp3 version it does certainly explain it... Well..I am not sure which I prefer, I guess I prefer both..., the flac is obviously the unmastered version..and it could probably need some mastering, the mp3 version feels compared to the flac version too compressed perhaps, so maybe a mix between the two would be good..but I can say this because I have heard both versions. Yes the compression makes the lower sound range more present in the mix..and you hear a lot of sounds and nuances you do not heard in the flac version...but there is also times where the compression sounds over-compressed, I guess if I had only heard the mastered version I would had nothing to complain about...It is the CD version that is the official and mastered version...so it makes it less interested to hear the unmastered FLAC version.

matthew

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Both are re-mastered from the original 2008 compact disc release.

The mp3 version received additional volume maximizing on top of the mastering.

There is no CD version, just these two.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 09:51:11 AM by Matthew Florianz »

Blackinfinity

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Both are re-mastered from the original 2008 compact disc release.

The mp3 version received additional volume maximizing on top of the mastering.

There is no CD version, just these two.

Well I do not like the idea two have two different versions it is confusing, there should be ONE official version.
Now I do not know which version is the "definitive" version. I strongly dislike the idea to have an "IPOD" version etc,
16bit mp3 is what most people listen to in reality, and this does not mean we use ipod when we listen to music at home, we use our home audio system for that..
Personally I do not even own a IPOD or even an mp3 player..so for me it is meaningless with an IPOD master.

And if you are going to do an IPOD version I think you should make it more clear, add it in the file name etc.
So people do not think it is the "official" version. Very few have energy to read the text.

Anyway the mp3 ipod versions sounds better in some places of the music, but sometimes I hear compression artifacts...
If I remember right the beginning of song 4 sounded like it had some compression artifacts (if my memory recall correctly).

Anyway, which version does you as artist prefer, is it the flac or the mp3 master ?
Could be good to know.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 11:26:25 AM by Terraform »

ffcal

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Both are re-mastered from the original 2008 compact disc release.

The mp3 version received additional volume maximizing on top of the mastering.

There is no CD version, just these two.
Well I do not like the idea two have two different versions it is confusing, there should be ONE official version.

Consider what you paid for it.  Methinks you protesteth too much.

Matthew, glad to hear you have more music coming out; sorry to hear that it won't be in a physical format, but I understand, it's a rough market out there.

Better to release your music for free and hear people complain that you could have done it better.;)

Forrest

Blackinfinity

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Re: [Matthew Florianz] Announcing new album and a re-release of Maalbeek....free!
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2010, 08:58:18 PM »
I am not complaining, of course I am grateful.., I just want to know which is the "official/correct" or the perfect representation of the album...cause then it will be what I will focus my ears on... it does not seem obvious it is the FLAC version that is the best in this case..cause it is two different masters..it is confusing...

matthew

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Re: [Matthew Florianz] Announcing new album and a re-release of Maalbeek....free!
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2010, 01:33:03 AM »
@ffcal, thank you for the kind words. It is indeed a rough market but I have been lucky enough to be able to release 7 compact discs over the last ten years. From the source file you should be able to make a rather good cdr (artwork is going to be included) if you wanted too.

The album has been ready since February and I did spend till somewhere in July, trying to bring it to a physical format. However, just like Hypnos here too, most labels won't even look at (for them) new artists, so each time I found a label I liked, I would be deterred from sending the album because of that rule. That's not meant as a complaint to Hypnos and other labels as I understand completely. The example is just meant to illustrate the market. I have been part of a label that for the last few years really just released my own music and when we did release the work of someone else, it was usually the sales from my albums that funded it. Those where fantastic times! Pre-orders alone always broke even a release money wise, even on Maalbeek and I do thank you all for that.

So yes, it felt like a disservice to abandon the format and with it some of your wishes. It cannot be denied that the distribution behind it has shrunk and downloads (legal and illegal) are here for the long run. But I think I have written that down a few times already so I won't bore you to death with it again.

For me there has only been one reason to ask money for my albums and that is to help fund a release and thus being able to have my own music on compact disc; in my own collection. Not being able to have a compact disc myself (or "only" a cdr) led me to the solution I have now.

Why would I ask money when there is no compact disc? Why stick to 16bit when the medium no longer dictates it? I was pretty down about it too (you'll remember some of my posts from the beginning of the year) but this solution got me really excited again.

I realize that most people won't treasure that which comes at no cost and from various feedback I know there is already a little flac in the air about it, so be it.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 03:48:23 AM by Matthew Florianz »

petekelly

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Re: [Matthew Florianz] Announcing new album and a re-release of Maalbeek....free!
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2010, 02:07:28 AM »
Very interesting thoughts Matthew, I was wondering why you were releasing 'Malbeek' and your new album as free releases.
Listening to 'Malbeek' now - very wide range of textures and tonal colours, quite unlike a lot of ambient. I'm liking it a lot.

I'm on a 'smallband' connection at present so I downloaded the mp3 not the Flac file, sounds good to me. No complaints here !

cheers
Pete
« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 02:12:05 AM by petekelly »

matthew

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Re: [Matthew Florianz] Announcing new album and a re-release of Maalbeek....free!
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2010, 03:59:33 AM »
Hi Pete,

Thank you for listening to Maalbeek and sharing your thoughts and experiences about it. I think Koude Handen is pretty much in the same regions as this so you might like that too. I agree that it is not really ambient in the traditional sense of the word, I preffere the term Ambient Environmental Soundscapes myself (obviously).

Although there is no denying that I am influenced by Brian Eno's work I always struggle to keep his ethos at heart. On one hand I do want to create "just" the mood. Music that is interesting enough when listened to, but also able to fade in the background. On the other hand, and that is probably thanks to my love for (older) film music, I seem to also want to tell stories.

Some albums and tracks tend to be more towards the "mood" whereas others tend to be more towards the "story". For me Eno is an exception in this brand of music because he manages to touch upon both equally and it is why I look up to his work so much.

Maalbeek tends to be more towards mood, and I think the upcoming release of Koude Handen (4 weeks from now!) is a little more towards story.

Glad to hear the mp3 worked for you!

Scott M2

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Re: [Matthew Florianz] Announcing new album and a re-release of Maalbeek....free!
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2010, 04:28:07 AM »
Both are re-mastered from the original 2008 compact disc release.

The mp3 version received additional volume maximizing on top of the mastering.

There is no CD version, just these two.

Anyway the mp3 ipod versions sounds better in some places of the music, but sometimes I hear compression artifacts...
If I remember right the beginning of song 4 sounded like it had some compression artifacts (if my memory recall correctly).

Anyway, which version does you as artist prefer, is it the flac or the mp3 master ?
Could be good to know.

Different formats may have different mastering requirements.
One example might be vinyl, where you would have to restrain the bass to prevent skipping in the 12" LP format but not the 12" 45.
Mastering for mp3 is trickier now, as besides the normal tiny headphones, may people plug their pods into larger stereo systems
and then there's the God-knows-what-kind-of-plastic-computer-speakers.

Mp3s are a compromised (though convenient) format. I don't think that I need to be a mind-reader to know
that a sound artist like Matthew prefers the flac version of his music.    ;)

APK

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Re: [Matthew Florianz] Announcing new album and a re-release of Maalbeek....free!
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2010, 05:52:54 AM »
Matthew said:
"Why would I ask money when there is no compact disc?"

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I'd have thought it would be to pay for the MUSIC.
It's an odd world that thinks music is only worth paying for if its on a CD.

Anthony
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The Circular Ruins / Lammergeyer / Nunc Stans

matthew

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Re: [Matthew Florianz] Announcing new album and a re-release of Maalbeek....free!
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2010, 07:04:10 AM »
@scottm2, sound reasoning, as always! I didn't know that about records, interesting!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Matthew said: "Why would I ask money when there is no compact disc?"
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

@Anthony: The question was a rhetorical one.

What you probably don't know is that I have never earned any money from my releases. Though the releases did earn a fair bit of money for the label, that was always invested back, with my approval of course. All artists on the label helped each other release music that way.

The reason to have money paid for my music was not to earn an income, but to selfishly have others fund a compact disc of my own work for my own collection. So in a sense I was paid around 20 dollar for each album in compact disc "copies" which for me was always enough ; )

So I certainly don't question "why people should ask money for their hard work" as I'll pay for supporting artists, companies and projects I like so that they will be able to keep on doing what they do. That's something I feel very strongly about and I agree with you there. There is even a small donations link on my website too, which I placed there after repeated requests.

So it is not a mater of principle, it's just something I never perused.

My music has never been something I wanted to earn money from, I might in the future. I have a job for income, that's not what music (for me) is about and I realize I am very fortunate to be able to make such a distinction. I don't think everyone must follow, certainly not.

So that is the background where that question came from, hope it helps clarify what I meant as I agree with you with regards to the work of others.

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Re: [Matthew Florianz] Announcing new album and a re-release of Maalbeek....free!
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2010, 09:43:06 AM »
Curious.  24 bit at 44.1 kHz is an odd format for high resolution releases these days.  Did you do your recording and mastering in that format?  Most current high resolution music in 24 bit (as products) is 96 kHz (and 192 kHz).  Certainly no issue with the FLAC format.  A lossless download alternative is always welcome and usually desired.

Scott M2

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Re: [Matthew Florianz] Announcing new album and a re-release of Maalbeek....free!
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2010, 06:20:33 PM »
I don't know about Matthew's studio, but years ago when I was putting together my key components for digital recording I chose a 24bit, 44.1kHz signal path and recording formats. My research at the time indicated that the most significant quality jump was moving from 16 to 24 bit and that moving up to 48kHz or 96kHz (very high at the time) was far more subtle. I try to keep it 24bit (or above when processing) then down to 16bit at the last possible moment. Also maintaining 44.1kHz through the process meant one less conversion when mastering for CDs. I think that's less of an issue these days.

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Re: [Matthew Florianz] Announcing new album and a re-release of Maalbeek....free!
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2010, 06:25:37 PM »
I don't know about Matthew's studio, but years ago when I was putting together my key components for digital recording I chose a 24bit, 44.1kHz signal path and recording formats. My research at the time indicated that the most significant quality jump was moving from 16 to 24 bit and that moving up to 48kHz or 96kHz (very high at the time) was far more subtle. I try to keep it 24bit (or above when processing) then down to 16bit at the last possible moment. Also maintaining 44.1kHz through the process meant one less conversion when mastering for CDs. I think that's less of an issue these days.

Yep, I work exactly the same. And for the same reasons.

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