My Flight into Music

‘Flight’ is a music-track I composed, arranged, mixed and produced in 2007. The music emerged towards the end of an intense three years of active meditations. ‘Flight’ is authored using 100% Free and OpenSource Software (FOSS). More specifically, used a Linux-based OS, called UbuntuStudio.

Excerpts from ‘Flight’ were later used as background music for a short-film published from Los Angeles. Was even more thrilled when I also got paid for it. 🙂

You are encouraged to download, share, mix, re-mix, and have fun with ‘Flight’ for commercial or non-commercial purposes, provided you respect its copyright and creative-commons license, which is cc-by-sa-2.5 india. Here is a simple-to-understand version of this specific CreativeCommons license.

Taking Flight
In 2007, Was also invited to conduct a small workshop on ‘Digital Sound’ at a leading national FOSS event, called freed.in. You may view a blurry picture of UbuntuStudio with a sound software. Then in 2008, was invited to another National FOSS event, called FOSSMEET at NITC in Calicut, where I delivered a talk “How to design sound, compose music, and master your album.” Ended the talk with ‘Flight’ which received a huge ovation, and hours after the talk the participants lingered around and discussed all things from music to FOSS. That was quite an experience. You may view a photo of the audio, sound, and music talk at fossmeet here. Finally, on 28 March 2010, I released ‘Flight’ at the CreativeCommons Salon event held in Delhi. Discover more about this event on twitter using the id ‘ccsdel’.
Flight into Jamendo
‘Flight’ is published on Jamendo.org, a wonderful website for musicians and music-lovers who wish to share muft and mukt music. This is my first album published here. Within a few days will also publish another album of dance-music composed more recently. Discover my artist page at Niyam on Jamendo where I intend to publish even more tracks and albums over the coming months. You may also soon find me dabbling at ccmixter.org.
Soaring with Freedom
All the sounds you hear have been designed in a software-synth with quite a tongue-twister of a name: ZynAddSubFX. This software-synth was plugged into a software that handles virtually unlimited multi-track recording. Called ardour, it is more specifically, a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Even more interesting is how almost all the sound-based software plug into one another under UbuntuStudio. Mimicking the coils of cables, plugs, and connectors found in a real-world sound-studio, is a software sound-patch, called Jack Audio Connection Kit. A lot of sound-effects and the pre and post-processing of sound were handled using myriad sound-FX plug-ins, from LADSPA. You may find thousands of free sound-effects from LADSPA. The final and minor tweaks and exports were handled in the audio-editing software Audacity.

Surprisingly enough, did not use any of my other favourite free software for this project, especially Hydrogen: The Advanced Drum-Machine for Linux, as well as the music-sequencing software RoseGarden.

Earlier Sounds
In October 2006, also published an entire album of sound-field recordings made in the middle of the night and at dawn, in remote mountains while living in a stone-cottage next to a stream. Thousands of people have downloaded the audio-files from this album, a few have re-mixed these in their works, and some I know held a group-meditation based around the album. You may discover the sound-field recordings at Niyam on freesound.org. Plus, discover some drum-loops published around the same time creativedot though the site seems to go down every once in a while.

Stay tuned for more sound and music, especially since I love authoring in diverse genres.

Speaker-fee for Academia

Effective from 21 March 2014, please note my new conditions for delivering talks, and conducting seminars and workshops for academia within India:

  1. Speaker-fee within the National Capital Region (NCR): Rs 7,500 for each talk between 45 to 90 minutes.
  2. Speaker-fee beyond the NCR in India: Rs 15,000 for upto the first 180 minutes, per day. Each subsequent talk or time-slot of 45 to 90 minutes at Rs7,500.
  3. Please also kindly pay for the commute-expenses, on a per KM basis, as well as for toll taxes if any, within the NCR. I tend to drive down in my own car, as I might be coming in, or going directly to, a client’s project-site.
  4. For outstation: If I choose to drive down, kindly pay the commute and toll expenses incurred, and kindly provide me with clean, comfortable, and air-conditioned accommodations on a non-shared basis. I prefer staying on-campus. Some of the places I’ve stayed at have outstanding facilities, but a few other places have rather disappointed me, making me wish my hosts had rather checked me into a hotel. So please discuss this in detail before finalizing a program.
  5. Silent, peaceful environs are rather important for me, as I tend to meditate in my room. Nights especially have to be quiet, peaceful and undisturbed. Please.
  6. A room with dampness on the walls and/or with strong and stale odours must be avoided.
  7. For travel to longer distances (India is a sub-continent!) I only prefer air-travel. My airline of choice is Jet Airways. For destinations where Jet Airways does not fly, please discuss options before-hand.
  8. Do contact me at least 45 to 60 days in advance as my schedules are usually quite booked.
  9. Once in a while, the teaching-bug really bites me, and I end up working as a visiting faculty in a college or institution, while still continuing with my other professional projects. Should you wish me to work as a visiting faculty, the above rates may not be applicable.
  10. Finally, the most precious aspect of my life is my family, and given my schedules and travel, when possible, I tend to take them along.

The above rates are for academia only. Professional training projects and workshops for non-academia and corporate clients, are usually billed at between Rs 2,50,000 to Rs 3,50,000, with some going up to Rs 5,50,000. All other expenses and applicable taxes extra. The nature and scope of such professional workshops are significantly different from the work I do for academia. The professional fees quoted depend on three core factors: Scope; complexity; and existing competency.

Since 1998, I’ve been working and interacting with academia in India whenever I can. This has always implied my taking time out of my professional tasks, devoting my free and spare time, and even keeping myself away from my family as well as from my personal pursuits.

Why? I love to teach and to share, and to inspire young minds and hearts with new ideas, new insights, and new opportunities. I spend hours every day researching deeply, learning about new things in my various professional and personal disciples, and love to share these with those keen to learn.

The number of invitations I receive keeps going up, semester-after-semester. This delights me. However, my increased professional commitments, which have also become more demanding and challenging, no longer allow me that luxury of time and energy. I often have to carve time out of my professional schedules, and catch up with deadlines by working harder and at odd times through late in the night.

Should I just hang up my kohlapuris, and call it a day? Should I just draw comfort from some of the more fruitful interactions I’ve had over these 11 unbroken years? I don’t think I’m done yet, but I do need to be more focussed and careful in agreeing to invitations. Especially when I’ve startled myself to discover that the token honorarium-fee offered me is often woefully inadequate, or the travel and/or accommodation rather unsuitable.

Some of you may have seen me through the years make an open promise on-stage to come and interact with any college that invites me, provided our schedules match. Look up my flickr account  to see how I’ve delivered on this promise, even though I only started photo-blogging since 2007. According to my estimates, I have surpassed my initial objective of touching the lives and minds of 10,000 students and participants across India. Going forward, some of you from academia may find these speaker-fees rather steep and impossible to accept. My experience, however, indicates the education-sector in India can easily find funds and sponsors for any worthy initiative.

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