Music Evolution with DarwinTunes Creator Bob MacCallum

Bob MacCallum Composer Quest

Over the past few years, Bob MacCallum has been focused on one question: can music evolve through natural selection? In this episode of Composer Quest, we discuss Bob's amazing evolutionary music project, DarwinTunes. In the DarwinTunes experiment/game, participants rate and "mate" short sound loops to breed new musical offspring. Although it started with randomly generated sine waves and noise, the evolved sounds are now surprisingly musical. Also in this episode, we talk about Bob's scientific analysis of over 70,000 Billboard hit songs from the past half-decade, which has revealed three major revolution years in music history: 1964, 1983, and 1991.

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Composer Secrets with Ian Dicke

Ian Dicke Composer Quest

Ian Dicke has secrets, but not the scandalous kind. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about his tricks of the trade when it comes to structuring his compositions and developing musical ideas. Ian also shares his approach to teaching post-1940s art music, which usually only gets about a week of attention in undergraduate music programs.

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Music from the Director’s Chair with Jason P. Schumacher

Jason Schumacher Director Composer Quest

Jason P. Schumacher has made a name for himself as a filmmaker in the Twin Cities, but he's also had songwriting in the background of his life since high school. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about Jason's first official EP, Dumpster Baby, which is kind of a retrospective of his melodies and guitar riffs from his earliest songwriting days. Jason also shares some great advice on freelancing, and we talk about some of our favorite film scores.

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Arranging Pop Songs with Producer Andy Thompson

Andy Thompson Producer Composer Quest

Andy Thompson is the guy who's made Jeremy Messersmith's albums sound incredibly good. He has also collaborated with Dan Wilson of Semisonic, Belle and Sebastian, and he even added some instrumental parts to Taylor Swift's record Red, which earned him a Grammy nomination. In this episode of Composer Quest, Andy shares his ideas on arranging strings, mixing pop music, and making generative music.

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Patchwork Scriabin: The Ultimate Prelude Mashup

Alexander Scriabin Patchwork Colors

100 years after the death of Alexander Scriabin, his music lives on in a form he would never have expected. A week ago, I announced the Patchwork Scriabin quest along with UniqueSound, and 49 people contributed to our Scriabin "sound quilt" by recording a measure of his Prelude in A minor, Op. 11 No. 2. I'm excited to present our final mashup, with 68 uniquely-produced measures. You'll hear trombones, bells, accordions, chiptune synths, wine glasses, dog barks, dance beats, and much more.

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Song Exploder’s Hrishikesh Hirway on Songwriting

Hrishekesh Hirway of Song Exploder on Composer Quest

Hrishikesh Hirway removes as much of himself as possible from his interviews with musicians in Song Exploder. In today's episode of Composer Quest, we get to hear from this mysterious podcaster about his own songwriting process. He also shares what he's learned from all the talented songwriter guests on Song Exploder.

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Quest 15: MNKINO Film Score Fest

MNKINO Film Score Fest 2015

Film Score Fest is back in 2015! MNKINO and Composer Quest will be pairing up filmmakers and composers to create new short films, and the Composer Quest orchestra will perform the scores live at the screening on August 13th (7pm, Landmark Center in St. Paul, MN).

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Quest 14: Patchwork Scriabin with UniqueSound

Alexander Scriabin Patchwork Colors

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Alexander Scriabin's death, Composer Quest and UniqueSound are teaming up to bring you a collaborative music production quest. We'll be creating an "audio quilt" based on Scriabin's Prelude in A minor, Op. 11 No. 2. Your goal is to record one measure from the score using whatever instruments or synthesizers you want. I'll unveil our stiched-together masterpiece on the Composer Quest podcast on April 27th.

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Season 4 Premiere: Brain Music with Roger Dumas

Roger Dumas Brain Science Lab

Roger Dumas was a synthesizer whiz kid back in the 70s. He wrote manuals for early Moog synthesizers, and he helped out Prince, Janet Jackson, and even John Lennon. He's also the guy behind the catchy synths in the disco hit "Funkytown." Now Roger has a new passion: studying the brain's response to music. He's done some pretty amazing work, including re-creating a melody out of the pure data from brain sensors. In this season premiere episode of Composer Quest, I talk with Roger about his research, his album based entirely on brain data, and his glory days in the music business.

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Charlie’s Top 10 Card and Board Games

Dixit Odyssey Card Game Examples

I've been nerding out lately by trying to design a board game (which I'll eventually reveal on this blog). As with all my hobbies, I turn to podcasts for inspiration, and I've really been enjoying the Game Design Round Table. They got me thinking about what makes a good board game, so I thought I'd turn a critical eye to my ten current favorites.

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