The Basics

I created this album as a way to add an extra dimension to my book The Virgin Birth of Sharks.

The book has its own home page over here where you can find out more about it, read free sample chapters and, if you like what you see, buy the book.

But you don’t have to buy anything—if you prefer, just enjoy the free music.

Try starting at the All Tracks page. Stream a song or two to see what you think. If you enjoy it, feel free to go to the Download the Album page to get the whole thing or any parts of it that you particularly like.

If you want to know more about any given track, go to the numbered page for that track, where you’ll find links to related material and in some cases images and video, as well as details about the artist who created it.

The Virgin Birth of Sharks

How the Soundtrack Was Created

These days music isn’t always something you have to pay for. There are torrent sites where you can download music illicitly, but some artists also share their work freely.

In most cases, music that’s intended to be shared will be issued under a Creative Commons license (CC for short). This means that the artist is willing to offer the music for free, but they may still control some of the ways in which it can be used. For example they may insist that they get credit if you use one of their songs (for instance in a video). Or, if you create a new piece of music from their work, they may require you to share the new music under the same CC license as the original song.

There are a number of sites that feature CC-licensed music—either exclusively or as one part of their content—like ccMixterJamendo, and SoundCloud.

One of the things people do with CC-licensed music is use it (where the license allows) to create soundtracks for video projects, from shorts to feature-length movies. I don’t have a movie, but I have a story, and there’s no reason it can’t have its own soundtrack.

Sifting and Selecting

I had created one soundtrack before, for my novel Luck and Death at the Edge of the World (soundtrack here, novel’s home page here), so I had a good idea of how to go about it.

Still, I have high standards for what I include, so even having gone through it before, it took a lot of work.  I listened to hundreds of CC-licensed tracks. As I expected, based on my last experience, many just weren’t very good. Others ranged from okay to great, but still weren’t right for this particular project.

I wanted to organize this soundtrack primarily around a bluesy sound, with guitar being central, although I allowed myself a certain latitude so that the album would have variety and so that I could use some great tracks I found that didn’t fit that description. But having a musical core sound allowed the entire soundtrack to hang together and to remain true to the mood of the book and the arc of the story.

Please note that many of these tracks are mixes. In those cases I have credited the person who created the particular mix I used, but there may well be underlying work by other artists. There is a link to the source on each track’s individual page—clicking on that link will lead you to any material that was used in the mix.

My Own Tracks

I fiddled with many of the tracks in small ways. I edited some for length, sometimes adding a fade-out where a song didn’t have a suitable ending, and on one track I added some effects at the beginning to locate it more within the story (Track [07], Revenge Served as Barbeque).

But Track [04] and Track [09] are my own mixes, with original spoken word performances added to the musical foundation.  You’ll find details of how each one was created on their individual pages.

What Can You Do With The Soundtrack?

More or less whatever you want as long as you abide by the CC license that’s posted on each track’s individual page.

Listen to the soundtrack while reading the book, or listen to it without ever reading the book. Use it to create a soundtrack of your own for some other project. If you know someone you think will like it, let them know about it and they can download it too.

And, of course, part of the magic of CC licensing is remixing. You can create your own mix of any track you like. If you do, send me a copy or a link to somewhere I can download it and (with your permission) I’ll post it on this site for other people to hear.

And… that’s enough of me talking. Go listen to a track or two on the All Tracks page and test the waters.

If you have a moment, drop me an email at nas@nassauhedron.com and let me know what you think.


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