#Writing #MusicMonday: Lines by UP (Pasqualino Ubaldini and Paolo Pavan)

CoverPaolo Pavan and Pasqualino Ubaldini are, separately, two of the best jazz artists working in the Creative Commons.

I’ve previously shared two of Pavan’s albums, Inside and The Swing Of Things, and one by Ubaldini, Metissage.

However, to the delight of myself, if nobody else, they also team up and collaborate, creating sounds that are wholly different from their solo works, and they do it under the name of UP. Their first collaboration, which I shared previously as well, was an eponymous release that had a wide an eclectic variety of styles.

And that pattern holds through their second collaborative album, Lines.

The title track is upbeat, borderline-smooth jazz. The second track, “Nije”, has an early-70s fusion-funk jangly rough-edged synthesizers feel (makes me think of Ramsey Lewis a bit). Then the third track, “Talking about Petra”, goes into relaxed, urbane quartet cool jazz. That’s three tracks in, and it’s already all over the map. Yet, and of course, because this is Paolo Pavan and Pasqualino Ubaldini, it all works together brilliantly.

I’ve been waiting on posting this album a bit, because Pavan and Ubaldini have started up a new Creative Commons music site largely devoted to jazz, FreeSoundtracks.eu, and I was hoping to link to it there. However, it’s still not live yet — one imagines both men are just a little bit busy — so I’m linking to Bandcamp, where you get it under a Free Culture license, though you do have to pay to get it. But give it a listen on the site, and then try telling me it’s not worth it, because I’ll just laugh.

Download Lines by UP from Bandcamp


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Lines by UP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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#Writing #MusicMonday: I love you a bit… by Windpearl

cover(It’s the week of Thanksgiving, but this album isn’t particularly festive. There’s some darkness, some hard edges. Considering that after this, there’s going to be four to five weeks of sentimental schmaltz, I chose to do a bit of counter-programming this week.)

Windpearl is a Frenchman living in China, so I’m already prejudiced in his favor as a bit of a kindred soul.

On top of that, while he only has two albums out, they are both terribly interesting in terms of his musical taste and influences.

“I love you a bit…” is a long exploration of synth, and the title is rather a pun, as at least two of the tracks are 8-bit tunes (think “’80s video game soundtrack music”), also known as chiptunes.

Chiptunes are a thing which I don’t believe I’ve brought to Music Mondays before, actually. They’re an active subgenre in the Creative Commons, and quite possibly elsewhere, and while I mostly avoid them, I’ve heard some impressive work when I have gone dipping into that particular pool. The examples here are among the best I’ve heard.

The third track, “Nestification”, in particular, is noticeably done purely in 8-bit mode, and is very, very good.

The album as a whole isn’t dark, it’s complex, with elements of darkness scattered throughout it. It’s quite good, give it a try.

Download “I love you a bit…” free from the Internet Archive.

You can also get it from Windpearl’s BandCamp page, and send money to him at the same time, all while getting it for exactly the same license.


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“I love you a bit…” by Windpearl is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Orbital Nights by Chill Carrier

CoverChill Carrier is a German artist I’ve not featured here before, perhaps in part because I’ve only downloaded two of his albums and so he hasn’t turned up in my random explorations of my music library too much.

After giving Orbital Nights a few close listens, as well as using it as background a few times, I realized I need to rectify that and explore his work more.

Here’s what he says about it:

Orbital Nights is my hommage to the cult show “Space Night” which has shown views from earth from the orbiting space shuttles mixed with a great electronic soundtrack fitting perfectly to that dreamy scenery. I was influenced myself by that television show pretty much back in the late 90s and still love to watch them on DVD nowadays.

It’s repetitious in the way that “chillout” tends to be, but complex and layered enough that it never bothered me. One or two of the tracks are little more than sonic wallpaper, but others go beyond that, and none grates on the nerves or pulls you out of whatever you’re thinking about once you’ve got the music going.

Download Orbital Nights by Chill Carrier free from the Internet Archive.

Or, you can purchase it from BandCamp for £3, or about $4.50 (at the exchange rate at the time of this writing) and get it in a wider variety of formats, including lossless FLAC.


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Orbital Nights by Chill Carrier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Pen by Jeffrey Philip Nelson

Pen CoverJeffrey Philip Nelson is a singer-songwriter in the ’70s mold, and I basically mean that as a compliment.

This album of folk-ish songs is quiet, evocative, and entirely appealing. And they’re the product of an interesting life. Nelson didn’t put everything down on “making it” as a musician. He owns a construction business in southern California and has a family. His songs are the result of living life, and his life supports his art.

Isn’t that refreshing?

But back to the actual music. I’m going to say something about it that will be too easily misconstrued, so I’ll try to make clear what I am and am not saying.

The quietness of the songs, the spareness of the arrangements, and the focus on the carefully crafted lyrics put me in mind of Townes Van Zandt.

But I am not suggesting his lyrics and songs are as brilliant as Townes’s work. Nobody’s is, honestly. But Nelson has a bit of the same feel as Van Zandt’s recordings, and some of the soulfulness as well.

This is another treasure trove of lyrics that you can quote freely in your books, with the only requirement being that you give proper attribution for them (Credit and copyright on your copyright page, along with a link to Nelson’s site, and a direct link to the song’s download page would, I think, be appropriate.)

Listen to and download Pen by Jeffrey Philip Nelson free, from Jamendo, from NoiseTrade, or pay for it on Bandcamp (and still get the same license!).


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Pen by Jeffrey Philip Nelson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: It’s Better To Burn Out Than To Fade Away by Re-Drum

CoverGoing a bit outside my comfort zone here, and possibly for the rest of the month.

Re-Drum is a French musician/d.j. who focuses a lot on the variation of techno called “house” (a distinction which escapes me). This album is the one I’ve listened to enough to be familiar with, and it’s not generally the sort of thing I like. Very repetitious and loop-y, mixing in spoken word in ways that most days I’d generally find distracting than writing-trance inducing.

But I’ve listened to this one enough that it doesn’t rub me wrong as background music, if I’m in the right mood.

That’s the thing though — it’s not easy to love this one. And it is easy to be irritated by it.

So, as stated, this one is outside of my usual comfort zone.

The only commentary by the artist I can find regarding this particular album is “This is a collection of really deep tracks”. So, unusually, he let’s the music speak entirely for itself.

About the artist himself (real name Léo Urriolabeitia):

After being heavily influenced by 70′s music, Zappa and Minimalism he decided to imagine a place to share sample based music with an experimental edge. That was the connection of past and future music, something that hasn’t been found on the web yet. While still DJing in Toulouse, Re-Drum is now more focused on Live performances and various Audiovisual experiments/Short Movies/Animations.

Download It’s Better To Burn Out Than To Fade Away free from Jamendo.

(You can also get the album under a more restrictive, non-Free Culture CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 License, from Bandcamp.)


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It’s Better To Burn Out Than To Fade Away by Re-Drum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Kuddelmuddel by Jahzzar

Kuddelmuddel CoverSometimes it seems to me that I make Music Mondays all about Javier Suarez. Other times, I spend a fair length of time looking at other musicians’ work, and come back and find he’s released three or four solid albums when I was distracted.

With Kuddelmuddel, his first release of 2015 (and not his most recent, even at this writing!), he returned to the happy synth universe of previous Writing Music Monday album Wake Up, and that can be no bad thing.

Kuddelmuddel is rich, layered, complex, contemplative, and happy. All things which our culture, especially our musical culture, cannot possibly have enough of.

Jahzzar himself writes of it:

Influences… Lykke Li, CHVRCHES, Crystal Castles, Electric Youth, Zola Jesus, Hundred Waters, Jessie Ware, Chairlift, The Chromatics, Metronomy… A little bit of Dum Dum Girls, Todd Terje, Liars, Wild Nothing, Beach House or Daft Punk’s “Discovery”. It may contain traces of OMD, New Order and Grauzone.

I cannot add much in this description that can not be seen from influences.

Which means there is a whole list of artists I should probably look into, since I only know New Order and have heard of Daft Punk. However, I feel sure I’ll end up preferring Jahzzar to most of his influences. That seems to be the way it works most of the time.

Download Kuddelmuddel free from Jamendo in MP3 format, or pay what you like and get it from Bandcamp in almost any format you could want.


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Kuddelmuddel by Jahzzar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://betterwithmusic.com/contact/.

Writing Music Monday: Echoes by Stellardrone

Echoes CoverI’ve only posted one album by Stellardrone, and that was more than a year ago. This is not a comment on his quality, but rather on my dependence on mood. Stellardrone is very good, but I’m very often not in the mood for his sort of sonic wallpaper.

Well, I’m back in the mood, it would seem, and since he hasn’t released a new full album since the last one I linked, I went one back.

Stellardrone released Echoes in 2012, and it’s an interesting bridge between his older works and 2013’s Light Years. The older works tend to be less melodic, more of a drone (per his name), and that’s the part of his musical sensibility that I just don’t care for. But with this album (and more so in the more recent one) he began experimenting with build ups and releases that sound more melodic to me, and if not, certainly shift the listener’s mood more successfully than the more neutral sounds he was creating before.

You can download Echoes by Stellardrone from Bandcamp in almost any audio format you want, as well as send money his way (or for free). You can also get it from Jamendo.


Creative Commons License
Echoes by Stellardrone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.