I grew up, and really started paying attention to music, in the 1980s. Because of that, when I listen to contemporary music I often get a bad case of “the future ain’t what it used to be”.
But not always.
Sparks by the great Chill Carrier is what Future Music was supposed to sound like, according to my youthful self.
And I almost don’t know what to say about it beyond that. But let me try.
It’s a very positive emotional experience. Relaxed but exploratory, upbeat without being manic.
And, since it is Chill Carrier, it’s a solidly professional production, complex and deep without any hint of amateurism, while also being totally accessible to anybody. The complexity isn’t there to scare off anybody, or to show off how superior the composer is to the listener. It simply makes listening, and re-listening, a richer experience.
The other thing I can say about this album is that it pairs up nicely with, and leads almost perfectly into, next week’s WMM album, which is funny because next week’s is older, and composed by somebody else entirely.
Download Sparks by Chill Carrier free from the Internet Archive.
Alternatively, you can buy it on Bandcamp and make sure that Chill Carrier profits from his efforts.
Sparks by Chill Carrier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
[Note: I am flailing with NaNoWriMo right now, so I may not have time to rant about it, but I no longer think anybody—musician or user—should have anything at all to do with Jamendo. With their new redesign — the second in three years — they have also begun a policy of lying to their users. Outright lying. They deserve to go out of business, and the artists who use the site should flee to other services, including BandCamp, the Internet Archive, and self-hosting using the free and open source CASH Music software. So while this album was originally posted on Jamendo, I won’t link there.]
More calming, relaxed “chillout” music from Swedish composer Kammerer (or however it is properly spelled; there are at least three variations on the A). This is an earlier work, and meant to be summertime, poolside background music.
Not much to say about it, except that it’s quite good, as is most of Kammerer’s work; that it’s Attribution-only licensed, meaning you can do what you like with the music, including using it in a Youtube video without asking permission from anybody so long as you give attribution, and that it makes excellent background music for writing.
Kammerer himself says:
Some simple summerchillloungegroovestuff for the sunny ppl.
Download Leaving Paradise by Kammerer from the Internet Archive.
Leaving Paradise by Kammerer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Chill 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.
Orbital Nights by Chill Carrier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International License.
K4mmerer (aka Kämmerer) is a Swedish composer who has been putting work into the Creative Commons since 2008, and is still going strong.
The cover, and some of the track titles, might be a touch misleading. Sir Agent Chill isn’t really James Bond-style music. The tag attached to this post that seems most apt to me is “chillout”. It’s very calming, soothing synth work, but melodic and tuneful as well, rather than just sonic wallpaper.
And there’s a lot of it. Fifteen tracks, giving you just over an hour of continuous music to write to.
Download Sir Agent Chill by K4mmerer free from Jamendo, or from the Internet Archive.
Sir Agent Chill by K4MMERER is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
Here we have a one-album one-man band from someone whose main occupation appears to be as a digital animator. Yet this album argues that he should probably give more attention to creating music.
L’autre endroit is a strange, haunting mix of orchestral classical (or, as one Jamendo reviewer puts it, pseudo-classical), majestic guitar rock, and electronic music that has hard, sharp edges, yet works well as background music for writing, too.
To name one’s musical project “Silence” could be either pretentious or interesting. I would say, after listening to this album through a few times, that this case falls under “interesting”.
I’m not kidding about those hard, sharp edges, either. One track, “Stop!”, has the sounds of a woman being abused in the background. It’s not presented approvingly, not in any way, but this is definitely a work that should be handled with care.
L’autre endroit by Silence is free to download from Jamendo.
L’autre endroit by Silence released under a Free Art License (FAL) 1.3, also known as a Libre Art License (LAL).
This license is compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution–Share-Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license.
Here’s another odd one that I can’t classify, but the artist’s tags of “ambient”, “chillout”, “electronic” and “trance” only scratch the surface of where this album takes you.
It’s a moody soundscape with some singing, some chanting, and lots of other bits of moods and things I don’t even know how to describe.
Eddy J (AKA Colin Edward Johnson) is a Creative Commons artist I never encountered before listening to this album for Music Monday, even though he’s released four full albums (and several singles and EPs) since early summer of 2014. He seems to be a believer in Free Culture and open licensing, since my download of this album is all CC BY-SA, and he has since changed several tracks to attribution-only.
But the music comes first, and the music is wonderful. I tend to think of modern electronic stuff as dour and harsh, and this album goes completely against that. It is aspirational and uplifting, exploratory and adventurous. And many other adjectives that won’t mean anything until you sit down and listen to all fifty-seven minutes of it.
So do that. Right now.
Paint the Stars can be downloaded free from Jamendo. (Although Eddy J has Bandcamp and SoundCloud accounts, this album appears to be exclusive through Jamendo.)
Paint the Stars by Eddy J is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
(As noted, certain tracks are in fact CC BY 3.0 licensed, but it’s up to you to find which ones.)
I’m telling you right now: download the whole album, but then make a playlist that drops the second track from it for when you’re writing.
Unless you’re writing a murder scene.
You’ll understand why when you hear it.
K4MMERER (AKA Kämmerer) is a Swedish composer of electronic music who (like the past couple of artists shared here) has been around Creative Commons music for years, and been more than slightly prolific.
Rooftop Considerations (2012) is his seventeenth release, and an interesting blend of techno, early-style synth, and trance. It is contemplative without becoming newage dreck at any point. It hits a mood, then plays around with that mood in a surprising array of variations. The dark undertones (and overtones) make this a good choice for writing something with foreboding, dread, or regret, but probably not for romantic comedy.
If you want the whole album in a single track, give “The Peaceful Distance” a listen.
Rooftop Considerations is free to download from Jamendo.
Rooftop Considerations by K4MMERER is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.