#Writing #MusicMonday: El Ultimo Peldano by Jaime Heras

UltimoPeldanoCoverContinuing my revisitation with the works of the now-retired Jaime Heras, I bring you El Último Peldaño.

As Heras explains, there are three original tracks, and the rest are remixes and reworkings of his early works, including pieces from the first WMM album of his I shared, Life in Bitville, which remains a personal favorite of mine.

This album, while having several pieces from Bitville, isn’t purely electronica. It wanders much farther afield than that. And while it has less thematic unity, the wandering also gives it a much wider scope.

You can read his own take on how the album came to be on the Archive page (scroll past the Spanish version to get the English), but in summary, Heras was asked to compose a few short pieces for a radio program called “El Ultimo Peldaño”, did so, then decided that they were strong enough to go longer than 20 or 30 seconds. So he extended those. In addition, the radio show used a lot of his older music, which he found gratifying but, like any artist anywhere, he began to feel they could be improved. So he did remixes and upgrades on those.

Thus, this new hour and nine minutes of quite excellent music.

Download El Último Peldaño free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
El Último Peldaño by Jaime Heras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: Envers et contre toi by Maya de Luna

Cover[Yep, two days late. That’ll teach me to put off scheduling posts at least a month ahead of time.]

It’s been more than three years since I shared anything by Maya de Luna, which is a bit of a crime. She’s a French singer who, alas, seems to have stopped recording original work in recent years, though she has posted much of her past work to Youtube, and occasionally leaves comments (in French, alas, which I do not speak or read, alack). And she has somewhat recently done covers of pop songs, like Katy Perry’s “E.T.

She sings almost always in French, and her voice is quite haunting, at least to me.

The previous album, Bar Stim.Art, was her jazziest work (and my favorite), but today’s album, while less overtly jazz-influenced, still carries it in less obvious ways. It is her second (and only other) collaboration with Bruno Stimart, whose work apart from his teaming with de Luna I don’t know, but he brings out the very best in her.

If you listen to this for no other reason, you probably want to hear Maya de Luna meow at you. At least, I enjoy it. (It’s the next-to-last track, “La griffe arrogante”.)

The final track, “Reflet”, somehow does not feel like an end track to an album. It stops, and you expect more. And listening to my Music Monday choices in advance, I have found that it’s a very nice segue into next week’s album, so you’ll only be left waiting a few days. Or, you can download everything Maya de Luna has released and enjoy her quite lovely voice some more. Either way works.

Download Envers et contre toi free from the Internet Archive


Creative Commons License
Envers et contre toi by Maya de Luna is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: Are You Still There? by Jazoo

CoverI first discovered Jazoo last summer, and shared their latest (and arguably best) album last fall, including it on my best of the year list and declaring it one of the greatest jazz albums available in the Creative Commons, period.

So if this is a step down, it’s akin to stepping down from top-form Miles Davis to top-form Cannonball Adderley.

Which is to say that this album is also really, really damned good.

There’s a lot more singing and vocals in general here than there was on Back From Reality. But apart from that, and a very different pacing to the album as a whole (there is a purposeful and very effective blank space in the middle, which fits perfectly into the mood being set), it is recognizably of a piece with the more recent masterpiece.

And, fair warning, one track — “DesART Sun” — features the deliciously-voiced female vocalist being distractingly and overtly sexual. You may want to leave that one track off your writing playlist (even though it’s incredibly good).

Something that seems to have been happening recently, not through any conscious design on my part, is that Writing Music Monday albums have been pairing up and grouping to pleasing effect (at least to me). This week and next week are another example of this happening. The final track on this album, “Hard Break”, definitely leaves the listener wanting more. It feels like the album just stops rather than ends, and it seems purposeful.

As you will learn next week, it segues beautifully into the next album I’m going to share. But for that, you must wait.

Download Are You Still There? free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
Are You Still There? by Jazoo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: noaccordion by noaccordion

Cover [Yes, I crapped out on posting yesterday. But I’ve got albums selected to the middle of next month, at least, and easily can go beyond that, I just have to write them up and prepare the posts. And it’s clearly much better when I do that well ahead of time.]

Though she has been making music for a long time, and releasing as “noaccordion” since 2010, I only chanced across Onah Indigo’s work quite recently.

She seems to be a restless soul, ranging across genres and styles at whim, almost like Miles Davis, needint to finish one thing, then do something completely different, then do something completely different from that.

This first, eponymous, EP has a mix of sounds that’s hard to describe, but if you cross the French grunge girl band UNKNW with Le Tigre, that captures some of it. Toss in a dash of the Raveonettes, too, while you’re at it.

And that’s part of why I’m having a hard time describing this EP. Each song is different. They’re all obviously by the same artist, but they’re all completely distinct.

And they’re all worth listening to, at the very, very least.

Download noaccordion free from the Internet Archive or from Soundcloud.


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noaccordion by noaccordion is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: The Beautiful Machine by Josh Woodward

CoverI feel like kind of a schmuck.

See, I’ve known about Josh Woodward for pretty much the entire time I’ve listened to Creative Commons music, close to ten years now.

And I kept trying to listen to his music, now and then.

And… I just didn’t care for it. He clearly had musical chops, but something rubbed me wrong about his songs for a long time.

And so, I’ve never really promoted his work. Like, ever. Despite the fact that he’s like the flagship musician for Free Culture (along with Incompetech).

Well, after the Great Laptop Disaster earlier this year, I went and started rebuilding my CC music library, and I revisited a song of Woodward’s that I definitely liked from recently, “Airplane Mode”.

And yeah, it’s fun. And even if it retains a bit of the attitude I disliked in a number of his other songs, it’s well-camouflaged.

Then I listened to the whole album it came from, The Beautiful Machine. And this album, more than any of the previous ones, worked for me. The elements that rubbed me wrong previously do remain, but as with “Airplane Mode”, the songs are fun enough, and bury those elements deep enough, that I can easily ignore them.

And the songs are very fun.

So, finally, I am pushing some of his work. Without reservation. Hie the over and acquire it!

Download The Beautiful Machine by Josh Woodward free from the artist’s own site.


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The Beautiful Machine by Josh Woodward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: So Much So Young by Secret Babies

CoverThis week, I bring you the only Attribution-Share Alike licensed album for Lyrical April 2016, meaning if you use lyrics from this album in your book, you need to also release it under the same license.

Secret Babies have, as far as I can tell, only released this one album, and while it’s a full-length album, clocking in around fifty minutes, it definitely leaves me wanting more. And all I know about the band is that they claim to be from the USA.

The lead singer, an unknown female vocalist, strongly reminds me of Margo Timmins of Cowboy Junkies in her delivery and vocal quality. Some songs could be done by the Junkies, and others are in different styles entirely, but the singer holds it all together.

And it is the strength of that singer on which the album is built. Everything else ranges from good enough to very good, but the singer is amazing.

The Cowboy Junkies comparison, as I indicated, doesn’t really hold up beyond the singer’s vocal qualities. The closest the songs come to sounding like the Junkies’ work are the first two tracks, “Aloof Tops” and “Bicycle Tunes”.

After that, the style of the songs ranges all over the place, but never feels like a strain on either the singer nor the instrumentalists.

“Greatest Start” could be a ’70s singer-songwriter piece, and a good one.

“Knots and Seams” has a slight Mexican influence to it.

“Own This Road” goes ’80s new wave electronic in sound, and works just as well as everything else on the album.

“Russian Wind” stirs up a nostalgic feeling in me, but I can’t even begin to pin down why.

And the final track, “Sugar Pane”, sounds like it might have been a minor hit on alternative radio stations in the early ’90s.

So, basically, this album is a gem, entirely worth downloading and listening to, even if you never intend to make any kind of derivative work from it at all. I want more, but Secret Babies hasn’t been active, even on their Facebook page, in several years. So this might be the last we ever hear of them, or they might suddenly come out with more lovely work like this.

Download So Much So Young by Secret Babies free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
So Much So Young by Secret Babies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: Whiteboard Dinovisions by Pharmacopia

CoverThis week, an album of avant garde, outré jazz. I’m not kidding. To some, this may sound like nothing more than noise. You’ve been warned.

Pharmacopia is one westerner, Peter Dragotta, plus whoever is playing with him at any given time. And I feel a connection to him, not because of his difficult jazz (it’s a sound I must be in the right mood for), but because he relocated to China, a thing which I myself did once upon a time.

(Also, Dragotta was a member of the late Creative Commons jazz outfit The James Quintet, whose work I listen to quite a lot.)

But yeah, this one goes weird, as does all of Pharmacopia’s work that I know. If you go with it, though, it makes pretty good background if you’re in the right mood. And, if you listen to it attentively, it’s very clear that as weird and avant garde as it is, the musicians know what they’re doing and are doing it all to a purpose. The next great pop album this is not, and certainly not for everyday listening either.

What it is, though, is very, very good for its kind.

Give it a try.

Download Whiteboard Dinovisions by Pharmacopia from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
Whiteboard Dinovisions by Pharmacopia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.