#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: 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: Life by Gregoire Lourme

CoverAfter making ten long albums of Free Culture soundtrack music in a very short period of time — only a couple of years — Gregoire Lourme released this, currently his latest, an extended meditation on Life.

And it feels like it might be a masterpiece.

It’s fifty-seven minutes, and by gum I wish it was longer. It’s a symphony, a celebration, an exuberant cry of joy to the universe. The Vangelis influence is quite clear, but so is, at times, that of Hans Zimmer. And yet, taking those influences, and likely others with whom I am unfamiliar, he creates something wholly new, and wondrous.

It is inspiration, in audio form.

Heck, I’m tempted to joke that I’m giving up Writing Music Mondays, because this can’t be topped.

Or maybe not to joke.

It is Just So Damned Good!

Download Life by Grégoire Lourme from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
Life by Gregroire Lourme is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Leaving Paradise by Kammerer

Cover[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.


Creative Commons License
Leaving Paradise by Kammerer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: E-world by zero-project

e-world_front_coverChanging gears from the brutal techno of the last two weeks, this week I’m bringing you, once again, Greek composer Zero-Project.

I confess I have a weakness for a certain type of Creative Commons album: I really like it when the album is an attempt to evoke an entire world, each track a different facet of the mindspace, in one way or another. I particularly enjoy it when it is a forward-looking world. Previously shared examples include the recent cyberpunk by bod and the much less recent Life in Bitville by Jaime Heras (among many others).

You can tell just from the title that E-world (actually, E-world: The Ultimate Edition) fits that prejudice of mine quite nicely.

It is an exploration, a world, and a collection of aspirations all in one, and delightfully optimistic. (One of the vocals sampled is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, on an early track.) (Of course, another vocal sampled repeatedly is Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds radio broadcast, so it’s not all puppies and rainbows.)

It is a complete — and, happily, lengthy — experience. More friendly and relaxing than the techno of the past few weeks, so if nothing else, a pleasant change of pace.

Download E-world: The Ultimate Edition free from Zero-Project’s own site, or give the artist five bucks and get lossless quality downloads.


Creative Commons License
E-world: The Ultimate Edition by Zero-Project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Metissage by Pasqualino Ubaldini

[cover] Pasqualino Ubaldini - MetissageThis is almost inexcusable. Here is an artist I’ve mentioned by name at least twice before, and an album I’ve listened to for years, one track of which I even featured in a podcast, and yet I’ve never made this album part of Writing Music Monday.

Allow me to rectify the hell out of that oversight.

Pasqualino Ubaldini is a jazz guitarist in Italy who is very talented, and sometimes collaborates with Paolo Pavan, another CC jazz musician everybody should know, and those collaborations are how I first discovered his work.

He also takes his love of jazz with a love of other cultures’ musical traditions and mixes them together to come up with works that are very, very lovely.

Metissage has a lot of Arabian and North African influences, and it is a delight.

The first track, “Pietre”, sounds like the launch of an adventure — upbeat, celebratory, exotic, and fun. And the album is an adventure, as much, I suspect, for the musician as for the listener.

It’s a tradition that goes back well before Dave Brubeck. Jazz can absorb and interact with music from any culture, and has, almost from the beginning of its existence. There was, for example, Chinese jazz from at least 1935 onward.

So it’s not at all odd, to me at least, that this Italian man has made such an excellent album of arabic and north African-flavored jazz.

[Ubaldini has several albums available with CC licenses through Jamendo, but Metissage is the only one with a Free Culture license. I haven’t really called attention to it, but I’ve made 2015 the year of All Free Culture Music on this blog. (That said, all of his work is worth listening to.)]

Download Metissage free the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
Metissage by Pasqualino Ubaldini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported 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.


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