#Writing #MusicMonday: canzoni per i natali del futuro by Various Artists [Cervello Meccanico]

natali-futuroAi ya, this year.

So, I do have albums selected for every week between the last Writing Music Monday post and today, I just have to write them up and post them. And I want those out of the bloody way, so the rest of this week may see two to three posts per day. Or I may be lazy (I know, what a shock, right?) and they might not. I’ll try.

But for now, it is the first Monday in December, and time for Christmas music.

And, being me, I’m opting to start off weird. (Not to fear, the next two weeks will see plenty of more traditional music for you to enjoy.)

Today’s album is brief at thirty-four minutes, but I enjoy it. It is an album with a mission statement:

All of the most popular Christmas songs were composed during the 19th century, and are still used until today, despite being extremely outdated and obsolete. With this album Cervello Meccanico proposes a collection of songs intended to be more suitable for the present century.

What this is is a collection of experimental electronic works by various artists. Imagine if, e.g., Delia Derbyshire had set out to do new holiday music in her prime. A number of the tracks remind me of her work, and I mean that in a very positive way.

There’s also at least one (very good) chiptune.

Your mileage may vary on how festive or holiday-oriented most of the pieces make you feel, but there can’t be any new classics if you never listen to new songs, right? At the very least, the first track or two should be something you won’t mind having playing in the background at a holiday party or gathering.

Download canzoni per i natali del futuro by Various Artists [Cervello Meccanico] free from Cervello Meccanico’s site, the Free Music Archive, or the Internet Archive.

canzoni per i natali del futuro by Various Artists [Cervello Meccanico] is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Italy License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

coverThis both is and is not the first work by Chris Zabriskie I have shared with you for Writing Music Monday.

Zabriskie was one half of lo-fi is sci-fi, whose first album (of demos) I shared for Lyrical April. But this is his first solo work I’ve gotten to, despite all his work being Attribution-only.

Among the less obnoxious post-modernist literary types — you know, the ones who actually have something to say, rather than just posturing and expecting everybody to praise their superiority merely because they know how to sneer at everything — there is the idea that a novel, especially if it is experimental in any way, must teach you how to read it (or how to interpret it) in its opening pages.

So, for example, Catch-22 has, in its first few chapters, the story of The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice, which very neatly encapsulates the madness of war, its effect on the minds of warriors, the utterly insane and useless ways authorities respond to those effects, and how soldiers not in authority must go along with the insanity in order to get anything at all, but not so much that they lose their own minds in the process. The one chapter is almost a blueprint of the entire novel, and prepares the reader for the madness that lies ahead.

This idea can certainly be carried over to film, where it is considered good screenwriting to have the first ten pages (and thus, first ten minutes) of the script be a sort of a primer for the audience for the rest of the film. The diner conversation in Reservoir Dogs is, metaphorically, an introduction to who each of the characters actually is, even though at least one isn’t revealed till the climax in fact. The opening of The Shawshank Redemption puts you in the position of every character in the movie except for Andy Dufresne, not knowing whether he’s cold-blooded or merely aloof, so that once you learn that he’s actually the most honest man in the story, you also have the heartbreak of realizing that by the time you learn it for certain, you realize he’s been corrupted (to an extent) as well.

This notion of a work of art teaching you how to appreciate it, within itself, very definitely applies to Zabriskie’s Cylinders. The first track is light, and almost sounds like someone just noodling around on the piano. And yet, every track that follows builds upon it, building up and out, priming and preparing the listener for what is to come, to the point that when “Cylinder Six” plays, it’s a viscerally thrilling experience, even though considered on its own, it’s hardly a romantic sweep, nor a crescendo of any kind. But taken in context of the rest of the album, it has the goose-bump feel of sudden revelation and release. And each track that follows just keeps building further.

The Free Music Archive page compares this album to Philip Glass and John Cage. I don’t care for the Cage comparison, but the Glass one is apt (and I’ll be using Glass as a reference point again next week). I don’t personally care for Glass’s work, or the part of it that I know, but the influence is definitely there, and what Zabriskie does with it is very much, very much to my liking. It takes some listening and getting used to, if you don’t go on sonic explorations very much. But the result is well worth the time you invest in listening.

Download Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie free from the Free Music Archive, or get it for one dollar (or as much more as you care to pay) from BandCamp.

Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie is licensed under an Attribution License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://chriszabriskie.com/licensing.

#Writing #MusicMonday: De Luces y de Sombras by Jose Travieso

JoseTravieso-DeLucesYDeSombrasfrontAfter noting two weeks ago that I share very little classical music, I’m now flooding you with it, with a second album of solo classical piano in less than a month.

But it’s really good. Maybe not Bach good, but still good.

I’ve only shared one work by Jose Travieso before, the classical-mixed-with-avant garde album No More Faith (and because I’m still on strike against Jamendo, you can get it directly from the Internet Archive, too), an album I still think of very fondly, despite not having it in my listening rotation for some time.

This album, though, as I said, is pure solo piano, and doesn’t have any of the experiments with noise that No More Faith did.

De Luces y de Sombras (which translates to “From Light and Shadows”) is a gentle, contemplative piece that starts in silence and only slowly grows in your awareness.

The first movement, “Memories from the Beginning of Time”, quite literally starts in silence, and slowly sneaks up on you. This is not a track to play to drown out background noise until the crescendo at the very end.

The third piece, “The Gap”, is one of the ones I mean when I call the album contemplative. It has a distinct direction, but it ebbs and flows and ponders around even as it continues to its destination.

The final piece, which translates to “Broken Wings? Well walk!”, is a perfect capstone to the album, wistful and uplifting at the same time.

It is a short album, around thirty-four minutes, but it is exquisite.

Download De Luces Y De Sombras by Jose Travieso free from the Internet Archive, or get it directly from Travieso’s official site.

Creative Commons License
De Luces y de Sombras by Jose Travieso is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Vol. II

[cover] Emerson Antoniacomi - Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Vol. IIHere’s what I know about Emerson Antoniacomi: He’s Brazilian; he’s a talented composer and performer; and he released ten (ten!) freaking albums of Free Culture-licensed music from September to November 2010.

And that’s about it. Searching his name on DuckDuckGo, everything else seems to derive from his Jamendo page or his Jamendo blog, which hasn’t been active since 2011.

So we must focus on the album at hand. Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Vol. II (“Soundtracks for Films vol. II”) starts off with a two-part symphony (all synthesizer) that feels audacious, in some way I can’t quantify. This isn’t just a musician knocking out some generic background music, it’s more complete and layered than that.

The rest of the album could be taken as “just background music”, but it also manages to be more complex than you would expect.

If there is a drawback, it is that Antoniacomo seems not to be a sound geek, and lets his synth instruments sound… cheap, or possibly cheesy, I’m not sure quite how to describe it. There are moments that sound like bad soundtrack instrumentation for one of Roger Corman’s late-’80s straight to video production, attempting poorly to sound like a real instrument, instead of embracing its own sound. It’s only occasional, and the quality of the compositions overcomes the possible awkwardness, but it is there from time to time.

Download Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Vol. II free from Jamendo.

Creative Commons License
Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Vol. II by Emerson Antoniacomi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Kumaneko E.P. by Kumaneko

[cover] Kumaneko - Kumaneko E.PThere is zero information I can find about this artist or group. I presume, from their name and the style of most of their music that they are Japanese.

Due to one thing and another, I haven’t been posting albums in the order I originally planned, so, a word of warning: This is one of the “outside my comfort zone” albums I referenced back in March. It will not be to everybody’s taste.

But Kumaneko E.P. is, nevertheless, absolutely wonderful writing background music, if you are in the proper mood for it. (Yes, that is rather a big “if”, I realize.)

There is music on the album, but if you’re listening for melody, you’ll quickly tire of the repetition. What you really need to listen for are the rhythms. And, in a very Japanese way, for the silences between the beats. If you go in prepared for that, you should be open to what this album offers.

It’s a bit out there, and unusual, but I’ve found it really works as background for me.

Download Kumaneko E.P. free from Jamendo.

Creative Commons License
Kumaneko E.P. by Kumaneko is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: L’autre endroit by Silence

[cover] Silence - L'autre endroitHere 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.

Writing Music Monday: Nothing but Gonzo by GONZO GONZALES

[cover] GONZO GONZALES - Nothing but GonzoThis one really is not going to be for everybody. As should become clear.

I usually explain my love of jazz by including a cutoff date: 1960. If it was recorded prior to that year, I generally like or love it. If it post-dates that year, I probably dislike it, though there are any number of exceptions.

What I especially find tedious is all the “fusion” that came from Miles Davis’s late-1960s works, like “In a Silent Way” and (especially) Bitches Brew. I admire Davis himself, and either of those works I can listen to if I’m in the right mood. But almost anything derived from or inspired by them, I just don’t have the right mind or background to even begin to appreciate.

So it’s odd that I enjoyed this at all, because it proceeds pretty directly from that period and style.

But I did enjoy it, and it makes for good background while writing or outlining, at least for me, at least for the mood I’ve been in the past few days.

GONZO GONZALES looks to be a German band (go figure), and they have four albums on Jamnedo. Nothing but Gonzo was recorded in 2003, and released on Jamendo in 2007.

Nothing but Gonzo is free to download from Jamendo.

Nothing but Gonzo by GONZO GONZALES is available under a Libre Art License (AKA a Free Art License).

Writing Music Monday: My Own Album With Blackjack And Hookers by Andrey Avkhimovich

CoverI was in the final throes of banging out my dark fantasy/horror novella Spring That Never Came (it began life as a “quick” short story, and ballooned monstrously to more than six times the planned length, but that’s another story), writing the climactic battle, and I had need of something… other.

Something different.

Something epic… and dark… and not right… and not at all my usual thing.

Andrey Avkhimovich’s My Own Album With Blackjack And Hookers hit that sweet spot just when I needed it.

It is techno. And probably house, and EDM, and a bunch of other genres I don’t generally care for.

It is also dark and loud and throbbing.

And for what it is, it is really damn good.

Do you want or need dread? A sense of foreboding? Impending doom? Dark, dreary, and yet unmistakably cool?

Then you need this album.

You can download My Own Album With Blackjack And Hookers from Jamendo, or get the lossless FLAC files from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License
My Own Album With Blackjack And Hookers by Andrey Avkhimovich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Music Monday: Nevertheless by Pur:Pur, 2013

Nevertheless coverPur:Pur is one of my favorite musical discoveries of the past several years. They’re a Russian/Ukrainian band (no political overtones at all to their music, at least not English songs, which are most of it), they give their albums away for free, the lead singer is utterly entrancing while being just a bit too “off” in some indefinable way for her to be immediately beautiful. And they expand and explore their range in lots of interesting ways, including musically.

Even if you liked their earlier works, Pur:Pur’s Nevertheless might not work for you. I am an unabashed nut for them, and it took me several months of listening to warm up to this one. Now, of course, I love it. But it takes some getting used to. You have been warned. (And promised, because it is worth the effort.)

Previously they were a trio; beginning with this album they are a quintet. But that’s just the most superficial change they have made. Each track on this album is an experiment, looking for, finding, and expanding the boundaries of what the band had previously done, musically, lyrically, structurally. As I said, they go so far afield that it takes some getting used to. It’s experimental, but in a good way, in my opinion.

Here’s what they say about it:

The album Nevertheless — is the result of months of searching, testing the durability of friendship, experiments with sound and a dynamic creative team.

All of the complexity, magic and creativity were absorbed by the nine tracks on this record. Some of them were performed during Jazz Koktebel festival last fall. Some of them were played some time ago acoustically and some of the songs are seeing daylight for the first time.

Nevertheless — is the second full-fledged album of Pur:Pur. The first one named Pure was created two years ago. The pause between the two albums was filled with a search for the new sound which in time the band found themselves recording several mini-albums. The acoustic soul of Pur:Pur was changing and eventually morphed towards a new rock ‘experience’. Insinuating tones transformed into mysterious post-rock and electronic paraphrasing. As a result of these transformations, the chamber trio became a full-blown developed electronic band.

If you’re not sure whether it will grow on you or not, try this: Go and listen to one track, just one: “Little by Little“, track 2. Listen to it two or three times straight through. If you get to the end of that thinking that they might be on to something, download the album and listen to it once a week or so. It will almost certainly grow on you, too. If not, well, you gave it a chance, at least.

(Ideally, of course, you should listen to the entire album.)

You can download Nevertheless by Pur:Pur from Russian site Kroogi (page is [mostly] in English) in MP3 or WAV formats.

You can also download it in lossless WAV format from SoundCloud.


I can’t find it now, but there used to be a page on Pur:Pur’s site saying that they were totally cool with people doing just about anything with their music, they just wanted to get heard as widely as they possibly could. They have not, to date, formally adopted Creative Commons licensing, however, so if you want to use it in your Youtube videos or movie or whatever, you should make every effort to contact them through their site or social media feeds to arrange that. (For what it’s worth, I have sent multiple emails over time seeking clarification, and/or asking if they will adopt CC licensing, and never gotten a response. Possibly I got spam filtered, I don’t know.)

Pur:Pur’s official website.

Their Twitter feed: @purpurpeople.

Their Facebook page.

Their Youtube channel.

Writing Music Monday: No More Faith by Jose Travieso

[cover] JOSE TRAVIESO - No More FaithI should really listen to more of Jose Travieso’s work. He’s pretty good, pushes himself into areas he does not seem comfortable with, and puts out a lot of work.

That’s part of the problem. He’s just so prolific that it’s daunting to the newcomer.

Well, you’re probably new to him, and I’m telling you to give this a try. No More Faith captures some of his extensive range, and it’s quite good.

There is a mixture of classical (almost baroque) with nearly-atonal noise. And it works. At least, for me it does. (And if I’m having a day where nearly-atonal will be a distraction, I just drop the Shinagami’s Dream pieces from the playlist.)

Give it a try.

(You can also listen to it on SoundCloud, but it’s marked with a much more restrictive license.)

Creative Commons License
No More Faith by Jose Travieso is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.