#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.


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

#Writing #Music Monday: cyberpunk by Bod

coverI am in a mood, which usually means I don’t post. But I got pissed at my depression for keeping me from having a post ready to roll, and started flailing around on Jamendo to find something, anything that I could find to fit both my prickliness and yet be a good thing to put in the background to write to.

And I stumbled across cyberpunk by German (of course!) composer Bod, who writes of it:

This 9 track album was completely written with the cyberpunk community in mind. It is intended to be played in the background when playing roleplaying games like Shadowrun or Cyberpunk 2020.

All songs are themed to the Neuromancer trilogy by William Gibson. I tried to mix several genres and keep a mixture between technic and handmade sounds. Again: This album is _not_ intended to be heard with full attention. Turn the volume down and let it sit in the background while playing.

Given my eclectic circle of friends and acquaintances, I find it quite surprising that I’ve never run into music written specifically to be played during roleplaying game sessions before.

Confession: I never liked cyberpunk, despite the fact that I knew then and know now that I should like it, at least some instances of it. Furthermore, I bloody hate William Gibson’s cyberpunk works — which is at least partly a function of how insanely overpraised they were at the time, though I have issues with the style he wrote them in as well. Also, I had a university course in SF, and Neuromancer was presented as the logical endpoint for the genre, bringing it down into the gutter among the outcasts, where the professor averred that it belonged (a frankly weird assertion from a prof who openly loved the genre, but that’s a whole other planet of wax).

Even with those two prejudices of mine working against it, given that the tracks are themed from Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy, it’s kind of remarkable that this album won me over before the first track was over.

Yes, most of the pieces are repetitious, but that’s down both to their genres and to the fact that this is intended as background music. And the repetition almost always has layers of variation, rather than just being on a loop repeat.

In a lot of ways, this is what the ideal cyberpunk, the subgenre that I wish cyberpunk would be, instead of what it actually was, should sound like. It’s hard-edged, sometimes spiky, but also lulls you into its world — not just dirt and trash and amorality, but chrome and clean plastic and mirrorshades too. It works. It works very well.

Download cyberpunk free from the Internet Archive, or directly from Bod’s website.


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cyberpunk by Bod 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.


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

#Writing #Music Monday: Cinematic Volume 10 Epic Choir by Gregoire Lourme

CoverI’ve shared some of Gregoire Lourme’s soundtrack work before. He only gets better with each release, and this is his latest and arguably his best.

Cinematic Volume 10 is subtitled Epic Choir, and it is completely epic. You can’t listen to these tracks without imagining yourself on horseback, sword drawn, charging at hordes of undefeatable enemies.

I’m currently wrestling with a high fantasy novel (Ex-Ministers of Fate) that subverts the genre in a few ways, but when I downloaded and started playing this album, the wrestling became a bit less urgent, and the story worked with me a little more.

In fact, one of the tracks is going to be used in the book trailer, if I get my act together and actually make one. (The joy of Free Culture licensing — I already have the license to do this!)

It flows, it stirs the blood, it excites the soul.

If that’s what you need for your writing today, what the heck are you waiting for!?

Download Cinematic Volume 10: Epic Choir free from the Internet Archive.


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Cinematic Volume 10: Epic Choir by Gregoire Lourme is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: handmade by Bruce H. McCosar

CoverMellow. That’s the one-word summation of this album. It’s just mellow.

Bruce McCosar has appeared here twice before, and all of his appearances in Writing Music Monday post-date his apparent disappearance from the internet. His music is still extant, and all under the free culture Attribution-Share Alike license, so his legacy will continue regardless, but when they say “the internet is forever”? It’s not really true.

Of the three McCosar albums I’ve shared to date, this is the second for which he prepared extensive “liner notes”. For La vie sous la mer, he prepared a PDF with everything he wanted to say. Unfortunately, that seems to have been lost when he closed up his blog, and I’ve not been able to find a copy.

For today’s album, archaeologists and musicologists of the future are somewhat more fortunate: McCosar did his notes as a series of pages on his blog, and a portion of them are preserved by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Basically, any multi-part note has the first part preserved, and the rest seem to be gone.

Apart from that, on the album’s page at Jamendo, he says:

I named this album handmade because all the rhythms were performed using hand percussion instruments: three conga drums, two maracas, and a cowbell. Against this background I have highly melodic improvisation, jazzy chords, and of course a groovin bass line.

I play every instrument you hear on this album—guitar, bass, Hammond organ, keys, and drums.

And as I say above, it all comes off as very mellow. It’s fifty-six and a half minutes of melodic, relaxed tunes that fit in the background very nicely as you’re typing along. OK, maybe not the thing to have playing if you’re writing a horror novel or a nail-biting thriller. But aside from those, I’d say it’s simply one of those perfect writing albums, one that can fit almost any story mood so you can bang away at the keyboard.

You can download handmade by Bruce H. McCosar free from Jamendo or from the Internet Archive.


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handmade by Bruce H. McCosar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Sir Agent Chill by K4MMERER

[cover] Kammerer - Sir Agent ChillK4mmerer (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.


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Sir Agent Chill by K4MMERER is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: On A Beam Of Light by Stellardrone

On A Beam Of Light coverI’ve shared two Stellardrone albums previously, but I have to confess: there are days, sometimes weeks, when I simply queue up a playlist of every single thing he’s released, put it on repeat, and let that be my writing/working soundtrack for the day.

So today, we go back to his first album, On A Beam Of Light.

In one of the two posts where I’ve dealt with Stellardrone before, I suggested that his earlier work was less melodic and more drone-y than his most recent two albums.

That was unfair. His more recent work is sharper, and manages more complicated build-ups both in individual tracks and album wide, but he was, as this album amply shows, melodic from the get-go.

The Vangelis influence is just as obvious as in any one of his other works, and again that is no bad thing.

This is music of wonder and exploration, that will put anyone my age in mind of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series. (We will not talk of the travesty of whatshisface’s “update” series of the same name, nor of the horrific musical choices it made.) It is perfect for firing the imagination and exploring unknown worlds.

You can download On A Beam Of Light by Stellardrone free from Jamendo, or free from the Internet Archive, or you can name your own price (including free) and get it through BandCamp while sending money Stellardrone’s way.


Creative Commons License
On A Beam Of Light by Stellardrone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Yes, different licenses are listed on the Archive and Jamendo. But this comes from Stellardrone’s own website:

Once Stellardrone publishes his tracks on the Internet he waives all the rights to them and only kindly asks for attribution. Any person or organization is free to use any track of his on any kind of project (commercial, independent etc.), including selling, remixing and distribution of music.

stellardrone/use of music