#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: 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.


Creative Commons License
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: Quand les indiens attaquent by Christian Michard

coverHere we have another free culture one-album wonder, over an hour’s worth of jazz.

There are a number of tracks that have vocals, but only one in English. There are pieces that veer uncomfortably close to the dreaded “smooth” jazz. But when I listened to the album as a whole, I just couldn’t help enjoying it.

And I think that’s down to the musician(s). While it veers toward schmaltz and gloss, sometimes closer than I would personally prefer, the musicianship is so solid, so assured, that it’s hard to dislike the album. Whatever territory it might wander into on occasion, it keeps coming back to solid ground.

Playing it in the background the past several days, I kept finding myself with a smile on my face.

Download Quand les indiens attaquent free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
Quand les indiens attaquent by Christian Michard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: When the wind has taken me away by Nakama

coverThis one was, I admit, chosen in a bit of last-minute panic. (Which then became immaterial when I neglected to post this for another week. I’ll post another album later today, and that will catch me up for the year to date.) The Rudenko album I shared last week was, I believe, the last one I’d selected ahead of time before my previous laptop died, taking with it my music library and playlists (which I might still recover, but not anytime soon, given how my life stands right now). I know some of what was on my “Potential Music Monday” playlist, but it was something like two and a half days’ worth of music, so I can’t just magically recall it, as my memory is very definitely not eidetic.

However, I had had a few things knocking around on my smartphone for a while that I still have access to, and was listening to on occasion just to listen, or with an eye toward culling some podcast music.

This is one of those latter.

It’s the one single album that “Nakama” ever released, and I know nothing about him or them except the name, and that he/she/they apparently hail from Slovakia, in spite of the Japanese name and (mostly) rather American-sounding music they make.

But this album is pretty darn good. For the most part, it’s bluesy background music (hence my having it for possible podcast use). The styles switch up every few tracks, so it’s not all blues-related, but it’s all good.

And it’s playful, as you might guess from the first track’s name.

There’s definitely repetition within each track, but again, I’m pretty sure this album is meant as background music, and none of the tracks makes me skip.

Download When the wind has taken me away free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
When the wind has taken me away by Nakama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Changeover by Sim Band

[cover] Sim Band - ChangeoverBack in 2013, I shared Sim Band’s first album, today I share his last. Someday I’ll probably also share the one that came in between.

Sim Band is a German fellow named Simon Brenner, who plays all five instruments in these albums of bluesy instrumentals. He writes that they constitute a “musical diary”, and it’s unfortunate that he never continued the diary. This last album was first released in 2006, and he’s never added to his body of work.

Changeover is bluesy and jazzy, as with Sim Band’s other work, and while there is occasional cheese, it somehow fits the overall mood of the album. The whole thing is pleasant and relaxed, and makes excellent background music for writing in general.

Download Changeover by Sim Band free from the Internet Archive.

You can also download it directly from Simon Brenner’s website.


Creative Commons License
Changeover by Sim Band is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported 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.


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

#Writing #Music Monday: What Is Love by Melanie Ungar

What Is Love coverKicking off a second Lyrical April run for Writing Music Monday, we’ve got an EP (but really, nearly an album) that hits all sorts of sweet spots.

First, it’s very good. Professionally produced and performed.

Then, it’s Attribution-licensed. You can use this album for just about anything, including using song lyrics in your novel, so long as you provide proper attribution.

And last, but definitely not least, it’s in a genre for which there is a dearth Creative Commons music: country. Pop country, in fact.

Melanie Ungar’s What Is Love is, by just about any standard, excellent. The only possible objection to it is if you don’t like the genre.

(And even then, country’s not my favorite, but I like these seven songs and twenty-seven minutes very, very much.)

The album’s download page says:

What Is Love is the debut E.P. from Canadian country-pop singer-songwriter Melanie Ungar. Inspired by the honesty in country music, and the fun in pop music, Melanie writes and sings songs about the ups and downs of romance. From the love ballad “Madly, Deeply” to the sassy, up-beat title track “What Is Love”, Melanie’s catchy songs and heartfelt lyrics will keep you singing along.

And that’s not just ad copy. The tunes are catchy. The lyrics are heartfelt. The whole thing just works, and wonderfully.

Download What Is Love free from Jamendo.


Creative Commons License
What Is Love by Melanie Ungar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Paint the Stars by Eddy J

Paint The Stars CoverHere’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.)


Creative Commons License
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.)