#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.


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

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#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.


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

#Writing #MusicMonday: Holidium by Torley

HolidiumWell, we’ve all been through Turkey Day, and the Turkey coma, and Black Friday — I did my traditional “hide from the world and mutter dark misanthropic things under my breath”-a-thon — and here we are, running up to Christmas. It might not be December quite yet, but who ever let that stop them from being jolly?

Torley Wong has been making music, off and on, for close to fifteen years. (Or possibly longer.)

Today’s album, Holidium, was released on Christmas Eve of 2008, was one of several instances of him departing from his usual style of techno. This is pure solo piano work, all of it original, but in a festive, holiday, winter solstice mood.

Wong has a musicality and complex melodic sense that are almost unequaled in the Creative Commons space. His techno work is amazing, and his solo piano explorations are not much less so.

While you will not find traditional, familiar melodies here, you will definitely hear a few echoes of them.

If you’re familiar with Wong’s earlier melodies, you’ll also hear him slyly quoting himself. The only one I’ve been able to pin down for sure is a motif from his tehcno piece “The Smile In Her Eyes” which pops up more than once in this album, most obviously at the end of “Snowflake Child”.

But that’s beside the point, really. This is excellent background music for the holidays, both joyful and contemplative, without any saccharine or oversimplification. You won’t be humming these tunes endlessly, no earworms here, but you may find yourself returning to them again and again. At least, I do.

Download Holidium free from the Internet Archive.


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Holidium by Torley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported 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.