#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.

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#Writing #MusicMonday: noaccordion by noaccordion

Cover [Yes, I crapped out on posting yesterday. But I’ve got albums selected to the middle of next month, at least, and easily can go beyond that, I just have to write them up and prepare the posts. And it’s clearly much better when I do that well ahead of time.]

Though she has been making music for a long time, and releasing as “noaccordion” since 2010, I only chanced across Onah Indigo’s work quite recently.

She seems to be a restless soul, ranging across genres and styles at whim, almost like Miles Davis, needint to finish one thing, then do something completely different, then do something completely different from that.

This first, eponymous, EP has a mix of sounds that’s hard to describe, but if you cross the French grunge girl band UNKNW with Le Tigre, that captures some of it. Toss in a dash of the Raveonettes, too, while you’re at it.

And that’s part of why I’m having a hard time describing this EP. Each song is different. They’re all obviously by the same artist, but they’re all completely distinct.

And they’re all worth listening to, at the very, very least.

Download noaccordion free from the Internet Archive or from Soundcloud.


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noaccordion by noaccordion is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International 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: Tumbling Dishes Like Old-Man’s Wishes by Jahzzar

CoverWhat!? Six whole months have passed since I shared some of Jahzzar’s music!? Outrageous! Let me remedy that immediately. 🙂

This unusually-titled album is another of Javier Suarez’s explorations of an “Americana” sound, along with previous Music Monday album Blinded By Dust, and one or two that I’ve not shared here. It’s interesting that a Spaniard does such good things with American sounds.

And not only do they sound American, but they’re fun. Cool, groovy, expressive. Lots of words apply, really.

But it’s Jahzzar, so you (should) already know that it’s really good stuff.

You have several options to download Tumbling Dishes Like Old-Man’s Wishes. You can get it free from Jahzzar’s official site, Better With Music.

Or you can get it from BandCamp, with an option to send as much money Jahzzar’s way as you see fit.

Or, finally, you can get it from the Free Music Archive.


Creative Commons License
Tumbling Dishes Like Old-Man’s Wishes by Jahzzar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International 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: 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.