#Writing #MusicMonday: Caligari: An Exquisite Corpse by The Chain Tape Collective

coverSo, yeah, I stumbled for several days. Tomorrow, we’ll return to playing Music Monday Catch-Up.

Today, we celebrate Halloween.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a key work in the history of film. It invented German Expressionism, started its own genre, and eventually influenced the American genre of film noir. The film is silent, and has no canonical soundtrack. It’s also public domain, which doesn’t hurt anything either.

So The Chain Tape Collective decided to set eleven composers loose on the film, and they produced not one, but two Creative Commons-licensed soundtracks. Each composer was given a part of the film and got to hear a bit of what the composer who worked on an earlier part had done, in true surrealist exquisite corpse fashion.

The results are very odd, as you might expect, and a lot of it sounds like a closet project from the ’80s done by a hermit devoted to modern music and antique films. It makes for disturbing, sinister background sonic wallpaper.

Which means it should be great for that horror novel you’re writing, or your late-night Halloween party tonight!

Download Caligari: An Exquisite Corpse free from the Free Music Archive.

You can also watch or download the resulting film free from the Internet Archive.



Caligari: An Exquisite Corpse
by Various Artists [Chain Tape Collective]
is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: Doumen Suite (斗门组曲) by Pharmacopia

doumen-suite-coverThis album was slotted for 8 August 2016.

This is the second album I’ve shared by Pharmacopia (a.k.a. Peter Dragotta), and his latest, as well as the only one he has recorded and released since expatriating from the United States to China.

My earlier share, Whiteboard Dinovisions, was so avant garde that I wouldn’t be shocked if some people just called it noise. Doumen Suite is only slightly less “out there” than that, so: fair warning.

However, if you want something with a groove, do at least give a listen to track three, “The Second Chapter”. If you like it, let the rest of the album play in the background. You may even find you enjoy it!

Part of the album description:

斗门组曲 (Doumen Suite) comes along with a great outlook for Peter Dragotta’s Pharmacopia. He has a new band from China, his now-adopted home. He has come back to the trumpet, his first instrument with a different approach. The session was recorded in Shenzhen with master bassist Xu Bo Wang (王旭波) and drummer Xiao Yu Deng (邓博宇)

Download Doumen Suite (斗门组曲) by Pharmacopia free from the Internet Archive.


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Doumen Suite (斗门组曲) by Pharmacopia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

https://www.facebook.com/peter.dragotta

#Writing #MusicMonday: AlphA, Research of Life by G.R.O.K.

alpha-coverThis album was intended for 1 August 2016.

Perhaps it is a sign of how I’ve been feeling over the months I didn’t actually post anything that the albums I selected during that time are, for the most part, in genres I go to for audio comfort food. My only real mandates for Writing Music Mondays are that the music be licensed for free download, preferably in the Creative Commons, and even more preferably under a Free Culture license, and also that the music strikes me as good, even if it’s not particularly up my alley.

Yet here we are, again, with ’80s-style new wave synth, an album blatantly intending to be space music in a retro mode. I can’t help it, I just love this stuff.

This is the first album by G.R.O.K. that I’ve given much time to listening to (I have at least two others downloaded), but I love it. It blends NASA recordings and original voice work into the background of the synth music, and builds a story of mankind exploring space and reaching out a friendly hand to any and all intelligent life that may be out there.

Yes, there’s a fair bit of talking, and even some very synthed singing on one track. Even so, I count it as essentially an instrumental piece, where the vocals are there to add feeling to the music, not intended to be the primary focus of listening.

The focus of the listening are the synth melodies, and they’re just about perfect. In the same way that the Turbo Kid soundtrack was a perfect distillation of mid-’80s film synth music, so does this hit that sweet spot, nostalgic yet fresh, with virtually no cheese factor larded on top.

I love it.

Download Alpha, Research of Life by G.R.O.K. free from the Internet Archive.


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AlphA, Research of Life by G.R.O.K. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: selling your friend (for cash) by subatomicglue

subatomicglue-selling-cdThis album ought to have been posted on 11 July 2016.

I’ve shared one album by subatomicglue before, globalenemy, and I still love it.

selling your friend (for cash) was a few albums and years later, and while it is a very different album (not telling a horror movie story, for example), it is definitely a work by the same composer.

It is driving synth work, most of it danceable and thus, probably, qualifies as techno, but good even so.

The composer himself says:

an ecclectic mix of hard aggressive action and musicbox charm. in an age of instant satisfaction and consumer whoring, it is all too possible to forget or even discard that which is important.

Download selling your friend (for cash) by subatomicglue from the Internet Archive or get it directly from the artist’s own website.


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selling your friend (for cash) by subatomicglue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Unported License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: El Ultimo Peldano by Jaime Heras

UltimoPeldanoCoverContinuing my revisitation with the works of the now-retired Jaime Heras, I bring you El Último Peldaño.

As Heras explains, there are three original tracks, and the rest are remixes and reworkings of his early works, including pieces from the first WMM album of his I shared, Life in Bitville, which remains a personal favorite of mine.

This album, while having several pieces from Bitville, isn’t purely electronica. It wanders much farther afield than that. And while it has less thematic unity, the wandering also gives it a much wider scope.

You can read his own take on how the album came to be on the Archive page (scroll past the Spanish version to get the English), but in summary, Heras was asked to compose a few short pieces for a radio program called “El Ultimo Peldaño”, did so, then decided that they were strong enough to go longer than 20 or 30 seconds. So he extended those. In addition, the radio show used a lot of his older music, which he found gratifying but, like any artist anywhere, he began to feel they could be improved. So he did remixes and upgrades on those.

Thus, this new hour and nine minutes of quite excellent music.

Download El Último Peldaño free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
El Último Peldaño by Jaime Heras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: Are You Still There? by Jazoo

CoverI first discovered Jazoo last summer, and shared their latest (and arguably best) album last fall, including it on my best of the year list and declaring it one of the greatest jazz albums available in the Creative Commons, period.

So if this is a step down, it’s akin to stepping down from top-form Miles Davis to top-form Cannonball Adderley.

Which is to say that this album is also really, really damned good.

There’s a lot more singing and vocals in general here than there was on Back From Reality. But apart from that, and a very different pacing to the album as a whole (there is a purposeful and very effective blank space in the middle, which fits perfectly into the mood being set), it is recognizably of a piece with the more recent masterpiece.

And, fair warning, one track — “DesART Sun” — features the deliciously-voiced female vocalist being distractingly and overtly sexual. You may want to leave that one track off your writing playlist (even though it’s incredibly good).

Something that seems to have been happening recently, not through any conscious design on my part, is that Writing Music Monday albums have been pairing up and grouping to pleasing effect (at least to me). This week and next week are another example of this happening. The final track on this album, “Hard Break”, definitely leaves the listener wanting more. It feels like the album just stops rather than ends, and it seems purposeful.

As you will learn next week, it segues beautifully into the next album I’m going to share. But for that, you must wait.

Download Are You Still There? free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
Are You Still There? by Jazoo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International 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: 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 #MusicMonday: Moonxine by Jahzzar

Cover[This post was supposed to go up on January 25th, but didn’t due to the Great Laptop Failure of 2016.]

I realize that I share a lot of Jahzzar’s music, but in my defense, he puts out more new music than I can keep up with, when added up with his rather extensive back catalog. Plus, he’s really good, so there’s rarely reason not to share.

Moonxine is, I think, one of his older works that I happened to start listening to after the new year, and it fit in just about perfectly with the previous Writing Music Monday album, Sparks by Chill Carrier.

Where Sparks was very upbeat, Moonxine is more reserved and contemplative. (Jahzzar has it marked as sad, but I disagree. Except for the track Part VII, which certainly has a melancholy feel. But that’s part of the overall contemplative mood of the album, I think.)

And what I mean about them fitting together nicely is this: I had them in a playlist, one after the other, along with lots of other stuff. And every time I got to listening without paying attention closely, I never, not once, felt the slight jar of the usual transition between albums and artists. The mood of Sparks segued pretty much perfectly into Moonxine, in spite of the fact that the two artists are really quite different, musically.

It’s very synth, in that “proceeds from the ’80s better than what actually proceeded from the ’80s” way that I particularly like. And, as stated, feels contemplative. Just the sort of thing to write to, if you don’t want overbearing drive, but something that hangs back and encourages you to think through the words you’re putting down.

Download Moonxine free from Better With Music.


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Moonxine by Jahzzar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: Christmas Presence by Neil Dawson

coverLast week, we had an hour and 20 minutes of completely original, solo piano music. This week, I bring you nearly an hour of Christmas music that is a solid mix of traditional and original work, all done purely through a synthesizer.

Christmas Presence has a very definite New Age, Mannheim Steamroller feel to it. Except that I loathe New Age music; and Mannheim Steamroller, for some reason I’ve never been able to articulate, irritates me a great deal. Neil Dawson’s work here, though, I consider quite wonderful.

To be sure, it has a certain amount of that schmaltzy, cheap synth sound. But somehow I never mind it when I’m listening through. It never pulls me out of what I’m doing, makes me roll my eyes, none of that.

And he put a lot of work into it:

This is my second Christmas album, recorded in my home studio using a Yamaha Motif 6 keyboard for all voices including percussion. It took me nearly an entire year to complete this mix of traditional, contemporary and original arrangements and compositions. I hope you enjoy them!

It is, overall, entirely lovely and very much in the spirit of the season. Yes, schmaltz and all. If this doesn’t put you in the holiday mood, I’m not sure anything will.

And, really, I say “schmaltz”, but there’s a track titled “God Rest Ye Merry Exorcists”. Which is pretty much what you’d expect from that name, yet somehow also has moments that make me think of 1980s Hong Kong movie soundtracks (and I mean that in a good way).

But if you want a feel for what the album has to offer, condensed into one track, I suggest you give Dawson’s rendition of the “Carol of the Bells” a listen. If you like that, you’ll like the whole thing.

Download Christmas Presence free from the Internet Archive.


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Christmas Presence by Neil Dawson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.