#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: 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.

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The Beautiful Machine by Josh Woodward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Vol. II

[cover] Emerson Antoniacomi - Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Vol. IIHere’s what I know about Emerson Antoniacomi: He’s Brazilian; he’s a talented composer and performer; and he released ten (ten!) freaking albums of Free Culture-licensed music from September to November 2010.

And that’s about it. Searching his name on DuckDuckGo, everything else seems to derive from his Jamendo page or his Jamendo blog, which hasn’t been active since 2011.

So we must focus on the album at hand. Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Vol. II (“Soundtracks for Films vol. II”) starts off with a two-part symphony (all synthesizer) that feels audacious, in some way I can’t quantify. This isn’t just a musician knocking out some generic background music, it’s more complete and layered than that.

The rest of the album could be taken as “just background music”, but it also manages to be more complex than you would expect.

If there is a drawback, it is that Antoniacomo seems not to be a sound geek, and lets his synth instruments sound… cheap, or possibly cheesy, I’m not sure quite how to describe it. There are moments that sound like bad soundtrack instrumentation for one of Roger Corman’s late-’80s straight to video production, attempting poorly to sound like a real instrument, instead of embracing its own sound. It’s only occasional, and the quality of the compositions overcomes the possible awkwardness, but it is there from time to time.

Download Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Vol. II free from Jamendo.

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Trilhas Sonoras Para Filmes Vol. II by Emerson Antoniacomi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Oh Holy Night (Volume 1) by Ronny Matthes

Oh Holy Night (Volume 1) CoverI have trimmed both the title and the artist name considerably to keep them intelligible, because the extra was mostly German for “Christmas Music”.

This album is nearly an hour’s worth of quality Christmas tunes, both original and traditional, and while at times it verges upon Mannheim Steamroller cheesiness, it only does that a few times. On the whole, it is entirely pleasing and in the mood of the season.

I don’t know much about Ronny Matthes other than that he’s German, and that he’s put a lot of music out for free, under various names, but, alas, as with this album, he locks it up under restrictive licenses. Still, you can download it and enjoy it entirely for free (or order it through German Amazon, linked on the album page, if you would like to send money his way), and that’s no bad thing.

Download Oh Holy Night (Volume 1) from Jamendo.

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Oh Holy Night (Volume 1) by Ronny Matthes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Christmas Music and CHRISTMAS TWO by PAIO

[cover] PAIO - Christmas MusicPAIO is a Polish composer, and he has released two short albums of Christmas tunes to the Creative Commons. I’m giving you both of them, because together they come in at less than half an hour.

It’s synth work, and apparently created quite some time ago, but apart from being occasionally a bit cloying for my tastes, it works very well for background music that sounds right for the season (at least, if your tastes run less to jazz than mine do, and more to Mannheim Steamroller). Some of PAIO’s other work sounds a bit video-gamey to me, but not this. It works for the festive, snowy mood, even if you’re like me, in a climate where there is no snow, just rain, and “festive” is less the norm than the exception.

You can download Christmas Music and CHRISTMAS TWO from Jamendo.

Creative Commons License
Christmas Music and CHRISTMAS TWO by PAIO are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

Writing Music Monday: About Life by Art Owens

[cover] Art Owens - About LifeArt Owens has appeared once before on Writing Music Monday, with Space Rhythm back in 2013. He is, or was, a jazz composer and trumpeter working (I believe) mostly with synthesizers on his own. (Except, of course, for his distinctive trumpet work, which is what keeps drawing me back to him.)

And a lot of his work he pulled from Jamendo when they “redesigned” the site and “improved” it by removing features and disabling things that people liked. He left up six albums, but this is not one of them. And so far as I know, he retired from making music all together.

However, because he released all his work to the Creative Commons, all it took was somebody caring enough to post his work elsewhere, with proper attribution and sharing alike, and this album, and many others, remain “out there” for anyone to enjoy.

Sometimes his stuff is right up my alley, other times I’m not in the mood at all. But when I am in the mood, it’s great to write to, even when, as in this album, there are tracks that include lyrics.

Great stuff to write to, and that’s what I should be doing. So, back to the novel.

You can download About Life by Art Owens from the Internet Archive.

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About Life by Art Owens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Fear by Adam Gordon

CoverHere’s an album I only just downloaded. Well, not true. I’d downloaded it a week or three ago, but hadn’t unzipped it and listened to it.

Then today came, and I was thinking “It’s Monday, I have to do a Writing Music Monday post, and I am just not in the mood.” I opened up Clementine, played a few tracks from artists I know I like in my playlist for potential Writing Music Monday shares, and even though most of it was good, I just wasn’t feeling it.

I’m like that. The wrong mood can keep me from not only enjoying, but actually experiencing in a meaningful way, things that I otherwise like.

So I went mucking about in my Music directory, and realized I had downloaded several albums that I had not yet unzipped and gotten into Clementine for a listen.

Which led, several steps later, to my thinking that I should post this.

I’m not going to say whether I like it or not, because I am so clearly In A Mood that my judgement today will certainly not apply to it later, at least in the sense of whether I’ll personally enjoy it or not.

What I will say is that Fear by Adam Gordon is weird. It marries things that ought not to go together well. Or at all.

And yet, it does all go together, if you allow for the artist intentionally playing with contrasts and conflicts among the tools he’s using. Looking at it from that perspective, it works.

The tags he put on the album for Jamendo include “electronic, soundtrack, ambient, orchestral,” and “dubstep”, and I would add in disco, edm, and probably a few other things that aren’t occurring to me right this moment.

It’s like ’80s synth crashed into ’00s techno dance music, careened off a film orchestra, and started leaking disco glitter balls. Which almost certainly doesn’t make any sense, but you go listen to it and see if you can describe it better.

Interestingly, there’s a healthy mix of purely synth instruments and real analog instruments. There’s only one synth of a real instrument that sounds bad, and that only briefly on the final track.

Gordon says of himself, on his website:

I’m a composer, guitarist, vocalist, traveller but for mostly a bass player. I used to play and record in Europe and USA over the years. I was honoured to collaborate with incredible and talented bands and performers[.]

You can download Fear by Adam Gordon from Jamendo.

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Fear by Adam Gordon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Between Pain, Love and Hopeless by Monoton

CoverAnd here we go back to the 1980s again.

As noted on many, many previous occasions, I love early- to mid-80s new wave synth music.

And Between Pain, Love and Hopeless by German artist Monoton (a.k.a. Andreas Drechsler) really hits my happy spot. It gets a bit repetitious on some tracks, but other tracks use the repetition to build something that, if you go with it, really works.

How much do I like it? At least two tracks will be going toward the marketing efforts for a book I haven’t even started writing yet. I already know they work perfectly for what I want.

And I’m going to put it on that book’s playlist for my writing sessions.

Between Pain, Love and Hopeless by Monoton is available for download from Jamendo.

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Between Pain, Love and Hopeless by Monoton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: My Own Album With Blackjack And Hookers by Andrey Avkhimovich

CoverI was in the final throes of banging out my dark fantasy/horror novella Spring That Never Came (it began life as a “quick” short story, and ballooned monstrously to more than six times the planned length, but that’s another story), writing the climactic battle, and I had need of something… other.

Something different.

Something epic… and dark… and not right… and not at all my usual thing.

Andrey Avkhimovich’s My Own Album With Blackjack And Hookers hit that sweet spot just when I needed it.

It is techno. And probably house, and EDM, and a bunch of other genres I don’t generally care for.

It is also dark and loud and throbbing.

And for what it is, it is really damn good.

Do you want or need dread? A sense of foreboding? Impending doom? Dark, dreary, and yet unmistakably cool?

Then you need this album.

You can download My Own Album With Blackjack And Hookers from Jamendo, or get the lossless FLAC files from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License
My Own Album With Blackjack And Hookers by Andrey Avkhimovich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Galaxy by Jahzzar

Cover[Stupid me, I forgot to hit “post” last week. So, here, a week late, this fine fine album.]

We need to come to an understanding on something.

I hate disco.

Despise it.

There are a handful of good disco songs, but I mean that fairly literally — I can count the number of “good disco songs” on one hand.

So when Javier Suarez posted this “disco” album some time ago, I was leery. Figured it would be one of his projects that just didn’t click with me.

How wrong I was.

Galaxy somehow manages to be disco and excellent at the same time, and I still don’t know how Jahzzar did it. I can listen to the whole thing, beginning to end, without pause. Normally, I can’t even do that with a single disco track, let alone an album.

Of course, it’s not really disco. It’s Suarez taking influence from disco, as well as other, related sources, and doing his magic to create excellent, excellent music.

You can get Galaxy through Bandcamp in just about any format you want, as well as sending appreciative money Jahzzar’s direction. You can also download it from Jamendo in MP3 or Ogg Vorbis format, whichever is your default.

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Galaxy by Jahzzar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://betterwithmusic.com/contact/.