Continuing 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.
El Último Peldaño by Jaime Heras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
[Note: I am flailing with NaNoWriMo right now, so I may not have time to rant about it, but I no longer think anybody—musician or user—should have anything at all to do with Jamendo. With their new redesign — the second in three years — they have also begun a policy of lying to their users. Outright lying. They deserve to go out of business, and the artists who use the site should flee to other services, including BandCamp, the Internet Archive, and self-hosting using the free and open source CASH Music software. So while this album was originally posted on Jamendo, I won’t link there.]
More calming, relaxed “chillout” music from Swedish composer Kammerer (or however it is properly spelled; there are at least three variations on the A). This is an earlier work, and meant to be summertime, poolside background music.
Not much to say about it, except that it’s quite good, as is most of Kammerer’s work; that it’s Attribution-only licensed, meaning you can do what you like with the music, including using it in a Youtube video without asking permission from anybody so long as you give attribution, and that it makes excellent background music for writing.
Kammerer himself says:
Some simple summerchillloungegroovestuff for the sunny ppl.
Download Leaving Paradise by Kammerer from the Internet Archive.
Leaving Paradise by Kammerer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
I’ve had two albums by Partition 36 in my “potential WMM” playlist for quite a long time, but kept putting off sharing anything from him/her.
There is an anger to the music, or at least that’s how I feel it when I listen. It’s sort of techno, and has those razor edges some techno gets.
Which doesn’t mean I don’t like it — I wouldn’t be sharing it if I didn’t. But it is less immediately likeable than some of what I share, and might even be off-putting. Consider that fair warning.
Also, there are vocals on a number of tracks on this album, though they’re less lyrics and more like chanting, most of the time. But if that pulls you out or distracts you when writing, keep it in mind.
That said, despite the occasional abrasiveness of the listening experience, Inside The Beat does what I like electronica albums to do — it takes you on a journey through a world, a place you couldn’t get to with any other kind of sound. And while it has those areas that maybe are a bit uncomfortable, for the most part it is a pleasant journey.
Download Inside The Beat free from the Internet Archive.
Also, you can download it (including in lossless FLAC format) from Partition 36’s own site, but under a more restrictive non-commercial license.
Inside The Beat by Partition 36 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
I am shocked and dismayed to discover that, apparently, I have never put stalwart Free Culture composer zero-project up in a Writing Music Monday post.
Allow me to rectify that grievous oversight.
Zero-project is a Greek composer and musician, and he (or she) has been putting out Attribution-licensed works for better than half a decade. He leans toward New Age music, but its complexity and depth makes up for the cheese factor, far more often than not.
Ambient Symphony is a very new-age-y piece, and yet I like it. (If you know me, you know that I pronounce “new age” to rhyme with “sewage” almost always.)
It’s melodic, not super-repetitive, and all nine tracks work together to create a coherent whole.
But be warned: the irritating tropes of New Age-y-ness are here. The echo effects, the nature sounds, the cheesy-synth, the whole bit. So if that automatically puts you off, now you know. If you think you can let the quality of this work get past your defenses on those fronts, however, give it a try. Because it is worth it.
Download Ambient Symphony free from Jamendo, or directly from Zero-project’s own site.
Ambient Symphony by zero-project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Here’s an entry in another subgenre of techno with which I am unfamiliar. This time around, we are delving into psytrance, which is a variation of trance, which is a subset of techno.
Beyond that, I can’t really explain the differences yet. I tend to prefer 80’s–sounding synth, but this is more modern and hard-edged than that.
Jordan Margera is a French DJ, and this appears to be his first exploration of psytrance, so it’s a first for everybody around here.
The album (it’s labeled an EP, but it is forty-four minutes long, which is longer than a number of older LPs) is dark, hard-edged and driving. It throbs. It pulses. It pauses unexpectedly, then cascades new sounds on you before circling back to familiar territory.
To my way of thinking, it’d be good background if you’re writing something gritty, urban and set within the last twenty years or so.
Overall, it’s an interesting and evocative soundscape. Not one I want to live in every day, but worth visiting and revisiting.
Download This Is Psytrance by Jordan Margera free from Jamendo.
This Is Psytrance – EP by Jordan Margera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International License.
Going a bit outside my comfort zone here, and possibly for the rest of the month.
Re-Drum is a French musician/d.j. who focuses a lot on the variation of techno called “house” (a distinction which escapes me). This album is the one I’ve listened to enough to be familiar with, and it’s not generally the sort of thing I like. Very repetitious and loop-y, mixing in spoken word in ways that most days I’d generally find distracting than writing-trance inducing.
But I’ve listened to this one enough that it doesn’t rub me wrong as background music, if I’m in the right mood.
That’s the thing though — it’s not easy to love this one. And it is easy to be irritated by it.
So, as stated, this one is outside of my usual comfort zone.
The only commentary by the artist I can find regarding this particular album is “This is a collection of really deep tracks”. So, unusually, he let’s the music speak entirely for itself.
About the artist himself (real name Léo Urriolabeitia):
After being heavily influenced by 70′s music, Zappa and Minimalism he decided to imagine a place to share sample based music with an experimental edge. That was the connection of past and future music, something that hasn’t been found on the web yet. While still DJing in Toulouse, Re-Drum is now more focused on Live performances and various Audiovisual experiments/Short Movies/Animations.
Download It’s Better To Burn Out Than To Fade Away free from Jamendo.
(You can also get the album under a more restrictive, non-Free Culture CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 License, from Bandcamp.)
It’s Better To Burn Out Than To Fade Away by Re-Drum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International License.
Here’s an hour of music that’s not what you expect, in a good way, even as you’re listening to it.
Tradmark doesn’t say much about himself anywhere that I’ve found, but he appears to be a one-man show in the Midwestern USA. His music is an amalgam of jazz, techno, and new wave synth, and it all works together quite well.
Take the first track, “Mood for December Rendered”. Starts off as a lonely saxophone cityscape piece of jazz, but transitions seamlessly into upbeat new wave synth, keeping the sax throughout for texture.
Pretty much the whole album does this, and just as well.
Probably my favorite thing this album does is the way it sets up your expectations as a listener, and then uses those expectations to surprise you. From the pause in “Mood for December Rendered” to the abrupt ending of “Live for Freedom”, to several others I won’t spoil, it’s almost like Tradmark is in dialogue with you as you listen, and keeps surprising you with his wit when you think you have his position pegged. It’s very nice.
Download Back to the Source free from Jamendo.
Back to the Source by Tradmark is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
“Jazz Friends” is a long-running Jamendo project in which Creative Commons jazzish (heavy on the “-ish”) acts contribute a track apiece to collaborative albums once or twice a year.
The newest, White Notes, is arguably the best they’ve put out so far. And the apparent reason for that is that they changed the process by which tracks were selected:
The new album by Jazz Friends comes with Santa Claus, just in time to put it under your Christmas tree.
It’s our gift to you. Listen and donate it to your friends, to give music is as to give a bit of sky.
With the abetting of the festive spirit, the general atmosphere of the album is more lounge and relaxed, but there are moments of pure classic jazz, moments of sweet Christmas atmosphere and, why not, a sprinkle of jazz rock too. You can appreciate also two new, extraordinary female voices, sensual, enchanting … and I say no more: to you the pleasure of discovering.
New in this time, the project became open, not only invitations, but also the possibility for all artist to propose their songs, to be included in the album. Among the many received it was selected one especially meritorious. This experience, even if laborious, has been amazing and we’ll propose it again for the next album, reserving more space for new participants.
It works nicely as a post-Christmas-but-tis-still-the-season album, heading us on our way as we proceed from halfway out of the dark ever toward the light.
Download White Notes by Jazz Friends from Jamendo.
White Notes by Jazz Friends is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
Yes, I’ve been slacking. I may continue, hard to tell.
For today, however, here is fifty minutes of techno-synth music to explore. A lot of it sounds like it could be disco orchestra stuff from the late ’70s — but I mean that in a good way, for once.
Adam Certamen Bownik appears to be a very interesting man. On top of his music — he has produced 64 solo albums in 16 years (!) — he is an adjunct professor in the department of Physiology and Toxicology at the University of Lublin, Poland. (One almost wonders if he hunts dinosaurs or builds time machines in his spare time.)
Supernova consists of three lengthy tracks, two of about fifteen minutes, one clocking in at twenty, and they’re entirely engaging from beginning to end. It’s almost a synth symphony, with some vocalizing (not too much) throughout. In fact, it is another example I would point to of “this is a way music should have gone”, taking off from Vangelis and other synth artists of the ’70s and ’80s.
Possibly one of the reasons I am so taken with this album are his two rules:
There are 2 main rules I obey in composing. 1. The patch should be of original sound not copied from the best [Tangerine Dream] albums ;). Synthesizers are instruments of a great variety of sounds to obtain so I have no reason to play with sounds that are indeed great but well known. 2. Apart from a good synth patch a melody line must be included in the composition. Some moments without melody could be be beneficial or even required but should not be the essential part of a composition.
That works for me, it works very well.
Supernova is available for free download from Jamendo.
Supernova by Adam Certamen Bownik is released under a Free Art License 1.3 (FAL 1.3), also known as a Libre Art License (LAL).
This license is compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution–Share-Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license.