#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: 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.


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

Writing Music Monday: livetracks by Tomoyo

CoverYet again, I violate my own informal rule and bring you an album with vocals. Vocals that include some English, even — more of a violation than usual.

I do not think, however, that anyone will complain.

livetracks by Tomoyo is just about what it says — a live recording of a performance in what sounds like a small, smoky, cozy, dimly-lit jazz-type club.

There is a trio or quartet (drums, bass, guitar, and piano, though I’m unsure if the guitarist is also the pianist or not) (this video of Cappucino on YouTube shows a quartet), backing a lead singer with a wonderfully expressive, yet somewhat weary, voice, and two backing vocalists. The songs are mostly in Japanese but, perhaps typically, with a liberal salting of English words and phrases. The venue feels small and intimate. The whole thing just feels like the way the world should be — fusion of cultures, relaxed and quiet atmosphere, talent performing in a film noir-ish setting.

It’s very easy to write to this, for me, because I feel like I’m the scribbler at the back of the bar or cafe, battered fedora pushed back up my forehead, letting the flavor of the place suffuse me and flavor my writing. I’m always annoyed that it’s only 22 minutes long.


Creative Commons License
livetracks by Tomoyo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: “Bar Stim.Art” by Maya de Luna

Bar Stim.Art I’ve listened to this for years. It gets in as writing music under the “she’s singing in a language I don’t understand” exception. Also, try to listen and not fall for her.

Yes, the album is all one track. You won’t mind.

It presents itself as a live playdate in a smoky jazz club. It may very well be just that, but it might also be created to sound like that, because I know that Maya de Luna does a lot of internet collaboration with musicians she’s never met in person. No idea which is true here, it could be either.

“Bar Stim.Art” is on Jamendo (linked in the album cover above) in a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license, but it’s on Youtube under a straight CC BY license, which may be a mistake, or an intentional freeing up of licensing.