#Writing #Music Monday: Kumaneko E.P. by Kumaneko

[cover] Kumaneko - Kumaneko E.PThere is zero information I can find about this artist or group. I presume, from their name and the style of most of their music that they are Japanese.

Due to one thing and another, I haven’t been posting albums in the order I originally planned, so, a word of warning: This is one of the “outside my comfort zone” albums I referenced back in March. It will not be to everybody’s taste.

But Kumaneko E.P. is, nevertheless, absolutely wonderful writing background music, if you are in the proper mood for it. (Yes, that is rather a big “if”, I realize.)

There is music on the album, but if you’re listening for melody, you’ll quickly tire of the repetition. What you really need to listen for are the rhythms. And, in a very Japanese way, for the silences between the beats. If you go in prepared for that, you should be open to what this album offers.

It’s a bit out there, and unusual, but I’ve found it really works as background for me.

Download Kumaneko E.P. free from Jamendo.

Creative Commons License
Kumaneko E.P. by Kumaneko is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Moducué by Gepel

Modecue album coverIf there is list of the Top Five Creative Commons Jazz Albums anywhere, then this album by Argentinian trio Gepel is on it. Or the list is just plain wrong.

Moducué (meaning “Thanks” in Lucumí, a Yoruba dialect, according to Gepel’s website) is, in some ways, simplistic. It’s a pure trio instrumental, with just piano, drums, and bass (not guitar, an actual bass). The trio are obviously playing together, all at once, rather than recording track after track after track to be mixed together later.

And yet, there is a sense of experimentation and play running throughout the album.

Each track is meant to be a celebration of a different style of Latin American music, and you can rather hear that as you listen, but each of the instrumentalists also takes real chances, not only in solos but in backing the other players. (Note: I am not a musician, so I may be talking through my hat here. But that’s how it sounds to me every time I listen to the album.)

Moducué was first released in 2007. The original release site seems to be gone, but it remains available, thanks to the Creative Commons license, on the Free Music Archive and the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License
Moducué by Gepel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Italy License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.gepel.com.ar/Contacto – Ingles.html.

Writing Music Mondays: Alegria by Diego Sanchez

[cover] Diego - ALEGRIAHere’s one I don’t get, an album that’s quite pleasing, lengthy enough to be substantial all on its own (just shy of an hour), with talent and ambition, the most open licensing you could ask for, and it appears to be getting no love at all.

Alegría by Diego Sanchez is latin jazz, modern in (mostly) really good ways, and something you should have no problem putting on to play in the background if you want something upbeat, jazzy, a bit rock-ish, and basically happy in the background while you write. The Attribution-only license is merely icing on the cake.

And yet, though it’s been out nearly two years, it doesn’t have quite 1,500 plays, and barely more than 200 downloads. (He has another album that’s gotten substantially more attention, but I’ve not gotten to that one yet.)

So go, have a listen, and if you like it, download away.

Creative Commons License
Alegría by Diego Sanchez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Leandro Perpiñán Quartet

[cover] Leandro Perpinan - Leandro Perpinan QuartetMore jazz, and try to contain your shock about that. Leandro Perpiñán Quartet contains no synth, no fusion, just pure quartet post-bop goodness.

Leandro Perpiñán was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1976, and has been playing jazz professionally since the 1990s, performing with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Spain, and others, as well as teaching as a professor of the saxophone in a number of Spanish universities and conservatories. This album is his self-produced foray into Creative Commons distribution, and

Creative Commons License
Leandro Perpiñán Quartet by Leandro Perpiñán is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 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.

Writing Music Monday: Wake Up by Jahzzar

[cover] Jahzzar - Wake Up I love, and sometimes miss, ’80s music of a specific kind — the pure synth of Miami Vice, Brad Fidel’s soundtracks like The Terminator, Fletch, Beverly Hills Cop and so many others. Synth unpolluted by “dark”ness, expansive, exploratory, often joyful.

The directions that synthesized music has gone since then mostly leave me cold. (Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception being a notable exception.)

But this composer, Jahzzar (real name: Javier Suarez), gets it. He’s an Argentinian a Spaniard, and puts out lots and lots of music under the very liberal CC BY-SA license for other people to use as soundtracks to whatever they see fit. And he’s good. He’s very very good.

Proof: “Wake Up“, his tribute to ’80s synth, is nearly perfect, without copying anything. It gets the style without aping anyone in particular. I’m not always in the mood for it, but when I am, this hits that sweet spot and I can put it on repeat and let it go for hours and hours.

Jahzzar’s main site is BetterWithMusic, and you can find all his work at Jamendo, much of it at Free Music Archive, SoundCloud, and elsewhere.

UPDATE: Corrected Jahzzar’s nationality. Don’t quite know how I got him in the wrong hemisphere.

Writing Music Monday: Sans gêne ni oxygène by Law’

Last week I said that I mostly write to pure instrumental music, but that’s not the whole truth. I also enjoy writing to tuneful songs in languages in which I am not fluent, sung by women with voices that please me. French is a big one with me, but so is Chinese (I understand some Mandarin, but I have to work at it; if I’m writing, I’m not focusing on the lyrics and it becomes background to me unless I know the song very well), and some Japanese, and there are probably others I’ll enjoy when I discover appropriate artists singing in them.

But, French. I posted this album on Twitter a week or two ago during the first time I was writing to it. It’s very pleasing, perhaps because I have no idea what the French babe is singing about. She doesn’t have the sexiest voice ever, but she doesn’t need it — she’s singing in French, after all.

It’s released under a CC BY-SA license, so you can (and should!) download it now without guilt or worry.