#Writing #MusicMonday: Lines by UP (Pasqualino Ubaldini and Paolo Pavan)

CoverPaolo Pavan and Pasqualino Ubaldini are, separately, two of the best jazz artists working in the Creative Commons.

I’ve previously shared two of Pavan’s albums, Inside and The Swing Of Things, and one by Ubaldini, Metissage.

However, to the delight of myself, if nobody else, they also team up and collaborate, creating sounds that are wholly different from their solo works, and they do it under the name of UP. Their first collaboration, which I shared previously as well, was an eponymous release that had a wide an eclectic variety of styles.

And that pattern holds through their second collaborative album, Lines.

The title track is upbeat, borderline-smooth jazz. The second track, “Nije”, has an early-70s fusion-funk jangly rough-edged synthesizers feel (makes me think of Ramsey Lewis a bit). Then the third track, “Talking about Petra”, goes into relaxed, urbane quartet cool jazz. That’s three tracks in, and it’s already all over the map. Yet, and of course, because this is Paolo Pavan and Pasqualino Ubaldini, it all works together brilliantly.

I’ve been waiting on posting this album a bit, because Pavan and Ubaldini have started up a new Creative Commons music site largely devoted to jazz, FreeSoundtracks.eu, and I was hoping to link to it there. However, it’s still not live yet — one imagines both men are just a little bit busy — so I’m linking to Bandcamp, where you get it under a Free Culture license, though you do have to pay to get it. But give it a listen on the site, and then try telling me it’s not worth it, because I’ll just laugh.

Download Lines by UP from Bandcamp

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Lines by UP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: Inner Mechanics by Peter Rudenko

Cover_2x_1_original[This is the last of my catch-up posts, and was intended to have been posted Monday, February 8th. It counts as my Valentine’s Day album this year, and yes it is late. There will be another post later today or tomorrow for this week’s album, and then I’ll be all caught up.]

Peter Rudenko is an extraordinary talent. All of his work is original, and all of it is just him on a piano, but it never feels like it needs more than that. (He does multitrack his recording to achieve his lush effects, but I don’t count that as a bad thing. Not at all.)

All you need do is listen to the very first track, “Peace Within”, to hear everything I love about him. Emotional, with overlapping complexities and a reserve that isn’t cold, but rather a bulwark against a greater flood of emotion.

If you like that, you need to listen to everything he’s released, all of it.

If you don’t… well, I don’t know what to say. We’ve got seriously different tastes, I guess. 🙂

Another thing about Rudenko that I admire is his very serious commitment to free culture. Everything he has released is under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Somehow, this hasn’t gotten him the notice that it’s brought to other composers yet, but it has gotten him a couple of IMDb credits, at the very least.

Download Inner Mechanics free from the Free Music Archive.

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Inner Mechanics by Peter Rudenko is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Back from Reality by Jazoo

Jazoo - Back from Reality CoverThis one is out there. Not the farthest “out there” thing I’ve shared, but definitely out there. It’s five tracks, and an hour and three minutes, of free jazz or fusion, a style I usually don’t have much patience with.

Jazoo is a Slovenian jazz band that has been playing together since 1996, and has five albums out under Free Culture licenses, this being their most recent. And it’s kind of amazing. It’s not just noise, despite the obvious amount of improvisation and messing around that went into it. The first two tracks, “Orange Green” and “Eleven Eight” are nearly twenty-five minutes, but segue into each other almost unnoticeably, and the album as a whole, while it goes all over the sonic map, manages to cohere into a unified emotional experience.

Given that I don’t get into this sound, much, I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s more accessible, I think, than Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, and far more accessible than the weirdest stuff by Sun Ra and his Arkestra, but that’s the territory it explores, to some extent.

There is some vocalization, but none of it drew me out of what I was working on, any of the times I listened to it straight through. The voices are treated as part of the instrumentation — quite literally, as one of the voices turns out to be the flautist on at least one track, and uses her voice as part of the flute’s sound as well.

Overall, this album really impresses me, in no small part because I usually resist this sort of thing. But, for reasons I don’t have words for, it really, really works for me. If your writing mood needs background that’s a bit noisy, uneven, occasionally discordant, and yet holds together on its own terms, it might work for you too. Check it out.

Download Back from Reality by Jazoo free from the Internet Archive.

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Back from Reality by Jazoo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

(While Jazoo seem to have been quiet online for a year or so, as of last week their Twitter stream promises they are returning.)

#Writing #Music Monday: Metissage by Pasqualino Ubaldini

[cover] Pasqualino Ubaldini - MetissageThis is almost inexcusable. Here is an artist I’ve mentioned by name at least twice before, and an album I’ve listened to for years, one track of which I even featured in a podcast, and yet I’ve never made this album part of Writing Music Monday.

Allow me to rectify the hell out of that oversight.

Pasqualino Ubaldini is a jazz guitarist in Italy who is very talented, and sometimes collaborates with Paolo Pavan, another CC jazz musician everybody should know, and those collaborations are how I first discovered his work.

He also takes his love of jazz with a love of other cultures’ musical traditions and mixes them together to come up with works that are very, very lovely.

Metissage has a lot of Arabian and North African influences, and it is a delight.

The first track, “Pietre”, sounds like the launch of an adventure — upbeat, celebratory, exotic, and fun. And the album is an adventure, as much, I suspect, for the musician as for the listener.

It’s a tradition that goes back well before Dave Brubeck. Jazz can absorb and interact with music from any culture, and has, almost from the beginning of its existence. There was, for example, Chinese jazz from at least 1935 onward.

So it’s not at all odd, to me at least, that this Italian man has made such an excellent album of arabic and north African-flavored jazz.

[Ubaldini has several albums available with CC licenses through Jamendo, but Metissage is the only one with a Free Culture license. I haven’t really called attention to it, but I’ve made 2015 the year of All Free Culture Music on this blog. (That said, all of his work is worth listening to.)]

Download Metissage free the Internet Archive.

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Metissage by Pasqualino Ubaldini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Kokoro No Furyoku by Hiroumi

[cover] Hiroumi - Kokoro No FuryokuIt is one of the moderately weird features of my personality that I enjoy listening to songs in languages I do not understand.

I could claim that it comes from my years living in a foreign culture, but I don’t think that’s true. When I was young, even English lyrics were foreign to me. Most songs, I knew the melody, and maybe the chorus, and the rest of the lyrics I didn’t know or care about. (There were any number of exceptions, but they remained exceptions.) This might have been an early manifestation of my partial nerve deafness, which makes it difficult or impossible for me to separate sounds from background noise.

So, for me, listening to foreign pop music brings no cognitive dissonance at all. Even when, as in many Asian pop songs (including some on this album), a few English phrases are thrown in.

Kokoro No Furyoku by Hiroumi (it was also released under the title Secret Ocean) is a quiet, minimalistic delight.

It’s just Hiroumi singing, playing acoustic guitar, a few backing instruments, and an occasional backing vocal. Not over-produced at all. (In point of fact, there is a fair amount of production on most of the tracks, but it’s skillful, subtle, and perfectly suited to each song. Making it all feel simple, intimate, and perfect.)

The tunes are hopeful, positive, and yet wistful in some way. There is no anger or cynicism here (unless in the lyrics, because, again, I speak almost no Japanese).

All in all, it’s just lovely.

You can download Kokoro No Furyoku from Jamendo.

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Kokoro No Furyoku by Hiroumi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.