Welcome to the second
weekly report of the Great Jamendo Experiment! I decided that due to my real life obligations I will publish reports on my Jamendo Experiment on a irregular basis (cca. twice a month). With this said, I will also prolong the experiment for at least a few weeks if not months.
For those of the impatient nature: in short, it is still possible to survive with free (as in beer and speech) music. And after almost a month I still do not miss a thing from the land of the commercial record labels. In fact the longer I listen to free music, the more I like it!
I was quite surprised really that after such a short amount of time free music started to really show on my overall Last.FM track charts. Jimmy the Hideous Penguin's track Fucking ABBA is currently my 15th most listened to track of all times! And not only that – I already get mostly free music recommended by Last.FM (mostly Jamendo artists) :D
On a side note, Last.FM Radio has become a paid service (unless you are a USA, UK or German citizen) and I already "spent" my 30-track trial, so I had to stop using the Recommendations Radio (which was really the only one I used every now and again). But not all is lost, since Amarok will in the near future (probably in 2.2 or a later 2.1.x) have integrated Last.FM similar artists. In any case if I feel someday that I need Last.FM Radio, 3 €/month is not too much to ask really. Although I do find it legally dubious that some EU citizens have to pay for the same service, while others (UK and German) are covered by ad revenue. EU is a single market last time I checked.
On an Amarok-related note, the before mentioned bug with the Jamendo plug-in not listing all albums was solved.
While searching around I stumbled upon a nice community project called Free Music Charts. It is hosted and maintained by Darker Radio – a portal for free "dark" music (gothic, emo, darkwave, industrial, IDM, synthpop etc.) – and is decided each month by a community vote. All the tracks are available under a CC license and there is even a monthly podcast (I hate this term) with a review of the albums. Just a warning: the site and the reviews are in German.
When looking at Try^d's profile I found about another interesting record label/project – Opsound. It basically lets anyone participate as long as they use the CC BY-SA license and tried to follow the free culture and gift economy concepts as closely as possible. There are also a lot links to further reading on that topic on their site.
Artists that I found and loved lately are:
T r y Δ d (also written as: T r y ^ d, Tryad) – some very nice electronica/trip-hop with an interesting history. Tryad are said to be one of the first virtual bands – their music is made not in a single studio, but by collaborating over the internet. Somewhat similar to how most FOSS is made. I have mostly listened to their album Listen, which I also like the most. Their style reaches from a very easy to the ears electronica such as the tracks Beauty, Listen and Lovely to a much harder and darker crossover style as You Are God. Piano is not an uncommon instrument on their tracks and the vocals (especially female) sound well trained (as opposed to many commercial electronic music artists). The lyrics are not just the standard wishy-washy and unintelligible kind you hear on the radio – for example Mesmerize talks about despair that almost resulted in a suicide. At the end I just have to say that their track This is the first after a very long time that sends shivers down my spine and a smile on my face every single time I hear it! The flow and the vocals on it remind me (oddly) of Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear the Ripper, while the beat and the melody change to and from calm and easy to lively and empowering. Amazing stuff! No wonder they are currently no. 2 on Jamend's weekly charts.
Grace Valhalla – self-proclaimed amateur artist who says she just produces music she likes in her spare time. If this amateurism can in part be justified in her first two albums – PEAK~ the more rockish Psychopathetic – it is far from the truth for her latest album SummerCamp. This does not mean that her previous work was bad, it just shows how she evolved in the short period of time between these albums. Her style mixes electronic music with pop rock elements (lately even jazz) and sometimes 8-bit effects. Although this sounds like a bit rough mix, it is actually quite smoothly blended together and produces some very summer-ish tunes. I like it and I can barely wait for her next album. If this is amateurism, I wish more musicians would keep the "amour" in/for their music.
Moondogs Blues Party – very enjoyable blues that is both somewhat classical (especially the smoky vocals and acoustic guitar) and has a modern touch (jazz, latin influences) to it at times. The overall feeling is mellow yet not too whiny. Although the guitar solos on their album O cadelo lunático do not sound very complicated, it is still a great listen!
A Sound Travesty – a one man band playing what I imagine would be if Pixies or Dinosaur Jr. started to play emo punk. The vocals are at times mellow and at times screaming, although the rhythm usually stays the same throughout the track, the power and the force changes. A good example of post punk and emo crossover.
The Very Sexuals – light rock with post punk elements and a mellow, yet sweet pop taste. Their album Post-Apocalyptic Love at times reminds (but not mimics!) of 90's and even older rock music.
Professor Kliq – a quite popular artist on Jamendo, which is due to the quality of his work quite understandable. His style is a nice mix of trip-hop and break-beat that at times reminds me of Daft Punk and Chemical Brothers. So far I listened to his album Guns Blazin' and was so impressed that I had to download all his other work as well. In my opinion he can very well compete with any commercial artist in his genre. If you add to that his young age (22 years!), it is definitely worth keeping an eye on him.
hook out → off to bed after trying to study civil procedural law and obligations late at night