Vic – [2000] One Turn 5 (Vic Remix)

Early single release from one of the forerunners of the free music scene.

Labelled as Chillout or Ballad at the time, this vocal pop remix of an even older track released at the same label still sounds fresh 20 years later.

The song features harpsichord sounds, dream pop lyrics and easy listening percussion. The radio-ready production makes it stand out from the otherwise rather experimental sound back in the days.

Continue reading “Vic – [2000] One Turn 5 (Vic Remix)”

Various Artists – [2008] 月餅

Exceptionally varied compilation of experimental to conventional electronica from Phonocake.

It’s hard to talk about a release who’s name you cannot pronounce, and more genres included than I possibly could fit into this tiny review. Ranging from art pieces that you would expect screening in an avant-garde museum opening. The comparison is fitting, as this whole release is a nice marker for the state of Creative Commons music in the late 2000’s on both ends of the creative spectrum.

Continue reading “Various Artists – [2008] 月餅”

Giraffe – [2005] Giraffe

Melancholic melodic indie folk pop prog rock. Boom. Genre keyword density overflow.

Netlabel 12rec., active from 2004 to 2011, is still one of the most relevant names in the game due to their consistently high quality throughout their 64 releases. Giraffe is representative for their roster, with an artsy, yet approachable indie style slightly “left” of Elliot Smith.

Continue reading “Giraffe – [2005] Giraffe”

Psychadelic Pedestrian, Notch – [2019] Psychadelik Pedestrian v Notch Remixes

Uplifting house music, straight from the source.

Netlabel Toucan Music is my preferred stop when fishing for well-produced, mainstream sounding dance music with a Creative Commons license attached. While I typically like and review their hour-long mix releases, here I present to you a short, two tracks long EP of remixes done by two staples of the label’s roster.

Continue reading “Psychadelic Pedestrian, Notch – [2019] Psychadelik Pedestrian v Notch Remixes”

Point – [2019] Human Music

Slick abstract trance, located somewhere between deadmau5 and Moderat. Genuinely trance-inducing.

Netlabel Digital Diamonds has stayed one of the more active netlabels. As such, it comes up more and more often when fishing for recent releases in the younger parts of the Internet Archive’s audio section. This release is a particularly brilliant gem of cerebral dance music. Doing well both as fancy coding backdrop as well as late night club furniture, its polished soundscapes hide lots of work that must have gone into their effort betraying shiny finish.

Continue reading “Point – [2019] Human Music”

Emerald Park – [2020] Basement Sessions (CC Version)

Routinely produced indie pop rock by staples of the genre in Creative Commons land.

If you have been following “the scene” for some years, Emerald Park are one of the big names. They regularly have released high quality indie pop ranging from synth to vocal pop rock. Clearly aimed at broader rather than niche audiences, their sound is pleasing yet not flat.

Continue reading “Emerald Park – [2020] Basement Sessions (CC Version)”

Tornfly – [2012] Solar System Federation

Relaxingly spacious, almost ambient trance. Airy synth lines above sparce percussion.

Definitely not easy listening, this trance-y instrumental space music makes for some intriguing hours of re-listening to its 8 varied entries. Every song starts differently and develops independently from the others. Common are the synth sounds, drum kits and sawtooth bass lines.

Continue reading “Tornfly – [2012] Solar System Federation”

{tantrum} – [2011] {tantrum} EP

Brass indie pop from Indonesia. Refreshingly conventional piano arrangements and vocals.

If you remember the sound of Badly Drawn Boy‘s soundtrack for the movie About a Boy, this is exactly how this band sounds. Leisurely paced pop songs with pleasant vocals and recipe book song structures. Trumpets and Indonesian lyrics add flavour to some of the 11 tracks.

Continue reading “{tantrum} – [2011] {tantrum} EP”

Various Artists – [2008] Breathe 02

Essential listen for downtempo enthusiasts. Different artists cover wide range of styles.

Breathe Compilations is a (former?) Mexican netlabel that – surprise – specialises in releasing compilations, active between 2008 and 2018 (as of 2020). Although the label’s back catalogue (92 releases) has not seen an addition for almost 2 years, its Soundcloud profile buzzes with activity. So I don’t fully call off any hope for a comeback. But in the meantime, I could as well review one of its earliest releases:

Continue reading “Various Artists – [2008] Breathe 02”

Gridline – [2014] Videogame

Pure synths (no samples) and drums lead to an instrumental or melodic techno album. Made not for dancing, but for attentive walking.

Gridline is the music project by Serbian artist Predrag Grujic. Starting in 2012, he released several albums and EPs on the two-sided Japanese label Bump Foot (Bump for techno et al., Foot for ambient, IDM, …). This is his first Bump release, and quite quiet at that. Melody lines and only subtle beats make this more (artsy) pop than dance music. Its liberal use of cold sound textures and reverb occasionally remind me of a church organ.

Continue reading “Gridline – [2014] Videogame”