Photo: Bruce Turner
Here is a true story, told in the hope that you will forgive CTW for making more comebacks than a boomerang: not ten seconds before I pressed the "Die, die, die!" button and published the very last post at Catching The Waves, one of my lackeys presented a missive, written on vellum, from a devout music fan. I sighed, pawed the letter from the proffered velvet cushion and proceeded to scream.
The letter was from a Robert Nagle, Esq. I dimly remembered some nonsense from six months beforehand, when he had contacted me and announced that he was going to investigate this "free music" mullarkey and see if there was anything worth hearing. If he found something notable, would I be interested in his conclusions? Busy as I was with matters of state, I allowed him to kiss my imperial ring - yes, thank you, that's quite enough of that, my dirty-minded readership - and shooed him away with all the panache of an in-demand haute couturier. Now, here he was again, like an audio-crazed Terminator, to announce that he had listened to 2,200 albums on Jamendo and had picked the best eleven. That's two thousand, two hundred albums, people. Murderers have received less harsh sentences than that.
The only conclusion to be drawn is that Robert is completely off his chump truly dedicated to finding legally free music and that he should be taken to a secure facility and sedated all netmusic fans and artists owe him a debt of gratitude and other clichés. Not only has he written a long article about the eleven worthy albums, cunningly titled 11 Incredible Musicians You Can Download For Free (Best of Jamendo), he has also interviewed all of the artists concerned, thus providing PR manna from heaven - and a quick ego-rub - to people who like to release free music under a CC licence. Kudos, Robert.
And that's not all. Such is his love of the free stuff, Robert has also added additional addenda to his aural adumbration (sorry, my "a" key stuck momentarily) with an appraisal of Jamendo and tips on how to get the best out of it. He also mentions old CTW favourites Professor Kliq, Josh Woodward, Brad Sucks in dispatches and recommends good blogs, i.e. the must-visit Free Albums Galore.
It was absolutely fascinating to peruse the eleven picks and travel from Hungary to Bulgaria to Germany to France to Poland and ever onwards, like a drunk student with an InterRail pass. (The train to America must have been interesting...) Some I knew (Tryad's Listen and Antony Raijekov's Jazz U amongst others) but most I didn't. Some left me stony-faced, others happy. All were worth hearing. I won't bore you with my irrelevant opinions on the albums Robert has chosen, other than to declare that the strongest of the bunch, with apologies to the other worthy candidates, is that old Creative Commons warhorse, Aleksi Virta Meets Torsti At The Space Lounge. Väinö Ala-Härkönen's opus has been out for years, got reviewed up hill and down dale, passed the 42,000 download mark at archive.org, and has its own dogbasket in the CTW household. If you don't know it but are in the market for some trippy, dubby, funky, trip-hop-funk-bigbeat-dub-hop-skip-n-jump-hop, your luck is in. Enjoy...but not on Jamendo, 'cos I can't find it there. I think the internet hates me; I'm just too sexy for it. Take two: enjoy a selected track and ignore the album cover that follows it.
Brrr. Almost as bad as my shaving mirror.
My sincere thanks to Robert for his efforts, which really should be rewarded with a shower of comments at his stimulating website, Idiotprogrammer. My thanks also to Jamendo, which is struggling to make its way through the global downturn, and my best wishes to the fans who are trying to save their beloved tangerine free CC music source.
Robert Nagle: Idiotprogrammer (not my opinion but the name of his blog...)