Kemuzik One is a compilation of folk-pop songs sung by guitar-clutching winsome individuals with tremulous and/or gravelly voices. There are three acknowledged reactions to this type of thing:
- Buy a machine-gun;
- Stick a candle in a bottle, chill out and enjoy the glory of life;
- Get arrested by the roadside at three in the morning, drunk as a skunk, clad in nothing but a pair of baggy grey Y-fronts and bawling an old flame's name at the moon.
I chose the second option; guns are expensive. Option three can wait.
Kemuzik One is an unusual release, partly because it's not one of the (very nice) ambient & electronica albums that swamp the free music world, but mostly because it's a compilation that hasn't succumbed to the "one supermodel and her East German hammer-thrower friends on a girls' night out" paradigm.* There's a spookily high number of good tracks amongst the fourteen on offer, many of which have been supplied by stalwarts of the CC music scene, though I must point out that one or two of the tracks' endings suffer from harsh edits.
To demonstrate this unusual achievement, I'll work very hard and highlight the first track on the album, in the hope you'll be seduced by Dutchman Thijs Kuijken's ukelele and the seductive sing-a-long feel of a hymn to forestry, avians and flames. (Folkies, eh? Tsk.)
Continuing my laziness, let's move to the second track. Madelaine Hart has a smoky bottom range and a tremulous upper register, so comes off as a non-substance abusing Billie Holiday. Have a listen to Inside Out, wherein a Hackney-residing Australian (who played Glastonbury in 2009) will make your bottom lip wobble:
You can pop along to Jamendo to download her two (criminally ignored) free albums or buy them from iTunes and Amazon if you want to help her out.
Cementing my slothness for all time, I come to the third track, Fragile Meadow by The Black Atlantic, who are fond of wibbling on about nature. It must be something in the Dutch water.
After mentioning that The Dada Weatherman's Painted Dream comes across as Dylan backed by a slightly confused Sibelius, and noting that the late blooming of electronica in Tim Fite's misery-fest Where Is My Woman is the only proof that Kemusik One was recorded in the 21st century, I'll leave you with Allison Crowe's Effortless, in which she croons over a piano and effortlessly evokes just about every shampoo advert ever made. La Crowe's current download figure at Jamendo stands at more than 120,000, which is a cheering thought.
Ill health and the nature of writing about a compilation has perforce meant a certain brevity in my descriptions; my apologies to the fine artists who I have neglected to mention. It might be an idea for curious (and curiouser) listeners to follow the links on Kemusik's Bandcamp page and see just how deep the free music rabbit hole goes. Please don't forget to thank the musicians and/or buy their commercial music.
My thanks to everyone responsible, especially Kemuzik supremo Przemek Bobnis, for adding this very welcome platter of free folk-pop sugar to the free music buffet. With most compilations, it's usually best to cut off the thick crust and keep the tasty but disappointingly small pie; you may find that Kemusik One will force you to loosen your belt a notch.
Kemusik - Kemusik One (Bandcamp link to zipped album & individual files)
Kemusik - Kemusik One (ditto but this time on Jamendo. Ah, the excitement!)*This joke is twenty years out of date and was feeling neglected.