Pushkin: Farewell to the Sea. Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
It won't come as any surprise to you, but Catching The Waves has come to the end of its natural life. There are two main reasons for this:
- My health is woefully erratic;
- Despite a desperate tussle with the laws of physics, it still takes me hundreds of hours to listen to hundreds of albums.
While running Catching The Waves, I've been lucky enough to have found some excellent free music and corresponded with terrific people from all over the world. I hope my readers have managed to do the same.
If you still thirst for legally free music, I can't do better than recommend my sidebar entitled "General Netlabel Sites", where you'll find some useful links to netmusic portals. If you're brave enough to explore the CTW archive, you'll find articles about these portals, explaining what makes them so good. The internet has not deemed Catching The Waves worthy of the same, so I'll have to beat my chest and say that this blog's chief strength was its devastatingly potent monkey-god sex appeal insistence on publicising albums whose chief virtue was the high standard of music rather than the sale price of zero. I trust that the emphasis on quality (and not my inherent laziness) explains CTW's slothful publishing schedule.
I'll keep the site online for a few months so that visitors can fight with the blog's architecture and extract what free music they can. My apologies for any dead links.
No doubt like you, I've been very frustrated with CTW's technological shortcomings. The blog format is quite a straitjacket for someone who would have liked to have a far more welcoming and comprehensive website (and escape this maximum-security institution for distressed gentlefolk). However, I am to computers what radiation is to the environment.
So, in a seamless segue, please allow me to recommend one last free netmusic portal. Netlabelism advertises itself as a "magazine for quality netaudio". Its eighteen-strong staff, composed of netlabel owners, musicians and geeks, backs up this claim by offering (deep breath): articles, reviews (by genre) of free albums, monthy compilations, interviews, a radio station, a recommended album of the month and, for those who want to give their ears a rest, a recommended album cover of the month. The attractive website is updated almost every day and (netlabel owners, please note) is it easy to use and explore. I hope the site goes from strength to strength. It also gets the last-ever place in netmusic's most hallowed arena: CTW's "General Netlabel Sites" sidebar. Ahem.
Before I close my Twitter and Facebook accounts and cryo-freeze Catching The Waves, I must issue a sincere thank you and apology to all the many artists who released their free music on netlabels or who, very flatteringly, submitted their albums to me in the hope they might get a review. Thank you so much for your effort, optimism, talent and ingenuity. May you continue to make the music you want to make. I hope it's of some comfort to know that for a few years I listened to just about every free release in the netlabel world and elsewhere. No, really, I did. (You do the maths.) I must have been mad...
As the light dims, it's time for one last free track from my "All the great tracks from very-good-but-not-consistently-great albums that I was too pernickety to review" vault of files. Year's End comes courtesy of ANgR MgMT, an artist from Arizona who, despite a sticky Caps Lock button, has crafted a beautifully meditative piece that sounds like Bach discovering the world of softsynths and then deciding to bring things to a close in a flurry of glitches because he had no more worlds to conquer. It's a fitting end for the world's worst free music blog, don't you think?
Thank you to ANgR MgMT, and thank you to everyone. Happy exploring.