Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cheap As Free!

Some of the best and most creative music today is being released under MP3 labels, under Creative Commons license. So, if you don't have the money to burn that it takes to legally explore the music world, or if you feel guilty when you download music from artists who wouldn't condone it, or if you just want to hear some of the best music around today, I've made a short list of some great sites to check out, full of artists who want you to download their music for free.

Bedroom Research has a long explanation of their concept and inspiration for organizing this website and experimental electronic hub, but it's in French, like most cool electronic things. At the very bottom of this page is one sentence of English that summarizes the site in about the same way I would: "the most kick-ass nasty weird funky cool awesome wicked electronic music available for free." Underneath this, the bottom-bottom of the page says "share your music or be dead." But seriously, this website will change your life.

Great music here at Ego Twister, although not a huge amount. As I write this, there are 5 amazing MP3 releases available for free in ZIP format. Another source of electronic delights.

V/VM has some of the weirdest music you'll ever hear. That's a promise. V/VM is Jim Kirby, and he's known all around as a weird musical prankster, who's always wearing a pig mask. A couple of his projects, which incidently draw a lot of attention and praise from Boomkat, include 'The Stranger' and 'Caretaker'. He's also responsible for the Sick Love project. There's a lot of totally screwed ZIP files available here for free from many artists, including 365 songs from Kirby himself that he made in a self-commisioned project to create audio each day and give it away for free. Also, viewers can click dates on the calendar to see journal entries. To quote Kirby, "The idea was basically to create and upload free audio for one whole year and leave a massive big mess behind, warts and all for you to digest as you see fit."
All of the music is licensed under Creative Commons, with this accompanying message: "The digital youth of today are being brought up on a near limitless diet of free and disposable music from file sharing networks. Fuck iTunes and cold soulless paid downloads. Give something in the hope of something new happening. What goes around comes around. Have fun with what you find around here."

En:Peg doesn't give their stuff away for free, but I had to slip this label in because of their consistently superb releases. They are an MP3 label that charges $2.00 even for every single release they offer, whether it be an EP of LP. Great stuff here.

Wow. Plastiq Passion has some amazing releases from several outstanding artists that you won't hear anywhere else.... at least I haven't. Don't sleep on these guys. Shamelessly entertaining electronic madness. But it's not all off the wall Animaniacs-inspired adultoon ADD beats. There's a variety of music here, all well-honed and mature, with styles ranging from textural to happytune-synth, all unpredictable and bursting with energetic creativity. And for free! Oh, what a world!

I post this with hesitancy, in the company of all these reliable sites filled with genius. The music on WM Recordings is very hit or miss, in my opinion. There is a great variety of sound, style and genre, from Hardcore to quirky 3-Piece bands, to upbeat electro. The unifying theme seems to be general quirkiness. Much of it is very low-fi, in the sense that if you heard it playing in a friend's car, you'd ask them if you were listening to a project of one of their close friends. But of course, creativity isn't in the gear, and there is plenty of creativity showcased here. And some of it is very good quality, indeed. For instance, Thiaz Itch and Vernon Lenoir, two of my absolute favorite electronic artists, both have releases here. But there is a lot to wade through here, so be prepared to get drunk on sound clips!

That should be more than enough for a while. I will surely post a sequel.

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