Now Playing: Netlabels

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Minireviews of netlabel stuff.
All of this stuff is free.
Look at all of those no-deriv licenses (grumble grumble). What’re you afraid of?

Barascud – Summit
Nowaki / CC BY NC SA

Well made guitar-ambient music alternating between neutral drone atmospheres and prettier stylings. I am partial to the former and not so interested in the latter, but for this kind of thing, it hits its marks fairly well.

Alex Charles – Trevenec
Linear Obsessional / CC BY NC SA
Drones based on bell sounds. Peals & jingles add up from a simple beginning to a thicker soundscape. Later, what sounds like thumb piano from a jack-in-the-box lends a gone-mad feel to it.

Conure – Surrounded by Pages
Treetrunk / CC BY NC ND
NOISE! Often this kind of thing is better live and misses something in recording, but I liked this one quite a bit. Needless to say that if you demand that the sounds you consume be all rounded off & padded and pre-approved for safety, this ain’t for you. Starts off with a long piece that builds to a satisfying heaviness by adding elements slowly to the ever swirling miasma. Other tracks take a more modified approach, such as the second one wherein a quiet guitar loop is joined by a spacey hum, and it only builds into a high volume squall eventually and only briefly. Overall a measured, patient & varied approach to harsh noise. Very enjoyable.

René Muñoz Córdova – The Fragility of Emotions
Akharene / CC BY NC ND
Top shelf acousmatic drone work from this veteran netlabel composer. The drones here oscillate forebodingly enough, and are paired with various instruments (piano, percussion, brass) and other unidentified acoustic sound activity filling out the sound field. Not a huge amount of processing going on, much of it sounds like something that happened, not something conjured from a laptop.

FJRicharts – Anders Als Alle
Camomile / CC BY NC ND
Brightly tinted ambient music that often flirts with sweet melodic motifs and occasionally gives in.

Hirobleep – Carved in Concrete
Hirobleep / CC BY NC ND
Insistent and simplistic primitive-techno jams based on a very limited palette of square & saw waves. Each high BPM track contains the same elements, a repeating bass line and a dissonant “melody” that also repeats, backed by a reedy drum loop clattering underneath. Once the pattern is set, that mixture repeats from the beginning to the end, with filter sweeps providing the only variety. On its own, it has a few moments, but I could really see this remixed into something good. It’s too bad then, that they issued this with a no-derivatives CC license, because we’ll never know.

Hunted Creatures – Summer Tour 2011 / Hunted Creatures Cassette
self-released / CC BY NC ND
CC net re-releases of two previously released cassette albums by this improvising quartet of guitar / violin / electronics / percussion. Most of the pitfalls of this kind of band setup are deftly avoided. There’s no rock posturing and more tension than release. When the drums finally do kick in, it’s more kosmische than crimson.

Noisemaker – Space Drones
Inside Outside / ?? (at this writing the netlabel page is down, I can’t determine license)
A pair of completely lovely drones. The first sounds like its source might be a high tempo drum machine looping a single tom hit run through liberal amounts of chorus & delay. Somehow this builds into an enveloping atmosphere of shimmering overtones. The second track is a low frequency hum, a higher frequency whine and a repeating ping. The simple things make me happy sometimes. The netlabel Ins Out seems to be down at the moment, I hope it comes back, because I can’t seem to find this release on Archive or Sonic Squirrel or other likely places.

Noise Research with Shaun Blezard – the Lanternhouse
Electronic Musik / CC BY NC ND
Blurry sonic meanderings with little patience for sticking around in one noise pile when there’s another inviting noise pile to jump into right nearby.

Sarah J Ritch – String Theory
Pan y Rosas / License not listed
Cello & violin pieces with some electronics. Call me crazy, but I hear hints of epic black metal in some sections and microsound electronic ambient stuff in others. The pieces with Ritch solo are more drawn out & patient, one has a subdued drone of frequencies beating, cresting & ebbing.


  1. >Look at all of those no-deriv licenses (grumble grumble). What’re you afraid of?
    It’s not fear as much as a light distaste for slapping a ready-for-repackaging sticker on a brand new work. Asking for remix permission is easy, and seems the polite thing to do, in a free music community.

    Thank you for the reviews. I’ll be camping out on Inside Outside’s front page tonight.

    Posted by vcurrents | July 14, 2012 3:45 pm
  2. Which one of the reviews was associated with you? This isn’t clear from your link or comment. Just curious.

    I understand your apprehension about derivative work, and of course, it’s your choice. and I respect it. For my part, I wish more artists would use derivative allowing work, and I am not shy about saying so. I have had enough good and/or interesting experience with open licensing that I am recommending it from a place of experience. I think there are probably a few ‘hacks’ out there who would do the do as you describe it, but there are also a ton of very talented people who can and will do amazing stuff with material when given the chance.

    It may be unfair, but I view CC ND licenses as a closed door, and copyright as a door that’s bolted and shut and welded from inside and outside, with armed guards standing outside. After having seen what happened to John Oswald and to Negativland and thinking about how unfair that is, not to mention the legal impossibility of remaking the early, brilliant hip-hop albums like Public Enemy’s… I can’t but think that allowing anyone to appropriate with or without my knowledge or permission is a good thing.

    Posted by C. Reider | July 15, 2012 8:08 pm
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