Published on December 18 2008

Five years ago, a few friends who used to play together in a post-rock band in southern France decided to launch informal and distant collaborations. With time, that became Alterlabel, an amazingly creative and open association of musicians abolishing limits between electro, rock and hip-hop.

As psychedelic rockers listening to hip-hop and techno in the mid-90s, the members of math-rock outfit Ars Nova, based in Nîmes, were inclined to keep an open musical mind. When life scattered them around Europe, they didn't stop making music together but instead started challenging each other, exchanging ideas and buying recording gear. “After a while, we found we had accumulated a lot of cool tracks, so we uploaded them on our own website and came up with the name Alterlabel", explains Kid Charlemagne, a.k.a. Barock Abama, the president of Alterlabel.

A free-form collective with no real geographical anchorage (with members in Brussels, Barcelona, Paris, Toulouse...), Alterlabel involves about 15 people and is centered around a core of eight musicians: Abelcoast, Kid Charlemagne, Feat The Vibe, Mister Frites, Drixa, Damnator, Sunruhe and Dr Deft. Each one is involved in multiple projects. Kid Charlemagne, for example, plays ambient music under the name Sensible with Drixa; he also has a hip-hop project with Abelcoast and plays bass in Damnator Orchestra and Alterchaos, bands that regroup all the above musicians. “Musically, we are the opposite of sectarian. The diversity of musical creation these last 50 years is so fascinating, you can dig up great records from around the world with totally different approaches to music.”

A good part  of what Alterlabel has produced is available on jamendo, including the latest release, a collaboration between the rappers of Minuit Cinq and the electro outfit MacroAbstract (who were onstage 10 hours a day for three days at a Romanian festival last summer), Crève dans ta bave. The album is worth a listen: “It's the fruit of several years of digital exchanges between Nîmes, Paris and the island of La Réunion: a mix of rap, electro, dub and hardtek, with really hardcore lyrics.”

Written by amelie

Published on #Stories

Published on December 17 2008

At a time when suing internet users guilty of downloading music is still going strong in the US and European governments are tempted to pass laws destined to punish them, Creative Commons licenses have taken a considerable importance in the digital landscape.

They are only six years old though, which tells a lot about the future development of the free sharing of creative works.This evening, in 14 cities around the world, six of them in the US, the Creative Commons Foundation will be celebrating this event.

Lawrence Lessig, the inventor of CC and a law professor at Harvard, had the idea six years ago of approaching copyright in a different way by creating licenses that authorize certain uses of works that were traditionally forbidden by law (for example their free circulation online).

Seeing the importance Creative Commons licenses have taken in the last six years, as well as the considerable crisis industries based on the exploitation of copyright have been experiencing in the last five years or so, it's pretty easy to imagine on what side the future is brightest.

And now, a video description:

Written by amelie

Published on #News

Published on December 15 2008

Etherdust

You might think Delhi doesn't have much of an industrial rock scene. That's because you haven't been introduced to Etherdust yet. Granted, Amit, the band's only member, may feel at times musically lonely in his town; but not on jamendo!

There is no industrial music scene in Delhi. In fact, I have not seen or heard of any industrial band in the whole of India, explains Amit quite clearly. But Delhi has a lot of pop, rock, punk, alternative and metal gigs, and some local bands are doing quite well.” Amit actually plays guitar in one of those, with which he tours on a regular basis. 

He also creates video games, which is how he got to starting his solo project, early 2007. “I used to write video games with a friend of mine, and we needed some music for one of those games. So I decided to try and make it myself, and that became Etherdust.”

In addition to the two EPs he published on jamendo, Be Paranoid Be Safe and At Someone Else's Funeral, so far he's made “a couple of jingles and a few tracks for video games”, but hopes to take his project much further, for example on tour in Europe or Japan... 

Amit, like so many others, was introduced to industrial music through Nine Inch Nails, which he got to after “getting hooked to” Nirvana and Alice In Chains. Subsequent discoveries of Ministry, Marilyn Manson and Zeromancer followed, sealing his love for all things industrial. And then one day he found jamendo, where he discovered more music still, starting with Tryad and Fresh Body Shop. “I really  like jamendo, and not only as an artist: I have discovered some great music here.”

Published on December 9 2008

Mountain Mirrors founder Jeff Sanders has just announced that all three of the Mountain Mirrors LP’s (Dreadnought, Lunar Ecstasy and the self – titled Mountain Mirrors) are now available for free download on Jamendo. Speaking about this new offering Sanders states "Jamendo is awesome. It's got a great vibe... for an independent artist with almost no radio airplay or live shows, Creative Commons is crucial. And Jamendo makes it easy for people to download (and share) music with a clear conscience."

The Ripple Effect writes of Mountain Mirrors, "Imagine if you will, walking through a forest that's enshrouded in dense fog. Visibility is only a few hundred feet in any direction. Moisture glistening off of the surrounding foliage as your breath bellows from your mouth in a cloud of steam. The crunch of leaves and decay under every footstep being the only sound to accompany the animal-like howl of the wind. Kinda' creepy out here all alone, huh? That's the power of Mountain Mirrors self titled album." - The Ripple Effect

Albums :

Dreadnought (2008)

Self-Titled (2006 - recommended for first-time listeners)

Lunar Ecstasy (2004)

Musicians: Jeff Sanders with various guests - including drummers Peter Yttergren, Peter Generous, Magnus Brandell and Elad Fish, multi-instrumentalist Per Ulfhielm, bassists Phil Rohr and Guy Bartor, cellist Claire Fitch, keyboard master Oren Selas, and pianist Simon "Watto" Watson. They currently have three LP’s.

Published on December 5 2008

 

This pop-rock outfit from Brest, France, has clear ideas as to the way to go when you're an indie band in 2008: the way of free music!

Smoke Fish

Smoke Fish was born two years ago, when Shay, a young Israeli who was traveling the world to celebrate the end of his military service, settled in the city of Brest, on the very end of the western tip of Brittany, “because it's the most rock'n'roll town in France”.

Since then, the band has been very active, playing over 80 gigs, opening for a host of popular French artists and bands (Miossec, Yann Tiersen, Kaolin...) and recording several EPs. Musically, Smoke Fish evolves fast (sure, they're fans of Queen and Bowie, but they keep their ears open for Battles and MGMT, “which is something you can hear in our music”), and already considers its first recordings outdated. What you'll find on jamendo is their most recent material, namely the catchy, poppy single “Mary”. They recently added a new version, especially put together for jamendo, complete with a series of live tracks; check it out here.

Distributed in local record shops, the band's releases are strictly under Creative Commons, and so will be the forthcoming album, due next spring. “The idea is to try and work differently thanks to CC licenses. The entire record industry is forcing itself to stick with a system that functioned for a while, but today, with internet and P2P sharing, it just doesn't work anymore, explains Py, Smoke Fish's drummer. This is a transition period, no one knows what things will be like five years from now. In the meantime, we've chosen our side: free music!”