Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
A major reason for which I chose to be Music Editor of The Saltlist can be attributed to Sanjoy Narayan. To the rest of the world, this man is known as the columnist of the weekly music blog, “Download Central” on Hindustan Times, but I consider him as a bit of an inspiration. In one of his columns, he wrote about a Canadian artist, Gentleman Reg- this really cool guy who made some extremely good tunes, the ones that were natural mood up-lifters and could be enjoyed by almost anyone irrespective of their usual musical preferences. (My favorites are How We Exit and You Can’t Get It Back-do listen to them and more of his songs, they’re like sweet corn soup for the soul). It was this music that was so far removed from the so-called mainstream forms that made me realize the enormity of the diversity of music that was available in the independent scene. Sanjoy Narayan made me realize the potential that these small artists possessed, for whom having even a few thousand listeners was reason enough for them to continue making the music that they did.
It was with this new-found interest towards the music such independent artists make that I searched “Free legal music” on Google (yes, sometimes inane-sounding Google searches DO yield not-so-inane results) and was introduced to Jamendo.com. Jamendo is a website that describes itself as a “musical social network” that offers free legal music for streaming as well as downloading, under the Creative Commons licensing. Its artists are not members of any performance rights organisations, and therefore any use of their music does not require a fee to be paid to the organisations. Jamendo emphasises that there are numerous such artists who choose to not be part of such organisations, and this does not prevent any of their music from being of any lesser quality than its commercial counterparts. The site encourages all artists, from the humble amateur to the most professional to publish their music and make it available for the world to listen to and thus create a common platform promoting the love of music.
A few searches into their database lead me to this great band from Italy called Moon Mammoth who, despite uploading only 3 tracks, were so impactful that I found myself listening to their tunes on Shuffle and Repeat mode over the following week. “Parabolic Chamber of Lust” would be a great song to start with, it’s a song of their cleverly-worded demo, “The first incision is always deeper”
The first incision is always deeper: Moon Mammoth
The next artist that I found creates music that draws influences out of artists quite different from Moon Mammoth. Listening to Jim Guittard brought back so many memories to mind, listening to the slow, dreamy, psychedelic music of Jefferson Airplane and Thirteenth Floor Elevators. “Rise up America” and “World’s Angriest Hippie” made me totally understand the reason why Jim mentions in his blog, “As a kid, I often locked myself in the bedroom and listened to the Beatles or Elvis. They were my heroes and took me to different places. At school, I was a freak and even a loner, I suppose: the only guy with sideburns when I was sixteen years old. That was in 1990. Sideburns were not very in style then”. It surely felt great to listen to such kind of dreamy, yet polished music that I am the Walrus of The Beatles and How Do You Feel of Jefferson Airplane had produced and stirred such an earnest want for such honest music in me.
This blog post is getting a little longer than what my editor would like, but this deserves to be ended with a hard rock act from Italy, again. Rocken Factory’s “Welcome to Rocken Factory” and “White Night” are songs that shake your senses and makes your ears prick up and suddenly feel an unexplainable interest towards their music- very AC/DC, simplistic yet beautifully in-synchronous. It was this raw yet refreshingly creative music that re-instated my belief in the unlicensed artist, the one that every appreciator of music loves to stumble upon and proudly calls his/her “discovery”. Jamendo will make boring, sleepless nights and rides in the Metro a lot more enjoyable, for it takes me to a world of its own, one that I’d like to think as mine and a relatively uninhabited place.
The Saltlist would like to thank the following for being such great sources for this article: