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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Dada Weatherman

Our weekly focus takes us away from the cold north (where we've been the two previous weeks) to Jonathan Chaumeil, a young Frenchman in his early twenties. His project, The Dada Weatherman, has been sitting for several weeks on the highest notch of the Jamendo Top 100 only to start slipping down now that the Diablo Swing Orchestra is holding the number one spot of the Vocal Charts in its tight grip.

His track, "Painted Dream" from his album "The Green Waltz" is now ranked second but don't you worry: there are two other albums in the pipeline, and there's no doubt you will soon hear more from them. As a matter of fact, "Yellow Gold" from his new album "EarthQuakes & Failed Mutations" already made it up to rank number 9.

Jonathan joins his skills and talent to make music meet with poetry and painting. As a matter of fact, he illustrates both the CD's artwork and the video clips (see the one below) with his paintings and he pictures his Arthur Rimbaud inspired poems with his music. His soft voice harmonizes wonderfully with the calm folk music which he leads with his guitar and is accompanied at times with the piano, at times with a very light and decent orchestra.

While listening to The Dada Weatherman I cannot keep from thinking that's a perfect music for falling asleep but at the same time I realize this is not really a compliment. However I really mean it as a compliment because it's a music that invites you to dream of new paintings.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

2009 - Week 39: Jamendo Vocal top 20


2009 - Week 39: Jamendo Instrumental top 20


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Matti Paalanen

Last week we had a look at Diablo Swing Orchestra from Sweden. This week, we just travel to the neighboring country Finland were we've having a closer look at the leader of the instrumental charts, Celestial Aeon Project who has another track ranked 13th. The man behind this is Matti Paalanen who appears to be really productive. In fact, he is also the father of Frozen Silence (ranked 2nd), Project Divinity (ranked 3rd) and Axial Ensemble (a project he's doing with Arttu Kataja). Oh and guess what? They also have a track in this week's top 20, Spectrial, ranked 14th.

His music is ranging from neo classical to electronic ambient, from new age to dark wave where influences from Vangelis, The Cure and Enya as well as his classical background cannot be overheard. The resulting tracks are spreading a calm mood where everything is so light, floating high above in the sky. This kind of music fits very well as a background music to role playing games, so much that he is actually the lead musician of an upcoming computer role playing game.

Dive into Matti's musical realm by listening to the tracks from the top 20 as well as other selected tunes of his.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Free Music Charts September voting ends in one week

If you are into free music, you probably know the monthly "Free Music Charts" on darkerradio. It's broadcast in German but the music is... music. And international. For those new to the FMC (which also features a lot of Jamendo music), you can vote for up to 5 songs once a month. Songs get eliminated after 6 months (if they manage to stay so long, that is...); some actually do!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

2009 - Week 38: Jamendo Vocal top 20


2009 - Week 38: Jamendo Instrumental top 20


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Diablo Swing Orchestra

Since the Diablo Swing Orchestra has three entries in the current's vocal charts, I thought I'd share some background information on them. The facts are taken from the websites given at the end of this post, while the interpretation is my personal view.

The three tracks Balrog Boogie, Heroines and Poetic Pitbull Revolutions are all from the album "The Butcher's Ballroom", which was released in 2006 by the Swedish experimental metal band Diablo Swing Orchestra (or D:S:O as they call themselves for short). Three years later they decided to release it on Jamendo which is how I discovered them.

They've built a myth about themselves according to which they are the descendants of band members of the 16th century which got into trouble with the crown and the church because of their music style. They were outlawed and saw no chance to get away with their life, so they made a pact following which their descendants would reunite as a new band 500 years later.

The first track, "Balrog Boogie" gives the tone: the listener could mistake the track as a mere jazz or swing tune but that doesn't last long... soon enough, styles start to be added and mixed. Is it a big band now? what about the cello? Oh and wait, what's that filthy gibberish, a demon straight out of J.R.R. Tolkien's world? One doesn't have the time to think more because Annlouice Loegdlund starts to sing... What a soprano! This high melodic voice immediately contrasts with the balrogs. Is it an angel or a fairy? Then you try to understand the lyrics. "Mea culpa" is clearly heard: "My bad". Follows a sequence of more or less well known latin phrases, apparently without any connection between each others except maybe that most of them have a strong religious taste. Is it a wink to the "heritage" of the 16th century? All this mixture definitely creates a strange mood, at times melancolic, at times full of creative energy. Is it how it feels to dance with balrogs? these freaks of nature ("lusus naturae")... The cruel laugh at the end says it all. Shudders...

"Heroines" and "Poetic Pitbull Revolutions" with reminiscences of Bach's Brandenburg concertoes for Cello respectively some mexican popular music that might come straight out of a far-west movie... And there's always this fascinating soprano, levitating above the metallic electric guitars. It's just a wonderful mixture which goes on like that for another 10 tracks.

What I like about this music is that you can listen to it for hours and always discovering something new in it. It transports you into DSO's world and lets you enough space to dream your fantasy as well.

Some compare the opera voice and the metal music with Nightwish. In my humble opinion, I think Nightwish, even though very good, doesn't reach DSO to the ankle. Their music is just so much richer! And some compare the energy in the voice with Nina Hagen's. That's a fair comparison.

If you haven't listened to it yet, give it a go right now.


Now if you haven't had enough, then listen up: Diablo Swing Orchestra's second album will be out in a week (September 21 or 22, 2009). It's called "Sing Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious" and will be available from several online shops, among others Amazon. Or do you want to wait another three years until they maybe release it on Jamendo?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Introduction to the real Jamendo Charts

Free music is wonderful both for the artists and for the fans. For the artists because they have no strings attached with a label who is eating up the biggest part of the money coming in from the sales (ok ok, they are doing PR for them as well, but if you ask me, that's a very expensive PR...). And for the fans, because they can do a lot with the music as long as they respect the license under which it has been published. Jamendo is a platform for exactly this: artists who publish their music and fans who listen to it, download it and spread the word.

There are lots of genres on Jamendo: pop, rock, electronica, ambient, new age, classic, jazz, hip-hop and you name it... Litterally everybody finds something they like. There's a Top 100 tracks section on the website, reflecting the most listened to tracks. It's an "all genres top 100 singles" as billboard might call it. There are a few downsides to this top 100 and that's why I've created this blog.
  • It's too eclectic. I decided to make an "instrumental"-top and a "vocal"-top. You might say I should have made a top for every single genre but that would be too much work not only because it's not always easy to categorize a given song.
  • New people discover Jamendo every day. Usually, they first go to the top 100 listing and start discovering great tracks. This way, they help these songs to stay in the top 100 or even the top 10. Of course, this means that the tracks found there really are popular and it probably also means the quality is top. However, people wanting to listen to a "free music charts" every week get the same tracks every week, sometimes the ranks are a little bit shuffled, but it's really too repetitive.
  • Last (and that's really a small downside), you cannot play the charts from the bigger number all the way down to number 1 (without making a custom playlist).
What I am doing here is take Jamendo's official top 100 and calculate the ranking by taking into account the release date (on Jamendo) of the track. This way, songs that have been released 2, 3, 4 or even 5 years ago don't clutter the top any more, giving more chance to fresh releases.

This week a managed to get the top 13 for both charts. Give me some time and the number I review might increase. After a warming-up phase I also plan to write something about the artists and the songs. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

2009 - Week 37: Jamendo Vocal top 13


13 do it over by amélie
12 Real Talk by Brix by Cartel
11 sad robot by pornophonique
10 Poetic Pitbull Revolutions by Diablo Swing Orchestra
9 She by TenPenny Joke
8 Come Back To You by Silence is Sexy
7 Satellite by major Major
6 Heroines by Diablo Swing Orchestra
5 Broken Stereo (Acoustic Version) by Sean Fournier
4 Grito Al Viento by Vicente Frías
3 Crazy As by Julandrew
2 Painted Dream by The Dada Weatherman
1 Balrog Boogie by Diablo Swing Orchestra

2009 - Week 37: Jamendo Instrumental top 13


13 Overlove by Adult Only
12 Shadows of light (Trance) by Atomic cat
11 World Karma 2009 by PeerGynt Lobogris
10 Looking for a way out by Paolo Pavan
9 Beat Goes On by Hugo 'Droopy' Contini
8 Hymn of the Sky by Celestial Aeon Project
7 Stories from Emona I by Maya Filipič
6 Tokyo by Andreas Verhamme
5 Around (instrumental) by Vincent Bernay
4 Temporal by Project Divinity
3 Spectrial by Axial Ensemble
2 Stream 1 by Frozen Silence
1 Virtue lost by Celestial Aeon Project