Freaks: The Soundtrack Album.

The 1932 cult classic film Freaks finally has its own soundtrack album. At first I was expecting the vintage orchestral music heard throughout the film but it actually gets better than that. Some band called The Unknown Orkestra has pieced together nine tasty tunes played on acoustic instruments that have a vintage jazz flavor while blending in electronic effects and dialogue from the film. Much like the freaks themselves, some may find the music bizarre and frightening but others like myself will find it irresistible and oddly satisfying. You can download the album here, and if you haven’t seen the movie already, you can watch or download it here.

The world’s most relaxing song.

If you’re looking for something that will really, really relax you, look no farther than the Mindfulness Pack on the archive.org website. It has four tasty tracks that mix soothing synthesizer music and binaural beats to create a truly unique meditative experience. There are tracks for quick meditation, endorphin release and lucid healing, but the real find here is the fourth and final track entitled “The World’s Most Relaxing Song”, a 9-minute track that will truly immerse you into the deepest relaxation you’ll ever feel. I’ve yet to try out the other tracks, but if it can relax me to the point of pure calm, then I’d expect the other tracks to work wonders as well. This album is a real find.

Relax in a hurry.

Recently I was exploring the archive.org web site for some relaxing music when I came across a rather interesting album entitled Relax in a Hurry by a group called Lucky Dragons. This album claims to offer extremely brief, 3-second meditations that will have you relaxed “in the time it takes to look at a web page”. Some of the tracks are nothing but short clicks at varying frequencies that are supposed to trigger some sort of a relaxed response while others are short pieces of otherworldly music. Is this album really an innovative approach to meditation or is it a creative approach to getting noticed by an unforgiving music industry? You be the judge.

Taking the plunge on Jamendo.

After months of exploring Jamendo and listening to the music on offer there, I decided to take the plunge and upload some of my own music and share it with the world. In doing so, I have in a way turned into an independent artist, although I still see myself as an amateur who enjoys creating music in his spare time.

As of this writing, I have three tracks uploaded, all of them early works.

  • Space Dreams – A soothing, ambient track and one of my personal favorites. I enjoyed it so much that I played it while at work in the office where I was employed at the time. A co-worker overheard it and liked it so much that he wanted me to upload it to the server that stored the music files for everyone’s listening enjoyment.
  • Trip Hopping – A catchy, cheerful track originally created as an instrumental track for an imaginary rap group but it took on a completely new life of its own.
  • Pretty Strange – At just over 5 minutes, this is one of my longer tracks and the result of an impromptu one-man jam session. I weaved in some of the better parts to the steady rhythm, added some effects and ended up with a unique track I consider a personal favorite.

Now to wait and see how these tracks do. As of this writing, they have received 87 plays. Not bad for a start, but then again, I’m only getting started myself.

More favorite albums on Jamendo.

Here are some more enjoyable albums I found on Jamendo, in no particular order:

  • Freestyle Percussion Magik – Catchy rhythms that will put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
  • La Marche Des Lutins vs Punish Yourself – I usually don’t dance to music but I must make an exception with this mind-blowing track with an irresistible beat. Make sure you have plenty of room.
  • No Trump.et – This album has an 80’s sound to it yet manages to work in some catchy contemporary dance beats as well.
  • Bazooka – A self-titled album from a jam band of the same name. I can hardly hear the vocals but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the contributions from the rest of its very talented members.
  • Space Traveller – This single, cinematic track effectively captures the feel of drifting somewhere in deep space.
  • Sailboat Bed – I was pleasantly surprised to find a band from the United States on Jamendo. This mellow, soulful track had me listening to it again and again.
  • Living It All Wrong – One listen and you’ll see why this album received such critical acclaim. Melodic vocals, very gentle piano music with occasional orchestral accompaniment add up to a very soothing album that’s a joy to hear again and again.
  • Sleepwalker II – The Haunting – With the exception of the last track, this album has no music, instead it creates an atmosphere of horror using simple electronic sounds and scary sound effects. I got a good scare from listening to this myself, so be warned.

Sort your music folders.

I noticed with some interest, if not a slight annoyance, that the MP3 player in my car lists the music folders not in alphabetical order, but in the order which they were copied. To make matters worse, this list is further scrambled by my frequently removing and copying new folders as my music tastes change. This led me to wonder if there’s a quick way to sort them without copying them to a temporary folder and then back again. It turns out there is. The free DriveSort utility got everything sorted in seconds, allowing me to find my favorite music with relative ease. So there.

My favorite albums on Jamendo.

Jamendo is a music site where you can find free music from independent artists all over the world.  I’m still new there but I’ve visited it enough times to find some music I truly enjoy. Here are some of my favorite albums I’ve discovered, in no particular order.

  • Bang The Crowd! – This is the first album I downloaded. It’s a short and sweet album of instrumental music combining exotic folk instruments such as the didgeridoo,  flute and saxophone, all of them deliciously blended into a unique listening experience.
  • Spaceman’s Dream – Some of the most soothing and relaxing electronic music I have ever heard.
  • Soothing Moonbeams – Another delightful album with some very calming yet melodic music.
  • Music For Mars Missions – An ambitious synthesized undertaking with epic results.
  • Electro Space Kraut – This 9-minute track feels like flying through space and encountering shifting electronic soundscapes, all set to a catchy beat.
  • Where Its @ – My search for guitar music led me to this artist, who plays all the instruments on this album of some very fine instrumental rock with a touch of blues.
  • Diving – The depth (no pun intended) of this music is amazing. It’s only two tracks but deeply mesmerizing.

Good stuff. I can’t wait to see what I’ll find next.

 

My cousin Raminta.

I have wonderful childhood memories of visits from my cousin Raminta, who is an accomplished pianist. Her late father, my Uncle Jurgis, was choir director at a Lithuanian church in Chicago. She, along with my late grandfather Vladas, sang in that choir, which would record several albums of traditional Lithuanian folk songs. I think it’s safe to say she came from a musical family.

During one of her visits to Florida, Raminta brought along some of her friends who were musicians themselves. There was Michael, her boyfriend who played violin, Patras the flautist and Dirk the singer. One night they gave a concert in my parents’ living room with my neighbors in attendance. It was a magical evening indeed.

There is one moment from this visit that I will always remember. I myself was taking piano lessons and was practicing “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin one afternoon when Michael came along and played the same piece on his violin. I’d never heard “The Entertainer” on violin before and was impressed with how easily Michael was able to play it.

The only problem we had was deciding where everyone would sleep. Our house had three bedrooms and eight people, so my parents had to make modifications as to who slept where. I slept in my sister’s bedroom while some of the visitors slept in mine. After they all left, I was about to fall asleep in my own bed for the first night in days when suddenly I saw something glowing on my nightstand. My heart was racing as I reached for the light, and after the light filled the room, I saw some glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth left behind by one of the visitors.

The last I heard from Raminta was years ago when sent us a copy of her album featuring her piano music accompanied by a singer. There is also some instrumental music for violin and organ respectively. A little bit of everything. I really enjoyed hearing the album and consider it a quality production of the highest order. I still love listening to it.

I see Raminta has her own web site and from reading her list of accomplishments, it looks like she’s been very busy performing and teaching her craft. I’ll have to get in touch with her again and relive those fond memories I now possess.