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hfayekay on 04/11/2014 at 09:15AM

Ak'chamel, the Giver of Illness Descends Over Hexas Again

Taken from the Ak'chamel Facebook Page.

That sound of Houston's shadow music collective Ak'chamel that has been hovering over Houston has congealed again in a release known as "Pus Ch'en" under net-labels suRRism-Phonoethics & Have You Said Midi?. Like their earlier albums Old Norse Mara & The Divine Vine Tapes, they continue to evoke tribal rituals from abstract hinterland cultures with haunted throat-singing, guitars, percussion, drones, & more-only this time with a heavier (if possible) & more refined sound. The title of track 2-"Underworld Sweat Bath" is a pretty accurate description of the Ak'chamel sonic experience. The occaisional brightness of a chime might punctuate the music now & then but it's perfectly contextualized to simply add detail before the sounds give way to gutteral chant.

Pus Ch'en could be described as psychedelic improv, but there's nothing sloppy or hokey about it-the members of Ak'chamel are skilled at their musical craft & all textures are intuitively organized to create a sincerely chilling soundtrack. Really wish HBO knew about this when they were scoring True Detective. -Faye

More Ak'chamel on the FMA, Facebook, & Bandcamp

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ange on 04/01/2014 at 05:00AM

Hear the Unheard: Trance Music Seeker Arrington De Dionyso



Arrington de Dionyso is interested in blurring the lines between sacred ritual and popular entertainment. A former Old Time Relijun freak-folker, his recent solo work incorporates overtone-singing, shruti-box, jaw harp, and Kadri Gopalnath-inspired bass clarinet, and many of his latest releases feature recordings from his travels and collaborations. Whether it's a 13th century chapel in Italy, a volcanic cave in Java, or his homebase at K Records' Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, WA, his music is influenced by (and influences) his surroundings.

His work also strives to form human connections, both with his fans and musical collaborators. Back in 2011, de Dionyso traveled and recorded music throughout Java, Bali, and Lombok Islands with support from a successful Kickstarter campaign. With help from another Kickstarter push, he went back in November 2013, and is planning another trip for the end of 2014. Many of the concerts and improvised recording sessions are available for pay-what-you-wish on Bandcamp and the Free Music Archive, including his latest in the Unheard Indonesia series.

Many of your releases directly relate to where you were when you recorded them. What's the role of traveling in your music? 

Although I have lived in Olympia, Washington for over 20 years, and I have a wonderful label and studio to work with here. (K Records' DUB NARCOTIC STUDIO, just ten blocks from my house!) I am traveling on tour doing art shows and concerts almost half the year. This puts me in contact with an incredible variety of different people playing all kinds of instruments with different approaches to the music they make. But even when I am working on a solo recording, I think the place in which you choose to make a recording has a huge effect on the kind of result you're going to get, whether it's the specific acoustic properties of a 13th century chapel in Italy, a volcanic cave in Java, or a fancy studio in Berlin—the way I play my music is going to change according to how I respond to being in these places. The music changes even more when other people are involved!

Tell me about UNHEARD INDONESIA VOL. I: The Trance Music of East Java. What did you learn about trance music from your travels in East Java, and from collaborating with other musicians there? 

That's a recording of the very first opportunity I had to perform with Jaranan groups in Java, back in 2011. Jaranan, or "Jathilan" is an incredible living tradition that takes many different forms, sometimes including forms of spiritual possession. People have a lot of different ideas as to what really constitutes "trance" but I approach these experiences as a participant and collaborator with many years of experience with my own versions of "trance music" via the rock and roll tradition (a tradition derived almost completely directly from African trance musics, by the way, this is very well documented).

When I perform with these groups I am joining a shared experience and sharing my own unique contribution to that experience. I guess I am particularly drawn to Jaranan because in this tradition there isn't a clear line between what is "sacred ritual" versus "popular entertainment." It's all mixed up there, as I feel it really should be. Why shouldn't something entertaining also be "sacred"? and what do we mean by "sacred" anyways? In much of Indonesia, musicians are performing to entertain the world of spirits just as much as the world of humans. It happens at the same time, and nobody sees any contradiction there, so why should I?


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kademlia on 03/20/2014 at 12:30AM

Ain’t No Love: Tears of Joy

Ain't No Love: Tears of Joy

Ain’t music produced better than with love?

This probably is the mantra of rising urban group Ain’t No Love, which, after wowing indie music fans with slicker-than-slick tunes via their self-titled EP, returns to FrostClick and FrostWire with a slightly moody yet incredibly delicious Tears of Joy.

Spreading their trademark “renegade pop” to audiences of other crowd-pleasers such as Iggy Azalea, Steve Aoki, and Calvin Harris, you bet your judgmental auditory senses that Saidah, Beanz, and 1990 aren’t amateurs – something that over 116,500 downloads of their first FrostWire feature Ain’t No Love EP can definitely attest to.


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wmmberger on 03/18/2014 at 12:45AM

A Grind Apart: Ubasute Live on My Castle of Quiet

Wm. Berger / Tracy Widdess

The grind music I like, I really love, because as a genre, there is a rampant saminess; so I sit back and let bands like Psychic Limb, Ubasute, Agathocles, Cattle Decapitation and Pig Destroyer rise to the top by way of their own virtues.

Alex Caprio's distinctive and unpredictable shriek, Mike Marciano's artful, intricate Rickenbacker bass virtuosity, and Jeremy Suria's guitar work (equal parts technical, Steve Howe-midrangery, and thick, power-chord glue) all work thoroughly together to make the band a cut above the raging pack. Upon even deeper observation, Ubasute's lyrical content, and carefully chosen graphic imagery flaunt the more-easily-attained / co-opted genre conventions. 

Live set from February 2014 »


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