I caught myself humming a melody by Azoora today, a sign of thorough listening and it made perfect sense to write about their EP A Thousand Ways. They incorporate many acoustic and electronic influences which work well above my expectations. It is their eight production so far and one can notice how they seem to have developed their competence for a long time.

Keep On Running artwork by Jenny Persson. Download her illustrations along with the rest of the EP!

I find the sound interesting with electrical guitars, adding psychadelic layers of background to the acoustic guitars and wobbling electronic sounds that often offer a darker environment. The drums have a heavily sounding indie feel to it, and even though it is an experienced band they have really maintained an indie feel in general. Some small lyrical details could be polished as they do not always go perfectly together in timing with the musical performance.

Although the artwork and information around the release is very well documented even though one could really expect more detailed information on the specific contributions on each song. One can find this release rather different from others where the tracks have another version following it directly in the track listing, however under other names that refer to the first versions. The idea is interesting because they are not simply remixes but it took me a while to understand that these are actually alternative takes of the previous song, and it make it seem that the songs were the results of different visions.

Members of Azoora from London, United Kingdom

The songs have astounding sounds which are majestic in many senses. The way that the different instruments play their roles works beautifully with the voice of Paul Loader which is portrayed with various echoing effects as mystical as the lyrical themes of the songs. Shadow of You and its post-rock style may be the most powerful song but Keep on Running is the one that grabs one’s attention because of its beautiful composition with the backing vocals by Trudi Lawrence. All in all, the songs present how multi-faceted this band is through years of collaboration even though there are details of this mosaic of audio that could be perfected in a couple of ways.

Download the EP from 23Seconds.org. Azoora has according to 23Seconds, the longest history at the netlabel, described on the release announcement. It is a band from London with singer and songwriter Paul LoaderBen Cochrane on drums, Trudi Lawrence with backing vocals and John Purcell who composes, produces and who also contributes a multi-instrumentalist. Discover all of Azoora’s releases at 23Seconds.org. A Thousand Ways was released on 26th of August 2012 with a CC license.

Azoora Album Artwork Cover

A Thousand Ways is released under a
Creative Commons licenses/by/3.0/

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I find it very difficult to keep still when I hear Universildo‘s EP. The simple layers are building up an atmosphere that is hard to beat. The sounds have an exotic touch with a temperature that can give even the coldest person a warm feel run along their skin. The spirit of it can ignite some rhythmic feelings that either could turn into dancing freely or lying still and daydreaming as well, an artistic duality of music that is hard to come by.

Album art for Luces del Aire.

Album art for Luces del Aire – download and listen to the EP while you read!

The best track is “Llave Materna” which means something like “Mother key” and is the track filled with most exploration in the rhythmic sense. How Universildo was able to wind different rhythms together and turn it into such an intensive and aggressive but still optimistic track is a wonder. Personally I find it very hard not to get excited and motivated for a challenge. On the other side I feel it is a rather psychologically heavy track due to its more vibrant and darker tones with snares hitting hard to disrupt the peaceful chords. The other tunes are much warmer and make up sounds with nature that easily can make one think of imaginary forests and landscapes in fairy tales inhibited by another kind of sound then one usually can hear developed. The name “Lights of the Air” catches theme and impression of it very well.

Luces del Aire is an EP filled with intimate beats built up by minimal drum sounds, which sometimes reminds one of dub. These, adjoined by beautifully reverbed acoustic guitar and strings from synthesizers give a lot of integrity to the music when joined together. It could be described as an alchemist’s dream of making some of the most organic sounds turn to gold because of its rash mix of styles and sounds. It feels like an experiment that was well worth the effort and engagement that put into it.

The artist Universildo consists of the sole producer Pedro Canale from Argentina who also is known as Chancha via Circuito and Verde Kiri. Universildo is his project which features his experimental expressions and one can clearly hear that. Download here.

Luces del Aire (catalog name hdm01) got available for free through the netlabel Hipi Duki Muzik on the 26th of October, 2009. Hipi Duki Muzik are based in Barcelona, Spain and Buenos Aires, Argentina, founded in 2008. Read about it at SoundShiva

Released with the Creative Commons license BY-NC-ND.

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The sounds by Universildo impresses me. I will return to that in an upcoming review but it makes one think about this project and how deeply engaged I have become in it. My thoughts about new ideas that I envision for the future as open sourced projects are thriving since a couple of days back. I find new interesting projects and sources every day which inspires me a lot to push the boundaries for the idea of open sourced projects and I believe I should start to collect these links at this project.

When I spoke with a person about this some days ago, we ended up in an interesting discussion about not losing touch with what is the paradigm of society when it comes to consumption. It made me think of what kind of alternate reality that I have chosen to live in by only making this project come alive. We are all unique as human beings because what we are and what we do. We as individuals can to a farther degree choose what reality we want to live in and have as our reality and this project is a proof of that.

Whether we want to share knowledge and culture freely or not is decisive on our world for many reasons, economically but more importantly, educationally. But because of how one consumes, things can become interesting as one stand out from the crowd because consumption is what most humans do today. The globalization of the human species have for the last century connected culture and other features of civilizations to economics and put a price tag on everything. This is changing and I can strongly support this statement through what I have explored since I started this project. It has probably been doing that for a long time.

However the idea of making things free and open in a decentralised and collaborative manner probably existed before but it must have got its boost when the Internet got more accessible to people. That is also how it will continue and how it starts to expand to open sourced hardware projects and more groundbreaking services in societies which I will write about in another contribution of thoughts. For now I can share with you this metaphor that I feel is an interesting perspective on the matter.

Like a sunflower turns to the Sun for the free energy, I direct myself towards the Internet for the free knowledge and culture to share.

‘Sonnenblume Helianthus’ by böhringer friedrich at WikiCommons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:B%C3%B6hringer)

Böhringer Friedrich photographs at WikiCommons

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What do you think about the world? Do you think it needs saving?

The Yes Men Fix the World depicts Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno and how they have loads of fun while doing pranks to do their fair share of saving it. When watching this movie, one could almost believe it is a mockumentary with fake representations of corporations and people representing different organisations. Those are the things which are the exact opposite. The only things in this movie which are what the Yes Men are doing throughout it. They are activists and the one gets a vantage point of what these men do.

The product is one of the most joyful documentaries that I have seen in my life filled with hilarious media stunts and hoaxes. It represents not only how a movie with an agenda like this can be funded by people around the globe but how much change one can accomplish with a handful of ideas. I would almost dare calling it a comedy because there are numerous examples of humour which seem entirely independent from what one can see in commercial comedies and series. However the movie works a lot with showing the contrast of their seemingly amusing work as activists. With their visits to Bhopal in India which suffered from DOW Chemical’s accident in 1984, where thousands of Indians died and the homeless people in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina they show where their inspiration and motivating drivers come from.

Andy and Mike are probably the rock stars in modern activism today. With the things they seem to have an endless supply of courage but it is believable. It does not feel like an underfunded movie even though it has a clear budget documentary side to it. Instead it turns the budget issue into some entertaining sketches at the “Headquarters” which makes good pausing points for reviewing the storyline and events. Even though it seems Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno pull off new pranks as all they do, they do not give an insightful overview of what the consequences are which leads the viewer to believe that it is free from risks.

Production still from the Survivaball Lecture hoax

Apart from having what some people call a clear political agenda, this movie breaks down questions of corporations and ethics to the sole core. It brings up great examples of what our world looks like and how many people who actually needs the hoaxes and stunts of The Yes Men. They present a credible view that saving the world does not necessarily mean sacrifices or loss.

Let it be a joyful and hectic ride on a rollercoaster instead.

Read more on VODO. Download the movie in low definition as a torrent. An HD version torrent is available at ClearBits. The Yes Men have recently reached enough funding for a new movie, a sequel that goes by the name of The Yes Men Are Revolting that now needs funding for campaigning.

The Yes Men Fix the World is licensed with Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND license

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FREnchfire does the kind of music that would hit billboards because of the fantastic song structures and loops. This 5-track EP feels very much like an expanded view on different genres and it gives high expectations for what future music sounds like. The tracks are jumping through Rn’B, Hip-Hop, Ambient and it envisions a future where this sound categorizes as something of its own. The label categorizes it future garage which is very interesting and it is too early to say whether it should stay. I would say that there is a future for this music when it gets a genre, but I can understand it because it is special and attractive in another way then in general appreciation of music.

The music carries the spirit of space-like atmospheres which can make up the soundtrack of a dream. These are addictive when joined by groovy beats that create a nice Rn’B feel to the beautiful sounds. At times there are synthesizers joining in with these and layers the field of audio perfectly. More structured lyrics would be interesting to hear and experience how that could change structures and feelings of songs. Ill Chill does a good job on the track junkie. The other songs are great crafts and they are all convincing. The bottom line would be that this rather short release, with songs current girl, delerious, prime, plejj was expanded. Listeners would be ready for a grander release with these songs and songs with more developed lyrics because it would have caught a greater sense of mix structurally.

EP Cover Artwork

One could say that this EP is a fantastic release which is a great introduction to the material that FREnchfire has produced. With this much experience that was into this EP, one could almost expect or at least demand some more material because this quality is always longed for.

Alex Lowther-Harris is the name behind FREnchfire. Based in Belgium,  he has released much more material through different sources. He is released by the netlabel Silenced Music which is a collective that hosts parties and events at their place called Silo, located in Leuven, Belgium. Read about it more at SoundShiva. Download the EP here from Archive.org. If you are interested in releasing material yourself, check out Silenced Music’s description at SoundShiva. [shhht_17] was released 01 November, 2012.

Edit: I corrected the post which stated that FREnchfire was the founder of the netlabel but he is released through them.

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