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Catching The Waves
Reviews of free netlabel/Creative Commons albums.
Recent Activity
Catching The Waves is now at an end. I have cancelled my Typepad subscription, which will probably mean that the blog will lose a lot of its functionality. Thank you to everyone who visited here over the years. I hope you found it worth your while. Goodbye and thank you. Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2013 at Catching The Waves
A review of the free netlabel album Clouds Under the Bridges by Winterberg. Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2012 at Catching The Waves
The music in Meek, the new album from Bitbasic, is rather like the font used on the album cover: attractive but puzzling at first, and requiring a little bit of work from the audience, after which all becomes clear. Under the guise of Bitbasic, Simon Haycock plays games with the listener. Nearly every track toys with genre, appearing as IDM, perhaps glitch or ambient or even drone: ultimately it's safest to describe the album itself as experimental. What's more, despite... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2012 at Catching The Waves
The power of music compels me* to renounce my bid to make CTW the world's first bi-annual blog. Curses. The wielder of the musical taser is one Nit GriT who, from his San Andreas Fault-defying temple in San Jose, jolts the world with, er, jolts of righteous dubstep. "Oh, not dubstep," I hear the internet cry, "Wubs are past their sell-bwy date." Fear not, speech-impedimented planet: Nit GriT doesn't really make dubstep - he makes music. There's quite a difference.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2012 at Catching The Waves
Hello, children. Let's make a noise. Compilations are not my cup of Assam; they are notoriously hit and miss. However, 80 Hz Sacred Surplus maintains a surprisingly high level of inspiration and is thus worth draining to the dregs. This brew escaped nearly four months ago from the increasingly impressive IDMf netlabel, itself the progeny of the feisty and informative IDM Forums, and is also a product of IDMf's “bass community”, so reinforce your floors before listening. 80 Hz Sacred... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2012 at Catching The Waves
Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations were first published in 1741, and have long been recognised as one of the mainstays of the classical music canon. "So what?" you ask, spraying crisps and beer over your laptop screen. Well, today is a special day for music and for the internet: firstly, you will learn not to talk with your mouth full; and secondly, anyone with an internet connection can now download the "Open Goldberg Variations" for free. Most classical music enthusiasts... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2012 at Catching The Waves
...and congratulations to all other German football fans. I'm interrupting my publishing schedule to post the above screenshot which proves that The World's Most Important Free Music Blog* has been featured on Breitband, the highly-respected Deutschlandradio Kultur (German state radio) programme devoted to media and digital culture. Yes, I was flown out on the express instruction of Angela Merkel just to be photographed strolling along Germany's sun-kissed north coast and ignoring an autograph request from an annoying child. It's interesting... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2012 at Catching The Waves
Today is Culture Freedom Day - but you already knew that, didn't you? I certainly did, and in no way did I stumble upon it by accident, he said unconvincingly. The 19th of May has been plucked from the Official Big Book of Open Source Gregorian 365-day Calendars to celebrate Free Culture worldwide. To steal/borrow/adapt-with-the-full-permission-of-the-creator: Culture Freedom Day is a worldwide celebration of Free Culture. Initiated in 2012 by the same organization promoting Software Freedom it aims at educating the... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2012 at Catching The Waves
This site is known around the globe* for its venerable dictum regarding dance music: All dance tracks are a third too long. Yes, I realise that dance tracks traditionally include extended, rather plain intros and outros so that DJs can beatmatch their sets, but the fact remains that most dance tracks, like terrorists, carry excess baggage. However, after intensive research on the subject, CTW can now announce with some certainty that there is a corollary to my (in)famous axiom: All... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2012 at Catching The Waves
In their more spiteful moments, people who hate folk music dream of the day when nasal-voiced troubadours do a Hendrix and set fire to their mandolins. With Burn, the second track of his unpredictable UV EP, Matthew Stenning almost grants a few wishes by deciding that the perfect percussive accompaniment to a lilting guitar riff is... a box of matches and a lighter. Ah, electronica: musical pyromaniacs sneer at all other genres. The very nicely handled percussion is soon joined... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2012 at Catching The Waves
Having shredded my eardrums during the years I scoured the matrix for good free music, I've come to two conclusions: 1. What did you say? Huh? SPEAK UP, YOUNG MAN. 2. There seems to be a preponderance of electronica, techno and ambient music in the Creative Commons music world. The latter conclusion is unsurprising. Perhaps it's because of the affinity between music software, the internet and nerds open-minded individuals that most albums sound like they were made with a laptop.... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2012 at Catching The Waves
To start what I'm pompously calling a "Spring Clean", here's a lyrical and witty paean to...oh, don't look at me like that. Publicising this song is a time-honoured internet tradition. It's a ditty beloved by free-thinkers and divorce lawyers around the world. Oh, and it's very NSFW. You've been warned. Jonathan Coulton - First of May Don't forget that you can cross Mr Coulton's palm with silver if you so wish. To find out more, read my original review here. Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2012 at Catching The Waves
Yes, it's me. Please be seated. *accepts flowers from little girl pushed to the front of the stage by obsequious parents* Thank you. Right, to business. I stopped reviewing free Creative Commons albums because my health was poor and because it took far too much time to find something that I liked enough to review. However, some great music often missed out on the CTW caress because, for example, there was only one track on a perfectly competent album that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2012 at Catching The Waves
Pushkin: Farewell to the Sea. Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons It won't come as any surprise to you, but Catching The Waves has come to the end of its natural life. There are two main reasons for this: My health is woefully erratic; Despite a desperate tussle with the laws of physics, it still takes me hundreds of hours to listen to hundreds of albums. While running Catching The Waves, I've been lucky enough to have found some... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2011 at Catching The Waves
Life's hard, I can tell. Money is tight. Tinned spaghetti is starting to look good. You're selling your cat's kittens on eBay. You can keep flipping your underwear inside-out and back again for only so long. The pressure is telling. You need something cool and soothing to mop your fevered brow. Look no further than the free Grey-Purple EP by Fiji (the musician, not the idyllic South Pacific nation) and its eight tracks of ambient-tinged trip-hop. But before you gleefully... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2011 at Catching The Waves
It's a mystery to me how Luxus-Arctica netlabel managed to take this photo of CTW's reception suite. The guards tell me that the CCTV footage went offline at a crucial moment. The only physical evidence of their break-in was the hundreds of dead starlings in the street below. Strange. It won't have escaped your attention that computer wizardry is rampaging through electronica, IDM, minimal and hip-hop, where it's common for percussion one-shots and layered synths to be sampled and chopped... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2011 at Catching The Waves
Listening to the various tracks from a newly-discovered good album is like seeing familiar numbers pop up in the first few seconds of a national lottery draw. The first appearance is pleasing and so is the second; the third gives you a sense of satisfaction and achievement; two more good ones appear and you jump on your chair; one more pops up and you scream at the TV/stereo/neighbourhood that you'll devote your life to living in a huge chateau others... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2011 at Catching The Waves
Regular readers of dusty old CTW know what to expect: (ir)regular reviews of free CC/netlabel albums, leavened with poor jokes and even worse grammar. It's rare that your humble scribe deigns to describe anything so ephemeral, so lightweight, so throw-a-bag-of-kittens-in-the-canal as a single track. But I do do it occasionally. Today's internet eructation was prompted by my stumbling across a video made by Eirik Solheim, a project manager for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), who is very enthusiastic about technology,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2010 at Catching The Waves
Thank you for doing your homework, pseudo Bart Simpson. :) I'm glad you liked the music.
1 reply
To paraphrase Henry Ford, you can have any Broque netlabel album cover painted any colour you want so long as it is black and white. This, the latest in an unbroquen line of drab album covers, does its best to dissuade listeners from exploring Applause Phenomena, a classy minimal EP by Dennis Korsunski (A.K.A. Clapan, otherwise known as Information Ghetto), but Catching The Waves is made of stupid stern stuff. Advanced electronic rhythms from the Russian Black Sea coast via... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2010 at Catching The Waves
Kemuzik One is a compilation of folk-pop songs sung by guitar-clutching winsome individuals with tremulous and/or gravelly voices. There are three acknowledged reactions to this type of thing: Buy a machine-gun; Stick a candle in a bottle, chill out and enjoy the glory of life; Get arrested by the roadside at three in the morning, drunk as a skunk, clad in nothing but a pair of baggy grey Y-fronts and bawling an old flame's name at the moon. I chose... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2010 at Catching The Waves
There's a story behind this interruption of my intensely relaxed posting schedule. Recently, I've wasted a fair amount of time on listening to, selecting and then writing about albums that I've subsequently realised contained copyrighted samples, and have been forced to toss the half-finished review in the bin and move on. What galls me is that the albums in question came from reputable netlabels who proudly display a Creative Commons licence on their website. The whole point of a CC... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2010 at Catching The Waves
This year has seen TypePad add many social media functions, such as "retweet", "follow" and Facebook "like" buttons. These are all well and good, but the core of blogging is writing, editing, typesetting and posting. When those core functions are difficult or awkward, these Web 2.0 options become irrelevant and TypePad becomes self-defeating. I urge the TypePad team to concentrate on the text editor, the importing and arranging of images and the uploading of articles to the net. Everytime I post, it feels as though I'm having to fight the (various) text editors. It's even happened with this comment: the cursor has disappeared and I'm having to guess where it is. It's the same when I'm writing a post - there are many minor bugs that should have been ironed out by now. The TypePad editor is a relatively basic word processor and should not be causing such problems. I'm all for blogs having the latest whizz-bang technology, but please get the basics right. Best of luck! :)
1 reply
Pixel Mixel by Bitbasic has been festering on my hard drive for quite a while. You see, I've already reviewed two of his albums and so I'm wary of appearing blinkered in my choices. In my defence, I declined to review his most recent free outing, Sprinkling Rainbows, because I found it lacklustre. However, talent will out. (Google Translation: I love this and hope you will too.) Released two months ago by Cologne's Rec72, one of the best CC netlabels... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2010 at Catching The Waves
Regular readers will know that it's my long-term ambition to make CTW redundant, superfluous and generally as irrelevant as BP's PR department. To that end, I sometimes add similar websites to my "General Netlabel Sites" category, an honour so highly regarded in the Creative Commons music world that it reacts as though a new star had ascended to the heavens. (Yeah, right.) And lo, it came to pass that yours truly looked upon the works of one Thomas Rauskamp and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2010 at Catching The Waves