If you had the time and the patience, you could spend the rest of your life downloading and listening to new music, and never pay a penny. I’m not talking about dodgy P2P networks, bootlegging or piracy either. The Internet Archive (www.archive.org) lists more than a thousand netlabels, most of which release new music for nothing under a Creative Commons license. That amounts to an extraordinary archive of music, but it makes one wonder if it’s all become an impenetrable babble. How much of the good stuff is simply drowned out by a great mass of mediocrity. It’s like someone who’s been in a cave for forty years wandering into HMV and trying to pick something to buy out of a vast array of stuff they’ve never heard of.
I’ve reviewed a fair number of netlabel releases over the past year or so. Generally, I’ve found the standard to be no different to what you’d expect to find in a decent record shop. Not much is life-changing, but a lot is very good indeed. And the clunkers? Press delete and move on – you’ve lost nothing. I’ve come across very few things I’d put in that category, though. Even so, what I’ve downloaded has tended to be stuff that’s found me, rather than the other way round. I’ve either been sent them, had them recommended to me, or read a review somewhere that made them sound interesting. I’ve not gone trawling. Time (and patience) permitting, I intend to do a bit more of that in future. The things I’m prepared to do for you lot out there, eh!
Ennio Mazzon is from Treviso in Italy, and his album The Scent of Morning Lights is an experimental laptop project, encompassing elements of noise, drone and glitch. There are shades of Fennesz in tracks like “Beautiful Wings Nowhere to Fly”. “Anchorage” is like hearing a serene ambient piece on an ill-tuned shortwave radio whilst sitting in a field of crickets. Sometimes the static crackle can be a little overdone. The stand out cuts are “Wetlands” and “Cressidra”. The latter is a beautiful, minimal, glassy tonal piece: still and calm, but quite beguiling. The only track that really doesn’t work is the closing “Suddenly Bright”, whose arrhythmic crackles and clumps don’t really add up to much more than random noise. On the whole, it’s an impressive work, with some interesting and original passages.
It can be downloaded from the sites listed below
2 White Fence and Red Tulip
3 Beautiful Wings, Nowhere to Fly
9 Suddenly Bright