Recently writer and critic Robert Nagle made a list of 11 Incredible Musicians You Can Download for Free . Many of the musicians on this top list make their music freely available on Jamendo, a free and legal music sharing site. Several musicians appearing on this list also gave interviews to this blog (Read the other interviews). You can also download a free sampler containing full songs from artists profiled here.
JCRZ is a French electronic musician named José Cruz who has produced 12 albums for Jamendo. of which Sit Down & Dance 2.0 is the most accessible of JCRZ’s 12 albums: fun, dancey, very pop and energetic. The melodies are simple and the electronic effects are understated. There are occasional voice tracks, but mostly it is electronic. It is straight/ conventional techno, but the formula is just right. The tracks that jumped out immediately were: Dreamsequence and Attraction Zero, and also Rollercoaster especially. All three are hard and very fun techno tracks. One Day Ago reminds me of some of the Suzanne Palmer remixes (that voice certainly sounds like her!) Also notable was the more serene/dreamy Memory Lost which reminded me of Paul van Dyk. (so did Fallen Angel). JCRZ’s other albums are worth checking out, especially Kind of Music and Fractal Attraction. In Non-compliant Human Being, JCRZ does two amazing dream trances, Red Javeline (Sun Mix) and Blue Javeline (Moon Mix). I especially love the 16 minute Red Javeline, which has an otherworldly magic, stretching outward to the sky and ending in a kind of lovely musical fog. In Checksum of Life, songs like Touched by an Angel and the lackadaisical Urban Interlude are so simple and joyful that one wonders if they were created in a happier and simpler era. His latest album Volume 10 doesn’t exactly cover new territory, but it is still enthralling music.
1. Can you talk a little about your creative process? What parts about making music are the easiest for you? What parts are the most difficult?
Well, my way of making music is intuitive. Most of the time I begin by playing the synth or making a rhythm; next I will add sound elements: a bass, string pads (i love strings) … Making a track can take a couple of hours or sometimes days. But I never know if i will keep it or throw it away. Sometimes, after hours of work, a track can sound good.. But when i listen to it the next day, it sounds awful. The “next-day” listening test is very important to know if I keep or not a track I composed. I learnt electro music by myself, never went to musical school.. so I know my limits. It’s like having a one-colored pencil to make a color drawing. This limit gives my music a kind of minimalist flavor. You will never get a “note overdose” while listening to my music. I’m light years away from Beethoven or Bruckner 🙂 I always learn a little more with every track I compose. For me, making music is like a endless quest.
2. How has your biography or geography affected the kind of music you make? What do you think is unique or different about the music you make?
I have traveled to Africa, Brazil and lots of European clubs. That has definitely affected my music. Often one of my pieces will be reminiscent of another. But it doesn’t matter. Every piece of music is influenced by another. Every musician has only 12 semi-tones to play with. I do not pretend to be creating something new.
As far as what is unique about my music, that’s a question only my listeners could answer. My music is only studio music but one day I would like to hear one of my tracks played in an acoustic performance or by real musicians. It would be a step out of cyberspace.
3. What other musician or musicians have inspired you? Can you name someone who is not a musician who has provided inspiration for your creativity?
I always liked listening to film music and electronic music. When I was young, i fell in love with film music by John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith then Hans Zimmer… my musical heroes. I also liked film composers like Giorgio Moroder (who invented electro disco) and John Carpenter (who invented minimal horror film music). My first electro non-film music influences are Jean Michel Jarre 70’s German electro music (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Shulze, Kraftwerk), Philip Glass, Moby…. Synthpop has influenced me too; Pet Shop Boys are my favorite band.. and I’m also influenced by trance music and Eurodance : Paul Van Dyk, Blank & Jones, Jam & Spoon ….
4. If a friend or family member listened to your music, what parts of your personality would this person recognize in it?
My music has melancholic parts. Most of my tracks are in minor key. If someone listen to my music, I think the minor key sounds are the most recognizable.
5. What is the most difficult part about being a musician?
After finishing a piece of music, I worry about running out of inspiration. It is like asking “Can I find someone again to fall in love with?” After a creativity phase, there is always a kind of loneliness.
6. Music seems to be an important part of videos and film now. Have you ever imagined what kind of video or film might be perfect for your music? What is the best situation (i.e., time and place) for people to hear your music?
Some of my music can be used to accompany video or film. I made some dreamy tracks that can be used to illustrate nature or space movies. Other tracks can be used on films or video game action sequences. To hear my music you have to “Sit Down And Dance” : listen to my music and let your imagination go.
7. Can you think of one event in your life which caused you to decide to “become serious” about music?
Perhaps, a worldwide success of one of my tracks could decide this. Musical creativity has always been a big part of my life. In fact, making music for fun is total freedom. Perhaps someday one of my tracks will become internationally known and that may determine how serious I need to get about my music; on the other hand “becoming serious” about music could mean losing some of that freedom.