Release Date: 2015 May 01
License: CC BY-NC-SA
There are a lot of really good EDM, Rock, Pop, Ambient, experimental and a wide range of music styles being released under Creative Commons licenses these days. However, there are a few styles that aren’t as widely represented, mostly Jazz and Classical music. Fortunately for me, Magnatune is doing a really good job of plugging the gaps in these styles. Oliostere: Circonflexe is an excellent example of the high quality music that is being released by this label/
Circonflexe refers to the accent marking over vowels in some languages (French comes readily to mind). It’s use carries several different meanings, like changing the pronunciation of some vowels, or indicating the presence of a silent ‘s’, or distinguishing between two homophones. In other words, it’s usage doesn’t follow a strict set of rules, and can change given the context of it’s usage.
In the case of this recording, the Circonflexe is seen as being analogous to the establishment of multiples claves, or rhythmic patterns.which unite the music within the songs. Sometimes the claves used on this recording are simple, such as the opening track 1232; while other cases are complex and often polyrhythmic constructions.
And, while it would probably be a lot of fun to dissect the rhythmic and melodic elements of these songs, that’s not what most people are going to listen to. So, what is the best way to describe this release? Well, there is an classic jazz album that immediately comes to mind as the father (or grandfather) for this release: Time Out by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. While hailed as being one of the ultimate cool-jazz releases, this record featured songs like Take Five and Blue Rondo ala Turk, which quickly burn themselves into your memory for their rhythms and melodies at the same time.
Oliostere has picked up where Dave Brubeck left off, penning eight tunes that are easy to listen to despite some being fairly complex in rhythm and structure. It’s the effortless combination of rhythm and melody on tracks like Tirades and 1232 that burn themselves into your memory, and make you tap your feet or bob you head with them.
Jazz music has often found fascinating depths in claves, and various rhythmic devices over the years. this is a release that celebrates that fascination, and picks up on many of the classic elements that have made these types of tune fun to listen to. It’s kind of lick getting an education in rhythm while not realizing that you are learning anything. Which is cool, and it’s the key to the success of this album.
Another key to the success of this release are the guest artists: Olivier Koundouno on Cello on MMM, and YéYé Toon’s vocals on Daga Dit Gouda and Polymophisme. Both artists bring a lightness and extra element of fun to the proceedings (especially love the scat work of Toon on Daga Dit Gouda).
Jazz and Classical music are well under-represented in the Creative Commons world. Fortunately for those of us that love these styles, Oliostere: Circonflexe makes an excellent edition to fill in one of these gaps. It’s just a lot of fun listening to the rhythms and polyrhythms on these tracks, and the fun the musicians are having playing these tunes. They will stick with you in the same way that Take Five or Blue Rondo ala Turk have stuck with us for so many years.