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Best Creative Commons Music of 2010, Part 1
1) Pixelord - Lucid Freaks Pt. 1 & 2 (Error Broadcast)
One of the most exciting stories of the past year was the growing visibility of Russian electronic music. Pitchfork highlighted many of the emerging artists in a feature article on the Moscow music scene, including Alexey Devyanin who has created music under the name Gultskra Artikler and now Pixelord.
Netlabel Error Broadcast released the latter's debut EP Lucid Freaks Pt. 1, a dizzying array of chiptune, hip-hop, and reggae influences two months into 2010 and followed it up with the equally great Lucid Freaks Pt. 2 - The Remixes one month later.
2) Girl Talk - All Day (Illegal Art)
This was a good year for Gregg Gillis AKA Girl Talk: his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA declared December 7, 2010 "Greg Gillis Day" and he released his fifth collection of party anthem mash-ups entitled All Day.
For those unfamiliar with earlier releases, such as the breakout album Night Ripper (2006) or the critically-lauded Feed the Animals (2008), Girl Talk takes immediately-recognizable pop songs of widely disparate genres and mixes them together to create a hybrid that is somehow even catchier than the sum of its parts.
If you had to pick one artist who is pushing the envelope in terms of what copyright and fair use should allow, it would be Girl Talk.
3) Geotic - Hearth (Self-released)
Geotic is the side project of Will Wiesenfield who also released the stellar Cerulean under his Baths moniker this same year. While the latter is more beats-based, Geotic releases tend to consist of warm drones that envelope the listener.
Hearth was recorded in the waning days of 2009 (between X-mas and New Years) and the reflective, wintry mood shows. This is great music for thinking, reading, or slipping off into dreams.
4) Kristin Hersh - Speedbath (Working) (CASH Music)
Kristin Hersh has been creating raw, uncompromising music for decades, first with Throwing Muses, then as a solo artist, and lately as part of the rollicking trio 50 Foot Wave.
In 2005, 50 Foot Wave posted a five track EP entitled Free Music as a free, Creative Commons-licensed download and from that point forward, Hersh has uploaded all of her new music through CASH Music, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting artists through open source solutions.
This particular collection of songs consists of demos Hersh recorded in preparation for her latest commercial release Crooked. Here Creative Commons provides an outlet for music that would normally end up on the cutting room floor, including the gorgeous title track "Speedbath."
5) Gepel - Kuska (Self-released)
Kuska is a wonderful example of the potential for serendipitous discovery of Creative Commons music.
This unexpected and refreshing release of Latin American-infused jazz, created by 13 musicians made up of "teachers, friends, and colleagues" offers eight vibrant and playful tracks recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Excited about Creative Commons and want to know more about it? Watch a three-minute video that explains some of the basics.