keep cool on the swimming pool

Yeah, for a lot of the northern hemisphere, one of these kinds of weekends. Photo (CC-BY) Frenchman Julien Haler. (Oh yeah, we really don’t say it enough – thanks, France! In fact, jeez, double thanks!)

Summer days and evenings for a lot of us are a perfect time for buying new records, listening to new mixes, exploring new sounds and samples and production techniques. And yes, while pundits worry about the failing value of music, I personally manage to stock up on free downloads and wind up overspending my budget on records, too. It’s good to be an enthusiast.

Here’s just the latest of what’s hit my inbox, for your enjoyment.

Moby recalls the 90s in his “old-school rave mix” for our friends over at XLR8R. It’s good, clean fun, a musical beach book perfect for a retro-tinged, rave-recalling holiday weekend here in the US.

Percussion Lab is a source of endless, fantastic musical mixes, so it’s hard to know whether to begin. For an Atlanta-style take on what summer is about, Sorted prepares an electro/club-style mix. Concept Audio‘s Scafolder goes on a headier, ambient-er journey called “Rain Man,” tinged with pianos and Idhren and Lusine textures – good stuff, as well. And if it’s techno you want, that’s covered, too. Check out the full set lineup on Percussion Lab’s immaculately-designed site.

If certain shirtless werewolfs are starting to make you feel like you need to hit the gym, there’s good news. After Australia decided to hike fitness class music licensing by a whopping 1500%, the good folks at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog prepared a nicely-curated set of Creative Commons-licensed, indie music from Dan Deacon to Mochipet. It’s nice listening, too, perhaps as much of a cure to bad music allergies at the gym as it is bad licensing policy.

Speaking of the Free Music Archive, if you’re in the mood for something a little synthy and dreamy, there’s an excellent mix by Tori y Moi live on dublab.

From Spain, various sonic goodies. Want to catch up on what you missed at SONAR? BBC has a graphical, clickable map of all the artists. Need a little dancefloor-friendly techno, and want it from a high-quality netlabel founder? Thomas Raukamp notes the latest work from Madrid-based Dessben and his Offaudio netlabel, and celebrates their move to SoundCloud.

Downloads for Producers

So, that’s some good poolside barbecue and workout fodder for you… but what if you’re looking for tracks to inspire your producer side? (Working on tracks can be a great way to cool off.)

Ambienteer, whose excellent work I covered last month, has been experimenting with contact mics. Learn about how he made music with an electric toothbrush and plastic wrap and hear the results:
Ambienteer blog

Explore some nice new ambient and minimal tracks from East Peoria, USA-based John Koch-Northrup.

SoundCloud has become a hive of free and Creative Commons-licensed samples, from musical tidbits to hardware and software. You could use it to grab new content and decide whether you really need ElecTribe on an iPad, all at the same time. (Make friends! Grab samples!)

SoundCloud themselves have a nice guide to what’s out there – a badly-needed reference, given that SoundCloud has become so busy, it can be downright overwhelming to the uninitiated.
Sample time! [SoundCloud blog]

Via groups and users, there are full, oddball sample collections, like this pool:

Sample Collections / Instruments / Loops


Tim Exile, working the mic live, (CC-BY) Keylight Photography / Jonathon Dow.

And there are artists like the wonderful Tim Exile, who live samples his crowds at his shows and uses SoundCloud to gather snippets from fans in advance of gigs. I think it’s my favorite set of this post; have a listen to some of his interactive, sample-generated work:

2006 – Tim Exile’s Nuisance Gabbaret Lounge by timexile

What are you listening to / sampling this weekend? Let us know in comments.

And since far be it from me to be accused of saying all music wants to be free, I hope to follow up soon with albums worth buying this summer. Nominations open … now.

Have a great weekend, and happy 4th of July, USA. (Hey, England’s over it, too — the Queen is visiting my neighborhood this week, celebrating the long history of the English here in NYC, and the great ties between our countries.)