It's quite rare that you get a full album for free from the Internet legally. It's even rarer that you find a fantastic one on a par with most big label artists. broken blossom is just that.

The album

broken blossom by Schlock! (real name Gianluca Licciardi) is a concept album which is available for free download and redistribution at the Internet Archive's Open Source Audio project (link). The music itself is classified as electronic, and owes quite a lot to Aphex Twin, The Postal Service and their ilk. One track (the only one with any discernible lyrics), "INCOMPLETE...", sounds a lot like The Bends-era Radiohead, but that is basically the only link to that genre in the music.

Also on the download page is a 1MB PDF file which contains art and seemingly impenetrable lyrical fragments related to the theme of the album (this is another similarity with Radiohead and their album booklets, which tend to contain small pieces of unused lyrics which are only loosely related to the album). Each song has a set of lyrics, but these are explicitly stated as "thought, not spoken". All in all, the document explains everything, and I presume the album would be very hard to follow or even understand without it.

The booklet also explains the production methods; the album is, it says, an experiment in the use of cheap electronica. 90% of the music is synthesised, and the other 10% is explained as being found sounds from equipment lent to the creator. Also included is a (probably not serious) statement that the album will damage ears if listened to through headphones. As it is, the music is very low fi; the MP3s linked to sometimes come at a very low bitrate (the Ogg files are better quality) and sound quality is sometimes lacking. This does not detract from the fact that the music itself is brilliant...some ingenious electronica, linked by a strong (if not very identifiable from simply listening) concept.

The concept

Really, if you want to know about the concept I suggest you read the PDF, especially the section at the end. For those unwilling or unable to read the PDF, the theme which links the album is said to be passion in all its forms, from hurt (in the descriptively-titled Short Cuts) to conformity (Xerox). Like I say, it isn't at all apparent from the music, and my description does it no justice.

Standout tracks are probably Something Wicked This Way Comes, INCOMPLETE_ and How To Generate a Cancer, but they're all good to some degree, with the least listenable being the two To Matildes which bookend the album (maybe a nod to Pink Floyd here). This album is well worth the download...it may be free but hell I'd probably pay for it if I got the chance. Highly recommended.

Track list

  1. The Living Song
  2. To Matilde
  3. Something Wicked This Way Comes
  4. Come What May
  5. Xerox
  6. Lies
  7. INCOMPLETE_Girls No guys 13 14 15 16 17 Illegal Lolita
  8. Short Cuts (edit)
  9. Yeah!
  10. Huillet Without A Straub
  11. Basic (Grand Promises)
  12. The Surface Of All Things (for Elliott)
  13. The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-in-the-moon Marigolds
  14. How To Generate A Cancer
  15. To Matilde (Requiem For A Love)
  16. Ashes To Ashes

Total run time: 1 hour, 19 minutes, 53 seconds

Download from http://snipurl.com/schlock. I highly recommend you get the Ogg files (use an FTP client and the instructions on the site to get at them all at once) as the MP3s are very low bitrate and have seriously screwed up track lengths for some reason, which may make your music player behave oddly.

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