Ready to get in the holiday mood, but feeling Scrooge-like with your money? Here are some free tunes to get your Yuletide festivities underway:

The Garritan Personal Orchestra forum has become more than a place for users of this sampled orchestra library to troubleshoot and ask questions — it really is a community in its own right. From sharing new compositions to assembling an orchestration guide, the GPO users are busy. Their latest creation is an 18-track album of (mostly traditional) holiday music, arranged for the sampled virtual orchestra of GPO. Download the music, or Garritan will even send you a CD. While you’re there, scroll down for a rendering of the Nutcracker in GPO — even if we might start to prefer it on bike parts. Now in its third year:

Garritan Christmas Music Player

That’s all fine and well, of course, but where’s the Reaktor Christmas Album, featuring all your holiday favorites rendered completely unrecognizable on far-out synths? (Finally, “This Christmas” made bearable — by re-arranging it for a microtonal granular synth that completely obliterates the horribly annoying melody? Native Instruments forum users, can you deliver?)

Moving on to a somewhat naughtier Christmas mix, our favorite mash-up DJ has cooked up yet another X-mas music stew:

DJ Riko Christmas Music Mixes

I never feel in a holiday mood until I hear Boris Karloff’s voice. And nothing makes my guests start to chug the Egg Nog like the dulcet tones of The Partridge Family singing Jingle Bells. And, while the Garritan effort is admirable, it doesn’t feature “the best drum-and-bass Christmas song you’ll ever hear and also features what just might be the best use of sleigh bells ever.” All of Riko’s holiday back catalog is there, too, so the insanity never has to run out.

Sorry for the slowdown, incidentally, folks — more “hard news” from CDM next week; we’ve got a lot of stories in the pipeline. Well, and more frivolousness, as always. That can’t only come but once a year.

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