Observer [Preview]

Cobbled together a preview of my upcoming album “Observer” and put it on Soundcloud tonight, with a release date of 4/20/18 set.

This album ended up being more influenced by personal life than my previous efforts. Previously I was much more focused on atmosphere and evocation, though I think with “The Dream Edge” there were a few tracks transitioning away from that to more intimate influences. The past couple of years have been good to me, but also introduced new and unexpected challenges that, looking back, profoundly influenced my mood and creative output in both conscious and subconscious ways.

Another shift in inspiration I took was a more respectful look at the past instead of a relentless focus on the future, innovation and progression. I attempted a balance this time – I don’t care for the idea of executing pure nostalgia, but hinting at it with things like more jungle-influenced breaks, lo-fi bit reductions and fuzz, simple adlib-inspired FM sounds, samples from my favorite ambient albums of the past couple decades. Much of that came from re-listening to old favorite albums as well, from the early 90s’ evolution of techno and breakbeat to jungle and drum & bass, the late 90s and early 00s forays into IDM, even old .mod/.s3m/.xm/.it favorites from my tracking days.

On the other hand, I tried some new things with hardware this time as well – about half of the tracks were done primarily with an Elektron Digitakt and Korg minilogue, in an attempt to better focus my sound in a world of practically unlimited sound sources. A pursuit of simplicity and balance of negative space also played a role in a few tracks here – again, influenced by humble daily life instead of trying to evoke a sense of fantastic empyrean scale and energy.

The resulting whole might seem a little disjointed, but probably no more so than any of my previous albums or EPs. My primary goals in producing music are to maintain integrity of personal expression, channeling my favorite influences and memories into combinations that I enjoy, and in that respect I’m content with the result here, and hope you find some enjoyment in it too.

Distribution

Wow, my last update was almost two years ago.  I’m not actually dead, just busier than usual.  I had another kid so I can finally check off the ✓family complete milestone.

My last update was the Pyre announcement – in case you missed it, the game shipped on PC and Steam and Playstation 4 and was pretty favorably reviewed!

I finally managed to get my more recent music catalog onto the major distribution platforms, so in addition to Bandcamp you can now stream on iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, and more.

I’m in the process of finishing up a new album, as well as a cheeky synthwave-R&B fusion mix/mashup.  I’m aiming to have the former up within the week and the latter as soon as I can cobble together some appropriate artwork for it.

The Dream Edge

"The Dream Edge" Album Art

Finished a new album! This one is less of a unified concept than my previous LP, in fact it took some consideration (and a little time pressure) just to articulate the loosely unifying threads tying the individual tracks together into a concise title. In a sense it feels more a compilation of things I’ve worked on over the past year and a half or so. With varying levels of focus I’ve been exploring themes of hazy memories, nostalgia, dreams or dreamlike states or the blurry veil between conscious thought and dreaming. I think that ended up being manifested in more than one track by my process of starting with an initial theme or set of sounds and then filtering it halfway through, like looking at reality through the lens of a dream, or comparing the ideal of a concept to its reality.

As usual the energy level fluctuates from soporific ambient to frenetic 170bpm layered breaks. In the process of gathering material for the album I found myself questioning whether or not it’s a good approach to compile such a stylistically wide range of material – not that there isn’t any precedent for it, but generally the artists I listen to and am inspired by seem to release with much more consistency of theme. But ultimately it does feel like the right decision. As music production remains a hobby for me I have the luxury of working on it whenever inspiration strikes, crafting sounds to my own taste without external restrictions; so hopefully the end result has some purity of expression, hindered mostly by my own lack of technical ability to directly translate my ideas. And as a creative professional it’s liberating to have a method of expression that doesn’t need to answer to anyone else’s requirements, so I’m putting it together as I see fit. As such, I hope there is something on it for you to enjoy.

Listen on SoundCloud.

Purchase via BandCamp.

Bleemixes on Mixcloud

I was listening to my first “Bleemix” megamix/mashup today and decided that in the spirit of getting archived material back online and up to current standards I’d upload them to Mixcloud, so the first three are over on my new mixes page now.

Properly tagging the tracklists is rather time consuming, made moreso by the Mixcloud UI which was clearly designed towards mixes with 15-20 tracks as opposed to 110+ overlapping in my Bleemix series.  Also, I somehow lost the continuous mix for Bleemix 3 and had to patch it back together from the individual MP3s.  Fun fact, I tried four different solutions to this, all of which failed to provide a smooth and gapless continuous file, until I remembered Winamp’s “single file” Disk Output mode.  Winamp is still good for something!

Anyway I’ll have to save the final Bleemix 4 for tomorrow.

XM Archive Online

Over the years I’ve received occasional requests to put my old music up on YouTube, so today I finally set aside some time to make it happen.  I took all my old mods (mostly from 1996 to 2000), converted to 320kbps mp3 with foobar2k and encoded to video with ffmpeg.  The idea of using a video streaming service as a music sharing community didn’t sit right with me for many years, but I think it’s finally time I went with the flow.  YouTube’s ease of access is way beyond getting listeners to download a proper xm rendering player, to the point where the huge inefficiency of converting a 400kb mod into a 19mb video no longer bothers me.

So I’ve organized them into a playlist in chronological order as best I could remember.  I’m planning to do the same for my older MP3s that aren’t available on bandcamp or soundcloud soon as well.

Also intentionally found some garish old art I did in the late 90s as a backdrop, for added nostalgia.

Happy new year!