Category Archives: Music

Introducing the side project: Painted Windows

Painted WindowsAfter about six months of figuring out how to meaningfully collaborate with another musician, I’m very happy to introduce all of you to my first real side project, Painted Windows. This is a collaboration between me and Kerry, a very talented lyricist and vocalist that I met during the Game of Bands competitions on Reddit. I’m handling most of the music writing production on the project, and she’s handling most of the words and signing bits. It’s a balance that’s working out well so far, and we’re very happy to announce immediate availability of our first track together, “Obscura”. We’re very excited to be able to release this track and are looking forward to many more works as Painted Windows going forward. Hope you enjoy it.

Of course, some of you may be asking, “Is this the end of Psycliq?” Rest assured, Psycliq isn’t going anywhere. Work continues on the new album, and we’re still anticipating a release by the end of this year.

New Album Coming: The Cure for Chaos Theory

If you’ve been following us on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll already know that we’ve been working on a new album for quite a while now. If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you’ve been privilege to more information about the project than everyone else and have even heard some preview tracks.

But I think it’s high time we take the shroud off of this.

The Cure for Chaos Theory Album CoverComing in the Fall of 2013, The Cure For Chaos Theory, the latest full-length album from Psycliq. The most ambitious project by band to date, The Cure For Chaos Theory promises to be a unique musical journey through space and time. Right now there are about twenty songs written for the album, with a little over half of those in a nearly-complete state. The album is going to have three distinct “chapters” to it, exploring different musical and thematic aspects of it. We’re taking a much more heavy-electronica path on much of this album, but styles also include driving rock and subtle ambient, all mixed together like you’d expect. There will even be vocals!

I’m pretty excited about how this project is coming out, even if it is turning out to be a huge amount of production work. Much of this material has been a long time coming, but I think it’s really going to be worth the wait.

We don’t have a definite release date yet, but we’re shooting for Fall of 2013 to have it all wrapped up. Once we get things a little further along, we’ll put up a preorder page for everyone. If there’s enough interest, we could even do a short run of special-edition t-shirts and posters to go with the CD release.

Exciting times ahead, friends. Be sure to keep tuned and you may even hear a track preview in the near future…

He Who Saw The Deep

Recently I’ve been turned on to Reddit, a kind of collaborative community news filter with a large dose of hyperspecialization sprinkled in. In any case, I stumbled across a subsection there called Game Of Bands. This section hosts a competition where musicians, vocalists, and lyricists get dropped into random teams and are given one week to create a track, from scratch.

Since I obviously didn’t already have enough to do in life, I decided that I’d throw my hat into the ring and write some music. I was looking forward to the collaboration and getting to step out of my comfort zone a bit. My team decided to build a track based on the Epic of Gilgamesh, trying to cover as much of the story as we could in a four-minute song. I got placed with some very talented team mates who really knocked their parts out of the park. As valiant as our effort was, we didn’t end up winning the competition, but overall I’m quite happy with how it came out. Here, listen for yourself:

I’m especially fond of the contrast between the electric piano and bluesy, understated guitar in the jazzy verses and the pounding drums and synths in the soaring choruses. I’ve decided to dub this genre “symphonic jazzmetal”, since I don’t know what else I could call it.

But whatever you want to call it, it’s now a free download as part of the ever-growing Mergers & Acquisitions free pseudo-album. Enjoy!

Winter Wonderland

Update: And once again, it’s gone into the vault. Listen again next Christmas!

It’s the holiday season, and that means that once again we’re releasing a free Christmas album, Light The Tree For Some Holiday Cheer. You can download it right now, totally for free, from our music website! You can also listen to the whole thing on line, also completely for free.

As we’ve done for the past few years, there’s a brand new track this year that’s been added to the album. This time around, it’s a very unique take on the classic “Winter Wonderland”, with a bit of an apocalyptic twist to it. I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t heard it yet, but I will say that it’s been getting good reviews from fans so far. I even put together a YouTube video for the track to make it even easier to listen to!

So check it out, download the track for free, then click that share button and tell all your friends!

House of the Rising CD

Originally, I was going to keep House of the Rising Sun a digital-only product, since I’m continuously told that that’s the future. We’ve sold a few copies that way, sure, but something was just nagging me about it. I finally just admitted that I’m a bit of a curmudgeon and went ahead and put together a physical CD package. Here you go.

These puppies are printed up by CreateSpace, the same company that now handles all of the copies of Results Not Typical. I was pretty happy with how Results came out and decided to give them another go.  (Side note: those of you that picked up the first edition of Results now have something very, very rare, since I’m not planning on printing any more of those myself, probably ever. Wait 30 years before you put it on eBay to really drive up the value.)

Honestly, the print quality isn’t as nice or consistent as a pressed CD, but it is darned close, and there’s no minimum order. In fact, there’s no warehouse of these anywhere! CreateSpace just cranks them out as people place their orders.

So what are you waiting for? Go put them to work! You can even get it in time for Christmas if you order soon.

Speaking of Christmas, work still continues on this year’s free Christmas track, and I’m hoping that it’ll be all put together by the end of the week. It’s turning out to be quite interesting so far. I may have spilled some dubstep on it, too.

House of the Rising Sun

After putting many hours into what was meant to be a simple cover song project, I am very glad to say that House of the Rising Sun is officially released and available for download.

Finally!

I’m not sure how many hours went into the production here over the last few months, but it’s easily one of the more complicated things I’ve done. I set out to stretch away from my comfort zone, experiment with some new software, and learn new techniques. Check, check, check, and check, more than I’d ever bargained for.

First off, this song’s just got a ton of layers going on. Many psycliq songs take a pretty straightforward rock band approach. You’ve got your drum kind of stuff, a bass instrument, a couple midrange bits to add texture, and maybe a melody up on top to carry things along. The first version of this has organ, drums, a couple guitars, bass guitar, two interlocking synths, a string pad, some sound effects, some vocals, and a solo line. And that’s just what I can remember off hand! It was quite a challenge putting all of these pieces together into something that sounded like a single song and not just a mush of noise happening. At least, I hope I accomplished that much.

Second, this was my first time around with a bunch of new versions of software, like ProTools 9, Reason 5, Amplitube 3, and others. Several of these were major upgrades with very different ways of working than what I was used to. I also had a few new tools to help the process, like the AKAI MPD18 drum pad, which works fantastic with Reason, and the nanoKontrol2, which works fantastic with Pro Tools 9. I also made an effort to master the songs a bit with TRackS3, and hope that I didn’t mangle the sound quality too badly in the process. But in doing so, I made sure to export all of the stems out to allow for remixes and the like in the future.

Third, and speaking of remixes, I simply couldn’t leave well enough alone. Once I’d basically gotten the main mix the way that I wanted it, I immediately started tweaking things around and making some experimental remixes. One of these added four additional tracks on top of the existing madness, if you can believe it.

There are four different mixes total in the single, with instrumental versions of each, bringing the grand total to eight tracks. The download also comes with a sixteen-page art booklet with illustrated lyrics, as well as a set of desktop wallpapers made out of the minimalist cover art. All in all, it’s a pretty sweet deal at only $2, if you ask me.

But you didn’t ask me, so I’m going to let you decide for yourself: go ahead and listen to it for free, right here!

If you like it, support independent music and tell your friends!

The Telegraph EP

Update: This album is no longer available for download.

Last week, my wife and son were out of town and I had the house to myself. I’m given to understand that this is when a poor bedraggled husband like myself is supposed to drink beer and watch Bruce Willis movies. Unfortunately for such plans, I am not a fan of beer and my wife is a fan of Bruce Willis movies and would have been upset if I’d had a marathon without her.

So what’s a man to do but hole up in the studio and record a whole new album! Ladies and gentlemen, I present The Telegraph EP.

OK, so it’s not exactly a whole new album. It’s more of an EP of cover songs. I recorded all six of these songs in straight takes with just an acoustic guitar and a vocal mic. No overdubbing, no special effects (apart from a touch of EQ and reverb to compensate for the terrible room acoustics I have here), and no fancy packaging. What you get is a raw collection of six acoustic tracks, not available anywhere else. And you can download it for FREE, right now!

But, I will admit, there’s a bit of a catch. In a world of constant availability and unexpiring archives, I wanted this little album to be something different. It was recorded on a whim with very little forethought or afterthought (or midthought at that rate), and while I want people to hear it, it’s going to vanish just as quickly as it came into being.

Starting tonight, the Telegraph EP will therefore remain available for free online for up to three weeks or fifty downloads, whichever comes first. At that point, it will takes its place in history. I don’t plan on doing any physical CD versions of it or releasing it on iTunes or anywhere else. It’s going to be a bandcamp-exclusive digital-only limited-time limited-quantity (and yet totally free) flash in the digital pan. After you’ve downloaded your copy, please tell all of your friends to grab a copy, too! Bandcamp even makes this easy with a little “share” button.

So why are you still here reading? Go download your copy today and be a part of history!

Rock Paper Armageddon

For the past couple months, I’ve been working on a Facebook game for one of my final projects in school. This game is called Rock Paper Armageddon. It’s a take on the classic game of Rock Paper Scissors with some interesting twists. You can play it for free right now! Go ahead, I’ll wait. It’s pretty fun.

So as part of this game, I wanted to make a simple but memorable soundtrack. I set out to make everything in ReNoise using a very small set of samples and only a couple of lo-fi effects to give it that nice NES-era chiptune feeling. It also greatly simplified composition, since I had a pretty limited palette to work from.

The results are now available over on the music site, and you can preview it right here:

It will probably remain a bandcamp-exclusive album, unless the game becomes a huge smash hit. In which case, I’ll put it up on iTunes, watch the royalties roll in, and retire to a private island someplace. Until that day, though, you can listen to it all for free online and download it for just a couple dollars.

Oh, and since it’s all Creative Commons licensed, you can use it in your own games!

Epic Epicness

I wanted to give you all a taste of what the folks on the Electric Goodies Newsletter get from time to time, so I’ve put up the EPIC REMIX of “every morning orange and blue” off of halt:

Clocking in at over 28 minutes long, this is an ethereal soundscape unlike any other.Well, maybe it’s a little like sigur ros. This song was created quite simply by using an audio stretching program on the original mix of “every morning”. I played around with it on a few of my tracks and really liked the results on this one. I actually liked the audio-wash effect on this so much that I’m going to be using this on a song called “The Chaos” that’s due to be on the next Psycliq album. Members of the newsletter have already gotten several clips of that track, too, so there’s some further incentive to join up. This also marks the first native Psycliq remix to be put onto Mergers & Acquisitions, but I think it still loosely fits the definition of the collection.

And don’t forget, download Light The Tree for Some Holiday Cheer for free today! It will only be available through the holiday season, then it goes in the vault for another year.

Track Notes Vol. 1.4

This is the final edition of track notes for Results Not Typical. Enjoy!

Incognito Shuffle

Spies are sneaky creatures. If you don’t see them, the feeling is not mutual. If you do see them, it’s already too late for you.

This started as a backing track to a face-matching game. We ended up not doing much of anything with the game, so this little ditty gathered dust for a few years before I decided to take it apart and rework it into this song. I really like the avante-guard feel here, like something out of a speakeasy, and the walking bassline really makes me want to buy a real upright bass. I’m not sure my wife would appreciate us keeping one in the house though, so we’ll have to pass on that for now. That said, on this album I actually did do a lot more with bass than I had previously, mostly because I couldn’t really rely on the synthesizers for the basslines and keep the aesthetic that I wanted to for this album, and I really love that pushing-the-microphone-past-its-limits sound.

They Came In Waves

The odds seem insurmountable. The hordes crest the hills on all sides, a seemingly endless onslaught of feral ferocity aimed directly at your head. As soon as one falls his kin rise on the opposite side. The question is not when but if this night will end.

This track was recorded entirely with the Korg Wavedrum and no other instrumentation. Consequently, it was also played live, and you should be able to tell just how terrible a drummer I really am. Mind you, this is even after gratuitous post-processing and many takes on each part. I think it’s because of all that that this song is actually my least favorite on the album, though it’s still interesting to me. I like the relentless sonic onslaught that the pounding layers of drums make, and the tribal adrenaline rush that it’s meant to feel like. In the end, I chalk it up to experimentation and call it a day.

Eyes In The Forest

A pair of small lights gleam at you from the dense wood. They seem inviting, whimsical, almost playful. When you’re close enough to see the truth, you no longer have a chance.

This started out as a simple guitar progression that I liked, played on my nylon string acoustic and recorded in one take and named, simply, “forest”. When I pulled out the sketch to start building it into something more, I ended up actually using the original guitar piece verbatim (with a touch of compression and reverb thrown in to draw out the tone). After laying down a simple synth melody over the top of it, I had it mostly where I wanted it — but it was very, very short and something felt missing. That’s when I dropped the synth down a few octaves and drew out the low growling noise to contrast with the peaceful, idyllic sounds of the beginning. Also, if you get a chance, listen to this with a good set of stereo headphones.

Closure

After many years of wondering and doubting, resolution finally comes. It may not have answered all of your questions to your satisfaction, but there is finally an ending to this tale.

The final song on the album, this one feels like a sigh of relief to me. I particularly like how it falls down through some lingering tension and strange harmonics before it finally comes to rest on that major seven chord. It really is a story of life, having spent years worrying about a past event you can’t change, wondering what might have been, only to finally let it go.

 

And there you have it — a collection of my inner thoughts for each song on Results Not Typical. I’m sure I’ll find something else to fill these pages here. In the mean time, I’m trying to find a way around the Amazon problem. I’ll probably have more news for the site in a week or two on that, but for now I’ll just say that I’m looking into a few things.