Music

A change of heart

The last song I was working on for Results Not Typical just wasn’t really coming together, so I’ve decided to shelve it for now. There’s a possibility that it’ll pop out again at a future date, but who knows.

As a side effect, that means that all the music for this album is now completed. Done. Finished. This is exciting! Of course I’m likely to go tweak a few bits that bug me, I always seem to do that at the eleventh hour. But as a whole, this baby is in the can. Mmm, canned babies.

But what about the seventeen-song opus that it once was? It will still actually be seventeen songs, since as soon as I’d decided to shelve one song another one popped up. A simple 12-bar blues entitled “The Clock on the Wall in Limbo”, this one definitely has to go right in the middle someplace. No, I still haven’t picked an order yet, but I am at least working on that part. My immediate future in Psycliq will have me listening to this batch of songs again and again until I am completely sick of them, at which point I will release them for the world to hear.

Stay tuned.

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Music

Album ordering

The concept of an “album” of music has been decried by some as an outmoded restriction imposed on us in a time of physical media. To some extent, I agree with that, and what I’m doing with Mergers & Acquisitions, Inc. is in direct response to it. In that case, the track list isn’t static, and I’ll be putting more into it in the future.

However, I don’t think that the anti-album sentiment is completely true, and I’m taking a more traditional approach with Results Not Typical. In such an album, the order of presented tracks is vital. The feel of this album is quite dynamic, with soft piano on some songs, crunchy blues guitars on others, and a whole range of oddities in between. I even have one track that was recorded entirely using the Wavedrum, and nothing else. Some are long, many are short, and each is unique.

So how does one go about picking the order of songs? The best solution I’ve come up with is just listening to it again and again, paying attention to the transition points, and feeling what works and what doesn’t. The first and last songs are already settled: “Setting Out” and “Closure”, respectively. But I still have to figure out what journey I want to take people on in between. It just so happens that there’s a fair bit to see along this road.

An added consideration this time around is the fact that, for the first time, I’m going to be using a printing service to handle the insert cards for the physical CDs. Thus far, all of my physical albums have been completely home made. Now I have yet to see their results in person, but CD Poster Shop looks to be pretty promising. Small runs, pretty low cost, and almost certainly higher quality than what I could pop out of my home printer. I’ll still be running the CDs themselves at home, and they’ll still be CDRs with LightScribe-printed labels, since I don’t sell enough copies to warrant a regular replication run. But I am selling enough copies to make printing the disc inserts a bit of a pain. A downside to this is that it does add another week or two of lead time to the project being fully released, since I need to have the final song list and ordering set before I can purchase the insert cards.

As far as the album itself goes, I’m just about done with 15 of the 17 tracks right now. I might make a few tweaks to the ones that are “done” before ultimate release, but the songs are at least in their final format. The last two are at least started, and I’m on track to get it out by the end of summer. The release will almost certainly happen on Bandamp first, followed by physical sales on CDBaby, with availability on iTunes, Amazon, Amazon MP3, Rhapsody, and all kinds of other places like that following some time after.

Production

Atypical

I’m not sure where they all came from, but I currently have seventeen (!!) tracks set up that will probably be a part of Results Not Typical. Of those, I have thirteen finished and four more to complete the recording, mixing, etc. These numbers are a little surprising to me, especially since this is coming less than a year after I put the wraps on halt. I guess that makes this album all the more atypical.

Part of what’s helped in this case is the stripped-down production and raw aesthetic I’ve been going for in this album. It’s not sloppy, really, but it’s a lot less tweaked-to-death than I usually do. And in general, I’m really liking this way of working. One of the hardest things to learn when making music is knowing when to stop, and that’s a lesson I still haven’t totally figured out myself. Sometimes, I push things past where they should have been, and sometimes I stop a bit too early and always wish I’d gone back and fixed that one bit that bugged me. But one thing I always do for sure: once something has been “released” out into the world, I leave it alone. I think it’s the most fair thing for the music, to let it have a solid definition at some point in time and space and embrace that. Maybe one day I’ll look back at these old recordings and decide to do a fresh “remixed and remastered” version, or something. But for now, what you hear is what’s there.

There are a lot of things coming up on the calendar in the next couple weeks for me, but I’m hoping to really start getting these last four songs tracked. Already have a decent scratch track set for “Dustwood”, and sketches laid out for the other three; I’m going to call that a good start on them. After all, I don’t want to have to leave anybody behind.

Music

These songs may seem familiar to you

I am proud to release a brand new, free, digital-only album today entitled “Mergers & Acquisitions, Inc.” exclusively on Bandcamp. That’s right, a free digital Psycliq album, yours for the taking right now. Here it is:

There’s a catch though: I didn’t write any of the songs. Not a one. Everything on this album is a cover or a remix of someone else’s music, the titular mergers and acquisitions. I did do all the arrangements and most of the instrumentation, though. And I suppose I did try to give each song the full Psycliq treatment, whatever that means.

There’s also something else funny about this album. It’s not a traditional album in the sense of it being a static collection of songs that have been fit-and-finished and will remain together as a closed set. Instead, this is going to be more of an online folder, a banner for me to publish future covers and remixes under. I intend for all releases under Mergers & Acquisitions, Inc. to be digital only and freely available online. For the forseeable future, it’ll only be available on the bandcamp-powered music site. What this means for you, dear listener, is that this album will grow with time. I’ll be sure to announce additions to it all over the place.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a replacement for Results Not Typical; rest assured that I’m still working on that project and do intend to have it up soon as well. But I didn’t want these recordings to languish on my hard drive forever. They belong on your hard drive instead. And all of your friends’ hard drives, so please hit that “share” link and tell everyone you know.

Production

An Inadvertent Time Warp

This evening, I was able to grab a little time in the studio to work on some stuff, and I found myself pulling out my trusty old Silvertone guitar and the shiny still-on-loan-but-I-promise-I’ll-give-it-back-sometime wavedrum and did some tracking and overdubbing for “Open To Suggestions”. This song started its life when I was asked to “just go play something on the piano for background music” in church one night. I just began noodling around and this neat lilting cadence came out. A friend joined me on the conga to add some structure to the rhythm, and things came together pretty quickly there. Back in my home studio, I was able to transcribe the piano parts from memory, and the wavedrum filled in nicely with a pair of percussion sounds to round things out.  I’m still not a very good drummer, but that’s OK for now.

Also when recording it here, I very quickly realized that it needed some kind of melody countering things over the top. This is something that electric guitars are very good at. So out came the big red beast and the little green Tube Screamer, and away I went. I was liking where things were headed, but something was missing about the guitar’s sound. Now, I’m really not much of a tone-head. I flail at knobs and settings on amps and pedals with no idea what I’m looking for, hoping that eventually something useful will come out. On a whim, I threw a flanger effect onto the guitar channel. That’s when something weird happened.

The song instantly turned into something from the early 1970’s. I’m not sure how it happened, but it went from being modern to retro as quickly as I flipped a switch. Mind you, the rest of the song that I’d been working on didn’t change at all prior to this. And in my opinion, this jump is just what it needed to find its home.

This may also be a sign that I’m turning into an old guy and starting to make old guy rock. We’ll just have to see how that one turns out.

Music

Preview Track: Those Born of Kings

The more I work on this album, the more excited I get about it. I want to give everyone a taste of what’s coming, so here’s a preview track!

You can download it right now for free with the download link above (just enter zero in the name-your-price field if you don’t want to pay anything!). But even more important is that “share” link. It lets you quickly and easily share the song onto the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and various other bloggy things.

Enjoy!