Thursday, 14 May 2009

Update on my next album: Of How a World Is Built

Hold your horses: the thing still has a LONG way ahead before it can be considered finished. Still, I feel confident enough to give some info on how it's coming along.

This album has been a real headache. I'll be honest. Big Robot, Little Robot was challenging, tricky, somewhat time-consuming and sometimes frustrating to make. This bastard, though, is just time-consuming beyond all imagination. But then again, whose fault is it other than mine? I can't complain. The problem, basically, is that the songs are LONG, the arrangements are THICK, and the requirements I've set to myself are way beyond what I did on the previous album: brass, woodwind and string ensembles in nearly every song? Check; complicated and carefully balanced quiet/loud and slow/fast dynamics? Check; breakcore section with dozens of different drum sounds? Check; pseudo-neo-classical collages and juxtaposition of parts? Check. Yeah, all that and a bit more

Good news, though: the album IS progressing. My initial plans were to first write the album ENTIRELY, and only then start the recording. I felt that mixing those two processes was slowing me down and sidetracking me, so I decided to keep the recording details for later, until I had all the melodies, arrangements and instrument parts worked out. The result is that the songs are all in a pretty advanced state. Here's a rundown:

  1. roughly 12 minutes long. Nearly finished. Only a few parts left to write and details to fix.

  2. about 9 minutes long. Almost finished. A couple of parts left to write.

  3. about 8 minutes long. Very advanced. A couple of difficult parts left to work out and closing portions left to write.

  4. about 14 minutes long. Pretty much finished. Probably nothing left to write.

  5. about 16 minutes long. Advanced. Several difficult parts left to work out, but might be more simple than I estimate.

As you can see, the whole thing will be about 60 minutes long. I had planned another 40 minute album or so, but the songs turned out to need more than that.

Anyway, I have now broken the plan to keep the recording stage for later. I'm already setting down the recordings for the first track, and let me tell you: I'm quite impressed. I had never imagined that I'd ever be able to make my MIDI works sound so vigorous, dynamic and convincing. I'm trying pretty hard to keep myself away from making it sound "realistic", because that was never my goal. The sounds, however, are very alive. The drums are amazingly dynamic and responsible; the guitars sound pretty thick, without falling headfirst into Uncanny Valley (at least it seems to ME); there are sampled MELLOTRONS, produced by a freeware VSTi called Tapeworm, by Tweakbench. Seriously, I'm really excited by it.

As for the title, I have settled with Of How a World Is Built (Music Without Emotion) several months ago. The primary title is justified by its "concept" (hint: it sort of follows the trend of the previous album), and the secondary title is something I've been carrying for a pretty long time, and I think this album is just the right one to put it in. The thing will be explained later on. The main point of this post is to inform that, yes, I'm STILL working. Maybe way slower than I wish, since college and work take away much of my time, and this album is littered with "dead ends" that I have to beat. But I'm doing it. Maybe by the end of the year I'll have a finished product, or something very, very close to it.

And, if my mood is good enough, I might put up the first track for a sneak preview once it's finished.

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