27 May 2009

Expanding into Music

Update: New music website opened.

I have just opened a new homepage for my music projects. The site will list works that are available, with background information, lyrics and links to downloads.

I have made this website independent of the main site in order to have information available in a clear and concise form for anyone potentially interested in my music, and also in order to better tailor the aesthetics of the site to suit the content.

There's no real new content yet, but I have been hoping to do something in the not-too-distant future... I won't say any more about it before I actually have something to show, though. (Which, knowing me, may be a long while yet...)

17 May 2009

The Concept of Concepts

I've just been getting acquainted with Rhapsody of Fire. It's not half bad. The singer isn't quite my cup of tea, but he's not particularly annoying either. (Like I've said earlier, the vast majority of metal for me is ruined by vocalists I don't care for. Well, the same applies to any genre really.)

Now, this type of music seems to rely heavily on the idea of the concept album. Rhapsody of Fire has taken this to the extreme by creating an epic fantasy saga spanning multiple albums. This has its pros and cons. The idea of a continuing saga is pretty cool, but it means you really need to listen to the entire work as a whole, and it is harder to really get into.

Nightwish, on the other hand, while it can be seen as working in the same genre, symphonic power metal, doesn't do concept albums (or at least such themes are much more subtle). Songs are complete in themselves, which means they hook you in a very different fashion. It was a single song by Nightwish that got me interested in them, and the whole symphonic metal genre. And after that single some came another, and another, and another... great, anthemic songs you can just listen to over and over.

Whether it has something to do with the different approach to songwriting, or simply a result of different personalities and songwriting skills (not to mention the very different style of vocals), it's hard to say, but I don't think this type of music can ever have quite the same appeal to me that Nightwish, for example, has. The same applies to most concept albums, in all genres, not just Rhapsody of Fire and other metal albums. Take Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm, for example. While there's much to speak for it, it just doesn't hook me in the same way that the albums before and after it do.

12 May 2009

Thundering Guitars

First thunderstorm of the spring today! Just a shower, but still. Nothing quite as refreshing, awe inspiring and beautiful as a good thunderstorm. I love them. Summer's coming, and fast. Most trees have leaves already, even if they're still small.

Ok, onwards. I'm working on a couple of little translations again. Which means I'll be getting a little money to spend again soon. This time I'm thinking of finally investing in a new electric guitar.

My old semi-acoustic Ibanez is, to put it bluntly, in disgraceful condition. The frets are hardly in great shape, and tuning it is a nightmare. It would need some major work to be suitable for any serious purpose. And even then, it's not perhaps an ideal guitar for, say, recording songs on my computer.

I'm not sure what to get yet. I'll have to visit stores and try some out. But it'll be a solid body guitar this time, probably with humbuckers, I think (the hum has always been a problem with the old semi-acoustic), possibly even active pickups, but I'll need to find out more about them, as I have no experience of them at all. Whether I want a tremolo bar is another choice I need to make. It'd have to be a locking tremolo system, obviously. Etc. Etc. It won't be an easy choice. It'll be easy to spend more than I should. But we'll see where we end up...