12 September 2011

The Game Master, Being the Story of Three New Songs

Late last Friday, or technically the early hours of Saturday, I finished the final touches on my latest attempt at recording music. The result is a three song 'maxi-single' titled The Game Master.

The songs were all written this summer, in a fit of geek-minded writing, which started when I decided to write a theme song for an RPG campaign run by two of my friends. (Yes, two game masters. Somehow they make it work.) Since I knew both of them have appreciated my earlier songwriting efforts, I thought this would be a nice way to repay the countless memorable afternoons we've spent in their imaginations. This became the song called 'In Time'.

So, I knew I'd have to record this song eventually, but I wouldn't have liked to release it all by itself. I've never been a fan of singles, I like to put on a record and enjoy it for a while. So I had the idea of writing a selection of songs all related to RPG's. I originally thought of even making it a full album, covering various games I've run or played in over the years, but I soon came to my senses. I've got projects with higher priority, so three songs was plenty for the time being.

The title track, 'The Game Master', is a humorous piece about, well, game mastering. Shouldn't require much explanation to anyone with experience of role-playing.

'In Time', as I said, is based on my friends' campaign, Ajoissa (usually referred to in English as 'In Time'). The lyrics are full of insider references, and I'm not going to expound on them. Just enjoy the weirdness.

'DeSired', on the other hand, is inspired by my own campaign Kin of Cerberos, which I ran a few years back, but is probably more readily understandable by outsiders, since it's a more narrative type of song. It's told from the point of view of one of the game's antagonists. I rather like the bittersweet balance of solemnity and humour in it. I see no reason why the two could not go together. (Hint: the title's a pun. Think fangs.)

I'm still learning how to make the best of my limited equipment and skill. Each of my releases has been a step forward, I feel, but I'm still not really happy with the overall quality (and perhaps particularly my vocals). This time around I had the advantage of having a new computer, and sound input (in GNU/Linux) functioned somewhat better than on my old MacBook. The major difference, however, was in the heavier use of software, in the form of effect plugins and mastering tools. You will hear the extensive use of reverberation, for instance (an intentional choice, which may in part have been influenced by the post-rock etc. I've been listening to lately). I also used compression for the first time, which, particularly in the case of vocals, I think definitely improved the overall quality and evenness of the sound.

The songs can be listened to at SoundCloud (also available at Last.fm, if that's more your thing). MP3's, lyrics etc. can be found on my music website.

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