29 April 2012

From the Musician's Archives: Demon Armour Mamori

Didn't I just release an album of brand new songs? Why yes, I did. (See here for info, in case you missed it.) So what's this, new music again?

Well, not exactly new. I was looking through old archives and came upon some old experiments, some of which have never seen the proverbial light of day, and figured they actually might deserve to.

First, a bit of background. In the late 90's I was introduced to a classic piece of software called Impulse Tracker. 'Trackers', according to Wikipedia, are 'music sequencer software used to create and edit module files; they allow the user to arrange notes (pitch-shifted sound samples from the module) stepwise on a timeline across several monophonic channels.' I messed around with the technology a fair amount in those days, both for the fun of it, and as part of game programming projects I was working on around that time (none of which were ever completed).

Since these pieces were made out of samples, which back in those days tended to be small and low grade, due to limitations in file size and storage space, the sound quality isn't very amazing. But of course this does not mean the compositions themselves are uninteresting.

So, back to the album at hand. It's titled Demon Armour Mamori. This was the title of an anime influenced sci-fi tabletop roleplaying game I was planning sometime in the early 21st century. I never actually got round to running the game, and it seems unlikely now that I will, since I'm much more invested in several other gaming projects. Back then, however, I started work on what was to be a soundtrack album, of sorts, inspired by the game. It was never finished, but I had composed half an hour's worth of music. Which I then all but forgot about for years.

The first six of the eight tracks on the album are from that project. Tracks 3 and 5 are actually composed of short segments of songs that were never finished. My notes for the game are a little sketchy in some parts, and I could find no notes concerning the music project, but I tried to write up the main points of the story for the album's web page (it's not necessarily identical in all aspects to what I had in mind back in those days, but that doesn't really matter). A couple tracks had incomplete titles, so I basically had to make up new names for them...

Another old project was a horror computer game concept called Beyond the Bridge. It was abandoned long ago (although I've since used the setting for tabletop RPG's), but I did manage to compose a handful of music for it. Since these were mostly fairly short pieces, I decided to combine them into a single track for this album, titled 'Beyond the Bridge Suite'. I was very much inspired by the Silent Hill games at the time I composed these, and this track, as well as the game concept, could essentially be seen as a tribute to them, and composer Akira Yamaoka.

The last track, called 'Adamant', has no specific context that I can remember. I don't even know why I picked that particular title for it, but saw no reason to change it (anyway, coming up with good names for instrumental pieces is hard)...

I'm not sure how to classify this album. There's a wide range of influences, from ambient and industrial sounds to rock and video games... I touched the tracks up just a little bit (adding a bit of reverb etc.). They could certainly benefit from some more work still, but, frankly, I can't really be bothered. These are a part of my past, not the future.

This one won't go up on SoundCloud, because free accounts there have a limited amount of space, and I don't consider this a very high a priority, or representative of my current musical endeavours. You can grab the MP3's from my website, and they should eventually be up at Last.fm (though as I'm writing this there seems to be some technical problem with uploading). EDIT: You can now also stream the tracks at YouTube!

I've also divided the discography page of my music section into two parts, one for more current works, and the other for these 'oldies' (stuff that differs from my more recent endeavours either stylistically or in terms of quality).

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