16 April 2012


Today I'm proud to announce the release of my new home recorded album Winged!

So, Facebook, eh? Love it or hate it.

Without it this newest release might not have come about, though. Early this year a meme was circulating. A creativity challenge, or whatever. The gimmick was that you promise to create something, with your own hands, for the first few people who comment on your post (with the assumption that they'll participate in the challenge themselves, of course). Since I'd for a while been thinking I should record some new songs, I thought this could be just the thing to motivate myself into actually getting around to it. So I promised all the commenters I'd compose and record a song for each of them and make them a CD of the resulting tracks. As an additional twist, I asked them to request topics for their own personal songs.

So here's a little background for the tracks on Winged:

I was asked for a final boss theme for my comic Escape from Lowresia. Obviously I don't know how the comic will end (assuming it will ever have a proper ending), but the character Vance White has been the main antagonist thus far, so I tried to imagine what might happen if he ever mutated into a powerful monster, as video game antagonists are wont to do. This became the song 'NeoVance'.

A couple of my friends requested songs about their characters in my RPG campaign Tales from the Teya'o Iva. 'Head in the Clouds' is about the captain of a pirate airship, while 'Winged' is about the Ta'oha, a species of winged felines, and their prophecy of a coming apocalyptic war. (I chose 'Winged' as the title for the album mostly as it was suitably simple, and as the theme of flying was present in several of the tracks.) 'Lost Soul', on the other hand, is about an NPC in another RPG run by friends of mine called In Time (about which I've previously recorded a song, likewise titled 'In Time').

The topics of a couple songs were left up to me. For one of them I decided to try doing an instrumental track. The name, 'Take the Skies', was inspired by the fact that there were already a couple songs touching on the topic of flying. (The line occurs in the song 'Winged' as well, although I came up with this title before I wrote those lyrics.) 'She's Gone Z', on the other hand, is a silly little number, the title of which came to me last winter while watching the first Resident Evil movie. I was getting close to the part where Rain turns into a zombie, and caught myself thinking: 'She's about to go Z...'

Musically the album is obviously still not professional quality, but it is probably the most impressive of my recordings so far. The arrangements are more layered, the guitar parts heavier and more rhythmic. There's definitely some metal influence on this one. I'm still not really satisfied with my vocal performances, and there are many, many little flaws if you listen to the tracks closely. (Keeping rhythm is not one of my strong points, and I had to do a lot of retakes on some parts before they felt steady enough. Getting a really clean sound on acoustic parts is also troublesome with my equipment, I'm not exactly working with studio gear here.)

As a novelty, I tried recording violin, but the sound was very unsatisfactory (not sure whether this was due to the mike, my playing, or what). (A bit of violin can be heard on the track 'Lost Soul', albeit with some pretty heavy effects that give it an eerie sound.) I was equally dissatisfied with my attempt at choir-like segments on 'Winged'. Recording many tracks of my voice was quite tiresome, and the resulting sound was too messy, so I gave up any thought of recording more.

I took a slightly different approach with this album than with previous recordings. Whereas the songs I've recorded before have been written, and rehearsed and performed acoustically, before the recording process, I begun this project from scratch, recording backing tracks before writing the vocal parts. The process took about a month in whole, although obviously I wasn't working on it full time most of the time.

As usual, the album is available online for free. You can stream it at SoundCloud. For more options and additional information, including lyrics and artwork, check out the discography page in my music section.

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