It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here: my new album PixelRustMuzic is set for release on Pink Dolphin Music Ltd. December 23rd, 2018. Just in time for the holidays!
About now, you should have access to the official Bandcamp pre-order; you’ll be able to reserve a digital copy or even a limited edition CD or cassette alongside it. Three tracks from the album (“Thoughts in Storage,” “Ad Hominem (Cultural Damage),” and “Resolved”) are free to download individually.
Today, I want to share my experiences with the making of these tracks in particular. (I have plenty to say about the rest of the tracklist, but that would be spoiling the surprise!) They would not only be fun stories to pass around, but delightful complements to the music itself.
Thoughts in Storage
Original title: “Thought in the Back of My Mind”
Late last year, I started out messing around with drum textures and additional sounds. Most of said sounds came from some free synthesizer plugins and even a bass guitar plugin tucked into the mix. I also utilized this synth sample I recorded from an online in-browser synth. What came out of it (before I added vocals) was a rather interesting piece of house music with a rather sparse yet effectively punchy beat, a 6-chord progression spanning 8 bars, and that was written in a key with mostly flat notes.
With regard to the words, it was a bit of a stream of consciousness relating to what was going through my mind some time after coming up with the instrumental: conquering inner demons, ideas about the future, and my own introverted tendencies. I came up with a fun and bouncy delivery for the first verse and even a short rap verse where I assert my dominance over whatever’s been messing with me my whole life. Throw a vocoder over the chorus set to one of the main melodies, and I had myself a fine track.
And that weird GPS-sounding thing at the end? That was the last thing I threw onto it. I was inspired to include it after hearing some skit/ad/I’m not sure on NPR one night and got the urge to make it my own. It makes a nice thematic transition into the following track, “Fulton,” too. (Fun Fact: According to one source Atlanta, GA has as least 71 streets and roads named variants of Peachtree.)
Ad Hominem (Cultural Damage)
So about that title: It’s Latin for “to the person,” and it’s often used to describe when someone targets a person with an argument rather than the argument alone. It’s reminiscent of some of my current views of artistic critique: as much as it is generally meant to point out ways to continue evolving art for the better, it’s sad to see how many critics have made a habit of utterly dismissing the talents and effort of artists. To make matters worse, this is apparently one of those things some people seem to be really engrossed in, judging by how many clicks such pieces often get. I might write another blog post on the subject later on.
I got the general idea for the song earlier this year while I was doing dishes one night. This rather twisted waltz that could be played by a hypothetical band of mine, along with a few lyrics, entered my head out of seemingly nowhere. I knew I had to make it into music reality as soon as I could get back on my computer. From there, I came up with the chords, applied a string instrument sound, and adjusted the beginnings of each note as to emulate the strumming of an acoustic guitar. I made good use of my Korg Volca FM digital synth as well as a resonant bassline and trap-inspired drums. I ultimately decided not to include any lyrics or vocals; I reckon that it is best appreciated when you can hone in on the instrumental and the instrumental alone.
I actually wrote the lyrics before I really finalized the instrumental this time around, or rather I didn’t intend to put them to this particular instrumental initially. The idea was that I would write a rap verse or two in which almost every single syllable rhymed with another syllable at the expense of really knowing what the hell I was actually writing about overall. And it was rather tricky to record it and come up with a flow that best suited it. And that’s the beauty of ambiguity.
The instrumental I eventually settled on is a highly melodic piece with buzzing synths and what I would describe as a “rolling” beat. It’s dense, it’s got a beat change partway through, and overall a very satisfying tune. I had the verses and hook laying around, so why not use it sooner than later?
That idea actually came to mind while I was working on a collab with a fellow riddim (a dubstep subgenre that has nothing to do with Jamaican music) producer, Pryzd (which is a bonus track that comes with the album, BTW) earlier in 2017. I reworked the instrumental’s structure and incorporated his production bits. That version came out first.
It wasn’t until later on that I would go ahead and put those lyrics over an export of the original version of the instrumental, and that’s what you’re hearing right now.
Don’t forget, the album comes out December 23rd and you can pre-order it NOW.
Thank you for reading and have a fantastic rest of your day!