Remember how I put up a demo of Nothing Left To Lose, the album I'm hoping will someday be distributed on physical mediums, as a Patron reward at my Patreon? In case you don't, it's a digital download of twenty of my finest and/or most popular achievements, up to The Instrumentality Project. It's assembled Artist's Edition style, with individual track art for your media players, and a PDF booklet of album art and liner notes. It has a track list that looks something like this:
01. "Jade's Theme (Introduction)"
04. "Darkest Dreams"
05. "Slowly Scooting Closer"
06. "Safe in Cars"
07. "Passage Through The Veil"
08. "The Last Waltz"
09. "Winter's Salve (Fecund Remix)"
11. "The Nocturnal Dervish (Simplified Mix)"
13. "A Different Story"
14. "The Seventh Swan"
15. "Wrong Pocket Kinda Day"
16. "Cold Sunlight"
17. "The Cloud Walkers (Selenophilia Spin)"
18. "The Tranquil Isles"
20. "Fistfuls of Whimsy (Alternate Spin)"
Of note is that new versions of "Jade's Theme," "Winter's Salve," and "The Nocturnal Dervish" were written for this demo (actually, I'd been considering playing around with them some more for quite awhile; the demo gave me an excuse) before they were included on The Instrumentality Project. The Alternate Spin of "Fistfuls of Whimsy" had been floating around for some time without being on a public album, so technically, it was written and recorded before Project's release.
Several months after I assembled the demo, I created an alternate cover to reflect the change of my logo.
Now, the choosing of the demo's track list was very difficult: sone songs that seemed like obvious choices were left out, as were some of my personal favorites and others that I consider integral to my body of work. This led me to consider creating a companion for the demo, which sat as an idle, occasionally morphing playlist in my iTunes for some time. The spur to action on this was the birthday of a long-time supporter who became a close friend. I began picking out other "essential" songs, combing through my back catalogue - again up to The Instrumentality Project - and it quickly became apparent that what was intended to be a short sort-of-sequel was again going to be an album of considerable length, with a lot of difficult choices to make...again. For the sake of symmetry I limited the companion album to twenty tracks, which include:
02. "The Ground Up (Rebuild)"
03. "Dead End"
04. "They Delving 3.0"
06. "Vainglorious Wrath (Alternate Spin)"
07. "Odd Gastropod"
08. "Lily White" (featuring Alejandro Saldarriaga Calle)
09. "Waltz with Lilith (Claim)"
10. "Interim (Alternate Spin)"
11. "I, Supplicant"
12. "A Good Mourning"
13. "Mr. Douter"
14. "The Manic Widow (Feral Bitch Mix)"
15. "Momentum (Higher Gain Mix)"
16. "Jaded (Alternate Spin)"
19. "Quiet Holler"
20. "Winter's Remix 2.0"
To make this a little more special than the demo, I took more time in creating the track art and the booklet, just for Elodia Von Raben's birthday present...which ended up being a little late. But hey! my long-term Patrons tend to get special compilations or new versions of (or entirely new) songs, so consider making a pledge, and then sticking in there as I create new additions to my "official" discography and remember: I don't charge until the end of the month of an official new EP or album's release. In other words, you don't pay until I put out. Of course, a pledge can always be a one-time thing, but I try to think of creative free content for the Patrons that hang in there.
Bringing the focus back to the demo and the companion album - once again, I had a hard time choosing only twenty songs (heh, only) from the around-100 that remained. I went over the limit by three songs, and then had a hell of a time choosing which would be excluded. I finally decided that "The Hallows," "Interlude," and "Solace" would be left out. "Solace" was an especially hard choice, because my intention had been to use it as a quiet closer for the album. I'd already included a version of "Winter's Salve" on the demo album, but "Remix 2.0" has always been very well-liked, and it fit in better - so out went "Solace" and in went "Winter."
Those three weren't the only ones that I'd left out - they were just the most difficult of the narrowed-down list to remove. It really didn't sit well with me, and the idea to make a "remainder" EP - a free one to help bring attention to the demo and companion at my Patreon - came around not long after the companion's creation. For this, I was able to choose seven songs, in homage to my non-commercial seven-track EPs of old, to turn a "two-disc set" that I had been calling 40 Essential Songs into a collection of 47 Essential Songs. I really feel like this distills my discography to the songs I feel are most important in representing my body of work, as well as my growth as an artist. Now I have a dream of printing a limited number of copies, in CD form, of this collection with fancy artwork and a comprehensive booklet, as Patron rewards. I just have to come up with the funds and find the best way to hire out for creating well-made printings. I could do this by hand, except that the CDs I know of are more limited in length than what I would need, and I don't know how to print artwork on the discs themselves, let alone including the track art. My knowledge extends to burning a playlist and creating hand-made sleeves and booklets, like the physical copy of Dialectical Observations I made for my previous therapist.
Anyway, the above Addendum is notable in a few ways. Most obvious is a new Alternate Spin I wrote and recorded of "Solace." I'd often thought of going over that song with some of the new skills I've acquired since the release of Revolutions, but I wasn't entirely convinced I'd find anything I'd want to change. I almost didn't bother, in favor of just including "Solace" as it is, as the quiet come-down closing the EP. However, I wasn't on any specific time table, so I went ahead and combed through it anyway. At first, there was only some slight rewrites made to the acoustic guitar and the strings, but the further into the song I delved, the more I changed, usually expanding riffs that were one measure into two measures, sometimes rewriting whole instrument tracks. And, of course, the whole thing was remastered.
Also included is the Dialectical Observations version of "Signor Fancypants," without the abrupt ending that transitions into "Less Sinister Cousins" on that album. I know, Dialectical was released well after The Instrumentality Project, but the song is originally from Elemental, so I hope y'all will let it slide. Besides, I wanted to have several aspects that would set this apart from any of the other free downloads I currently offer. Therefore, I also presented this as a comparatively lazy example of the Artist's Editions that pepper the Patron rewards at my Patreon; it has individual track art, taken from the "real" Artist's Editions, and its own little PDF booklet. The main reason I'm offering this as a download on my Bandcamp (Snail Tunes) store first, instead of at my NoiseTrade store (where my free downloads not of my "official" discography inevitably end up), is because NoiseTrade doesn't offer the option to attach artwork to individual tracks. So if you don't download it from my Snail Tunes store while its still there, you'll miss out on that feature.
As I've been putting this all together, playing around with "Solace" has helped ease me back into songwriting mode, after the publishing and promotional circus surrounding Dialectical Observations. Almost immediately after the publishing of Addendum, I worked a little on the song I've been composing around the piano riff that "Passage Through The Veil" and "Overdrive" already have in common, and I wrote some additional strings and piano - and recorded some more test vocals - for the cover of Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?" that I've been promising Patrons as one of the upcoming Dialectical B-Sides. Maybe they'll be the two "B-Sides"/bonus tracks that I have in mind? We'll see. Hopefully is won't be months and months before I'm able to offer my supporters this Patreon-exclusive free reward.
Speaking of Patreon rewards, I'll close this post by informing y'all that the Nothing Left To Lose Demo and Companion albums now sit side-by-side on the upmost tier, along with the Artist's Edition of Dialectical Observations. Pledges of $10 USD or more not only include those rewards, but everything offered in the $1 and $5 tiers beneath it. You'd not only be gaining access to downloads of rarities and Artist's Editions with bonus tracks, but exclusives, compilations, and everything that I come up with to offer Patrons until you cancel your pledge. Like I said before, pledges aren't collected until the end of the month of my next major release. I don't charge monthly like most other Patreon artists do. Again, you don't pay until I put out.
Anyway, with the Nothing Left To Lose Demo and Companion rewards combined with this free download, you will indeed have the whole collection of 47 Essential Songs - my back catalogue distilled into the songs that have seen me evolve and reach new heights in my compositional prowess. For now, until I can convince you to become a Patron, enjoy the Nothing Left To Lose Addendum, and may your inner snails remain resilient and determined.