Sunday, May 24, 2015

Reprise

This album has been a relatively long-time coming, remaining in the planning stages longer than most, while I'd been giving it time to breathe and to let whatever ideas may come manifest themselves. I was also working on Instrumentality at the same time, which was a bit of juggling act for me, as I was planning two playlists and not sure exactly what I was aiming for with either. In the beginning, I had a playlist called "Era" and a playlist called "Pentacental - The Alternate Spin," and before long those two were joined by "Instrumental 2.0" and "Pentacental Reprised." I sometimes confused playlists, as they were each experiments for a different idea, and I would begin editing one as if it were another. These playlists also had half-finished songs among them and kept being joined by new ones.

The Pentacental playlists were two different approaches: "The Alternate Spin" was an idea for a playlist purely of alternate versions of songs from Pentacental with new songs to fill the gaps of songs I didn't have alternate versions for. "Reprised" was to be a sort of "Deluxe Edition" of Pentacental, containing all the original songs, plus alternate versions and new songs. However, as I was planning them, the track lists were also growing. Before I abandoned "Reprised" out of frustration, it had grown to fourteen tracks, with an idea for a "two disc" (if digital releases can have two parts) release, except what would be the point? Pentacental is already its own EP available for free download, so why include a "disc" of the original tracks? At that point it made the most sense to just focus on the alternate and new songs.

I think at that point there was around eight tracks, but as I played around with the track ordering, the list continued to grow. I'd intend to spend a night polishing or finishing specific tracks and find myself working on altogether new ideas that just sounded like more fun to work on at the time. Which is the main reason why this release took so long. I'd have the tracklist pinned down, only to have a new song join it out of nowhere when I was supposed to be putting the finishing touches on the songs that I already had.

At the point where I decided to leave out the original tracks of Pentacental, this was to be another seven-track EP, and an alternate version. "Introducing..." would be retired, "A Minor Distraction" would be left out, "Winter's Salve" was already an alternate version and would remain the same (as I couldn't imagine trying to remix that song and also couldn't imagine leaving it out), and "Glory and Wrath," "To The Grind," "Giger's Lullaby," and "Dusk Devils" already had alternate versions. This just left coming up with two new songs to fill in the gaps and then the EP would be done, right? The tracklist should have just ended up looking like this, as a seven-track companion EP for Pentacental:

1. "Pentadactyl"
2. "The Ground Down"
3. "Winter's Salve (Alternate Spin)"
4. "Dusk Devils (Nocturnal Dervish Mix)"
5. "I, Supplicant"
6. "Waltz For Giger (Step Softly)"
7. "Vainglorious Wrath"

A quick and easy release that would allow me to devote more attention to the publication, distribution, and promoting process for my first widely-distributed release, Era or Instrumental 2.0 or whatever it was going to be at the time.

But the ideas kept coming, and as I've been practicing approaching my music from a more relaxed standpoint lately, I decided to let them come. For one thing, I wanted this release to include every new post-Pentacental song once I decided that Era was out and Instrumental 2.0 was in. This meant that "They Delving" (and I was seriously considering an attempt at version 2.0") should be included, as well as a version of "Waltz With Lilith" (So Glad You Came was to be included at that point), and "Trip-Hop Thing" was debatable as to whether it would fit with the Pentacental vibe I was going for. "Hell Is For Reels" and "The Snail Plays Piano" were definitely out.

So the tracklist lengthened and evolved, and I kept on writing and recording whatever ideas came to me at the same time. An idea for a purely synthetic-sounding version of "Dusk Devils" gave birth to "The Replicant." I wanted altogether new versions of both "Waltz For Giger" and "Waltz With Lilith." After much hesitation and dread, I finally shut myself in the Ford Fiesta with the iPad and my headphones, having discovered a monitor option on the microphone program I've been using (so I could actually hear myself while recording!), and set to attempting version 2.0 of "They Delving." In the meantime, I had been entertaining myself with seeing if I actually could remix "Winter's Salve" without entirely butchering it. And while it certainly is butchered, I think it actually works, but mostly I decided to include it because I had a lot of fun working on it. "They Delving 2.0" is included because I think I did actually improve the vocals and I like the additions, though there's one part where I recorded I-don't-know-how-many-takes and couldn't get it right and finally got to the point where I decided, "I am going to include this take no matter what." I sort of wish I hadn't as the rest of the vocals sound pretty damn good.

Anyway, that's how this "Deluxe Edition"-turned-companion-EP became an eleven-track album of rehashes and new songs. I'm enjoying it, and I hope y'all find your patience has been rewarded.