Monday, June 29, 2015


I came across this term on Facebook, posted in a group dedicated to discussing and celebrating mythology in artwork, particularly in literature, particularly in the works of Canadian author Charles de Lint. The post was a JPEG of this Portuguese word with the above definition in a very plain font, black type against white. It seemed very random, but I was immediately drawn to the word and identified with it very much. I knew pretty much the moment I read it that it would be the title for a record, if not the very next one.

While I had projects revolving around Pentacental on the brain with a few new songs leaking out, I pretty much ruined any plans for an EP of new material with the release of Reprise. Whereas I should have saved my new songs for a future release and moved forward with the idea of a deluxe version of Pentacental, I had instead been in a rush to release new songs and combined the desire to do so with the idea of Pentacental Overdrive. If I had held out, then this release would probably be an EP. However, Reprise does exist, but it didn't satisfy my desire to create an alternate release of Pentacental, just as creating Instrumentality hadn't sated the muse calling itself Era. Keeping my momentum is necessary to ensure that my creative juices don't cease to flow, and what better excuse to follow through on these semi-redundant projects than to have rewards to offer patrons who make pledges on my Patreon? What better excuse to announce my use of a crowdfunding platform to the public than to have these projects as rewards to offer those who would pledge?

So the month of May resulted in two very similar records stemming from the idea for a deluxe version of Pentacental, a Patreon page, a compilation album distributed to major media outlets, and a compilation album on offer as a patron reward. And somewhere in the mess of playlists that I had been constructing as outlines for possible records, trying to decide what would come next, I decided to make a list of songs I had released post-Instrumental, as I knew that a follow-up compilation album of the material that had come after that first one was in the cards for the future. Both Instrumentality and Era weren't it: Instrumentality was more of an Instrumental 2.0 to try out yet another tactic to reach potential audiences, and Era was more of a way to give my most faithful followers - my patrons - an improved version of Instrumentality. Kind of an Instrumental 3.0. Both of those records still recycled material from Instrumental.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had more than enough material to justify crafting Instrumental's follow up; that, indeed, the time was ripe. I already had a name picked out. I was in the middle of crafting new songs. I had already made the decision to publicly release Pentacental Overdrive, and by the time I finished promoting it, I would have new material to include on this new compilation and flexibility in deciding what would or wouldn't make it onto the record. It could have been even longer without being repetitive. There was really only one decision to wrestle with: to put out another EP before its release.

If it hadn't been for Reprise, an EP of original tracks from The Hypnotic Jamboree along with all-new tracks (tracks that had been on Reprise and tracks that you'll find included on this record) would have been justified. A seven-track EP consisting of, say, "Trip-Hop Thing," "The Replicant," "I, Supplicant," "Pentadactyl," "They Delving 2.0," and "Insults" and "Slowly Scooting Closer," which you'll find on this record. Maybe it would have been longer and included a "finished" version of "Hell Is For Reels" and a new song that I just released to patrons (and will remain a secret from the public for the time being). But dwelling on "what ifs" does nothing except for make a somewhat interesting story behind the development of what is: the follow-up to Instrumental and my second "official" Snail Tunes compilation, which I am extremely happy with and have been very anxious to unveil to you all: Nefelibata.

I hope y'all enjoy it as much as I have been. I am very pleased and proud. My apologies for the preceding redundancies. Hopefully this makes up for it. Along with the new original songs, you'll also find that some of the others have been edited in minor ways, while others, such as "Pentadactyl" and "They Delving," have changes large enough to justify calling them new versions. Many of these songs have been remastered. And the artwork... There is some gorgeous artwork in the little PDF booklet, with credit going to some fantastic artists. It's worth the download for those names and images alone, in my opinion.

Anyway, here's the fruit of another quarter-year of my labors. Between this and Instrumental, you can succinctly sum up half a year's worth of work. I'm happy that it looks and sounds like half a year well spent.

In closing, I'd like to express specific and enormous gratitude to my Patreon patrons, without whom I can guarantee I would never have continued persevering in this line of work. Thanks for making my efforts feel appreciated and even loved, because I am loving doing this for you.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tomorrow: This won't be no walk among the clouds...
Coming to you courtesy of patrons of The Lady anoNYMous on Patreon

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pentacental Overdrive

This comes as no big surprise, right? I mean, it really shouldn't. I first mentioned the possibility of this record in the post for The Hypnotic Jamboree as a future project. It was one of three playlists that I had going when I was constructing Reprise. Actually, Reprise was supposed to essentially be a deluxe version of Pentacental, but with a few new tracks thrown in as a kind of bonus. However, it didn't quite satisfy my vision for this record.

What I should have done was hold off on releasing anything until I had what Reprise was missing: alternate versions of "Introducing..." and "A Minor Distraction," and a satisfactory remix of "Winter's Salve." I should have saved the new tracks for an all-original EP to be released after this. But, you know, hindsight and all that... Instead, after releasing Reprise, I had most of the ingredients for Pentacental Deluxe and the idea still gnawing at me, which is why when I made my Patreon page and started getting the hang of it (this was days before I made it public knowledge), I decided to move forward on the missing ingredients.

When constructing "No Introduction Needed," I began with translating the piano melody onto cello. That got something really beautiful started, along with tweaking my trusty "Fifth Element" synth into something that sounded like a bottle flute. Then, of course, it was necessary to add a beat to this ballad. Something unexpected but fitting, which ended up coming from the "hip-hop" elements of my drum machine. And since I was already going through each instrument track and playing around with sounds, why not just re-record every fucking note? Why not change a note or even a chord here or there? The changes are subtle (I mean, aside from the ones that aren't) but they're all over the song. I actually did end up re-recording every track, even the parts of the piano track that remain relatively the same, and I love the end result. This was a hell of a lot of fun to work on, to comb through like that and re-construct. I can't get enough of it, so I apologize (probably too late, since I've already been promoting it on Snail Tunes) if I end up over-sharing it. I'm like one of those proud parents that shows you a picture of every little thing their child does until you wish the kid had never been born.

"A Not-So-Minor Distraction" was less intensive, and also less fun. I felt it was essential to keep the original drum track, similar to my feeling when I created "The Snail Plays Piano," but I added another drum track on top of it, similar to when I created the Whirlwind Mix of "Dusk Devils." I changed a little instrumentation here and there, the most notable probably being the added cello when the melody kicks in. I re-recorded the "Fifth Element" track, which was necessary after tweaking the track's sound. I remastered the whole thing. And, of course, I added electric guitars. "A Minor Distraction" always struck me as more of an industrial track; kind of industrial blues-rock. But it needed a heavier, grittier sound, I felt, to fully qualify as an industrial song. Did the electric guitars succeed in giving it that necessary quality? Not quite, but they have refreshed the song for me to the point that I'm enjoying listening to it again.

"Winter's Remix" on Reprise totally qualified as butchery. It was fun to make and interesting to listen to, but it didn't succeed in its intent and it really was just stringing along bits of "Winter's Salve" with a new beat. I really didn't think there was any way to succeed. But I gave it another go. I used my ears like I'd never used them before and thought very carefully on how to rectify every wrong-sounding measure of that song, how to make the intro no longer sound like shit, how to make the guitar parts more dynamic. I worked on it non-stop for hours at a time for days. And I'm happy with the result. More than happy, actually. I'm proud and thrilled. This is a successful remix of "Winter's Salve." I fucking did it.

Of course, if you listen to my music at all or read this blog at all, then you're familiar with the rest of the tracks on this album by now. This version of "Dusk Devils" first made its appearance on The Hypnotic Jamboree and has since overshadowed both the original song and the Whirlwind Mix, to the point where you'd think that "The Nocturnal Dervish" is the original song. I renamed it from "Dusk Devils (Nocturnal Dervish Mix)" because it is so popular and so much its own entity that it deserves its own title. That, and it's less awkward. "Vainglorious Wrath" first appeared alongside it on Jamboree and stole most of its elements from "Glory and Wrath." I like to say that it cannibalized pieces of the original song: it ate the original and grew into a larger beast. Pretty accurate description, I think.

This version of "Waltz With Lilith" first made her debut on Reprise, as did "The Ground Down." "Lilith" has become the perfected version of "Giger's Lullaby." She is how that song was always meant to be, in all three of her forms. Her original form on A Waltz For Giger is probably truest to "Lullaby" with the absence of drum tracks for the first half of the song, while the drum tracks on this version - modified from the version on Jamboree - perfectly suit the song, in my opinion. So it is, finally, that I am declaring "Giger's Lullaby" perfected and in the past, only likely to appear again as more "Waltz For Giger" remixes.

"The Ground Down" did its job perfectly to begin with. I set out to make a more "piano rock" version of "To The Grind" and to fix the one issue that I've ever had with that song, which was the over-use of the dying-whale sound (as I think of it). I succeeded. I'm proud of it. I love it.

There was the matter to consider of including the original songs or not, and that was swayed by two factors. First, the vision for this project had been of a two-disc set. Yes, this is a digital release, there are no discs, and people could just as easily have downloaded the original EP along with a new seven-track EP of alternate songs. The second factor was "Giger's Lullaby." I kind of regret the Pentacental version being that song's first official release. I'm much more partial to the Alternate Spin, which is why it replaced the "original" (not counting the demo) on the version of Pentacental that is available for download at I could never bring myself to go and change it on my Bandcamp (or the Official) site, but now the shame of the Pentacental version has been expunged from this edition.

So now the vision has been fulfilled and I can put it out into the world and put my mind to rest. Two weeks ago it was released (slightly different to how it is now) as a reward for patrons supporting my art through Patreon. That was when I made the Patreon page public, when I had rewards to give to my patrons in the form of this album, the Snail Tunes mini-EP, and another project that had been weighing on my mind since I started construction on Reprise. That last will remain a patron exclusive. There are some thing that I'd like to keep a part of that club, so that it retains some exclusivity.

But some things I need made available to everyone. I want people to stumble on this, or to enthusiastically snatch it up. I want everyone to a chance at it. So snatch it up, me folken. And I hope someone in your lives walks in on you listening to it and is like, "What the hell is this?" or some random person will randomly think "Hey, this looks cool," and download this album, and then they too will have their chance to be run down by Pentacental Overdrive.

I totally went into writing this with the intention of reporting news on other topics as well, but now they've disappeared from my mind entirely. So, either there will be a post-script in the near future, or another short blog post. Until then, rest easy, me lovelies.

P.S. If you haven't been to the Snail Tunes store lately, you should totally check out the changes I've made to its aesthetic. One more step toward consensual reality agreeing that Snail Tunes is, indeed, a real record label! And I'm way too proud of the image map that I finally succeeded at creating, thanks to GIMP.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Snail Tunes

Today (technically yesterday) I made public this four-track mini-EP that has, for the past nine days, been an exclusive treat for those who have pledged a dollar or more at my Patreon. Why, I'm not exactly sure of. I'm still feeling out exactly how Patreon is going to affect my public work and vice versa, what exactly their relationship is going to be. With the publication of this mini-EP, I've made available two new tracks that have so far only been available to my patrons: "No Introduction Needed" and "A Not-So-Minor Distraction." A few days ago, "No Introduction Needed" was made available for streaming from SoundCloud, whereas before it had only been accessible through a private link that was, again, only available to patrons. I'm trying to give patrons exclusive and early access to my new material while also slowly feeding it out to the public, while also keeping a flow of new exclusives popping up on Patreon. It's a weird little dance that I'm trying to learn the steps to.

Why I chose this mini-EP as a record to become available for the public I'm not exactly sure of, either. I just know that I was itching to release something publicly. But the two new songs are going to be available on the next record to go public, so why bother with this four-track EP? There's nothing special about it except that it gave a nice little package for my patrons to have early downloads of those two songs with. The only other reason I can think of to have this mini-EP made public is to call it a "sampler." As in, The Official Snail Tunes Sampler, or some shit like that. Which does have a bit of a nice ring to it, I guess. But then, shouldn't I make Snail Tunes a little bit more of an official entity?

Honestly, that's something I've been thinking of lately. Many of you will know that "Snail Tunes" began as words on a little button I created on The Lady's Facebook page that connects people to a Bandcamp app where they can listen to and download my music from within Facebook. Then I started referring to the Bandcamp page itself as the Snail Tunes store. Yes, as in that red button to the right. When I uploaded Instrumentality to my distributor, there was a text field to enter the name of my record label, and written next to it was "anything you like." So I simply put in "Snail Tunes," and it's given me a little smile whenever I see that album available to see that as it's listed record label whenever I see it in stores or on streaming services. And now, when I upload a song to SoundCloud, I enter Snail Tunes for the record label in the metadata, and I've added it in on quite a few of the existing songs as well.

See, without being entirely conscious of it, Snail Tunes has been becoming an entity merely by becoming a presence through the repetition of those two words. And an idea that's been sticking with me has been to "officially" turn The Lady anoNYMous' Bandcamp page into The Snail Tunes Store. I mean, all I'd have to do is change the banner on the page and always refer to links to it by that name, right? And there's even the option to purchase domain names (which is pretty cheap, I think) through Bandcamp, so I could even have theladyanonymous-dot-bandcamp-dot-com changed to snail-tunes-dot-com, or something similar. Voila! The Snail Tunes Store would "officially" exist and Snail Tunes would be a record label in all but corporate licensing. And I'm not starting a corporation. I'm not representing any artists but myself. So is that really needed? At what point does Snail Tunes become a real record label from simply an online entity? I'm not exactly sure, but it seems to me that if I were to change my banner and buy the domain that I will have set up a record label exactly the same way that Fluttery Records has (it's just a network of Bandcamp pages), except The Lady anoNYMous will be Snail Tunes' sole artist.

And then this mini-EP would suddenly be The Snail Tunes Sampler instead of just an early release of two tracks dressed up with two other tracks and some album art! Of course, even if that's the case, I still should have held off on releasing this a little while longer... And what exactly is the point of a sampler for a record label that offers nothing but free music anyway? Okay, so my madness doesn't entirely make sense even to myself, but, you know, why not?

Anyway, there's really not a whole lot to say about this release. Two new tracks that have been exclusive to patrons of my Patreon are now publicly available for download. "No Introduction Needed" is a new rendition of "Introducing..." Unlike the slight alterations for the alternate spins, this is a complete re-recording from beginning to end, with many small changes in the instrumentation to be found among the larger ones. The song begins with the original melody on cello instead of piano, jumps the groove from being melancholy to a hip-hop beat, and is all around a kick-ass version that I'm very proud of. "A Not-So-Minor Distraction" seeks to bring more of an industrial quality to "A Minor Distraction" with the addition of heavy and ponderous electric guitar tracks and an additional drum track, and I've added some cello and changed a keyboard solo to an electric guitar solo. The success of this version is questionable, but I enjoy it, so I don't question it too much.

Both of these new tracks were inspired by the idea of creating alternate versions of each song featured on Pentacental, stemming from the original idea of a deluxe version of that EP that developed into the creation of Reprise. This deluxe version now exists, with the title Pentacental Overdrive, as another patron exclusive at Patreon - a reward for those who pledge five dollars or more. It will become publicly available eventually, but I don't have an exact date pinned down. Like I said, I'm still feeling out the incoming/outgoing flow of exclusives, as well as deciding what material will remain exclusive to patrons. So far, my thinking is that a compilation album called Era (an idea that I had when I was conceiving what to make available for wide distribution) - which is a reward package for patrons pledging ten dollars or more, at the moment - will remain a Patreon exclusive. But yes, I think everyone else can look forward to the release of Pentacental Overdrive in the near future.

In news and updates: I have finally begun work on revamping "The Songs" page of this blog, but I've run into the somewhat-anticipated problem of not being able to copy any of the original text into the new version without having the same formatting issues that the current page has. So I'm going to have to write all-new articles for each song from scratch. Total pain in my ass, and I'm not looking forward to it. So everybody just kind of ignore that there is or ever was a "The Songs" page for the time being, okay? The current version isn't up to date and has all those irritating formatting issues that I can't fix for the life of me, so I might as well just pull it... I don't know if I will, but it won't be updated and the new version will be posted when it gets posted. Moving on.

Under "cause for celebration," there has now been over 1,100 downloads of my music at I'm not the biggest fan of that website, as it has issues and isn't incredibly artist friendly, and it's a very poor avenue for trying to make tips. As in, if you donate to an artist, that artist won't see any money for six fucking months. And, of course, there's no royalties and no encouragement to support the artists whatsoever aside from a tiny donation button. But apparently it's a fantastic way to get your music spread around, because, yeah... Over one-thousand downloads! I'm still trying to wrap my head around that. One thousand is a pretty big number for a tiny cyber-busker who is also a tiny person. And that's not the only big number in my little career right now. There's been over 2,000 visits to this blog, over 3,000 visits to the Snail Tunes store, over 10,000 visits to the Lady's Google+ page... Yeah, I think I'm getting myself "out there," alright. I can't even conceive of what things will be like when I've been at this for a year, as it's only been a little over three months so far.

So my little inner snail has remained determined thus far. This has reached the point where it feels like a job. I don't always want to do it and I don't always do the things I know I should, when I should. It's not always fun. I didn't even want to be writing this article tonight, but I guess I'm glad I did, as it's allowed me to work out some thoughts and it's gotten me excited about a couple of ideas in the process. So here's to our inner snails, and may they remain resilient and determined, 'cause that's how we get shit done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

An Invitation For Your Patronage

Before I get started: I know, I know, it's been, like, forever since my last post! Well, longer than I usually let slip by, at any rate. And I totally announced on Twitter and Facebook that this post, this BIG ANNOUNCEMENT, would be coming what is technically yesterday. I mean, it's three in the friggin' morning and I was hoping to have everything ready around twelve hours ago... And while I have some perfectly valid excuses, I also have a very good reason! Let's begin with the excuses, shall we?

I guess there's really just one excuse, but could you could count it as many little excuses caused by one enormous factor, and that is that, well, I did just put out two records in, like, the same week! Promoting is usually a time-consuming, tedious, soul-sucking task when just one record is involved, but I've been promoting Instrumentality for sale at online stores, which has it's own set of difficulties, as well as promoting Reprise which I felt obliged to release to show everyone that I'm not a sell-out, I'm still just a cyber-busker offering free art and trying to make ends meet on tips.

And neither the distributor nor the stores themselves are giving me any help (in fact, they've ignored common sense in some instances as if they're trying to make it harder) when it comes to selling Instrumentality. All of the advertising, all of the promoting, the job of making people simply aware that this record exists, even on streaming services, has fallen entirely on me. Now I know what a label is for, aside from distribution. It's not enough to make art available. Especially when stores insist on slight differences in your name - such as the word "The," and gods help you if you have improper capitalization going on such as in "anoNYMous" - or streaming services don't include any information about your work aside from the song title. Because of factors like these, I didn't even know Instrumentality was available on YouTube or Spotify until I tried a variety of different searches. The word "instrumentality" doesn't even appear in the information about my songs on YouTube except in the video window, on the album cover, which is displayed while the song is playing. Then there's the author name for these videos, which is simply "Various Artists." Not The Lady anoNYMous. So there is nothing linking these videos to each other. The songs might as well be completely unrelated. And, of course, I have to learn these things as I go along. Did I mention that I don't even get an email or link or anything sent to me when my art goes online somewhere? I have to find it on my own and then run around the Internet every day telling people where and how to find it. It fucking blows. I'm used to doing all of the footwork for promoting my Bandcamp releases, but even Bandcamp, a nearly entirely free service, gives you tools for promoting outside of their website and tries to network the artists within it. From the distributor, stores, and streaming services, I get absolutely nothing. The distributor says, "Hey, we got your money, now have fun trying to make some!" while the stores say, "Hey, we make money if you make money, but we got more important shit to do than help out a lost cause like you!" while the streaming services say, "Yeah, you'll get a fraction of a cent for each play of your songs from our advertisers, keep your pantyhose on!"

So maybe playing for tips really is the way to go. Musicians and artists in general seem to be gravitating towards crowdfunding to make art and make a living, and the number of crowdfunding platforms and the different varieties of crowdfunding are multiplying like crazy! One of these platforms, with a style that caters to people who make small-scale creations on a frequent basis, is Rather than asking for donations for a large and relatively expensive project, Patreon users ask their "patrons" to pledge to tip an artist for smaller creations. For example, a patron could pledge to tip me $5 for each digital record or short story that I release, which is the kind of art that I will be offering. Afraid that, with my reputation for releasing multiple records a month, I might go wild and do something totally fucked up like make a record release out of every song, and I'll start producing a ton of crappy songs to try and make lots of money? Well, patrons can cap their monthly pledges to fit their budget, so if you're pretty sure you'll only have $35 to spare for art, even by an artist you love as much as me, you can set that as your cap and not go over. You can also cancel your pledges at any time. To me, this is sounding like more and more of a sweet deal, for artists and patrons.

(An example of patron rewards)

To sweeten the deal, no matter how much you pledge, you get the product the artist produces free, plus artists are given a variety of ways to entice you with exclusive packages and bonus content only available to patrons, some of which the artist can even organize into "tiers" of patrons and their pledges. For example, I can make an exclusive four-track EP available to patrons who pledge $1 or more while I can make an exclusive fourteen-track album available to patrons who pledge $5 or more, and those $5-pledging patrons will also have access to the four-track EP available to the $1 pledgers. Seeing how this works? I hope so, because I know the language and concept can be a little tough to grasp at first, but I don't think I can make it any plainer.

Let's see: patron tips per Thing (as Amanda Palmer terms the artists' creations), patron can set budget, patron can cancel continuing to tip at any time. Artist gives bonus Stuff to patrons aside from Things. Patron's tip amount determines what Stuff a patron can get. Typically, larger tips means cooler Stuff. Larger tips also qualify for all of the less-cool Stuff as well. Hmmm, aside from the use of qualifiers like "cool," I think I may have actually done it.

So, you have undoubtedly by now deduced where this is leading: I'm taking to the streets with a bottle of lube to sell hand-jobs! And I've set up a Patreon! (I'm not sure if I'm supposed to capitalize the word when using it like that... It's hard to tell with relatively new Internet terminology.) Go to (and how easy is that to remember? It's like these people want potential patrons to be able to find me!) to visit my profile where you can see that I already have patron rewards set up with more on the way! All that's needed now is you and your support! So much of my art is already available for free through various avenues on the Internet. Through the donations button on this page and through the "name your price" option at Bandcamp, there's already ways to give me tips. But this way you can tip and get rewarded for it with exclusive or early-release content! And you're given a direct line of communication with me, as patrons can post on an artist's profile. It's like a magical place has blossomed on the Internet to bring artists and patrons together!

I very much hope to be seeing you all at my Patreon, where you can continue to support me directly, and where I'll be given a means to give back to you directly for your support! Together, we'll continue to make free art happen!

As always, may your inner snails remain resilient and determined!

Oh, and that bit about the hand-jobs was a joke. Please, don't go looking for me!