Friday, August 28, 2015

Social Media Bomb!

Hey folken, wanna help me social-media-bomb Occultation on Google Play? It will only take a moment of your time. Just click this link to the album in the Google Play store and give it a +1 down at the bottom of the page! Chances are, if you Follow The Lady, you've heard the entire album by now, so please feel free to write a review (if you're in a writing kind of mood). And maybe, if you haven't already done so, you could pay Instrumentality a visit and give it a +1 as well?

In Google-related news, I've started receiving data for sales and royalties now that four months have passed since the release of the first album. Don't ask me why, but there's a three month delay until this information reaches me. The results are positive, though! As an independent artist, I had to pay the distributor in advance for their services, so the Instrumentality Project has been an unsure investment. But if the current numbers trend, then I may break even or even see a profit! The dream of making a living creating art is still alive and I aim to continue working as if it's actually viable until I see a year's worth of results from both crowd-funding and commercial revenue.

Currently, I'm making the most in royalties from plays on Google, while Spotify is coming in at a distant second. So let's increase The Lady's visibility on Google Play, shall we, and keep up the good work! Your continued support is my most valuable resource and it is appreciated beyond words. The simple act of streaming my music on Rdio, YouTube, and Spotify and putting up with those ads actually sends royalties my way, and your Likes and subscriptions on those sites appeals to potential fans. So lots of thanks and lots of love to y'all! Keep up the good work of enjoying my music and I can keep up the good work of creating it!

Speaking of which, the release of Selenophilia is just around the corner. I plan to release it on my birthday, because I like giving gifts on my birthday, and it's about time I'm able to stamp that date on a record! If you don't know that will, soon enough. In the meantime, here's another tease to tide you over:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August and Everything After...

Well, I hope y'all have been enjoying what Occultation has to offer, and what I've been offering from Occultation. If I had my way, this post would be for the release of the next Snail Tunes EP, which looks to be titled Selenophilia (this has been the working title since before Nefelibata was released, so you can pretty much count on it). However, various factors have hindered the promotional progress of Occultation, and one song written for the EP is in a state of flux. Therefore, I'm taking this opportunity to give a thorough accounting of changes that have been being made to the world of Snail Tunes since the album's release two weeks ago.

Most of these changes revolve around what is on offer from Patreon and The League of Extraordinary Snails. The exclusives and rewards from these methods of supporting The Lady anoNYMous have changed largely to offer content from the new album as incentives. Not only is both Instrumental and Occultation on offer in the form of special Artist's Editions from Patreon to those pledging $10 or more, but pledges from the more financially restricted or anal retentive (just tellin' it like it is...) are now being offered content from the album, as are members of the League.

On offer to the League and patterns pledging $1 or more is a single for the song "I Will Dim Light Only Enough To Not Blind You." A bit of a surprise hit since its release, this electronic pop song is a bit different from my usual fare (as if "pop" wasn't clue enough). It has been described as "wry" and "sunny" by one of my most steadfast supporters, and I suppose those are positive attributes. My personal perspective on what I most uniquely contribute to the musical arts doesn't necessarily jive with producing electronica or pop, yet I can't deny that songs such as "A Determined Snail," "Trip-Hop Thing," and now this fit into those categories. They may have my own unique signature, but they certainly aren't piano rock's venture into blending the worlds of trip-hop and industrial music, which I guess is what I hope to be gravitating toward.

And yet I enjoy this tune quite a bit and find that I often crave it. Being diverse in your art can certainly be healthy, so I won't try to suppress these more playful muses when they come around with their neural equivalent of cattle prods, and I don't necessarily want to cultivate an image with or expectations of what I produce. Keeping my audience on their toes is something else I hope to achieve. When recently listening to Occultation, I couldn't help but observe that a person who discovers the album was created by a person diagnosed as bipolar wouldn't be all that surprised. Expressing a full range of style and emotion is one thing; a track-list mimicking drastic mood-swings is another. Something I should keep in mind for future releases, I guess.

Getting back on-topic:Another offering from the album for patrons in the $1-$5 range at Patreon is a landmark track in my discography. Before Progress Report was even conceived, I was at work on the song "Giger's Lullaby," and I've continued work on it in the form of improvements or remixes - or remixes that paved the way for improvements - ever since. It wasn't until "Waltz With Lilith" (released April 21st) that I felt entirely satisfied with the instrumentation of the song, and it wasn't until "Waltz With Lilith (Claim)" (released May 22nd) that I felt a perfect version of the song had been achieved.

Along the way, I've used remixes under the title "Waltz For Giger" to explore different takes on the song, usually through beat-work. When I released "Claim," I "officially" retired the song, but was careful to put forth the disclaimer that other "Waltz For Giger" remixes might appear. This was because I had a specific idea in mind for a trip-hop take on the song (which I guess you could say "Step Softly" is, though it doesn't count in my book) rather than my mildly industrial dance attempts. I was just waiting for the muse to strike me, and as it often does, it came in the form of an "excuse." Well, more like a necessity. You see, since I felt it necessary to have sixteen tracks on Occultation, and my songs written for the album only upped the count to fifteen, I pretty much had to move forward with this idea that I had been sitting on for over two months. I even put it off until I had the cover art for the album from Tyrone and the home stretch for getting everything to the distributor was in sight.

It came quite easily and wasn't as grueling as remixes have been in the past. In fact, it was a hell of a lot of fun putting those beats together, and they fit to the song quite naturally. I guess part of the reason I kept putting it off was that I was feeling the finality of it. But as much as any last dance could ever be, "The Last Waltz" was a hell of a good time. And though I feel like putting forth more disclaimers - this is only the last time according to the artist's whim! - I felt pretty certain during the creation process and I still feel pretty certain now that this is the last time I'll be doing a version of "Giger's Lullaby." The song is officially retired with Occultation's release, and "The Last Waltz" is another track from the record on offer to patrons.

For members of the League, I came up with a bit of a more in-depth incentive, along with a way to commemorate the song's various incarnations. I've done a collection of "Lullaby" versions before - when I felt an uncontrollable need to release a record and The Hypnotic Jamboree wasn't yet completed - in the form of A Waltz For Giger, so of course it occurred to me I should do a re-release now that the song is finally being put to rest.

A Waltz For Giger - The Completed Collection includes all ten (I honestly didn't realize there were that many until assembling this, but I guess it's not that far a leap from the six included on the original) versions of the song: From the demo originally released on SoundCloud as between-release filler, which became a surprise hit and earned props from the likes of Showdown (a hip-hop collective including Ludacris and 50 Cent); to the Alternate Spin, which earned me my first air play as part of the late-night trip-hop/downtempo electronica hour The Blend on 6 Towns Radio in the UK; to "The Last Waltz." (And here's to shameless name-dropping and with some tell-and-show...)

Featured on this collection is individual track art by H.R. Giger that displays on compatible (and that means "all," as far as I've seen) media players that differs from the above playlist and from the previous collection, and a twelve-page PDF booklet of artwork with a dedication page to the man himself is included with the download.

At first, since those on Patreon already have access to "The Last Waltz," I was offering this collection exclusively to League members, but I think an extra incentive to pledge $5 or above is in order, as the eighteen-track compilation Era is all that's on offer at the moment...with all the rewards for those pledging $1 and above, of course, which does include "The Last Waltz," but League members also have access to I've decided pretty much right now include A Waltz For Giger - The Completed Collection in the rewards for patrons pledging $5 or more, and to make the following little graphic as well.

It will come in handy later.

Not on offer to both avenues of would-be crowd-funding is a download of "Wrong Pocket Kinda Day" available to patrons pledging $1 or more. Among my two favorites of the new songs (the other would be "The Cloud Walkers"), this song was a quick write borne from the repeating rhythm-chords in the piano bass clef and a phrase my ex-husband and I used to describe days that seemed somewhat off-kilter - if, for example, one of was would search frantically for something in frustration, only to find that it was indeed on hand but in a location it simply should not be, we would say, "Well, I guess it's going to be a wrong pocket kinda day," or just "wrong pocket kinda day" with a shrug and a laugh at the frustration of a moment earlier.

When I felt that the song was feeling too light-hearted and cheerful, it wasn't hard to infuse the frustration of a "wrong pocket kinda day" into it with the help of my lead industrial additives - electric guitar and synth - so that one can easily imagine a day going pleasantly as planned (I imagine a couple much like myself and my ex going for a bicycle ride to the park on a sunny day) and hear the moment when things go awry ("where the fuck is that joint I packed!").

I'm not sure exactly why I'm not offering a download of this song to the League, except that I'm still trying to figure out a balance between what's on offer from either platform. I mean, League membership already includes a hell of a lot. Aside from everything I've already listed, there's the stuff that Bandcamp throws in for paying supporters, such as the Feed - which offers streaming of pretty much everything in their catalog for sampling purposes, and unlimited streaming of everything you purchase - but also a mobile app so you can have access to your Feed pretty much anywhere. And part of your Feed is everything that comes with your League membership, which includes back-catalog items (at present, I'm offering Instrumental, Nefelibata, The Hypnotic Jamboree, the "An Arcane Son" and "A Most Resilient Snail" single, and the Progress Report: Alternate Tracks single. Sure, all of those can be downloaded by anyone for free, but the Feed and the app are only for paying supporters.

Comparatively, Patreon patrons of the $1 tier get the addition of "A Wrong Pocket Kinda Day" with "The Last Waltz" and "I Will Dim My Light Only Enough To Not Blind You"; the $5 tier gets access to those as well as Era and the completed A Waltz For Giger collection, and so do League members for the same price. I don't think an additional song for patrons really balances it out, come to think of it, but I'll try to make it up to them somehow.

So that's pretty much the round-up of everything going on at that end of Snail Tunes. On subject of "what's to come," well, I've already given up the title of the upcoming EP. It's going back to the old seven-track EP format to start off Phase Three. Tracks from both Nefelibata and Occultation will be included, following a particular musical theme, and the playlist and song order are pretty much set. At present, two new songs have been recorded for Selenophilia, and "The Cloud Walkers" has been edited and remastered for the release. As I mentioned earlier, one of the new songs is in a state of flux, and it looks as though one of three versions (but which?) is going to make it onto the record, unless I end up recording a whole new song and saving this for another release. I'm working on my "teasing the audience" skills, so I won't say anything else beyond that I hope to have the record released by the time I turn thirty-three years old...and I won't even tell you that if you don't already know, so HA!

I hope this finds all me folken well. It should. This is a fantastic time of year that tends to be ripe with positive change, and I say that not as a person who believes so because of astrological omens (although I'm pretty sure I'd find they agree with me) but as a person who tries to be observant. So let your inner snails remain resilient and determined, and let it come!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Instrumentality Project Continues - Occultation

Presenting: Occultation

It's been the plan for a while now - since the release of Instrumentality - that I would begin echoing every major Snail Tunes release with a commercial release that would aim to reach audiences seeking music in less underground places. While I revel in the online "scene" of independence and community created by resources such as Bandcamp and SoundCloud, there's a lot to be said for the reach of major music stores and streaming sites. That's mostly what this experiment that I call the Instrumentality Project is about: reach. I have no illusions that being an artist on iTunes is going to make me rich, or that I'm going to have mainstream success from being sold in mainstream stores. I'm already a tiny fish in a fucking huge pond. When I have an album distributed to sites such as these, I'm plucking myself from my fucking huge pond and throwing myself in the ocean in hopes that it's being trawled enough that I'll be picked up and maybe even noticed a few times along the way. There's a slim chance that this won't be a financial loss on my part. There's a reason why the stats measure in fractions of a cent on my distributor's website. But this isn't about trying to become a star or even financial gain, because what's going to make this worthwhile is that hopefully a handful of people will discover my music through means outside of my limited reach who will become loyal members of my audience. And, yes, with that loyalty comes a good chance of a little ker-ching ker-ching. Maybe enough to help with my cost of living and to invest into upgrading my tools, which is, of course, the main aim when I figuratively lay out a guitar case and play my music for y'all.

In other words, the Instrumentality Project is using the traditional means of selling music as another busking tool. It's my way of putting up a photocopy on a telephone pole or getting played on a local radio station. My way of busking has never had any hope of depending on local word of mouth or live performances as way of getting off the ground. I've literally started out international, which is a really insane thing to do. But nothing about my business model has been tried before, to my knowledge, and I'm kind of just making it all up as I go along and trying out every resource available to me. When talking with Tommy Darker of Musicpreneur Project (who also hadn't heard of this approach to being a full-time musician, and it's kind of his job to become familiar with all approaches) we both agreed that there would be no way of really gauging the success of this kind of balls-to-the-wall cyber-busking until a year had gone by.

So here I am, totally floundering, and yet I have to admit that the release of Occultation makes me feel a small measure of success and elation. It has nothing to do with any sort of financial gain or increased measure of popularity. There has been none of the former and while there's indications of the latter by the stats of a website or two, it's nothing that's really made itself apparent to me. But I honestly do feel successful with the publication of this album. It has a solid track list of songs that I feel really proud of, and it's also a pretty significant milestone. This hasn't just been some hobby that kept me occupied for a couple of weeks, and then quit when I had a notion of how unrealistic it was to make me rich. I have no illusions here. I have hopes, but not illusions. And yet I've been working hard at this for the better part of a year, and I happen to think that I'm getting better at it. Whereas with Instrumentality I was pretty much just tossing a collection of songs I had already made out into the world at large, I feel as though Occultation is a serious effort to represent myself at my best and to present the wider world with art that I wouldn't blink twice about taking someone's hard-earned cash for. It's a thing that I believe many artists struggle with, to feel as though their art is worth asking for money in return for sharing (especially the determining of how much), but I'm finding that becoming less and less of an issue for myself, and virtually a non-issue in the case of this album. My impulse to share it and have it heard will definitely overcome taking the seller's stance, but there will be no guilt here for taking money for this work. I worked fucking hard, yo, and I polished and molded and reworked and polished again right up until the moment I set aside my tools on August 4th and said, "Okay, world, here ya go!" To feel as though I have a right to ask for something in return is a bit of an accomplishment in whatever success story I have to share with this album.

In the sense that I feel good about my job, good at what I do, and as though I am learning from it, the Instrumentality Project is marked with a sense of success with the release of Occultation. That is the summation of these tangents that I had no intention of writing about when I set to work on this article. I had planned to give y'all details about each individual new song and about the history of the shaping of this album, and now I can't think of a single thing to say about any of that. Except that I can easily give credit to the influence of two artists who I met online. Both had a significant impact on the finished album, and on me while I was working on it.

I met Alejandro Saldarriaga Calle of The Arcane Insignia through Twitter, when it seems we checked out each other's music at the same time and someone said, "Hey, I dig your sound," and the other said, "Hey, I dig your sound, too," and the word "collaboration" came up somewhere in there. We've exchanged emails and ideas since, and while we have yet to record an actual collaboration, these exchanges reinvigorated me with excitement for creating and influenced the writing of "An Arcane Son" (which began as a collaborative project) and "The Cloud Walkers," which may be the predecessor of a collaborative work in the making. I sincerely hope that somewhere down the line y'all will get to hear a song by The Lady anoNYMous, featuring Alejandro Saldarriaga Calle.

And of course I must mention Tyrone Webb, whose painting "Brimstone Moon" brought to mind the word "Occultation," which I had learned as a term for the solar eclipse while reading The Strain trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, which seemed absolutely perfect for the name of an album considering how I love to use words that sound heretical, but have a completely innocent meaning. That I later found out the word is also an art term for an object in the foreground blocking another from view just made it that much more perfect.

I had also fallen in love with Tyrone's art the moment I first saw it and was extremely impressed to learn that it's created with spray paint. When I mentioned to him that I would love to use his art in album artwork sometime (an act of courage on my part, I'm proud to say, that has paid off) he was completely open to the idea and even said that he was open to suggestion. But I think I had my heart set on "Brimstone Moon" even before it encouraged me to think of the album's title. However, when I finally did speak up about that particular painting, it was to find out that sadly, it was already spoken for, and so Tyrone repeated his offer to take a request. So I told him the name name of the album and that I had an "eclipse theme" in mind. This led to the painting of "Between Worlds," the gorgeous work of art that Occultation's cover art is sampled from, and I couldn't be more honored to have it representing my music, and in some cases being a visual representation of me, as websites are using the cover of my latest release in the absence of an actual photo. The color scheme of the mobile version of my Apple Music profile is now pink and black with hints of sunset colors to match that painting, and it makes me ridiculously thrilled.

To see more of and learn more about Tyrone Webb's fine spray paint art, visit, and if you're a fan of supporting artists through Patreon like I am, you can contribute to his creations at

So there's some behind-the-scenes factoids and credit-where-credit-is-due for y'all. Moving onto some of the specs and information what's on the record and where it can be found: Well, first off, the record ended up being sixteen tracks, pretty much because my brain insisted that it had to be because that's how many Nefelibata has. I'm not sure why it mattered so much. There were times when I tried to insist to myself, "Well, Instrumentality had sixteen tracks while Instrumental only had fourteen, so surely Occultation can have fourteen even though Nefelibata has sixteen." It even makes sense since Occultation had less material to draw from than Instrumentality. One of the key differences here is that I had released The Hypnotic Jamboree between Instrumental and Instrumentality, so Instrumentality had a whole EP of non-recycled songs to collect from compared to its non-commercial counterpart. Nefelibata was also able to draw material from Jamboree, but that was not a resource Occultation could tap. It didn't dawn on me until actually assembling the Patreon edition that the only Snail Tunes releases Occultation had gathered material from were Reprise and Pentacental Overdrive, and then it also had original songs from Nefelibata to collect on. But no wonder it came out comparatively short! If it hadn't been for writing "I Will Dim My Light Only Enough To Not Blind You" and "A Most Resilient Snail" back in June; or for Alejandro's influence to write "An Arcane Son" and "The Cloud Walkers" in July; or for a random and much-needed muse that looked a lot like "Upside Down" by Tori Amos to inspire the beginnings of "Wrong Pocket Kinda Day," I would never have hoped to achieve sixteen tracks before I turned thirty-three (on the 31st, thanks for asking). But I guess it was meant to be. I had been holding onto one final idea for another remix of "Waltz For Giger," as well, and that brought it to the insisted-upon-by-this-ganglioid-inside-my-skull number.

Which has final list of tracks that was sent to DistroKid on the 4th (I was going to rant about that in this article, but maybe let's just not go there?) being:
"No Introduction Needed"
"A Most Resilient Snail"
"Waltz With Lilith (Claim)"
"I Will Dim My Light Only Enough To Not Blind You"
"I, Supplicant"
"They Delving 2.22"
"Wrong Pocket Kinda Day"
"The Replicant (Alternate Spin)"
"An Arcane Son"
"Pentadactyl (Alternate Spin)"
"Slowly Scooting Closer"
"A Not-So-Minor Distraction"
"Winter's Remix 2.0"
"The Last Waltz"
"The Cloud Walkers"
at just a bit over 91 minutes. You'll notice that there is now an Alternate Spin of "The Replicant." Well, that's not the only song to see some changes for this release. In fact, this Alternate Spin of "Pentadactyl" is an alternate Alternate Spin, and aside from those two songs being obviously labeled as such, every previously released song aside from three ("Waltz With Lilith," "I, Supplicant," and "Slowly Scooting Closer") have had changes, ranging from "significant" to "so subtle you may never know what they are," made to them, and also been remastered in the process. In short, none of these songs except for the previously mentioned three are as they have been previously published. As I was listening to them repeatedly while trying to set the track list, I ended up stopping for virtually every little thing that had ever bothered me or had an alternate idea for and playing around, figuring that the only deadlines I had were in my head and, in reality, I had the time, so why not? I think they're virtually all improvements, except for maybe the changes I made to "No Introduction Needed." I think that just ended up being different, but not necessarily better. Moving on...

The first place Occultation ended up being published was as a reward for upper-tier patrons of my Patreon page. While I had always assumed this would follow the wide release, there were unneeded technical difficulties in getting the album's track list past DistroKid's automated system (there, that's the shortest and nicest way to put it) and so the release was delayed three days (the staff at DistroKid is either very small or unresponsive to emails, or both). This, however, would actually be the Artist's Choice for people to get hold of the album. For a pledge of $10 or more toward my next creation, one can gain access to all the patron exclusives, which include Artist's Editions of Instrumentality and Occultation. To put it comparatively, for the price of one of these records on iTunes, you could have both, with the addition of PDF booklets of liner notes/album art and individual track art that displays the covers of the original Snail Tunes releases each song is from on compatible media players.

Aside from this route, the album is available at the following links (this list will be growing over the days to come):

You can, of course, expect the new songs on Occultation to appear on future Snail Tunes releases, which are always available for a price of your choosing. I have no idea when or on which ones, though. A single currently exists with "An Arcane Son" and "A Most Resilient Snail" on it, which you can find in a recent article on this blog. Other songs will appear on an EP that I'm aiming to release later this month, but I don't believe all the rest of the new songs will be included. And, of course, the edited and remastered versions of all the familiar tunes are unique to this record and may stay that way...

And you know what? I think that covers everything, including all the shit I originally wanted to say before going off on that unexpected tangent at the beginning. So there ya have it: Occultation, y'all. I sincerely hope you enjoy it, and I sincerely invite your feedback, questions, and even criticisms (so long as they're constructive and not just plain insulting). May your inner snails be resilient and determined, and all that jazz. If I was a more skilled digital artist, the following snail would have jazz hands, so please picture it, if you will.