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!