Wednesday, January 6, 2016

An Extended New Year

Something you should understand is that I'm experiencing an extended New Year this year. Not one for observing the traditional Gregorian New Year as something other than an excuse to drink champagne (because any excuse to drink bubbly wine is a good one), the passage of years is usually marked for me by my birthday, as well as the passage of seasons. New Year's has always seemed like an excuse to let Christmas linger, and why not? It seems to me that the clusterfuck of winter holidays is more of a coping mechanism to stave off seasonal depression than anything else, so let it serve its purpose.

But this winter has been an anniversary for me of my first year composing music as The Lady, December 29th being the closest I can pinpoint through an old Facebook share. And in less than two months will be the anniversary of the debut EP, Progress Report. Therefore, my musical New Year has the effect of stretching to a length of almost two months. It seems silly to separate the dates when they're so close together and are celebrating much the same thing. And I feel as though I'm going to be riding the high of I've been doing this for a fucking year now! for about that length. So, bear with me y'all. I'll do my best not to be insufferable.

So, to begin the celebration, I began thinking of a Year One creation. A boxed set of some sort? How could I create a boxed set when my music doesn't come in physical form? Same with double-disc album options. So, the best I could think of was a lengthy digital download. Something that has essentially replaced A New Era almost three months after that record's release. Right about the right time, actually...

Okay, that's essentially what this has turned out to be. The successor to A New Era; a compilation album for Patrons that's becoming part of my new pattern. A compilation special per phase, as it were, although this usually happens after the first EP of the phase. I guess the first EP would have come sooner if I hadn't held out on releasing Jaded for so long... As things are, my scheduling of releases is a bit out of sync with my work output because of Jaded. I already have enough new material written and recorded to put out the Phase Four compilation album, and I have yet to even release the first Phase Four EP. This has me questioning whether or not there will be the usual three EPs per phase or what... Whatever, this phase is probably going to fly by and culminate with an album of some sort (Phase Four compilation or something else? I don't know) on February 19th, the one-year anniversary of Progress Report.

Back to the release at hand: after a failed attempt to assemble a Year One: Part I playlist, I had the random inspiration to look up the word "annual" in other languages and chose Albanian just because it looks cool (and I'm pretentious enough to go with that even though I don't know how to pronounce it) - Vjetor. Somehow, the name, and putting together a cover using "Emerging Ballad" by my Tsu-friend Tyrone Webb (of the Occultation cover), made the track list come together almost effortlessly. In fact, I only switched the ordering of two songs during the first listen. Otherwise, it's as I assembled it on a random whim:

01. "They Delving 3.33"
02. "The Seventh Swan"
03. "Dusk Devils"
04. "Jade's Theme"
05. "Sublime Like Swine"
06. "Slowly Scooting Closer"
07. "A Most Resilient Snail"
08. "Jaded (Alternate Spin)"
09. "Waltz with Lilith"
10. "Passage Through The Veil"
11. "Simplify"
12. "No Introduction Needed"
13. "The Tranquil Isles"
14. "The Nocturnal Dervish"
15. "The Cloud Walkers (Selenophilia)"
16. "A Good Mourning"
17. "Cold Sunlight"
18. "Mr. Douter"
19. "A Not-So-Minor Distraction"
20. "Wrong Pocket Kinda Day"
21. "Winter's Salve (Alternate Spin)"
22. "The Ground Up (Rebuild)"
23. "Overdrive"
24. "A Different Story"

I'd like to go on about the pains of having to choose "essentials" from such a lengthy discography and lament particular song that were left out, but it cane together so quickly and organically that that would be a load of BS. It's a very satisfactory, very enjoyable, well-rounded playlist, and I'm proud of it coming together so easily, and there were no painful decisions. I love it the way it is and haven't second-guessed it once since my first listen.

Some noteworthy things about these songs: Most should be familiar. "The Seventh Swan," "Sublime Like Swine," "Cold Sunlight," and "Mr. Douter" are all original to Jaded, while "Jaded (Alternate Spin)" and "The Ground Up (Rebuild)" are both on that album, but are the latest renditions of songs from previous releases. On that note: so many of the songs from Phase One (maybe all of them?) have had newer incarnations that very few original versions made it onto this record. The Alternate Spin of "Winter's Salve" might as well be the original version of that song, and "Dusk Devils" has lately had a lot of appeal for me, though it seemed sacrilegious to not include "The Nocturnal Dervish" as well. 

"Devils" and "Dervish" are the only songs that share the same source material. Perhaps the most difficult thing when choosing songs for this track list was choosing from the various versions of some of the songs. Of the ten versions of "Giger's Lullaby," the original "Waltz with Lilith" seemed the best compromise. It's smack dab in between "The Last Waltz" and the original demo, in terms of variations. For pretty much all the other songs that have more than one version, I simply went with the most recent, as I'm generally most satisfied with the most recent renditions.

Because this is meant to be representative of my entire discography without being over three hours long, there's not as many unreleased tracks as there might have been. For Patrons pledging $10 or more, only "They Delving 3.33," "A Good Mourning," and "A Different Story" haven't been made available before. "Passage Through The Veil" and "Overdrive" were previously made available on Erised, but can be counted as unreleased tracks as well. "They Delving 3.33" is - you guessed it - the latest version of "They Delving"; in fact, it is the final version, which "They Delving 3.0" (on the limited Yule Tide Carols release) was the instrumental version of, this version having altered instrumentation (most notably, additional synths and a lot of electric guitar work). Because I have so much unreleased material floating around me right now, I'm not exactly sure what's going to make it onto which releases. The track listing for the next EP, Obfuscate, has changed radically recently, as I've been trying to make sure that there will be tracks new to Patrons on each release as well.

However, I'd like to share "A Good Mourning" with you now, my dear readers, as a sample of the unreleased material on Vjetor. It's a song that - though it wasn't on my mind at the time - has become a sort of belated farewell to my previous life, in Portland, OR, hence the image of the St. John's Bridge with Forest Park beyond, Forest Park being a place I particularly mourn, and I also have many fond memories in Cathedral Park underneath the Bridge.

With the release of Jaded and the addition of Vjetor, many changes have been made to the rewards available to supporters through Patreon. The League will soon be adjusted as well, and I'll be updating this post with those changes soon.

Most significant is a new five-track EP being made available to Patrons pledging $5 or more, titled A Different Story after the song of the same name, being a song that is highly experimental for me, and that I am particularly proud of. Story includes "They Delving 3.33," "A Good Mourning," "Dorian" (from Jaded), "Mr. Douter," and the titular track. It's a beautiful little EP, with a gorgeously framed piece ("The Reader's Path") by Jeremiah Morelli for the cover, and a solid musical theme.

With Vjetor and the Artist's Edition of Jaded now dominating the $10+ tier of rewards, A New Era and the Artist's Edition of Occultation now join A Different Story, Erised, and Jade & Co. in the $5+ tier, making this a prime time to pledge in that middle range. Meanwhile, the Artist's Edition of Instrumentality now joins The Occultation Sessions and A Waltz for Giger - The Completed Collection in the $1+ tier with single downloads of: "The Seventh Swan," "Overdrive," "Sublime Like Swine," "The Between (Sin Palabras)," "They Delving 3.0," "Lily White (Sin Palabras)," "The Ground Up,"and I'm about to head over there to make an instrumental version of "Mr. Douter" available as well.

That pretty much sums up all the rewards changes and covers everything on Vjetor I wanted to get to...I think. I don't know. I've had too much coffee, it's almost 6am, my brain's scrambled, and my hands hurt... Let our inner snails remain resilient and determined!!!

ADDENDUM: Okay, so the current Leaguer rewards are as follows: Currently, when you sign up for the League, you instantly have access to unlimited streaming of the back-catalog items Instrumental, Nefelibata, and Wisps of Reason on the free Bandcamp app, plus the League specials A Different Story, Erised, Jade & Co, An Abbreviated Era, The Occultation Sessions, and A Waltz for Giger - The Completed Collection, along with singles for "Sublime Like Swine," "Mr. Douter (Sin Palabras)," "The Between (Sin Palabras)," and "Lily White (Sin Palabras)." High-quality, DMR-free downloads are also instantly available to you of all items.