Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Revolutions Are NOT Safe In Cars

Well, folken, album four is online, in major music stores and on major streaming platforms! Sorry I've taken a few days to get around to writing the article, but a lot of my attention has been on the restructuring of Snail Tunes while promoting the album. This article will share a little bit about the album itself, but I have a feeling it will mostly go into detail about the changes that have been made, particularly at Patreon and The League of Extraordinary Snails.

However, the album is a pretty big thing in itself and is being used as the jumping-off point for a lot of the changes that have come about. It's being used a bit as a point of transition between The Lady anoNYMous, the primarily non-commercial artist, and The Lady anoNYMous, CEO of Snail Tunes. Okay, that latter title is still a bit of a joke. While Snail Tunes is now no longer just the words that I input in the "record label" box when uploading an album to DistroKid, and it's no longer an entirely free store from which I can spread my music, it's still just lil' ol' me. I may have a pretty big personality (that can be attributed to a lot of smaller ones), but Snail Tunes is still a far cry away from being a corporate entity. But it has taken its first steps in being a commercial entity.

One big difference for this album is that it was the first of my commercially-distributed albums to be offered for purchase and download from the Snail Tunes store, marking the end of an era in which everything at Snail Tunes was offered freely. I'm sad to see that end, and I actually hope to have enough support one of these days that will enable me to make it so again. If I can ever afford to offer all of my music freely again (as Amanda Palmer is able to, and even Nate Maingard is able to somehow manage), I will definitely do so. As it is, my anti-capitalist leanings won't let me sit too comfortably with this, and my music will still be free to stream from SoundCloud and YouTube, and I plan on still releasing free compilation albums after my music's made its commercial rounds, which will look a little bit like how this next Phase is going to go: a couple of commercially-distributed teaser-EPs leading up to an album, which will go through the usual promotional circus, before I offer a compilation of what was available on those EPs with some songs from the previous album.

So the next non-commercial compilation album will have songs from Revolutions, as well as songs from two four-track EPs that will have teased whatever the next album will be, and will be released after the next commercial album has finished its promotional rounds. Don't worry, I'm sure this will make more sense when seen put into practice. But right now, I'm getting ahead of myself.

As I mentioned earlier, a big difference for Revolutions is that it's not only offered from Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play, but also from the Snail Tunes store, where not only have I been able to undercut all the other stores, but a purchase from which will directly support the artist, and that's gotta totally be worth something, right? Also, the Snail Tunes store is offering complete song previews instead of thirty-second snippets, so you can hear the whole thing before you buy it. Of course, you can do that anyway with the usual free streaming from YouTube and Spotify. And if you have subscriptions to Apple Music, TIDAL, or Microsoft Groove, there's really almost no need to go and purchase albums anymore (unless you really want to support the artist, and have a download safely tucked away for none-streaming purposes), but you're still supporting the artist every time you give a listen. I'm actually slowly warming up to these streaming services as an artist. As a subscriber to Apple Music, I've been pretty fucking thrilled with the service, but now since Apple Music has come online, I've seen a pretty significant increase in streaming revenue. So maybe it's not all streaming services...but fuck yeah, Apple Music has been treating me well as a consumer and a creator!

Now, with a playlist of the album embedded above, there's not any real reason for me to post the track list, except that it makes it slightly easier for me to refer to, and it's tradition at this point. So, without further ado, here's what that track listing looks like:

01. Reticulated
02. Overdrive
03. The Hallows
04. Hell is for Reels
05. Xenophobia
06. They Delving 3.33
07. Passage Through The Veil
08. Sublimate
09. Momentum (Higher Gain Mix)
10. A Good Mourning
11. Obfuscate
12. The Creeps
13. A Different Story
14. Matriculating
15. Revolutions
16. Solace

Really, as an audience, you've probably been exposed to all these songs already. They are, after all, all the songs that were original to the Obfuscate/Sublimate releases, plus some of the tunes from the anniversary releases, and, of course, the songs from the Matriculated teaser EP. What that means is that all of these songs are actually available for free download from the Snail Tunes store as part of other releases, with the exception of those from Matriculated. When assembling this track list, I thought of including more new material as further incentive to buy it, but the only other finished songs I had to include are those that are found on the Artist's Edition, and I didn't want to take away from the value of that version of this album. But be aware: there's three all-new original tunes not seen on this track listing that are included on the Artist's Edition so I could make that version nineteen tracks in length, to go with the theme of that version's release day.

So, the blatant truth (do I offer any other kind) is that if you're interested in getting the most outta your money, you should buy Matriculated rather than this album, and you should go ahead and download Obfuscate, Sublimate, Progress Report - The Anniversary Spin, and Revival. Then you'd have all these songs for the price of that EP, which you can get for $3.56 (if I'm remembering correctly) from Amazon. Yep, that's the link right there. Go for it. Or you could make a pledge on Patreon and get an additional three unreleased songs on the Artist's Edition. Or you could sign up to The League of Extraordinary Snails and get all four commercially-distributed albums (a $20 value from Snail Tunes) for $10.

Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that part. See, Revolutions was the first album to be available for purchase from Snail Tunes, but I went ahead and made the other three available from there as well. The pricing mostly reflects how new they are and that, with purchase, you'l be able to download them in a format of your choice, from the crappy standard-quality MP3 that all other stores give you as your only option (you have no idea how much it irks me that they have the nerve to charge for such poor quality) to the best quality audio available, depending on how much data storage you have available for your music library; and you'll also have unlimited access to high-quality streaming of the albums from Bandcamp and the free (with purchase) Bandcamp mobile app. That's why Instrumentality - as an album whose songs are all available for free download already - is being offered for as low as $3. And being as it's my store, selling my music, I'm able to undercut even Amazon - which previously had the lowest price for all my music - and charge only $7 for Revolutions.

But, as part of the restructuring I've been doing around Snail Tunes, and my business plan in general, I'm not offering all four albums when you sign up for The League of Extraordinary Snails! Yes, I've raised the price for The League from $5 to $10, but I feel its worth it with the addition of the commercial albums. And Leaguers will also get the teaser EPs as they're released, as well as any bonus content I come up with. This makes The League almost as good a deal as becoming a Patreon Patron. The main difference between Leaguers and Patrons now is that Patrons will be receiving extended Artist's Editions of not just the albums but of the teaser EPs as well, and will also receive more frequent bonus content. For this, I'm charging Patrons on a per-EP basis, but the albums will be completely free.

Man, after so many headaches of coming up with different ways to explain that to my Patrons, I think I just found the most succinct and understandable way... From now on, if somebody asks, I'll just refer them to the blog. Anyway, to start off on the right foot with my Patrons about the changes happening, I released a new three-track single to them with some all-new material, and to give y'all an example of what I've been up too lately, I'm going to share one of those new songs with you, dear readers.

So that's an example of what Patrons have access to well in advance of everybody else. The other two songs on this single won't be available to the public, or even to Leaguers, until the first EP teasing the next album is released. The release schedule is going to be similar to what I was doing with the Snail Tunes EPs before this commercializing restructuring of things, except now the public EPs will be shorter and will be commercially-distributed, and not available for free download. Patrons will still be seeing seven-track (or thereabouts) EPs leading up to the albums.

Getting back the album at hand...it it a very special album, being as it does mark the one-year anniversary of my putting out music, which is how it got its title, for being a revolution around the sun. Of course, you can take "revolutions" to mean many things, which is also how it's intended. Pretty much all of my titles are meant to have multi-faceted meanings. The cover is intended to connote the kind of destructive revolution that is sometimes necessary for positive change to occur. Hopefully, the changes I'm implementing won't be destructive and will be all-in-all positive. I'm trying to step on as few toes as possible in the commercializing of Snail Tunes and my music. Hopefully, people will find these changes as something to applaud, rather than as cause for detraction.

Anyway, that's really all there is to share at the moment! So far, my energy for Snail Tunes and trying to make a living as an artist has been reinvigorated, and I hope that y'all stick with me and see what comes of all of this!

Your Lady,

Saturday, February 20, 2016

An Anniversary Revival!

Well, folken, the anniversary of my debut EP has come and gone! I probably should have written an article yesterday, on the actual date, and promoted the anniversary party (which could, in effect, still be going on; it's entirely up to you) here on the blog, but I spent the day promoting all the goodies on social media while doing a little networking. However, I'll still be sharing all of what went on, as well as making some announcements, and maybe sharing an anecdote or two. Probably the most relevant bit of anniversary-themed background that I shared on social media yesterday is this: two years ago, on February 18th, 2014, I was discharged from hospitalization for nearly needing (in fact, qualifying for) a liver transplant due to alcohol abuse. Now, I love drinking, and I did it to excess, but I don't consider myself an alcoholic. What I was (and still am, to a degree) is suicidal, and I was going a slow route in killing myself. I knew what I was doing and I knew that I was dying. I was okay with that. I wanted to die, and I was doing it on my terms, in the most enjoyable way I knew how. However, I was forced into hospitalization against my will, and the results weren't pretty. We're talking about vomiting and shitting blood, with no control over my bowels, as they were drying me out. Due to an outbreak of flu, the hospital was overfull and I was in the ER for two days before I was given a proper bed in a proper room. All in all, I was in the hospital for ten days, then released to the care of my mother, who was determined to never see me touch a drop of alcohol again.

There was lasting damage, to my mind and body. I was angry. I didn't want to survive, and now I could barely walk due to neuropathy, and my mind was functioning as if it was permanently in an alcoholic stupor. But without much choice in the matter, I lived and I started an arduous process of training my mind and body to function again. Some of the damage has been permanent. I still have neuropathy in my hands and feet, and I exist in constant pain, without being able to walk very far before its unbearable, and my fingers stiffening up and crying out at the tap of a screen if I use them for any sort of task that requires dexterity for long, the latter being the reason why I can't perform as a live musician.

During the first year out of the hospital, I immersed myself in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series of books and otherwise entertained myself with computers and television, my mother's iPad never being far away, with Sudoku and word games helping me to retrain my brain to function. The following winter, I began to lament that I could no longer function as a musician. Before, I sang as a front-person for multiple metal projects that never quite got off the ground, and I also sang solo and a cappella as part of spoken-word performances. I also played piano and guitar proficiently. None of these were things I was going to be doing again any time soon. Part of the lasting damage done was to my voice. Throwing up so much blood will abrade your throat and damage the tiny veins that run through your esophagus, and to this day I still periodically have a scope shoved down there to check for any bleeding and take preventative medication (that, fortunately, doubles as anxiety medication!). So, my singing voice is pretty shot, especially compared to what it used to be. It's come back somewhat, two years later, but I'm afraid it will never be the same again.

But I'm getting away from myself. That winter, I began playing around with programs for creating music electronically, some available as touch-screen apps with virtual instruments so I could also work on my dexterity. With nothing left to lose, I decided I was going to electronically compose an album, and I was even going to release a digital record. And that was how the idea for Nothing Left To Lose (an album that remains in my future) and (the far-more-immediate EP) Progress Report was born, Progress Report being just that - a report of my progress after hospitalization, which was released one year and one day after being discharged. The decision to release Progress Report on the 19th rather than the 18th was wholly influenced by the Dark Tower books, as 19 is a very significant number throughout those novels. If you've read the books, you'll also note that a large part of The Lady's public persona (which uses words and phrases like "folken" and "say thankya") is influenced by those books.

And that's my share about just how significant Progress Report and its release date are to me. A year since it's release, I have shared above with you an Anniversary Spin on that EP, which has turned into more of a mini-album (as I guess my seven-track EPs already technically qualify as) with its two extra tracks. For this anniversary release, I decided to compile my favorite incarnations of the songs from the original EP that have been released over the past year, and I threw on a couple of bonus surprises. Not much of a surprise was the track "Progress Report," which I shared that I was working on along with a SoundCloud release of an earlier version two months ago. More hey-check-this-out-worthy is the Higher Gain Mix of "Momentum," which came around for the sole purpose of being shared on this record, and "Inglorious Wrath," a new take on "Vainglorious Wrath" that came into being (after a miserably failed first attempt) for both this record and part II of my anniversary gifts to my audience, Revival.

Of course, I'd been thinking about doing Revival for a while, and the anniversary was a nice excuse to move forward with it and also have a release date set. I think the most important reason for moving forward with this record was probably to finally put a finished version (as opposed to the "demo" that's on The Hypnotic Jamboree) of "Hell is for Reels" out into the world. It made me finally sit down and attempt rerecording those violin tracks, which I had been too intimated to try for far too to long. I wasn't going to release a "finished" version of the song without doing so, and I finally did it, and I'm much happier with the results than the strings on the demo. In fact, I'm mush more pleased with the song as a whole. I not only rerecorded those fiddle bits, but also some of the cello and drums, and I wrote and recorded a whole lot of new instrumentation - most notably some synths to give the song a post-industrial feel to it, as opposed to being such a straightforward folk-rock tune. I've ignored that the demo even exists since finishing this recording. I'm just so freaking happy with it! I think it's beautiful, and I'm a little anxious to release it on Jamendo.com, as it was the most popular tune of mine on that website for quite a while. Hopefully, the new version doesn't overwhelm the site and make it explode. Just kidding. I do kind of hope that happens.

Also notable on Revival is "Odd Gastropod," which is an alternate spin of sorts on "Trip-Hop Thing." I wanted to do a remix of "Trip-Hop Thing," but that song doesn't lend itself well to such an attempt, so for the most part, I just rewrote the drum tracks and added some instrumentation - again with the post-industrial synths. I like the finished product. I wouldn't go as far to say as I like it better than the original song (though I do like the title better), but it's not a bad attempt at a different version. All in all, it's just that: different.

And, of course, Revival makes public (finally; it seems as though in my personal world - of which I include Patreon in quite a bit of, musically speaking - it's been around forever) the final release of "They Delving," version 3.33 (which has already been remastered for its inclusion on Revolutions). With some of the vocals rerecorded (and even some vocals removed) and the addition of quite a bit of electric guitar, as well as some synths, this final version is quite a bit more metal than the previous versions. This song has always been intended to be classified as "industrial," which feels more appropriate now that it can be pretty safely categorized as "industrial-metal." I'm thrilled with it. I don't even want to look back at any of the other versions any more, except maybe version 3.0, which is the sin palabras version. It sounds quite good (sometimes, to my ears, even preferable) as an instrumental.

Part III of my anniversary gifts is the release of a new song for free streaming, which sort of ties in to one of my announcements, and also ties in to my anniversary gift to Patreon Patrons. This song was intended to be on Revolutions, but no matter how I tried to shift around the order, it just didn't fit with the other songs, so here it is, before the album is even released, the "lost track" from Revolutions, "Ideally."

Well, "before the album is even released" is only half-true, as my anniversary gift to Patreon Patrons was an Artist's Edition of Revolutions! As has become usual for the Artist's Editions, it has individualized track art unique to this release, along with a PDF booklet of album art and liner notes. As is becoming usual for these editions, I've added bonus tracks - three this time, as opposed to the two that were added on to Jaded! This was to give the release a total of nineteen tracks, which, or course, was the magic number of the day. Also, all three of those tunes fit beautifully among the others that I am hesitant to go back the original sixteen-track listing for the public release; but I will, to keep faith with my Patrons.

Now, I have some really big announcements to make about some changes that are being made. As it has been a year now that I've tried being a primarily non-commercial artist, it's been time for me to take a step back and examine how well that's been working for me. The answer: not very well at all. My hope was that people would have enough respect for the art that I produce, and for musicians in general, that I wouldn't have to require payment for my music. That people would buy music when they were able to, or at least leave a tip here and there, no matter how small. I've been sorely disappointed, but after thirty-three years of being disappointed by people, this was to be expected. However, being a person with anti-capitalist leanings, I had to give it a try, and all in all it was part of a larger business plan, which was to use this first year to gain exposure. I feel as though I have made a (small) name for myself, as I've exposed thousands of people to my music, and at least hundreds now have songs by The Lady anoNYMous in their music libraries. By stats from Jamendo, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and the fact that I'm now experiencing regular radio airplay, I feel pretty confident in this assumption. But speaking of Jamendo... Well, that site has been a large part of this decision. There has been over 7,000 downloads of my music at that site, and not a single person has tipped a single cent. At Bandcamp, I've fared better, but there's still been less than $0.09 USD paid per download, on average. Aside from Patreon, I've been experiencing the most revenue from my commercially-distributed music. And you've probably all heard how shitty royalties from streaming platforms are. Yet I want to make a living from my art, so it appears to be time to suck it up and shift away from being a non-commercial artist.

This means a restructuring of my business plan and how I release and distribute my music, and this largely means that I won't be able to release my music for free as much anymore, and that Snail Tunes will no longer be an entirely non-commercial enterprise. Fuck, I hate speaking this language so much: the language of "enterprise" and "commercial vs. non-commercial," the language of the corporate and the capitalist. But I have to start being more of a capitalist when it comes to my music. If I want to make a living from it, capitalizing off of it is exactly what I have to do. So now I gotta eat shit and like it. Well, I don't have to like it. I just have to learn how to swallow.

I'm thinking I'm going to be implementing this new structure with the release of Revolutions, and I'm thinking this new structure is going to go kind of like this: First, no more non-commercial EPs. Those are going out the window. I still want to cyber-busk and offer my music for free, but the EPs making it largely available before commercial distribution is going to be getting a bit of a reversal. Instead, there will still be non-commercial compilations, released after the music has been commercially distributed. The Snail Tunes EP will not go completely extinct, but those will now have a price on them. A low price. I don't think I can go lower than $1.00 per song on Bandcamp, but I can make the EPs available for a price that makes the per-song average less than $1.00. These EPs will also be distributed through Distrokid, and therefore will be made available for free streaming on commercial streaming platforms. I'll also still be making songs available for free streaming on SoundCloud and on YouTube as I'm promoting the EPs. The EPs will be leading up to commercially-distributed albums, and then, after I'm done doing my promotional rounds for those albums, I'll be releasing non-commercial compilation albums that will, unfortunately, not have all the new music available on the preceding album, but will have most of it. The compilations will be of material from the EPs, but not any new music from the albums. This way, my music will still eventually be made freely available for streaming and download, but all those willing to pay to support my art will have first dibs on downloads, and there will be further incentive to buy the music. I plan to still release free bonuses for my audience at the Snail Tunes store, such as the above "anniversary gifts," but they'll be few and far between.

This, of course, means things will be changing on how I charge and reward my Patreon Patrons as well. Mostly, things will remain the same. $10 Patrons will still be charged per EP, but receiving albums and other bonus content for free. This will be more evenly matched at The League of Extraordinary Snails, where the price of per-month membership will likely be affected (meaning, most likely it will be going up). I'm not quite sure how $5 and $1 Patronage will be affected. I'm going to be restructuring some of this and learning new things while implementing new ideas as I go along.

I hope y'all understand just how hard this is going to be for me. As I'm writing, I've already made mostly completed track listings for the next two non-commercial Snail Tunes EPs, and the track lists for both are exciting for me to look at...and I'm going to have to scrap them. I really enjoy making my music as freely available as possible, and therefore as widely available as possible. But there's just no way I can afford to devote this much time and energy to my music while getting next-to-nothing in return. If I want to continue having music as this large a part of my life, I have no choice. And if I can possibly make a living doing what I'm doing, that's what I'm going to pursue.

Hopefully, this is understood and sympathized with. Because I hope to retain each and every one of you as my audience. I value you immensely, folken. That is the main reason I want my music to, in the end, still be freely accessible for streaming and download, and why that's been an important focus in this restructuring. I hope this all works out for the best!

We'll see, as our inner snails remain resilient and determined.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

An announcement!

As usual, the upcoming commercial release, Revolutions is going to be made available to Patrons pledging $10 or more toward the next Snail Tunes release or Snail Tale, and also as usual, it will be an Artist's Edition with bonus content; this time three extra tracks (for a total of nineteen), as well as unique track art and a PDF booklet.

So, this post is basically an advertisement for that, and the fact that it will be released to those Patrons on the anniversary date of Progress Report, February 19th, before the commercial release of the album! So the skinny of it is, if you pledge $10 or more now toward the next non-commercial Snail Tunes release - which will be in March, so you won't even be charge until April 1st - you'll instantly have access to all of that tiers' rewards (which is all of them, including the Artist's Editions of the previous three albums, as well as the Patron-exclusive compilations Vjetor and A New Era, plus the early releases of the Hypnotic Jamboree update Revival and the Anniversary Spin of Progress Report...man, that's a lot!) you'll also have access to the Artist's Edition of Revolutions when it's released to Patrons on the 19th! So, um, what are you waiting for? Click the image to visit Patreon!

And in case you're feeling uncertain about letting an album you have yet to hear be your deciding factor, I can tell you that all the original, non-Jaded tracks from the Obfuscate/Sublimate releases will be included, as well as several all-new original tunes, including the four in the playlist below for the teaser-EP Matriculated.

Now, I will stop being pushy and leave you with this: let your inner snail be your guide.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Radiate and Matriculate

Presenting the fourth Snail Tunes compilation by The Lady anoNYMous,
collecting songs from Jaded, Obfuscate, and Sublimate.

It seems like only last month I was releasing Jaded...which isn't that far from the truth. There's usually a bit more space between the album releases, but I had a very productive winter, folken. I guess it's just how I cope with the season, as the previous winter was also a very productive one; one that resulted in the debut EP, during which not only was I using my tools for the first time (and therefore everything felt highly experimental of me at the time, even though those songs sound a bit mundane when compared to some of the shit I've been producing a year later), but I wrote the first incarnations of all of the songs on Progress Report, as well as "Giger's Lullaby" and "Winter's Salve" (then called "Winter's Discontent" and a lot more classical than it's latest incarnation "Winter's Remix 2.0").

I've continued to work with a lot of those songs since releasing that first EP last February. Some saw their first makeover as soon as the following month, on the Alternate Spin of Progress Report. "Winter's Salve (Alternate Spin)" remains, to me, one of the most mind-blowing pieces I've ever written, even though it's so minimalist and uses the musicians' old "repeating itself" trick to fill out a "proper song length" - oldest, most blatant standby in the book.

Other songs from Progress Report have had new incarnations as recently as Jaded and are therefore included on Radiate, such as the very first track on the album, "The Ground Up (Rebuild)."

As the anniversary of Progress Report draws near, I felt the need to visit with these songs and wrap up a select few in some special packaging for Progress Report - The Anniversary Spin, the result being a nine-track, fifty-seven minute "mini-album" that I've tacked an all-new song at the end of as a hidden bonus track. The rest of the songs have been seen on previous non-commercial releases, so there's not going to be any huge surprises when this Anniversary Spin is released to the public (non-commercial at the Snail Tunes store, of course), aside from the hidden track...and I realized that one of the songs had never had an alternate version recorded, and I'd actually been thinking about it for a couple months now, so there is a never-before-heard remix of "Momentum" that I'm quite proud of.

This leads me to also tell y'all a bit about the "update" on The Hypnotic Jamboree that I've been mentioning, Revival. This new record is also all about alternate versions of songs from the original, though there is just one alternate version for each, and they're in the original order.  However, I came to the realization pretty quick that I don't have alternate versions recorded of each song, and in the case of "Vainglorious Wrath," it already is (sort of) an alternate version. I already had recorded a (finally) finished rendition of "Hell Is For Reels" - with the fiddle part and much of the cello rerecorded throughout, as well as some added instrumentation - and I already had the new version of "They Delving" just waiting to be put on a public, non-commercial record; but I needed to decide if I'd leave "Vainglorious Wrath" as is (and I should note that I had already started, and failed at, a remix of that song) and I would need an alternate version of "Trip-Hop Thing"...a song that just doesn't seem like it should be anything other than what it is.

Anyway, there's likely a blog article to be attached to the release of these records, but I thought I'd give up a few more details and tease a bit, since they're already available on Patreon, and I'm always on a crusade for new Patrons.

So, as long as I'm crusading, I guess I should also speak a little about Matriculated, which I've sort of snuck in under the radar. The inspiration to release this was a rather recent event, not planned with a great amount of forethought. Well, I had been thinking of releasing a single through my commercial distributor to see how it might generate interest in the upcoming commercial album. This was originally to be a song called "The Hallows," which I had already released to Patrons on the album preview Vanitas. Vanitas (being, as I understand it, a style of still-life art that usually is of objects representing mortality) is very much along the same lines of Matriculated - a four-track EP previewing the new album - but "The Hallows" is the only track they have in common.

The track lists are as follows: Vanitas contains "Hell Is For Reels" (the finished version I mentioned earlier), "The Hallows," "Groove" (a sort of post-industrial piano jazz number), and a sin palabras recording of "Cold Sunlight" - I'd like to take a moment to clarify that, just because there's no words doesn't mean there's no vocals, which leads me to wonder how many people realize that the wordless soprano vocals in the song are actually me and not a synth... Moving on. Matriculated contains "Reticulated" (a post-industrial overture I feel would make Trent Reznor proud), "The Hallows," "Matriculating" (an upbeat indie-pop-meets-post-industrial tune), and "Revolutions" (being a darkwave dance track).

You may be noticing that, while I've offered brief descriptions of all the songs on these two album-previewing EPs, I haven't bothered to describe "The Hallows." That's because, I don't have to. As I said before, I had thought of releasing a single to generate interest in the album. Well, I'm already doing that in extended-play form with Matriculated. I decided, for a single, I'd go the route of SoundCloud yet again and make it available for free streaming for everyone. I had originally planned for this song to be "The Hallows," then I thought it was going to be "Revolutions," but after consulting with a certain super fan (who is also a friend), I've reverted back to choosing the former. So, without further ado (do-do-do-do-do...sorry, Bran Van 3000 reference there), I present a single from the upcoming album for y'all to enjoy that will hopefully whet your appetites: "The Hallows."

I hope y'all like it. Both Matriculated and Vanitas are available to supporters via Patreon, while Vanitas is also available to The League of Extraordinary Snails, and Matriculated is soon to be available on most major streaming platforms and at most major online music stores (Amazon, Google, iTunes, TIDAL, YouTube, Spotify, MS Groove, etc...).

This article has becoming far more about what I've been up to since releasing Radiated (and I guess I can get up to a lot in five days!), but that's probably because there's just not a whole to say about this latest compilation album that hasn't already been said. All of the songs had already been released, and this is a truer compilation in that regard than Nefelibata or Wisps of Reason. With everything that had been released prior, there was already ample material to fill out an album without resorting to unreleased songs. And so I have all of these songs that are just itching to be released on the next commercial album, which I guess I can tell you is tentatively (maybe more than tentatively) titled Revolutions after the song making its first appearance as part of Matriculated. "Revolutions" receives the honor of being the title track partly because it's more on the experimental side (I'm not one known for putting together dance tracks, usually, and it also utilizes a new drum machine as well as synths that are new to me, which inspired writing a darkwave dance track in the first place).

I can also share a rough draft of the cover art for the upcoming album, which is being used with permission from the photographer, Thad Metzger, and is a shot of composer Sean Beeson on what appears to be a very magical night involving a rather epic bonfire.

I'm going to see what I can do to clean up the text and make it look less rough, but that's the gist of it. Sean shared this photo on twitter and I was immediately struck by it and asked right away if I could steal it. Both he and Thad gave me their permission, and with the amount of Likes we've had fluttering around our conversation about it, I've been beginning to feel almost as if I had a hand with this bonfire and was there on that night, dancing with these two Twitter friends of mine. Apparently, this fire was roaring at that strength for two hours...

Well, folken, although this article hasn't been particularly lengthy, it feels like a lot of sharing in a short amount of time, and I do believe I've run out of news. I do hope you enjoy Radiate. I'm very happy to have all of the songs from Jaded available on non-commercial records, and I've enjoyed composing and recording the material for Obfuscate/Sublimate and fitting it together with those songs immensely. This was a very easy album to assemble, and quite enjoyable to listen to repeatedly as I've been working on it. Now, I do indeed have enough material for Revolutions (more than enough) and I have to concentrate on that album and even, for the first time, select which songs will not be making the cut! So, until it's time for me to write something soul-searching and sappy about the anniversary of Progress Report at length - or I have something else to report - may your inner snails remain resilient and determined!