Artwork by William Bryant Mansell
Sorry it's been so long between posts, folken. Carnivale was released March 18th and Cold Sunlight was released March 23rd, and I've yet to blog about either. To be perfectly frank, I felt a bit burned out after producing what amounts to four full-length albums in one year and decided to reward myself with a hiatus, during which I went on a bit of a bender. Now, many of you know that I have an unhealthy history with alcohol and that I had successfully abstained for two years. But what better way to reward myself for a year of productivity than by having a beer? Unfortunately, a beer every couple of days turned into a beer every day, which turned into two beers a day, which turned into a six-pack a day, and then I started to realize that it was getting to the point where it wasn't any fun anymore, at which point I quit cold turkey and then suffered through nearly a week of withdrawal symptoms.
I don't entirely regret it. It was during this time period (and partially thanks to the alcohol) that I broke free of my self-imposed isolation and started browsing gay hook-up sites again, and my second "hook-up" was with a man that it turns out I have a lot in common with, and who has become a good friend - the first friend I've made since being dislocated to the Kansas City area. He may even be boyfriend material. Only time will tell.
Anyway, I'm back to sobriety and, sort of, back to work. I use that qualifier because I'm still taking a step back from making music and waiting for the right inspiration to strike. I have some half-finished songs that I'm not entirely convinced of, and I feel that my muse has faded to a shade after overworking for over a year. My therapist says that, perhaps, I should learn to pace myself. Can we all say "duh"? My peers have called me prolific, but I think it's fair to say that I've just been a workaholic with no life. So I've turned my attention toward things that I enjoy apart from composing, and toward having a social life again. In baby steps, of course. I don't think I can handle any more real-life interaction than this one new friend at the moment - I'm too used to being alone. But I'm also rekindling my relationship with books, and I have a plot for another short story from Jade's universe floating around in my head, a sort of companion to the song "Nyctality." So I may be writing rather than composing in the immediate future.
However, I've been remiss in introducing my latest musical releases on this blog and sharing what's been going on with Snail Tunes, The League of Extraordinary Snails, and The Lady's Patreon for a few weeks, so without any further ado, I'd like to shift focus to my latest EP, Carnivale.
First, I'd like to draw attention the wonderful cover art, a piece called "Circus" by Cyril Rolando (please, visit him on Facebook), who graciously gave his permission for me to use his artwork. I'm quite pleased to say that Cyril was impressed with my work and has asked permission to use my songs in videos he makes of rendering his pieces. It's always wonderful to have a give-and-take relationship with other artists.
Carnivale is more or less an EP of straightforward trip-hop instrumentals, foregoing the darkwave and post-metal flavors that inhabit a lot of my previous work (with the exception of "Safe in Cars," which has a few metallic interruptions). This is the first EP to be released since the restructuring of Snail Tunes, so it is not a pay-what-you-will release, but I do undercut its price on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes at the Snail Tunes store. It is available to stream from TIDAL, MS Groove, and Apple Music, for those who subscribe to those platforms, and can be streamed for free on YouTube and Spotify. The Artist's Edition on Patreon also includes two extra tracks - one is my rendition of "Every You Every Me" by Placebo, and the other ("Muddy Waters") has already been made publicly available on Cold Sunlight.
The decision to release "Cold Sunlight" as a single was motivated by this beautiful piece in colored pencils by one of my oldest and dearest friends, William Bryant Mansell, inspired by the song itself. I don't remember exactly how it started, but he had me send him the lyrics so he could meditate on the song and what the lyrics brought to his mind, and this is what came of it. I rounded out the track listing with previously unreleased material to make this re-release extra special. "Primordial Soup" originally appeared on the Artist's Edition of Revolutions, while "Muddy Waters," as I previously stated, appeared on the Artist's Edition of Carnivale. The sin palabras version of "Cold Sunlight" was previously a Patreon exclusive. I'd like to note that, while the words and verses of the song have been removed from this version, it's not entirely without vocals. It's easy to mistake the falsetto vocals in this song for synths, but that is, in fact, me singing - just a fun fact for y'all. Cold Sunlight is available for streaming from TIDAL, MS Groove, Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube, and can be purchased and downloaded from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, and the Snail Tunes store.
Now, "Groove" (from Carnivale) was also originally from the Artist's Edition of Revolutions, and "Ideally" was from the Patreon edition of Progress Report - The Anniversary Spin, so aside from a couple sin palabras versions of songs and the "Every You Every Me" rendition, there isn't a whole lot of exclusive content on Patreon at the moment, and I'm currently not working on new songs. This will probably change in the near future, but I'm thinking it's about time to make another Patreon-exclusive compilation album, which will be very selective, and I'm hoping to make it my best yet. I'm figuring it will feature artwork by Cyril Rolando - among others who have generously donated their artwork in the past - and it will, as usual, have unique, individual track art and a nice little PDF booklet. Undoubtedly, it will have quite lovely digital packaging.
Meanwhile, at the Snail Tunes store, all the commercially distributed albums are now available...for cheap. I'm offering Instrumentality for $3 USD, Occultation and Jaded for $5 each, and Revolutions for $7. So, yeah, you won't be able to find a better deal on these albums.
Anyway, folken, that's all I really have to say for now. Don't worry, I'll undoubtedly be making more music soon enough, but for now, I need to rest and wait for inspiration to strike instead of trying to force anything. I may dabble at the half-finished songs (one is actually entirely finished, but a bit murky due to being overly complex) that I have, but for now, I need to recharge. Music doesn't just fall out of my holly jolly butt, ya know!
I hope this finds each and every one of you well.
P.S. May your inner snails continue to be resilient and determined.