Saturday, February 11, 2017

Return of the Dervish


I'll try to keep this short and sweet: I made a blunder when I removed the album Instrumentality from my "official" discography by removing "Dusk Devils" and "The Nocturnal Dervish" with it; "Dervish," in particular, having been one of my most popular songs ever, and being in rotation on several radio stations. It does no good to have a song getting airplay without being available, except for maybe getting my name out there and attracting attention to my other songs. But it seems like kind of a tease (which is what most radio singles are before they make it onto a release, I guess) to have the song playing on the air and no way to purchase or stream it. Anyway, I saw the error of my ways almost immediately after replacing Instrumentality with The Instrumentality Project. The "Simplified Mix" was supposed to offer an alternative, but seeing the original's airplay tweeted to my attention over and over again cemented the feeling that I had to make it (the original) available to stream and download again.

Another catalyst for this was coming across a photograph by Loni Nicole Hoots called "In Mysterious Ways." See, I've always imagined the Nocturnal Dervish from the Snail Tunes mythology (more on that a little further on) to be a hooded, druidic, androgynous figure, which I had previously used images by John Jude Palencar and Jeremiah Morelli to depict. In the case of John Jude Palencar I didn't have permission to use his artwork, and I received a rather uncalled-for, lengthy reprimand when I asked for permission (I mean, shit, I was asking!). Jeremiah Morelli, however, gave me permission...as long as it wasn't for commercial use. So I was out of luck for a cover image until I saw "In Mysterious Ways" on Twitter (I must say that I've come across the majority of my artistic and music industry connections through this reviled form of social media) and secured the permission of Ms. Hoots - I hope that's the correct gender assumption, which I shouldn't be making if I were overly concerned about political correctness, but fuck, that gets tiresome sometimes. I just couldn't come up with an alternative title and felt weird about using their full name again, so if anyone has an alternate suggestion, I'll take it!

Anyway, I asked for a higher-resolution file of the photograph, waited a very long time, and failed to get a response, though they responded to other tweets, so I assumed that I just wasn't getting one, and I went forward with publishing the single with the cover I already had arted (my term for cropping, titling, and overall altering or constructing artwork for track art and cover art). I decided to not only republish "Dusk Devils" and "Dervish," but to map out the song's evolution. Two steps are notably missing - the "Whirlwind Mix" of "Dusk Devils" and the original "Replicant" - but I was much more satisfied with the next steps in the song's progression; respectively, the "Nocturnal Dervish Mix" that later became known as simply "The Nocturnal Dervish," and the Alternate Spin of "The Replicant." Those versions occasionally pop up in the rotating rarities available to Patreon patrons; I'm just not overly concerned with their absence from the official discography.

Now, for those who aren't familiar with the mythology behind this song, or the Snail Tunes mythology in general: a protagonist in much of my music (in fact, I maintain that the Snail has a story behind each of my songs, even if I don't know what it is yet) is the Snail, which is why it's used as a sort of mascot. In the songs "They Delving" and "Dusk Devils," the Snail has been traveling with the Bagman, who, after a harrowing journey through a dark wood, leaves our intrepid gastropod at the edge of a desert. There, it encounters the spirits of dust devils, only visible at dusk, who have been determinedly eroding the landscape to uncover the way down to a subterranean, otherworldly celebration, presided over by the king of the Dusk Devils, the Nocturnal Dervish. An EP called The Hypnotic Jamboree was once devoted to a musical telling of this chapter in the Snail's journeys. A version of it may pop up again someday, but it was removed when I decided to no longer hope to support my music career on tips alone, as it was a non-commercial EP. Not introduced in this chapter was a synthetic copy of the Dervish, known only as the Replicant, which has yet to be storied.

That about wraps it up, except for noting that I am offering this four-track single for free download at my Snail Tunes store. Just enter zero when asked to "name your price." However, tips are appreciated, and anything over $0.50 USD counts as a purchase qualifying for unlimited, DMR-free (no subscription required) streaming on Bandcamp and its free app. For those of you who subscribe to a streaming service, this release will be available on the usual suspects: Spotify, YouTube, Google Play, Apple Music, MS Groove, and TIDAL, which we be linked as they become available. If "Dusk Devils" and "The Nocturnal Dervish" were among your favorites of my songs and you've been missing their availability, please accept my sincere apologies. I hope this makes up for it!

OF NOTE: The Instrumentality Project and The Nocturnal Dervish are not available on Amazon Music Unlimited. They are available at the store, but for some reason have not been curated for Unlimited as yet. All my other releases are, so I'm not sure why; I emailed my distributor and they're clueless. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Please, enjoy, and may your inner snails remain resilient and determined.