January 2017 Album Update!!

Much time has past since my last update, and much has changed since then. Time for another peek into my twisted music-making process!

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The latest update with the new album is this: I scrapped three of the 10 pieces, and am beginning to write one more piece to fill in that space. Yes this will push the release back by a few months, but also yes it will be a much better result because I’m taking my time with it and not letting anything slip by. However: all of the pieces are finally named, including this new one and the album itself. More on that later.

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Some more good news is that everything else is pretty much finished! Cello session is scheduled for this coming Saturday (weather permitting) and I’m really excited to work with this person! The mixing and editing process has been long but productive, and I’m absolutely thrilled with how it sounds both as a percussionist and an audio engineer. I was also given some great mix advice from family & friends that has really helped to make everything much more clear and fit together like a puzzle. I even had the privilege to hear these mixes on some really nice monitors, too! There is one piece in particular that is sounding INCREDIBLE! It really raises the bar for the other ones, so I’m putting extra attention into making sure that every section of every piece is up to those same standards. I’m confident at this point that it will come across that way to the listener too!

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The latest thing to be added was a few layers of kalimba on two of the pieces, which REALLY filled out the space in the mixes and goes well with the Hang, marimba, and vibes that have already been recorded. It went so well that I might see if it’ll fit with another piece or two. I’ve been recording with the Catania 12-note board kalimbas exclusively for their warm, full, resonant tone (and ease of re-tuning!). Sad to hear that the guy who makes these wonderful instruments recently closed up shop and retired, but my three kalimbas (different tunings) are still in great shape and should last many more years to come!

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I’m also very excited to say that I recently started to make play-through videos of each of these pieces. The first video is almost finished, and might actually be the first full piece that I debut(!!!). I’m sure this will be another long and crazy process, but I have some really great help with it (thank you, Jen <3), and it’ll be a great addition to the album to have this visual aspect of it too. Hopefully it will even open some doors to discussions on technique, instrumentation, etc. Look for those videos on Facebook and a brand new YouTube channel soon! Until then, you can check out a preview of this first video HERE!

 

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August 2016 Album Update

Get ready for more frequent album updates, because things are really getting close over here!! All 10 tracks are written, and are anywhere from 85-100% recorded! We just had an incredible marimba recording session with my good friend Anthony DiBartolo. Having a real five octave marimba on the album really fills up the mix, especially with Anthony’s dynamic playing giving it a lot of color and dimension.

So again – what’s left?!

Thank you for asking. We’ll be finishing up the violin sessions soon (wow Julie Myers really adds a lot of motion to these tracks too!), then moving on to cello, and of course a few more percussion & drum set sessions thrown in there too (plus a surprise guest solo or two!!). There’s always more fun rhythms to try out!

Then it’s onto the mix. These sessions are HUGE – tons of layers and different sounds that need to all play well with each other. I’ve started mixing a few of the tracks – just some simple editing and getting some levels and automations programmed in, trying out different EQ’s, yada yada, but I’ve been really impressed with the mixes so far. It’s a daunting task to bring forth a whole album like this from scratch, and then to see it at this stage almost complete. There are many possibilities are far as where the mix could go. I don’t want this to sound like a rock or metal album, because it’s not that. It’s also not a jazz album; It’s somewhere between a few genres. My wife calls it, “jazzy percussion prog,” which I kinda like the sound of 🙂 so I’ll keep that in mind while mixing.

All of the tracks are named, but there’s no album artwork yet. More decisions…

Just a quick update for now – MUCH MORE will be posted as we approach the release date and more of the tracks are finalized. I’m also looking to do some play-throughs and other videos soon as well. Not sure I say this enough, but I REALLY appreciate everyone’s support with this whole album-making process, and I think everyone will enjoy this music as much as I’ve enjoyed making it.

I will post these tracks as soon as they are ready. The question is … are you ready?

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Merry Album Update, Everyone!

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Awhile back I mentioned about making another solo album, but not much has been officially said about it since then. I’m sitting here now listening to the playback of nine pieces totaling over an hour of new material. I’ve been chipping away at drum set and percussion recordings over the past two years for this, and it’s really coming together nicely. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with some different kinds of instruments on this album, most notably the Hang (similar to an inverted steel drum played with your hands). It has a very enchanting and recognizable sound, and really helps to lock in some of the compositions and bridge the gap between the melodic and percussive sounds on this album. I’ve also been working a lot with gongs if you couldn’t tell by now; using different types of mallets/brushes on them, and bringing out their percussive and melodic natures as well. I’ll say this: for a percussion-centric album, it’s extremely diverse!

What to expect?

This album is the next evolution in my musical journey. In my opinion, the compositions are better, the recording quality has greatly improved, and the performance is at a new level compared to anything I’ve done before. There’s a new level of groove on these tracks, which makes them easier to “get into.” A lot of these pieces are very challenging and fun to play. I also don’t think I “overplayed” on any of it, yet there are still some pretty intense/in-your-face moments. The use of contrast is huge, to enhance the musicality of the pieces. There is also no shortage of complex harmonies, rhythms, and lengthy compositions. It has a very earthy, organic feel as with most of my music, due to instrument choice and overall sonic qualities, but like I said before, it gets intense at times – believe that! It’s not metal, it’s not “tribal”, and it’s not like anything I’ve done before. It should really be a fun experience and will make you want to turn it up and really feel it!

So what’s left?

In short: recording the Marimba, Vibraphone, Violins and Cello (maybe a little guitar & piano as well??). There has been a lot of recording and re-recording that went on throughout the writing and recording stages. I got a hold of a better cajon for one track, so I completely redid it with that one. Shaker track not sitting 100%? Throw it on the list and redo that sucker! It’s been great having a laid-back recording schedule so I can really focus on the pieces and try things out/experiment in the studio. I’ve been mixing as I go along, so while nothing is 100% “finished” and “ready to share” at this point, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of the nine pieces, some closer than others. The final mixing will be done when everything has been recorded and no more redo’s are in store. Then it’s off to mastering and then out to you all! It’s just that simple (I wish). That being said, I am extremely proud of how everything so far is sounding, especially the drum set. Great tones all around!

However, there is no album name yet, no track names to share, nor an album cover at this point. How am I supposed to put names to instrumental pieces? Inside jokes about the tracks maybe? We’ll see soon enough! Also, another thing that will be different from my previous albums: I plan on doing a bit of marketing with this and hopefully making a video or two for it and playing some shows to support the album release with the help of some incredibly talented friends of mine! I had originally set a goal of the end of 2015 to release this album, but that’s not looking too likely right now – maybe summer 2016 if you’re good. I am looking forward to sharing these tracks THE ABSOLUTE SECOND they’re ready.