Monday, June 27, 2011

Selfish Blues

Another week, or one and a half weeks to be precise, has passed. Soon it's time to *gasp* go to school again... Okay, not soon, but 30% of my holiday is gone, regardless. The great news is that I have remained extremely productive. Let's break it down, shall we?

The two songs that I've been working on the most writing-wise, Polarity and Grain, are both pretty much finished now in structure. Grain barely has any lyrics I'm satisfied with and some transitions definitely need work, but the ending harmony turned out great and all in all the song is among the ones I'm most proud of having done right beside Allergy/Anemia and The Black. As it is very Opeth- and Pelican-influenced, is there really any reason to claim otherwise? :P Polarity is an interesting blend of three more or less contrasting sections, mixing hope and solace with distress and extreme darkness. In a way its dark and light are the deepest and shiniest found on the material for the album so far. With this there also lies a problem I have yet to solve - are the sections too different from each other? Other notable and fresh compositions include Graze, which is basically just a build-up for the time being, built around a riff that's, believe it or not, extremely danceable. It's got groove totally new to Wicked Breath, and I'm excited over that. Recording-wise I've made progress by finishing the guitars for Johannesburg, the guitars and bass for Tear of the Afternoon, the bass and guitar solo for Letters from Rats as well as the bass for the Theban Cycle song Midnight Sun, which will be entirely written by me, by the way. I've also mixed Tear of the Afternoon for the parts that are done and tweaked the Letters from Rats guitar solo. Tonight I plan to mix some of the bass tracks if I have the motivation. For the rest of the week my goal is to move on with guitars for Cyan Lie and Clutch, and perhaps record the bass for yet another Theban Cycle track, Dividing By Zero. The reason why I'm rushing with Clutch is that I have finally found my singer and I do not want to make her wait too long to hear how I, and our project, is to sound instrumentally.

The short story (which is still untitled, unfortunately) has made decent progress and is now at around 3400 words written. Since I have a good picture of where the plot will go from here on and where it will end, I'm estimating about 5000 words in total and am hoping to finish next week, after which I will start the translation work. It's been a lot of fun to write as an author opposed to writing as a poet for a change, and doing the original version in Finnish has ensured that the text flows quite well and comes out as naturally as ever. I can't wait to get it out to the few who want to read it.

Obviously I have also written some lyrics recently - what would my life be without them? Here's a sample of some of the lyrics I've done for Grain, yet am not fully if at all happy with.

(Absurd the abstract has come)
Absurd the abstract has come
re-arranged my rapid eye movement
(of blind) caress that I used to breathe with (onto)
before healing unsynthetized me
Thanks to the cadmium grain that paved me a way
from the midst of sands so grey
clouds lay upon the fire so truth
can retort the salty sixth of wounds

HURT AND BEAT ME DOWN [x2]
Until I am beyond the pain,
beyond the forest fire place

Watching my hands sends shivers like creeping down my back
tattooed on my lips is betrayal, dishonesty
sealing my comfort zone I fear the storm waking inside
fear the hurricane of non-pretending
wreaked lights corresponding to me
and my wish of lust and greed
missunderstatement is the shadow
I'm forced to pour my heart due


Finally a word from my sponsors. No, wait... :P I've been getting new music in a very rapid pace during the last few weeks, as you could probably tell by my last blogpost. Since then I have been focusing more on my own music perhaps but still, there are plenty of albums that have found them their way into my hard drive. I actually have a project now to collect and listen to all albums by Opeth before their new one, Heritage, comes out in September, and I've started by adding Deliverance, Damnation and Still Life to my library that only include Blackwater Park prior to this. I also have two new Nostromo albums besides the one I had before, Ecce Lex. Those two are Argue and Hysteron - Proteron, the latter being a fully acoustic album with renewed and somewhat mindblowing versions of six of their previously released songs. Though their most extreme material is a little too extreme for me to be listening to it for too long at a time, it's a shame the band quit a number of years ago. On the evening of my previous post's date I checked out some Rammstein, and was pleasantly surprised by the solid riffing and industrial elements creating a unique atmosphere on their album Sehnsucht. Finally, there's Limp Bizkit's new album Gold Cobra I got just yesterday and have rolled in my player for a decent 73 scrobbles worth according to Last.fm. It's been another pleasant surprise since I don't consider myself a fan anymore.

And yes, we have reached the end of the road for now! I will have some dinner in just a bit. Hence I'm walking away... ;)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Life Is Worthless If It Doesn't Hurt

My first holiday week was rather full of everything I could imagine. I had work, recording sessions, walks outside, lots of great new music, artistic ideas and plans and not much seemed to go wrong. In contrast to that, week 2 was a bit bland and disappointing at first but as the weekend is arriving things are moving again. If the rest of the vacation follows the same formula, I'm going to be done with almost all of my plans and much more on top of them.

On Tuesday I got my Pro Tools M-Powered software. So far I'm not even close to getting into all of its attributes since I barely have any stuff to test it with, but my first impression is that whereas it's definitely credited as the best (in some cases second best) software out there for basically anything audio-related, 300 Euros was a bit too much any way considering Audacity is free and can do the same basic functions as PT, with the exception of the virtual instruments which I unfortunately don't have any use for at the moment at least. One big plus is that the functions Audacity and PT share are all without exception much easier to use in the latter. The interface is as user-friendly as one can imagine really and while I mixed together the bass and guitars for Finland yesterday, I quite easily got the hang of things and felt like everything turned out smooth. Hopefully as I start mixing full tracks together I'll find some ways to enhance the sound even more et cetera so not only will it all sound better, but satisfy the niggardly banker I have in me. :P

The amount of new music, as well as old (some of which I want to re-check after not exactly giving it a chance in the first place) has been huge, resulting me to have Undertow and 10,000 Days by Tool, What We All Come to Need and City of Echoes by Pelican, Apology Accepted and Orphan by Darwin's Waiting Room, Healing and Becoming I by Ünloco, The Height of Callousness and Self-Destructive Pattern by Spineshank, Blackwater Park by Opeth, Outcast by Ektomorf and Wounds Wide Open by To/Die/For on rotation lately. While both albums by Pelican have turned out to be more or less disappointments in comparison to their earlier records, Ünloco is a band I can't believe I had forgotten about. Darwin's Waiting Room's Orphan still doesn't awoke much emotion in me though it's growing, whereas Apology Accepted, the album that was never officially released, sounds awesome. On the other hand, the album I got first from Spineshank (THOC), is addictive and strong while the second one (SDP), despite the praise it's gotten, fails to impress me that much. Could be another grower. Outcast by Ektomorf sounds quite the same as before, containing a few fantastic rockers, but as a whole the album is too monotone and unoriginal in my opinion. Undertow and 10,000 Days are clearly Tool's weakest pair of albums but still way, way above average and very enjoyable. To/Die/For, being I don't listen to Gothic rock, seems like a good band, but I can't say that their album had a single song I would've fell in love with. Still, the album is better now than a year ago when I first bought it. I'm already planning to get some more Opeth now which should tell you all you need to know about my revisit to Blackwater Park. ;)

Artistically I've been active by recording things for the teaser EP Perfidy of Judgement to be released sometime in the fall, hopefully in September. Songs to be included are Johannesburg, Finland, Letters from Rats and Cyan Lie. So far I'm done recording guitars and bass for Finland, bass for Johannesburg and bass for Cyan Lie. In addition, I've been working on CITS and another new demo called Grain, and just yesterday I experimented with Drop A tuning (!!!) and ended up developing Polarity for a bit. The new riffs are so dark that after working with them for a while they started to make me feel distressed... Go figure what that means, ha. The icing on the cake is a new short story I'm writing (Finnish-only), revolving around a male psychologist and his love life which gets mixed up with his profession leading him to something unethical and... Well, I'll save you from the spoilers in case I ever decide to translate/put it out. I'm excited over it, that's for sure.

I finally have also finished reading the Kierkegaard book I lent two months ago. Reading it in a bit of a hurry and not having enough experience with philosophy beforehand made it very hard to grasp, but I did certainly learn from it nevertheless and am still interested in checking more similar kind of books though not necessarily right here and right now. Actually I'm thinking of not reading anything at all this month, though I have a tendency to read quite a bit of literature on my holidays in comparison to the school year when school books naturally sort of suck all my time. :P Next month I'm planning to relax a bit more though and perhaps then I'll go lend several books to keep me in that state.

Talk to you later and take care, guys and girls. =)

(Feels good knowing there's actually several individuals from both genders reading this page now... ;))

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Out of the Shadows

My holiday has finally begun! Nine and a half months of excessive studying is now over and I am enjoying the fruits of it. I got a scholarship (well, kind of, more accurately it was a Swedish novel given to me and another first grader for "showing interest" in particular for the subject) and my average didn't go down much - last year it was 8.95 in total, now I'm at 8.94. My average for theoretical subjects did however fall from 9.07 to 8.93. The last sixth offered me a few pleasant surprises exam-wise and thus I can't really be unsatisfied though, and I know that most students have had an even bigger decrease in their numbers this year than I have, like much bigger. My live performance still didn't take place as the event where we all thought I would perform turned out to be one for some junior high school students only, making it a little stupid to perform if none of my class mates or peers were watching. Instead we're now looking to perform in the fall, when I may have to search for a new bassist. Hopefully I can persuade the others to play a third song since I'm frankly annoyed of practicing Cyan Lie and Permafrost all over, especially since it's been for nothing so far. I think that (Unholy) Months for Affection for instance would be quite easily manageable.

To keep up with positive news, I am typing this post to you on my new computer, a Toshiba laptop with Windows 7, 4 GB of memory and over 600 GB of hard drive capacity. The screen is luxory compared to the old one and so far everything is running fairly smooth. It took me almost 5 days to get all my important stuff copied from the old PC since I did it all with the help of my MP3 player and two memory cards I had laying around, containing 2 and 4 GB of space. Needless to say, my old PC refused to work all that efficiently as well. :P Lastly, I bought a professional set of drum mics that cost me 170 Euros on my visit to Savonlinna last Wednesday. The unfortunate thing is that there are 7 mics of which I can only use 2 at a time due to my M-Audio MobilePre sound card only having 2 inputs for the needed wire. I also invested 45 Euros on a mic stand for nothing, as it doesn't seem to fit with any of the microphone holders that came with the drumpack. If the Pro Tools M-Powered software that I intend to order later today works though, it's not such a big deal. You see, originally I planned to buy the full version of Pro Tools which costs around 550 Euros, but after doing some research on what would be the optimal choice considering my hardware, M-Powered seems like the perfect choice, costing only 300 Euros. I might need the mic stand in the future, anyway. It's one of those things that you never really have too much around. (Oh, and in case you're wondering... Yes, the drum mics have MAGNIFICENT sound quality.)

My new project is still missing a female singer, but I have finished the first instrumental for it entitled Clutch and might start recording it this summer if I have spare time and resources at some point. I've already started recording the teaser EP (which so far has the working title Perfidy of Judgment containing topical as well as ironic meaning) and as always, there are a few new ideas I got going on even if most of them don't seem all that satisfactory. The one that does hold quite a bit of potential is a song with the working title CITS. It'll be a quite piano-driven track with KoRn and Nostromo influences. Sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it? Heh. It has so much potential that I'm thinking of having it as track #17 on the album, right before the closer. We'll see where it goes... Things have started picking up again with Theban Cycle too, but there's still no reason to expect a new song to be done and finished any time soon.

Besides listening to KoRn and Nostromo, a new familiarity, I found Demon Hunter and Five Finger Death Punch back just a few days ago. Dope Stars Inc. put out a new album just recently which I have listened to, though it doesn't seem to be quite as good as Gigahearts. At the moment I'm listening to some old P.O.D., and am planning to check something new and soft later on, to contrast with the recent times of more and more heavy stuff. Recommendations are welcome.

Today I intend to go swimming and watch some football later (Finland - Sweden part 2... :P). I've already started work by washing some carpets and I might record some more bass before the evening comes. I also want to read - Soren Kierkegaard has been waiting too long for my presence. =) I'll try to make a post again next week. Tack och vi ses då. ;)