Survival – New Album!

With Dad doing a lot better and dropping hints that I have my own life to get back to, I’ve felt able to concentrate a lot more on finishing my started music – punctuated by a few medical appointments that I’ve provided transport for and just keeping an eye out to make sure things are as OK as possible.

A couple of days ago, I submitted my second album to the distributor after a very intense few weeks, fixing the odd issue with the mixes and mastering the tracks. The next stage of ‘inspection’ has been done by the distributor and I’m writing this whilst I proof-listen to the tracks in order to give my final permission for them to go ahead and release it EVERYWHERE – i.e. the point of no return. The official release date when it will start becoming available to the general public is this coming Friday, 18th May.

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This is the first time that I’ve released a project I mastered completely by myself. I can tell you categorically, having gone through it, that doing your first ‘official’ mastering on a 15-track album is nothing short of stupid!  I had thought I might release a self-mastered EP first, as that’s what I was learning on, but ended up concentrating on the bigger project because I thought I had, ahem, mastered it enough. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Mastering a single track is relatively simple – you don’t need to think about how the sound relates to anything else apart from reference tracks that you’re using as a guide. You just make sure it sounds as good as those, adding a bit of polish, and ensuring that it is at the right volume level.*   With every additional track in a project, however, you are adding a layer of complication, because they all need to sound right together.  That meant that I had significantly more attempts at mastering each track than I would have had if I’d been releasing 15 singles separately.  There was also an element of still being on the uphill part of the learning curve, which would have been fine if I was releasing a 4-track EP, but it made releasing an hour-long album more ‘interesting’ when working to a deadline I’d by now committed to.  Perseverance and overcoming stress is really important for releasing music!

And just to prove it, before I get all the way through proof-listening to the whole album, there is some kind of technical fault – the distributor website suddenly can’t load my audio files. Maybe they have a server down or the site is overloaded at present – tracks I already listened to won’t load either, but the internet hasn’t gone down (this time! it’s been really wonky for a couple of days).  I’ll need to come back later and have another go, by the look of things.  At least it’s fallen over on the most appropriately-named track, Ominous Hopeful!

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*OK, so it’s a bit more technical than that, but that’s the short version and it all boils down to using your ears and a few meters to get the best possible outcome.

Playlist of the Week (2018/6)

This week’s POTW is by GJART, another independent electronic musician, whose influences overlap a little with mine, as he is inspired by such familiar names as the Human League, Kraftwerk and OMD. If you want to check out his music, here’s a fab video he filmed and provided the music for with a wintry theme. You can also hear his tunes on Musicoin.org.

To give a boost to independent artists, GJART’s compiled the GJART loves #1 playlist of electronic music. (He also has a non-electronic playlist, GJART Loves #2 which I think you’ll also enjoy). The #1 playlist has a slightly industrial electronic vibe in keeping with GJART’s own influences, but is pretty chilled with it.

Playlist of the Week (2018/5)

My POTW this week is the wonderful Ethereal Dreamscapes, from Susan Moss of MoonDreams music, who was the creator behind the first week’s playlist.  I think we have rather similar taste in music, if this list is anything to go by. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it, too.

Playlist of the Week (2018/3)

This week’s POTW is the Haven Yates’ Triple 25 Vol. 1 . I can’t tell you a great deal about Haven, apart from he writes some nice music, does some sound engineering as well as singing, songwriting, guitarring and producing and he seems like a decent bloke!  As you can probably tell from the name of the playlist, Haven has put together a few of these, so watch out for Vol. 4 coming up next week.

The super-eagle-eyed might have spotted one of Haven’s tracks, Find You, on one of my own Spotify playlists, How to Relax.

Playlist of the Week (2018/2)

This week’s playlist of the week is THE BIG ONE by Atom Collector Records. Atom Collector Records is a site where indie artists get together and share tracks and playlists, but you can also listen as a music fan to catch some music you’ve not heard before and find out more about the artists – you don’t need to be making music yourself. I like the ‘go’ button on the listen page for finding new music – you never know what you’re going to get, apart from the very broad genre you selected.

The BIG ONE playlist contains a huge variety of music from all genres so you can expect to be challenged at times and not to like absolutely everything (that’s what the skip button’s for, after all). The flip side is that I’m pretty sure that you’ll also find a few precious gems that you didn’t even know were out there.

Playlist of the Week (2018/1)

I’ve seen a teeny weeny bit of growth in the number of people listening to my tracks over the last few months, mostly via other peoples’ Spotify playlists. This has been a big encouragement to keep going – the last couple of months have been pretty tough.

So, this year, I thought I’d do a new series of posts with playlists that I’ve been included on and give a shout out to the fantastic people who have been willing to add my music to their lists. If you like the list, give it a follow of course and listen again! I’ll keep going with the series for as many weeks as there are playlists with my music on, so if you’ve got a public playlist and I’m on it, let me know! (NB: your playlist needs to be suitable for all-age listening! I don’t think my music is likely to fit too well on a seriously dark playlist or one that has a lot of swearing anyway, so it’s unlikely to be an issue, but just saying…)

My first playlist of the week in 2018 is Our Fierce Female Friends. It’s by Susan Moss of MoonDreams Music, who makes beautiful lullabies and gentle music suitable for young children (make sure you listen to track 4 for a sample of her work). Susan’s an avid playlist creator, often featuring independent artists like myself amongst better known tracks, which is hugely appreciated.

So, I hope you enjoy listening. Hopefully it will brighten up your commute or chillout time or when you’re doing the cooking.