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Archive for January, 2007

Song 15: Bravery Of A Saurian

“What? Brave saurians? What did the guy smoke?” — No, really, you gotta believe me! Nopileos is his name, and he’s some walking talking lizzard of the third kind. The nice kind! But… let’s start a little earlier.

In october 2006 I bought a nice software instrument that faithfully recreates the sound of a Mellotron. I zapped through the tape banks and let my hands more or less fall on my keyboard, producing this sequence of chords:

[mp3]http://www.voxager.de/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/bravery_stage_1.mp3[/mp3]

That had a quite sad ring to it, so I saved it as “Brennan’s Death”, and made a mental note to use it as an intro to song 8, in which Elena receives information about her friend’s death. After saving the song, I forgot about it for the time being.

In the meantime, Sven had started composing a cool piece of music for exact the same spot on the album, so I was reminded of the Mellotron chords. I dug them out, and after careful consideration, reassigned them to song 15, “Final Part 2 / Bravery Of A Saurian”.

This song, together with the preceding “Final Part 1 / Hero From Afar” is to be the climax of the album. In it, the protagonists escape the patriarch of Nif-Nakh, to be eventually saved by a heroic effort of their saurian friend, Nopileos. He destroys a pursuing jet fighter by crashing his own, unarmed, spaceship into it, which then crashes into the jungle, burning.

Anyways – those Mellotron chords from october were not played very tightly, so I started by fixing the timing. Then I added a concluding chord to the end of the second cycle. To make it sound smoother, I compressed the Mellotron a little and added some reverb. An ugly reverb, admitted, but I don’t have anything better right now. I think the guys in the studio will have the right stuff. Here’s what the Mellotron sounds like after the modifications:

[mp3]http://www.voxager.de/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/bravery_stage_2.mp3[/mp3]

I don’t want the intro to become too long, however, starting with a few bars of acoustic guitar noodling might be nice. So I did that (sounds somewhat like Iced Earth, doesn’t it?), and also added the first few bars of drums:

[mp3]http://www.voxager.de/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/bravery_stage_3.mp3[/mp3]

Perhaps we can have a few lines of vocals here already. I need to think about that.

I have a relatively clear vision of where this is heading. The song will become much faster. I’ll be adding some crushing electric guitar mimicking the rhythm of the drums, and then fall into some instrumental thing before hitting the first vocal part….

But that, kids, is a story for another day…

January 28th, 2007

Money, money, money

Is voXager about money? It’s not, right? Well, here’s the breaking news: It is about money – in a way. However, it’s not about earning money, not in the first place anyway; it’s about spending money. By me, thy humble (and likely, soon to be bankrupt ;-)) initiator of the project.

How so? Wasn’t it the goal to produce an album in the home studio, at no cost at all? No, not quite so – sure, I’d like to cut on the cost as much as possible, but there are things that can’t sensibly be done at home, and additionally, there are a few other factors that need mentioning:

  • Drum recordings. There’s simply no way to do this at home. Except, of course, you’ve got a studio in the basement of your house and have the knowledge how to do things right. I don’t.
  • Vocal recordings. Yes, I own a nice large-diaphgram, tube-amplified condenser microphone, that should theoretically do a fine job. But I have no recording booth, plus, I haven’t got enough experience with that.
  • Mixing and mastering. I’d like to have this done with as much analog outboard equipment as humanly possible, by folks who know exactly what they’re doing. I’ve got to call on somebody else for this as well.
  • Soft- and hardware. I’ve already spent more than €1200 on software, and I’m only counting what I bought specifically for voXager. I’ll spend about the same amount until I’m complete.
  • Distribution. Will be done mostly online, but there’ll also be a limited number of professionally manufactured discs in shrink-wrapped jewelcases with color booklets for your CD shelf. Both, online and physical, will cost a pretty penny – let’s just hope it’s not too damn pretty.

So there you go. Yes, I’d still like to cut on the cost wherever possible, but not if this means compromising quality. I’m aware that, at the end of the day, I’ll have sunken a few k€. I’ll be broke, like, y’know, totally – but rest assured, I’m not going to regret it in the least! The music will be put under a Creative Commons Licence nevertheless, and be freely downloadable just as it was planned right from the start. Yeah, I’m Geezus H. Krist, your saviour, now worship me 😉

Well, not really. But bordering on it, am I not? 😀

January 26th, 2007

Every great song was once an ugly suckling

HERE, on this blog, in the category “making of”, you’ll find reports from the making of songs – voXager style! From the earliest stages right through their adolescense and supposed maturity, it’s all here. You’re supplied with all the gory stuff you’ve always dreamt of, but were to shy to ask: Early draft versions with soulless VST guitar shreddings by keyboardists; shaky keyboard hooks by guitarists, gruesome vocal renditions by both keyboardists and guitarists, incomplete arrangements – you name it, we have it!

BUT on a more serious note, this is not meant as soul striptease of producing musicians. Well, a wee tiny bit, perhaps. But mostly, however, we’d like to document – for ourselves as much as for you – how we’re composing, arranging and recording an entire album of rock music. From our homes, for the most part, and not from a studio. We’ve never done anything like it before, so we’re likely going to run up into a host of problems, some only minor ones, while others will certainly annoy the poop out of us. The bottom line is this: We’re going to find out. We’re not going to stop, and whatever problem will occur, we’re going to find a solution. (If you’re not interested in solutions, however, fine! We’ll join you gloating over our puny selves in a minute :-))

Note that you’ll find only draft versions in this category. Complete songs are in the downloads section.

GET your popcorn. Fetch a beer. Grab your mama. The show begins.

January 11th, 2007