announcements

Clubbing with Vort

I’ve just uploaded two new mixes on Mixcloud, that can also be heard on the Mixes page. The sets revolve around the progressive trance / electro / house genres, and were both specifically made to complement a couple of game play captures that I’ve done, of a game called Vortiball. If you fancy watching my game play while listening, you can check them out on YouTube, here and here.

Feeling the cold: a new board-set !

I’ve just uploaded a new board-set to the Board Designs page. If you long to feel the essence of snow, Arctic Breeze will brrrr up your computer with serene winter motifs !

This one was a bit of a challenge to do, because of the limited pallet and coarse appearance of the brick-set that I chose. However, Jim’s brick-set is the only one that features a decent range of white and pale bricks – so I wanted to use its specific strength to my advantage. Snow it is !

I hope you enjoy this little journey through high mountains and white hills ! You can view screenshots of each board when you download the .ZIP file from the Board Designs page.

Honouring the moments that matter…

As you might have noticed by the content presented on this website, I have given some tribute to a computer game known as DX-Ball 2

DX-Ball 2 is a classic brick buster game for the PC, that was initially released on December 16, 1998. It was developed by a young man named Seumas McNally (1979–2000), president and lead programmer of Longbow Digital Arts, which at the time was then a family business.

When I first discovered DX-Ball 2, I was already hooked on the original DX-Ball by Michael P. Welch – so, naturally, I fell head over heels for the sequel, when I was introduced to its amazing 16-bit graphics with textured bricks and backgrounds, also sporting a brilliant soundtrack by Sidewinder.

The earliest moments that I spent with DX-Ball 2 were some of the most precious I’ve had to date. As a child at the age of ten, I was still able to experience life through the heart. On behalf of discovering a very powerful resonance with the game, the experience of playing DX-Ball 2 was one of deep satisfaction and awe to me, that was transcendental in comparison to anything else in my life at the time. After downloading the additional Music Pack for the game, I eventually discovered a fascination for the game’s soundtrack, too, as I busted my way through the many colourful and artistic boards. Track by track, the music would eventually grow on me, as I began to connect with and feel each song’s individual expression…

About two years ago, I was playing around with the idea of remastering the soundtrack, to bring each song into its most satisfying potential of listening pleasure. However, before I began harnessing this idea, I wanted to come up with a visual presentation for it, that initially started out as an idea for a release on YouTube. I began to capture and edit screenshots from the game, with the intention to give them an artistic touch. I also wanted the images to be associated with specific tracks, to combine each song with a visual that I felt would represent its essence the most. As a child, I would for instance always want to play the song Ifu Love, when I reached the christmas tree board in the board-set Journey to the Sun, and In the Eyes, when I made it to the slate gray cross shape in Equalizeral.

After drafting the visual presentations for each track, I eventually took a hiatus from the project, as I lost my drift. It was not until the last quarter of 2012 that work on the project was then resumed. The next step was then to begin the process of remastering each track, which was a bit of work to go through, as I also wanted to retune each song to the harmonic scale of A=432 Hz. I did the retuning per sample, so I had to record sequences of each sample into Audacity, in order to verify whether the tuning was correct. Unfortunately, I only got halfway through, before my laptop decided to burn. It was very disheartening to loose all my progress like that; but I rested assured that the files would still remain safe on the hard drive.

As I had done the visual work on a different computer, I eventually decided to revisit my previous stage of the project. The time was now early 2013. I went through the visuals and played around some more, achieving a very satisfying result to my liking. While reveling in my satisfaction, I was ignited by the idea that the visuals could also make some good artwork for a CD booklet. As I then realised that December 16, 2013 would be DX-Ball 2′s 15 year anniversary, I was moved by the desire to celebrate the event with the release of an official CD soundtrack. However, as fate would have its way, my desktop computer was the next one to fail me, and suddenly everything was forced to a halt.

After a long six month break, I was finally able to acquire a new laptop in October. To my great relief, I had also been able to secure a special adapter, that would enable me access both of the previous hard drives, and successfully retrieve all the project files. I then set to a stage of intense work, to prepare everything before the big date. The music was decompiled and exported as audio files per instrument, to then be imported and remastered in FL Studio, reconstructing the stereo image for each song, as well as doing additional tweaks to enhance the sound. Everything went along nicely, and I felt optimistic about the project becoming successful. However, things did still not turn out exactly the way I was hoping for.

While I had managed to reach a point where everything was basically ready for manufacturing, it turned out that Longbow Games were not able to take on a commercial CD, due to legal issues that they did not have time resolve in the midst of finishing Hegemony Rome. Either way, I was fortunate enough to find another opportunity to express a wave celebration for DX-Ball 2′s 15 year anniversary. And so, through the gift of inspiration, I was lead to the idea of creating a tribute page for the game on Google+, where I would publish each of the 15 songs over the course of the the remaining 15 days of the year, starting December 17. On the day of the game, the project was announced with the release of a megamix that I had put together, showcasing a snippet from each of the fifteen songs in their remastered glory.

Altogether, it has been a satisfying experience for me to celebrate the memory of Seumas McNally and DX-Ball 2, honouring Eric’s excellent music, and being able to present this remastered soundtrack to the world. If you haven’t checked out the tribute page yet, I invite you to explore the exhibition for your own enjoyment, as it remains right here. Aside from the music videos presenting each remastered track, you will also find interesting facts, among photo collages with illustrations from the game, and other goodies !

_the distance

Beyond the Clouds, the Promised Place. It’s been a year since I first watched this beautiful anime film; a subtle and romantic title with magnificent scenery in its attention to details, angles, movement and lighting. There was a time a while back when I really wanted to make an AMV featuring the song The Distance by Conjure One and Jaren. I don’t remember how I came across this film in the first place, but I somehow ended up matching the two, forming the ideal concept of my vision. However, it was not until this weekend that I was finally able to settle down and construct the content to my heart’s desire…

It’s always satisfying and pleasant to be given the opportunity to experience a sense of flow in my efforts. While it may have its ways of being a seldom occurrence, working with anime music videos is definitely the creative outlet in which I have experienced the greatest sense of being a conduit to divine creativity. When the content matches on an emotional scale, the story will usually unfold smoothly with a steady trace of synchronistic matches. Albeit restrained (whereas the highest potential would be a seamless flow), it’s a beautiful process to be part of.

My resulting AMV can be watched here.

Game Boy nostalgia

As an earlier pokéfan, I grew up with the first two generations of Pokémon games for the Game Boy. One of the most exciting and memorable songs that I remember from the games was the Dragon’s Den theme from the second generation. I did a remix of this song earlier this winter, giving the festive 4-bit chiptune a true-to-original trance interpretation. You can check it out on YouTube, where you’ll also find a download link in the video description. Oh, and if you’re going to look up the original, be sure to listen to it in stereo !

_FEEL THAT BEAT

It started as a lip-sync demo with the lead vocalist from the Phineas and Ferb band The Bettys. After remaining untouched for almost two years, _FEEL THAT BEAT was completed just before the holidays; an AMV set to Toby Emerson’s remix of the song Feel That Beat by Lazy Rich, sporting a soulful and uplifting vocal performance by Karli. Check it out on YouTube.

Now available on last.fm

To promote my music, I have uploaded my three releases on last.fm. Aside from the tracks being available for preview in charts (with full-length streaming on individual track pages) this also provides an additional platform for encyclopedic references. However, as last.fm turns out to re-encode uploaded media instead of providing the originals (thus messing up the original masters), I have decided to restrict direct downloads from the site. The original masters are still available for download (320 kbps .MP3) at SoundCloud.

An overview of five years

In the leap of having composed songs since 2007, poems was the first concept I had in mind for an album. While my creative outlet has had a tendency to yield short expressive pieces in a neoclassical style, I began to simply relate to them as musical poems. The songs are significantly influenced by the works of Koji Kondo, as presented in the N64 Zelda games, and perhaps more so by the quartet who composed the music for The Wind Waker, including Toru Minegishi, Kenta Nagata and Hajime Wakai. But in the end, though, I suppose they may actually draw most resemblance towards the style heard in Twilight Princess, constituting the trio of Kondo-san, Minegishi-san and Asuka Ohta.

Aside from the short classical-inspired pieces, my interest in music has always leaned more towards the sounds of electronica, which is where the idea of a second album eventually began to take form. However, while the state of my creative connectivity has been equivalent to searching for water in a desert, I have far too many times been left in the situation of seeing a project become but an unfinished draft; sometimes even a mere piece of nothing but mental processing based on knowledge from experience (now, where is the flow of divine creativity in that?). With very few projects reaching a state of completion, in conjunction with a recurring trend of not being able to sustain a connection with the creative expressions, it would seem my electronica-oriented sounds would never make it to any album. But in the leap of years passing by, the occasional project would still find its way to completion; sometimes from an old draft, other times as a new concept.

While a second album had been planned since harnessing the idea of poems, it was not until the fall of 2012 that Existential Exile first began to take shape. The working title for the project had been Novels prior to this, intended as the onii-chan to poems, with an expanded range of sounds and generally longer tracks. However, with the desire to create something more coherent, I decided to accumulate the darker sounds of the batch into one collection, and leave the remaining tracks for an extended play.

With the idea of Moments EP being born, I wanted to make the most of it. At this point I only had Skypeaker and Nuvena from 2007, along with Losing You from 2009, so I decided to go through my project files and finish up whatever deemed potential. Forever Blue was the last track I completed, stemming from a short loop from 2009.

In retrospect, it’s interesting to observe that my creative abilities have had a tendency to peak during the last quarter of a year. I’m quite satisfied (and amazed) to realize that I’ve created and completed a total of nine tracks (Corruption, Encrypted, Amnestic Truth, Downtune, opening, child of the night – reprise, Sheep Dance, Before the Dawn and Forever Blue) in the past four months. I honour the creative force that has allowed these aural expressions to come forth and be expressed as the beautiful and unique creations they are.

On a final note, I dedicate this music to whoever it may resonate with; to those who may find themselves captured in moments of awe and wonder within the sounds, whether you explore the narrative expressions of poems, the depth of Existential Exile, or the different shades and hues of Moments EP.

Presenting Moments EP

Late inspiration fused with a couple of older works: Moments EP is the last piece of the production pie, featuring an enhanced variety of flavours in the style of electronica. Fresh from the oven, free to enjoy; now available on SoundCloud and the music page.

Existential Exile

It’s dark. It’s deep. It’s intricate. It’s the second album coming to fruition from a five-year-long production stage. Whereas poems conveys its voices of short narrative expressions with organic instrumentations and subtle amounts of electronic processing, Existential Exile dives into the realm of electronica, representing the other half of what has constituted my two primary styles of production.

The album – featuring 10 tracks of intriguing melodies, subdued beats, and dark soundscapes – is now available on SoundCloud and the music page.

Announcing poems

Spanning a stage of five years’ worth of production and composition, poems is the first album of three compilations to be released. This is my official debut release, bearing fruit from a journey that made its initiation back in 2007. With 20 tracks in a neoclassical expressive video-game-influenced style, poems represents one of the two stylistic aspects that have revealed themselves as my primary outlets in music.

You can listen to the album on SoundCloud, or suit yourself with the widget presented on the music page.