THERIANTHROPE XIII: GETTING CLOSER!
Dear friends, followers, music lovers and random passers by!
Today I’ve taken the very last step towards finishing the mastering of Therianthrope. This was a process that took me slightly longer and got me slightly sweatier than usual! Months of work and about five different attempts to finish it until the day of today were practically in vain, as I was not getting any closer to the point of having the shiver of accomplishment which would signify that it is assembled exactly the way I wanted.
I must mention – I am not of those kind of sound designers, who can not quite decide what to do in which situation. For the good and for the bad, I tend to take quick decisions in pretty much all aspects of my work, especially when it comes down to the sound production. It wasn’t the case this time. But today I am pleased to inform you all, that after some weeks of break from this painful birth process I finally realized what was really needed for this album to sound the right – or in this case – so-wrong-it-is-right way. So I put that one missing piece in place, totally changed every single bit of what I initially had for mastering and the resulting prodcut sounds drastically different but finally satisfying.
The bliss and the struggle of Therianthrope was that unlike most of other studio efforts I had been involved in, it has a significant share of acoustic instruments and an incredibily wide dynamic range – both things that I scarcely work with in context of my own music. It wasn’t possible to spare the atmosphere and the spirit of the album with any radical mastering tools or techniques applied. So in the final version, I got to perform a with very gentle mastering, barely touching the initial mixes at all, correcting most of the peaks manually and by hearing rather than relying on smart compressors, with no saturators, multi-bands, maximizers and other coloring tools applied at all and with only the most obvious flaws of initial recording corrected.
Now, when the music burden is finally off my shoudlers, I am focusing on visuals and pre-release routine. Promotional photoshoots and a couple of design sessions with Rachel Bauer and Jess Telmatt are scheduled for the upcoming weeks, as we need to sit and accumulate some ideas, discuss how to expand the musical ideas with appropriate visuals and the discussion with Melodic Revolution Records regarding the release date and other details that would move the album from the table blueprint to its physical shape is due. It feels almost as a pleasure after so many months of painful – and really unusual for me – trial and error search process.
But it is worth it.
Transport Aerian Project.
THERIANTHROPE XII: THE FIRST TEASER IS UP!
According to Melodic Revolution Records,
Theiranthrope is an album, whose themes are dedicated to the emotions of the mind, torn by different assets of mental illness in the context of quickly developing world on the brink of the war, social and economical catastrophe. In the other worlds, it explores a twisted, ugly side of anyone of us in the modern world.
Besides the conventional music pieces, Therianthrope also features The Abstract Symphony, a set of songs and instrumental pieces based on blind improvisation by the team of guest musicians. Nobody knew what the other musician would play, as they were only given a theme to describe and photographs to emphasize the visual in the sound. Such experimental approach is a manifest of modernity, an information field that contains the similar artistic concepts and thus allows any music to be created out of idea, without other forms of direct physical or intellectual interaction.
For the first time, Transport Aerian features numerous guest musicians, including Paul Sax (Curved Air, Praying For The Rain), Elvya (Ayreon, Elvya), Marco Ragni (solo), Peter Matuchniak (Gekko Project), JoJo Razor (Gekko Project), Dyian, Stef Flaming (Murky Red, Ocean 5), Darren Brush, Stefan Boeykens and Rachel Bauer. Therianthrope is set to be released in late 2017 by Melodic Revolution Records.
Transport Aerian and Melodic Revolution Records would like to unveil the first official teaser video for upcoming album Therianthrope.
The teaser video features a fragment of the song Smirking Sirens from the upcoming album, featuring Paul Sax (Violin), Elvya (Hammered Dulcimer) and Dyian (Hurdy-gurdy). Transport Aerian’s Therianthrope is scheduled to be released in 2017.
THERIANTHROPE XI: STATE OF THINGS.
Dear friends, followers, music lovers and random passers by,
Let me start this letter with a sort of apologies. It’s been a long silence from my camp, and despite giving you the snippets of what is going on behind the curtain of informational static, I generally were not much to provide any considerable update regarding what really is going on with the album recording, despite that I have announced the beginning of it almost a half year ago. That said, a lot of work has been done, and a lot has been accomplished. I always need long silences between the recordings, to gather the ideas, and the two years after Darkblue, has been a needed and fruitful time for me to recharge the ideas and to freshly think of what I need and what I have to say. That might sound coincidental, but it seems, the themes that emerged on Therianthrope and the semi-insane concept of free blind improvisations of Abstract Symphony does represent some personal perspectives on our instable and unpredictable times. It sounds especially relevant in the light of recent waves of world’s problems and in the wake of this massive crackle at the seams of the humanity as we know it. The themes of Therianthrope revolve around the attempts to merge world’s objective variables and the descriptions of personal demons and phobias. As the paranoias and the anxiety attacks appear increasingly difficult to contain, these would give me the inspiration to pen down a big share of Therianthrope’s material, adding details to what I thought to be mostly finished concept. I was attempting to write exclusively in the middle of panic attacks, to describe the visiting demons in flesh, rather than appealing to the unreliable shifting mirror of memory.
It did work particularly well for the lyrics, and for the music this time I’ve decided to bring in a factor of unpredictability and the eyes, ears and minds of other beautiful players. So I’m extremely satisfied with what the guests of the album have done for it, and very proud to have these amazing collaborators aboard.
But with all these, there is also a major problem that changed the game and is likely to change the album’s initial sound too. Bart Van Roy, the drummer who was working with the early Transport Aerian line ups and who was to rejoin me for Therianthrope has the unexpcted barrage of personal troubles that requires his undivided attention, and will keep him unavailable for the considerable period of time. We talked, and after a long conversation and fruitless attempts to put schedules together we both figured that it’s not going to work as intended. It was mutually agreed that Bart will not be taking part in this project anymore. I understand the situation and I respect and support the choice made, but it does leave the demanding position behind the drumkit empty. I am currently considering different options and contact possible candidates. Therianthrope, like other Transport Aerian albums has a big share of electronic loops and percussions, but this time a lot of material have been composed with a particular style of drumming in mind, so having only myself for this task will definitely not be good enough! As the shoes left for this spot are quite large, I will look for an open-minded, dedicated musician. The update regarding who will be in charge of Therianthrope’s drums is to come as soon as I know more myself.
On the positive side, the work carries on quite effeciently. Most of the songs have already been composed and recorded, the structers for The Abstract Symphony blind improvisations by Therianthrope guests have already been put together. I also have started working on visuals and you, possibly, will be confronted with the first (and spooky!) trailer very soon! Additionally, I have a very particular interactive scheme in mind that will need some work behind the scenes, but will be issued in the coming months.
The with so many experimental aspects, brilliant and many guests and quite a high standards of quality does take slightly longer than I initially planned, but the result is worth this effort.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me once it’s ready.
THERIANTHROPE X: PAUL SAX
It’s been a long while since I presented you an update regarding the ongoing Therianthrope recording sessions. A lot of work has been done behind the curtains, a lot, to make sure that your waiting will worth it. So today with a great excitement, I can announce one of the most intriguing guests musicians. His name is Paul Sax, a violinist best known by his work with the pioneers of British progressive rock scene Curved Air. Paul has added some of his gorgeous improvisations to some of the key pieces of Theiranthrope. I’ve always thought of violin to be one of the most emotional instruments, and in the right context and played by an acknowledged master of the instrument, it does enrich the tunes with more deepness. Paul Sax is an amazing and inventive player and a very kind, generous and open minded person, so I must say, it is truly an honor for me to be able to introduce him as a guest on my best to date work. And I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I do.
THERIANTHROPE IX: RECORDING WITH ELVYA AND DYIAN
It has been a fantastic day for me and for Therianthrope yesterday. I’ve booked a small musical venue to record some fabulous dulcimer playing by Transport Aerian’s guest Elvya, of whom I was talking in this blog post some time ago. She is pretty known by her absolutely fabulous solo project, that I recommend to anyone who loves very high quality yet absolutely spiritual and sincere music and by her appearance on one of the creations by Ayreon.
She has a beautiful singing voice and her main instrument is a hammered dulcimer, an exotic string instrument, that she plays masterfully.
She added this majestically sounding ancient instrument’s parts for a couple of songs of Therianthrope and participated in weaving of Abstract Symphony. The whole session took slightly less time than I expected as Elvya appeared to have a sensational grip on harmony and improvisations and did almost everything I expected in one or two takes.
But the surprise was still yet to come. It turned out that she was accompanied by a friend, a Polish folk musician who just happened to be around these days, and who also happened to be no other but Dyian, known by his performances with a slightly modified exemplar of Hurdy-Gurdy. And he brought that to the recordings and kindly agreed to lay a few parts on the opener song! I have had a fortune to videotape fragments of them both playing and I promise for a small video to be published in the nearest times! The man also appeared to be of a very sweet and friendly personality, and brought and incredible vibe to the whole thing.
So I watched him rolling that handle and creating sounds that felt like coming right from the 9th century, when this instrument has initially been created.
And in the end of the session I also appeared to be a happy owner of a physical copy of Elvya’s album The Untold Stories, which I can cordially recommend to absolutely everyone, be them prog-fans or not, as its probably one of the strongest independent artist works I’ve heard in the last couple of years. As far as I know, the album is still available and you can get it by contacting Elvya via her official page or following this link.
Overall that has been an extremely productive and very pleasureful experience with exotic instruments, free thinking and friendly musical fellows.
THERIANTHROPE VIII: DYIAN
Sometimes amazing things happen unexpectedly. Today I’ve had a recording session with the amazing Elvya to put on tape some of her astonishing hammered dulcimer improvisations, and she brought a friend to the recording session who happened to be no other but Dyian, a polish folk hurdy gurdy player, who has also kindly agreed to play some additions with his exotic ancient instrument. So here I am to announce another guest on therianthrope album.
THERIANTHROPE VII: RACHEL BAUER
A woman’s touch can change a lot. In some cases, like it happened with my previous work Darkblue,it can change everything. Despite that Therianthrope is more of a one-actor-theater, I consider some haunting, deeply dark female voice to be an absolute necessity, to tell some parts of the story, or just to be there when its needed. The choice is obvious, and the next guest on the album is no one else but Rachel Bauer, a lady who shaped a lion share of visuals, and a lot of sound and atmosphere on Darkblue will also play a role of spoken word narrator/backing vocalist on Therianthrope, although her role this time will be slightly less significant due to the matter of the concept.
THERIANTHROPE VI: STEFAN BOEYKENS
Right from the start of current incarnation of Transport Aerian, he was there. A brother in arms, and on of the essential fulcrums of project’s live sound. Sadly, we only occasionally experienced studio work together, so it is decided to make it a little different this time. You’ve already guessed: Stefan Boeykens, Transport Aerian’s irreplaceable live line up guitar player is to provide some guitar textures for some pieces on the album. He has a very special sound and style rooting in the classic guitar and his parts will surely be a beautiful addition to the organizingly chaotic canvas of both Therianthrope and The Abstract Symphony parts of the album.
THERIANTHROPE V: ELVYA
Do you like your music haunting and with a touch of something exotic and vivid, as much as I do? From the start, I wanted this project to operate on different musical levels, so the touch of some exotic yet beautiful soundshapes were needed. So let me introduce you a very special guest on Therianthrope album. Her name is Elvya, and she is known as much by her astonishingly haunting and beautiful solo work that has been released this year, as much as by her work with Ayreon. She plays a very special medieval instrument called hammered dulcimer. It’s sound and her personality will add some special flavor to the project that you soon will be able to taste yourself.
THERIANTHROPE IV: PETER MATUCHNIAK
I seldom work with other guitarists than myself in studio. The fact that I decided to change it this time does imply a cordial compliment to the guitar player that I am honored to introduce today as a part of Therianthrope. Peter Matuchniak, known by his work with Gekko Project and many others, is to collaborate with Transport Aerian this time, to provide some of his signature melodic tones as well as some proggy guitarscape extravaganzas. Combining a crafty jazz-influenced technique and a deep knowledge of guitar effects, Peter will be a great textural addition to the melodic side of the Abstract Symphony and Therianthrope.
THERIANTHROPE III: MARCO RAGNI
Italy appears to thrive with highly unusual, open and unique minds, and so does it attract such, remembering stunning success of Peter Hammill there. One of the dearest guests on Therianthrope is Italian multi-instrumentalist Marco Ragni, MRR brother-in-arms with roots in psychedelic scene, for whose most recent creation Land Of The Blue echoes (also starring, among many others, legendary Durga McBroom of Pink Floyd and the underground champion Colin Tench of Corvus Stone) I have had an honor to play some bass. Marco Ragni’s vision will play a significant part in the Abstract Symphony and he is also to provide some synths and guitars on the other songs of the album.
THERIANTHROPE II: DARREN BRUSH
I’ve always had a feeling that extended harmonic instruments would be in the right place in my music. So while the bass guitar player is still to be announced, now it is time to introduce the other side of rhythm section of the Therianthrope project. A stick player, a progressor and a free thinker, Darren Brush is joining efforts to provide some melodic experiments and investigate the rhythmical spaces of both album part and the Abstract Symphony.
It has all started now. The first sketches of sound are brought into this world. More considerations and visuals are soon to be given.