Toilet ov Hell Premiere & Interview – Melopoeia – “Of the Valar, Part I: Seven and Seven”

ofvalar

Track Premiere and Interview: Melopoeia – “Of the Valar, Part I: Seven and Seven”

Dave Tremblay, Melopœia’s principle songwriter, describes his technique as a kind of translation of the text into music using a self-devised system. This method of songwriting is as literal as it sounds—J.R.R. Tolkien is credited as composer here, with Melopœia using close reading of The Silmarillion to go word by word through Tolkien’s densest book. The songwriting is less granular than it was on the band’s last release, Ainulindalë, which was crafted electronically going letter by letter—the band notes that while Ainulindalë could be listened to alongside the text, Valaquenta is much more of a palimpsest, with words translating as tone rows over the top of the original writing. This gives Valaquenta a grander aspect than its predecessor and makes for a more immediate listen…

Full article here.

Thank you Toilet ov Hell for doing a proper premiere for part of this massive project for us. This article also has a number of interview questions answered by Dave and Brian, for anyone interested in exactly what we are doing with this project.

Tant qu’il y aura des étoiles – Usilies premieres

desetoiles

Tant qu’il y aura des étoiles – Usilies premieres

desetoiles.bandcamp.com

This is easily the most mysterious release that I’ve ever been a part of. I played the drums. Beyond that I know very little! I’m not even sure who the other musicians who played on it are. I don’t know if they know who I am. My parts were recorded nearly 4 years ago over very bare-bones versions of the songs, and I was quite pleased when the finished version unexpectedly appeared in my inbox today.

2 tracks (11 minutes) of black / math / prog metal. Drums tracked at Big Name.

Melopoeia – Tolkien – Valaquenta

valaquenta cover

Melopoeia – Tolkien – Valaquenta

melopoeia.bandcamp.com

Here is an unusual project for which I am playing drums. It falls under the classification of scriptophonic microtonal black metal.

For anyone unfamiliar, in scriptophonic music, the artist designs an algorithm which converts text into musical notes.

Again for anyone unfamiliar, microtonal music utilizes pitches that fall outside of the standard twelve tone equal divisions of the octave musical system (12edo). In this case, we are dividing the octave into 26 equal parts (26edo), one for each letter of the alphabet.

We are converting the entirety of Tolkien’s Valaquenta into music via an algorithm that Dave Tremblay programmed using Python. The algorithm generates the guitar parts from the text, which are played by Dave on a real 26edo guitar and bass. I am then given free rein to write and record drum parts that support those guitar parts. Finally, Brian Leong is providing the vocals, placing the words that were used to generate the guitar parts on top of each section.

There are 29 pieces total and we are recording and releasing them one at a time. The scope of this project is very large and so it will probably take a long time to finish!

26 more to come.

 

 

[syzygy] – [loiterer]

loiterer cover

[syzygy] – [loiterer]

syzygywa.bandcamp.com

In 2017, I was experimenting with algorithmic composition using Pure Data. I made two songs, Key West and Adrift. I intended to make many more and to eventually put the collection on Bandcamp but other projects took precedence. I have finally decided to rectify their absence on the page.

More information about Key West (a brief writeup):
jonlervold.com/loiterer-key-west/

More information about Adrift (a thorough writeup, with video of the exact playthrough found on this release):
jonlervold.com/loiterer-adrift/

Yaeth – MMXX

yaeth-mmxx-cover

Yaeth – MMXX

yaeth.bandcamp.com

This album is a look back at the hellish year behind us with its attempted authoritarian takeover of the US government, mass death brought about by a bungled federal government response to a deadly global pandemic, crushing misery and isolation brought about by that same pandemic, severe civil unrest due to deep-seated racial inequities, and massive natural disasters fueled by the poor environmental choices collectively made by humanity. It is a prayer for a better world ahead.

Like my album [xendeavor one] from February 2020, this album explores ways of dividing the octave other than the standard 12 equally spaced notes, which is the system that the vast majority of music in the world utilizes. These alternate systems can result in strange and otherworldly tonalities. I had been wanting to make a microtonal black metal album for a few years, and I began this album in early March. As we all know, this is right when the year’s events really kicked off, and so the creation of this album is intimately tied to and influenced by these world events.

Yaeth is the pseudonym I use in my band Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze. This album turned out stylistically and thematically similar in many ways to that project. Once I finished work composing the album I realized that, due to those ties, Yaeth was the only fitting name for this project.

Cover art by Laura Lervold.

Available on cassette via Bandcamp – BNR2020.

Destiny Theft – My Life With Closed Eyes

dtcover

Destiny Theft – My Life With Closed Eyes

destinytheft.bandcamp.com

 

My Life With Closed Eyes is an EP long in the making. As many people who have followed my releases over the years know, I like to invent a set of musical rules and then see what compositions come about when following those rules. For years my good friend Mike Thompson and I had joked about starting a project called “Basses Loaded,” which would feature every member of the band except the drummer playing bass.

In January 2018 I decided to play around with that formula. These songs were the result. Once I had the bass parts all written, I was struck by how video-game-music inspired it sounded, and decided that it made sense to use my v-drum kit for the kick, snare, and toms, to further lean into that sound. (The cymbals are real.)

Originally, I planned to sing on this release, but only bits and pieces of lyrics and melodies were coming to me. I had a mental block. I knew exactly why: every time I listened to the instrumental recordings, I imagined the voice of my old bandmate Buddy Hale. Buddy was the singer for my first reasonably-successful band, Phantom Float, way back in 2008. I have always been a fan of his work, and I felt like this EP would only be what it was supposed to be if I could get him to sing on it.

I was elated when he agreed to participate! I sent him the instrumentals and waited for a while. He would send me bits and pieces… an isolated vocal harmony here, the sound of scissors clipping there. I had no idea what to expect. Then one day, unexpectedly, a bounce with completed vocals appeared in my inbox. And I loved how it had all come together.

Then we spent a long time working on the mix, art, and release details. And here we are today. I could not be more excited to finally share this with the world.

Cover art by Laura Lervold.