As I mentioned back in my State of Eponymous 4 Address back in 2014, I had a set of songs ready to record for an album titled Travis. At the time, I thought I’d work on it immediately after Retrograde Songs, but my attention got diverted to Empty Ensemble, which will release its debut EP and LP in 2016.
Well, I’ve spent the last month focusing on Travis, and I’m happy to announce the album is in the can. Because I don’t want to steal thunder away from Empty Ensemble, the album won’t be released till September 2017.
Of course, that doesn’t stop me from posting a preview. You can listen to it now if you become an Eponymous 4 subscriber.
I approached this album a lot differently from the Ex Machina series. I finally employed a guitar amplifier and pulled an old, cheap microphone out of retirement to record parts. The rhythm section is entirely programmed, but everything else is recorded live. I’ve also invested in a better class of plugins, so the sound should actually approach something more professional than what’s come before.
This album really opened up some new ways to work, and I look forward to applying those lessons to the cover albums.
Eponymous 4 is still on hiatus while Empty Ensemble gets ready for a big push in 2016.
In the meantime, Observant Records has set up an e-mail newsletter to let you keep track of all the various projects, but if you’re interested only in Eponymous 4 news, we have you covered. In the past, I’ve relied on Facebook and Twitter to post updates. Facebook, of course, has famously altered how page posts show up in news feeds, and I don’t do much to get more followers on Twitter. So if you want to get first crack on new tracks and maybe a few exclusives, sign up for the list.
I’ve also took a bunch of files off of Soundcloud. I used Soundcloud to post first drafts of new tracks, but now that the majority of material has been released, I’ve let my Pro subscription lapse and removed almost everything that’s now available through streaming services and downloads. So you might click a Soundcloud link in an old Facebook or Twitter post and reach a dead link.
One last bit of housecleaning: a blog archive. All past posts could only be browsed through the home page, so I set up an archive page to give the home page a bit more focus.
It’s been more than a year since I’ve posted here on the site, which is extraordinary given all the things that have happened in that time.
Back in 2013, I embarked on releasing the Ex Machina Series, which included 4 albums, 4 EPs and a compilation. Pretty much, everything that’s been posted on the site till now. It was a lot of work that somehow made posting here the bottom rung in priorities.
After such a big push, I stepped away from the studio to recharge. It wasn’t until late August that I felt remotely ready to start writing and recording again.
Any project as big as the Ex Machina Series will have leftovers, and my backlog of songs is not yet exhausted. The Ex Machina Series didn’t have room for singles, and these leftover tracks didn’t fit on the albums. The solution? B-sides!
Starting on January 2015, I’ll be releasing a series of singles every month culminating in a collection called Retrograde Songs. The singles will be available only online, while the collection will be available online and on CD. I’m calling these releases the Retrograde Singles Series.
I’ve also started work on an album of entirely new songs. I wrote a bunch of lyrics before moving from Austin to Seattle, and in September 2014, I set those lyrics to music. As the Retrograde Singles Series unfolds, I’ll be working on this new album, which I’m calling Travis. I don’t have a release date set, but if I get things done before the release of Retrograde Songs, it probably won’t be far behind.
The cover releases, 新曲モラトリアム日本語版 and 新曲モラトリアム英語版, have been in the can for a while, but I may go back and clean them up before I do anything with them. I may save those releases for 2016.
Then after that? I have to admit I’m ambivalent.
I launched Empty Ensemble a while back but have done nothing with it because Eponymous 4 has been such a time sink. I also compulsively started another spin-off called Penzias and Wilson. I haven’t yet figured out what kind of music Penzias and Wilson will make, but it won’t be singer-songwriter. In fact, it won’t have lyrics at all.
All this to say that Eponymous 4 may be winding down in the next year or so. At the very least, I have more than enough material for live performances.
I probably should have mentioned that I’m releasing some music, but when you’re a one-man operation running a record label and a publishing company, it kind of gets weird repeating all the same news under different identities!
But today marks the release of Original Confidence. I’ve already spotted the album on iTunes, Spotify and eMusic. Amazon started listing it as soon as I gave CD Baby the thumbs up for digital distribution.
If you’re interested in a CD, a limited number of copies are available through the Observant Records Shop, and you can buy a digital/physical bundle on Bandcamp.
This release marks the first of nine over the coming weeks. Here’s the Observant Records announcement detailing this insanity, with a handy matrix to guide your purchasing decisions.
When I first started recording my own music, I programmed a lot of the guitar parts with samples in Reason. Then Cakewalk bundled a demo version of Guitar Rig in SONAR, and when I tried it out with my then-new computer in 2010, it opened up a whole lot of possibilities for me.
I’ve since spent the last three years replacing those programmed guitar parts with real ones — where my limited technique can manage, that is — and generally improving the overall sound quality of my recordings. I called this initiative the Ex Machina Series. (“Ex machina”, as in “get the performance of these songs out of the machine.”)
I can now report that the first phase of this initiative is complete.
What went into phase one?
Well, by the end of 2007, I had at least 90 recordings scoped out. I had entire albums with fake guitar parts and very minimal effects processing. The Ex Machina Series pretty much involved me going back into each of those 90+ recordings and adding effects, replacing parts and cleaning up mixes. Better sample libraries powered drums. Convolution reverb added a sense of depth.
I wanted to establish a base where I could go back into these recordings and refine them.
In the last month, I created new mixes for the last remaining albums to get the Ex Machina treatment, and they are now all available in the Music section.
It feels good to some working material that’s closer to a finished product than I had back in 2008.