Over the last few months — you could even say years — I’ve been dribbling out various recordings in a haphazard manner. I’ve posted cover songs to Facebook and drafts of demos on Metafilter Music. enigmatics marked the first official release from Eponymous 4. Well, I think I’m very, very close to making the first full-length Eponymous 4 album available.
This past winter, I hunkered down and focused on Imprint, the first set of songs I completed back in 2005, when I started to build my home studio. Back then, I considered the album "finished", even though I hadn’t recorded vocals. Three years and many distractions later, I finally have a set of performances that don’t totally make me wretch (but they still make me cringe.) I’ve also gotten a bit more practice — and invested more cash into — polishing these recordings. And they’re finally in a shape that I feel comfortable unleashing upon the world.
That’s not to say they’re the definitive versions of these songs.
In reality, these recordings are still demos. Production-wise, they still need much more clean-up than I can afford, and performance-wise … well, let’s just say I’m not the best interpreter for my own material. Ideally, I would be recording these songs with a band, but I’m not at that point yet.
Instead, I’m initiating the Work Release Program, in which these "demo albums" are released exclusively on this site. I’ll post one track each week till all the tracks of the album have been made available. Imprint will be the first release in this program, with an EP, 「風の歌を聴け」, following.
I’ve just finished the first round of mixing for Imprint, so I’ll need a few days to live with it and make any additional tweaks. I hope to start posting tracks by the end of January or at the start of February.
I may even make these releases commercially available online, through CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and other services. At this point, I’m not considering a physical CD release, but I’m not ruling one out either.
In the spirit of holiday consumerism, I’ve knocked down the price of enigmatics CDs to $6.00, which is a paltry savings of $2.00. The sale is available only through the Eponymous 4 official site, since Amazon and the various digital services set their own prices. This discounted price is available all the way through Christmas Eve.
I decided on this sale thing pretty spur of the moment, so it may be a bit late to get mail orders turned around in a timely manner this far into the season. I figure it’s worth a shot anyway.
If you live in Austin, you can arrange to buy a copy from me in person.
This EP is pretty chilled out, so it might make for some good cold weather listening. It’s great for more "mature" listeners who aren’t much into the rock and/or roll.
CD Baby delivered enigmatics to a few more online vendors. Of course, you can download it from iTunes and Amazon, but if you prefer, you can also get it from these services:
enigmatics is also available from Napster, Ruckus, Didiom, Lala and rVibe. Inprodicon will be delivering it to the Nordic region, and eMusic may carry it eventually. (We’ll see.)
It’s slightly early to be talking about the holidays — as if the Christmas lights already on sale at Target aren’t any indication — but I still have plenty of copies of enigmatics available, and uh, not a single one has sold at Waterloo. (Yeah, I check sometimes.) I think it would make nice chill out music for the coming colder months, so think about it as a stocking stuffer.
So last time, I presented a video for a song that wasn’t even on enigmatics. This time, I actually have a video from enigmatics!
"enigmatics IV" is pretty much the de facto single from the EP, so I decided to "shoot" a video for it. But I did it the hard way — instead of shooting actual video, I took a series of high-speed pictures, more than 8,500 at the end of it. I strung those pictures into Womble MPEG Video Wizard to create the footage. I then edited the final video in Sony Vegas Movie Studio.
YouTube, however, was very uncooperative with encoding the final results, and I spent all day Sunday uploading and deleting, uploading and deleting. I finally installed an evaluation version of Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition to render an MP4 as close to the suggested YouTube settings as possible. The lo-res version still looks like crap, but the hi-res version doesn’t screw up the picture too badly.
Here’s the video, as close as YouTube can offer it.
[UPDATE, 08/03/2008, 15:08] YouTube has gone out of its way to make sure music videos uploaded to their site turn out to be absolute crap. The latest offense is an automated compression that absolutely crushes the dynamic range of a video’s sound.
That’s the final straw. I figure I’ve got enough server space to host the videos my own damn self. What I trade in exposure I retain in a proper viewing experience.
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I bought a tripod last week for my digital camera with the intention of using it to make a video for enigmatics. The idea I have in mind requires me to take about 4,000 pictures. It’s hard to explain.
But the tripod also let me experiment with the video function in my camera, so I moved some furniture around, pointed my camera to the wall and shot a video for a song I haven’t yet really released, titled "What I Deserve".
I edited the footage in a shareware MPEG video editor and got these results.
(The enigmatics video is going to be a long time in the making, though.)
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