Here’s a long overdue update on Slug Comparison:
I’ve been working on new songs for the past year. And I have a lot of them now at the stage where they’re ready for lyrics. That means they have verses and choruses and more or less solidified guitar parts with messily improvised solos here and there, and crappy drum programming, and a few synths, and vocal melodies and even a few harmonies. Unlike I did with the first album’s demos, I didn’t bother recording scratch bass, preferring to leave it to the pros, ie. Mike Young, when the time comes. So apart from a lack of bass, the songs are structured and organized and the result of a ridiculous amount of songwriting decisions. The remaining problems are that I’m singing gibberish and that the recordings are these awful cut and pasted, patched together, mismatched-toned, sloppily performed little wonders that would appall even the laziest audio engineer. For the most part the tracks aren’t even properly named. I’ve been berated for this on a few occasions over my recording career. In my defence, I’m always so desperately focused on sorting out the next problem in the song that I can’t seem to wrench myself away for any kind of engineering ‘housework.’
So I’m entering a cool part of the process now where I get to figure out what each song could be ‘about’ and find words to give it another layer of meaning. I don’t adhere to well to timelines for my creative output because if I’m not satisfied with something, then I just have to keep working on it. And that takes time. But my plan is to release something this year, probably late in the year. It will probably be an EP. Once that comes out, it won’t be long before there’s another EP or two or a full album. I haven’t decided yet how I’m going to batch these tunes together.
Some people might be curious about the musical direction. There’s a lot that could be considered more of the same. There’s a good mix of acoustic based songs and electric based songs. There’s one post apocalyptic sounding instrumental, which is a huge relief for me on the lyric-writing front. There are a few songs that I’ve demoed with double-kick, so I will be looking for a drummer who can take that on. There are a few songs that a few years ago I never would have been comfortable with, because they delve into major keys and sound a touch happy. Of these, a couple of them are co-written–I took this guy Matt’s guitar parts and worked them over and then wrote vocals. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in contact so he’ll be really surprised when I finally get in touch and play him what I’ve done. I can’t blame all the happiness on Matt though. I made a conscious effort to be less strict with myself and I let some happyish riffs slip through to the songwriting process. To me some of the riffs sound happy, but I was told that one of them is actually more wistful than happy. So don’t expect anything along the lines of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me.”
Jan 3, 2016
France-based Jester Prog Blog posted a review here. One observation made by reviewer J-Yves is that though many of the songs on the Slug Comparison album are short–around 4 minutes–they go through several transformations which make them seem more developed, like an 8-10 minute song by Haken or Pain of Salvation.
Here’s a French review from NeoProg. It mentions a couple of new vocal comparisons: Marc Atkinson (not sure from which band) and John Bassett, a progressive artist from the UK who I’m going to have to listen to.
Bad Ass from France’s Rock-Station has written the first French language review of Slug Comparison, and has called Long Live the Night “le chef d’oeuvre de l’album.” In an email to me, he jokingly admitted to have listened to the song upwards of 8000 times already. That’s roughly the same number of times I listened back to the song as I was writing and recording it, so it’s great to know that someone else had been through the same experience. Read the review here.
There is a little known website in The Canary Islands that focuses purely on sad, melancholy or emotional music. These descriptors, according to the website, are “subjective and in our case strict. Unfortunately, for inclusion in InannaNaked.Com it must be emotional or melancholic for us… not for you…THERE IS ALSO EMOTIONAL AND MELANCHOLIC MUSIC WE DON’T LIKE…” Reading that, and the rest of the SELECTIVE CRITERION AND MUSICAL CONCEPT, you can imagine with how much trepidation I submitted Slug Comparison.
Well, this morning, I am pleased to say that Slug Comparison has been included in the database, the music having been deemed sufficiently sad, melancholy or emotional. Further to this, the site describes the album as “a gloomy but rich example of elegant, dark and emotional rock/prog.” Peruse the full review results here. Thanks to Hector for giving it a listen, and for keeping such a unique database going.
Sea of Tranquility (Music for the New Intellectual) has given Slug Comparison a FIVE STAR album review, calling it “a tremendous piece of work that’s enlightening and dark and dank all at the same time.” The author of the review, Butch Jones, has also written about Fen’s Trails Out Of Gloom and Of Losing Interest. Thanks Butch!
Rob at Denmark’s Power of Metal has put his thoughts on the Slug Comparison album here, rating it 90/100. In his review, he likens the vocals to Thomas Giles Rogers of Between The Buried And Me and Casey McPherson of Flying Colors, introducing me to a couple of bands I’d never heard before.
Rob, whose knowledge of prog/metal music is enormous, also runs a facebook page that posts a ridiculous number of interesting and sometimes awesome prog songs every day. I had no idea how uninformed I was until I liked the page–I suggest you do the same, here.