Thursday, October 25, 2012

Soon-to-be-released: My 2012 Creative Commons project: post-rock themed digital music album

My band mates, with a guest collaborator, started working on a few tracks around Jan this year. Through the usual (for us) way of passing ideas and MP3 files over email.

Last month, when it sunk in that 2012 would be the 10th global birthday celebrations for Creative Commons, we wanted our album to be a gift to the movement.

Our DIY digital album will be published over this weekend.

This evening, we completed the final piece of the musical project: the album cover.

Here are the designs I developed over two evenings:

1. "deca"

2. "TEN"

3. "DEKA"

A few hours ago, the band -- with our guest collaborator, urmymuse, who is from halfway around the globe -- have agreed on a majority vote on design No. 3, "DEKA".

The album has 10 tracks, for CC's 10th birthday this year, slated for October.

A 10-10-10 combo.

So what's with the title and "tens"?

The Backstory
My first album design looked like this (created two nights ago):
My amateur attempt at a #CreativeCommons 10th Birthday logo

It was passable as a symbol or logo. But somehow it didn't quite cut it as an album cover. Looked too cold; too detached. The opposite of what our music represented.

So I wondered about the etymology for "decade". That led to my discovering the term "deca", which was Latin for "the combining form for 'Ten'": "decapod", "decasyllabic", "decathlon", "decametre"...

Multiples of ten.


But I wondered if it might be too subtle or indirect for people to catch on.

No harm in posting the question in Facebook. Kind of expecting zero comments, so I was really surprised to get plenty of good ideas and useful comments from my Facebook contacts. Thanks folks!

All things considered, "deca" was quite appropriate.

I used Keynote on my iPad to piece together a few ideas. Ended up using Keynote as my "photoshop"!

Within hours of the Facebook comments and doodling in the iPad, I managed to churn out design No. 1.

Emailed that off to Adrian, I-Ling and urmymuse. Explained the concept to them. And hoped they would agree. Or at least, no violent objections from them.

Adrian was first to give "deca" his approval. Next was urmymuse, who added that the Greek spelling (deka) was preferred but it wouldn't be something to "die in a ditch" for (LOL).

By that time, I also preferred DEKA over DECA. Particularly after considering the Facebook comments. For one, "deca" might lead to some people subconsciously associating it with "decay" or "decadence" -- unrelated words, no doubt but still might prove distracting rather than adding to the album's intrigued.

I churned out designs no.s 2 and 3, and emailed to the band. Promised this would be the last iteration (any more options and it would be counterproductive).

Our vocalist, I-Ling, liked DEKA too.

So that was that.

All ten tracks have been mastered, bounced; the uncompressed files sitting in my hard disk (backed up, for sure) waiting to be prepped with metadata (I use iTunes for that).

It'll be a public holiday this Friday. That would give me time to publish the album this weekend.

Musical Musings
The album will be pretty niche. Limited audience etc.

It's perhaps best described as "almost progressive meditative pop post-rock".

Whatever it might be called, it's our labour of love.

A musician friend once asked me if I composed music for others or for myself. I guessed as much that it was his polite way of saying my musical compositions didn't quite fit a certain accepted standard or norm.

It was an excellent question that he'd asked.

Made me reflect.

It reinforced in my mind that I choose to create music for myself.

That's not to say I'll refuse to learn and improve or accept constructive criticisms. For sure I'd like to perfect this particular craft.

But I don't have to set undue pressure for myself, on when I should "reach perfection". When much younger, I used to think that. For instance, I felt I needed to be able to reach a certain level of technical prowess on the guitar.

Decades later, my views have shifted. It's less about what I can make the guitar do.

It's not about one particular instrument anymore.

I'm interested in making music, using whatever skills and abilities (and equipment) that I have incrementally gained from each musical project; from creating each musical track.

If the world cares to listen to what I share, that's a bonus.

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