So yes, I recorded and released an album for the RPM Challenge again this year, my third in a row. To recap, the RPM Challenge is to write and record an album of original material all within the month of February.
First of all, apologies for not blogging about this nearer the time. Not long after I finished the album and posted it off, a Very Significant Event happened which frankly has rather overshadowed pretty much everything else for me this year.
Back to the album! This year I decided to employ a theme (you might want to skip the rest of this paragraph ). I took the hashtag “#RPM2016″ and converted the ASCII values of each character into base 7 (as you do) and then used the most significant digit to represent a note on a scale (being very unadventurous I used C major), and then used each note to decide the key for each tune. This gave C, A, F, C, D, B, C and A. I also came up with an idea to make the end of each tune change to a key based on the next note in the sequence. This meant that the album this year would definately be 8 tracks long.
I’ve struggled on the past two albums with picking titles for finished tracks. This has been something of a stumbling block when I’ve completed a piece and want to render it out to produce the finished track and I need a title… I copped out big-time this year and decided to just give each track the titles “Part 1″, “Part 2″ etc. That is much less imaginative, but it was a more liberating feeling to be able to finish a track without having to then come up with a name for it.
I thought that this year would be an easier year as it was a leap year – giving me a whole extra day to work with. However, a few events cropped up (including a couple of gigs to go to) which meant I lost a few nights. I’ve got tickets for a couple of gigs next February too (thankfully one of them is on a Saturday, so at least I’ll have the day to work on the music). I do wish my local theatre would stop booking great acts to play in February!
I – somehow – seemed to have Reaper etc set up perfectly to record “real” instruments this year too (I don’t know how as I don’t recall changing any settings from last year, and I’ve probably jinxed it now for next year) so I was able to add some bass and guitar to a few tracks, but it is still predominately keyboard-based music – more than anything it’s just easier to set up and compose / record with.
Unfortunately too much time has elapsed since I finished it to give any meaningful thoughts of the recording process. But I do know it was a lot more enjoyable to put together (apart from some frightening Reaper crashes which I think I eventually got to the bottom of). I also remembered to update the Bandcamp album as I went along rather than upload it all in one go, a track at a time as in the past.
I decided to call the album “Third Angle Projection”. Many years ago I spent a year working in a government office, transfering out files full of technical drawings. We had to check that all the documents were in each file before we could send it out. Being technical drawings I kept seeing the phrase “Third Angle Projection” on some of them, and being a young(ish) person in a prog band, I remember thinking it would make a great album title one day. As this is my third album, I decided it was time to use it
As always, the finished album is on Bandcamp where it can be downloaded for whatever you want to pay (including completely free). I hope you enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to starting again in just over a month from now!