Seasonal Offerings

Dear Listeners,

I recently had a fan of my music ask what the inspirations behind a few of my works were. I found it was a pleasant task to describe things that prompted the creation of certain pieces. In that same vein, and in keeping with the changing seasons, I offer a different line-up of featured works on my music page  www.songcastmusic.com/profiles/SuffolkSkies and a short synopsis of what inspired each of the three pieces.

Autumn Chill…I have long held Autumn as my favourite of all the seasons. I remember, from youth, loving the turning of leaves, predominantly sunny skies with lovely cloud forms, and cooler temps following hot summers. I also remember once winning a poetry competition for creating a Haiku with this season at its heart. The change of seasons marks a turn on a grander scale. The Earth itself, or our northerly latitude at least, tips away from the Sun‘s intensity. What a magnificent phenomenon to inspire a light musical treatment of something so natural.

Sunset Celebration…England’s relatively high latitude lends itself to languid sunsets! The sequence of colour changes is drawn out over a longer period of time than I knew in California. Enough time passes that the changing hues and textures extend in a way I hadn’t known as a boy. I’m sure that many lands enjoy beautiful sunsets and feel the musical expression has wider appeal beyond these shores.

East of England…The region, and Suffolk in particular, enjoys the most sunshine on average than any other in England. There are too many places of outstanding beauty to list. Tourism, agriculture, industry…its all here and living vibrantly with a mixture of traditional and modern characters and values. A lovely place to reside!

Arctic Circle…(description of an upcoming orchestral work for inclusion to the third album, release date next year.) As a very little chap, indeed, I have a memory of falling into a snow drift whilst on a trip to Pennsylvania. It was delightfully cold, bright at the top with ever more blue shades further down toward my feet, and quite suddenly silent. My mother, sister Sherrie, and I had flown out to stay with my Danish grandmother. Snow is largely a novelty throughout most of California. Although I came to know a few very cold, icy winters during my dressage apprenticeship. The sight of ice crystals, snow flurries, incredible ice formations, and the northern lights all came to bear in forging this work. The mystery and majesty are all there and I was able to express, in some way, how foreboding and fascinating frozen water can be. Science and art bear a close resemblance to one another when confronted with such a subject.

I hope you enjoy these few works, and the little stories behind them. And, as always, I extend gratitude for your interest in my compositions!

How to get on iTunes for the new Artist

( June, 2013) My debut album “Suffolk Skies” and its follow-up “Noun; person,place, object, mood” are both finally ‘live’ on iTunes. [and updating; my third album “Reflections” 2014 went up nearly instantaneously…perhaps now as a known contributor] I chose to utilise Songcastmusic.com to agent my work. I found it too daunting to become an independent content provider with iTunes as a private individual. The remedy; Songcastmusic.com offers a great service. And, even if you’ve never uploaded a single or full album before, it’s  user-friendly. Their tutorials and even the process itself make it self explanatory. All you have to do is have your music files and art ready. The membership fee isn’t too costly, though they have other services which one may purchase (to extend their revenue, and perhaps justifiably so as one may purchase online radio-time and other means of promotion).

One of the initial delays for me in uploading was cover-art. I hadn’t even given it a thought as I finalised editing the tracks for their final recording. So, I went in after creating the account only to find I couldn’t complete the process without the graphics to accompany the music. For anyone considering uploading their works, by all means, get your cover art done and ready to upload at the same time as you send in your music tracks.  It can be anything you want it to be; a poignant photo, a sculpture, a unique graphic design, simple text on a colour background. As long as it’s saved as a jpg and is square with minimum (but not much more than) 1500 pixels by 1500 pixels.  Sadly, there is no consideration of back-cover-art so it’s all up front (if you’ll pardon the double-entendre). You can easily edit, enhance, ‘draw,’ or generally add a textbox for titles etc. using microsoft Paint.

From this PrintScreen view you can see what my songcast page looks like

From this PrintScreen view you can see what my songcast page looks like

Everything I’d created, in terms of musical data, was in .wav format. Songcast will only upload mp3 files. So, my next learning curve was to learn that I could burn a demo-CD of my final recordings, then rip my own CD to automatically convert my works into mp3. Such is the relative ease in using media-player. The mp3 format looses a little of the depth of sound quality but is compressed into a much smaller data file. Speaking of files…I recommend you create a new file to put your newly formatted mp3 versions into. Sometimes your computer may look in ‘different’ places if you have multiple copies of a particular track. Or, I have sometimes had trouble with media-player splitting my tracks across different library locations. Be prepared to search through all music files to relocate transient tracks (often arbitrarily named unknown artist, or by series of numbers).

Your final recording should reflect the name of the piece without extra bits of information or misspellings. Thus, I  advise re-naming your track if you had extra information concerning different/previous versions of that same work. There is no editing done at the point of delivery (at iTunes itself) so you must consider making all corrections before it is sent. By the time your work is ‘in transit’ it’s too late. Perform a careful and scrupulous proof-read before uploading.

Despite claims that it may only take a couple of weeks, in my experience it takes a full month for first-time provider’s  works to complete transit for iTunes. It may take longer for Spotify, Amazon mp3, and Emusic. I’ll let you know when it’s up on those sites. In the meantime I’m delighted to have my albums up on iTunes via Songcastmusic.com. It’s given this independent artist a chance to offer his works to the public. So, many thanks to songcast for the service.

I will also let the reader know of the general ‘transit time’ for getting a result with Amazon CD’s on Demand. Many potential listeners would prefer to have a physical copy. Given that, when professional quality CD’s are available on Amazon I will be happy to have covered that base, too.

It all takes time and a bit of effort to make it happen. As I would advise myself, I advise patience with the process. I hope my shared experience helps anyone who is looking to also follow the path to ‘getting your music out there.’ If you’ve enjoyed this blog, please take a moment to follow the link to my music page and have a listen. Share the link, if you’ve enjoyed my musical works, with anyone you feel would also like my style. Together we can launch these new works. And, you’ll find the same gets returned as you try and or learn to make your own art stand out and be heard!

It took a lot of courage to launch each of the albums. I sat on a body of musical work for a while, not knowing what to do with it nor how to promote it. Life and work and various responsibilities often overtook my ability to apply myself to it with consistent effort.

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In terms of concrete sales, I wish there was more ready-made interest for the modern classical and light jazz instrumental style. However, part of my personal goal in composing original works was to find a method of sharing the works. People from all over the world are now finding my music, and in this way I can share the ideas with the public at large. In the meantime I’m grateful to all those who’ve taken time to listen.

 

From this PrintScreen view you can see what my songcast page looks like

Related article: http://www.pandodaily.com/2013/08/05/who-killed-the-music-industry-an-interactive-explainer/#royalties2