Poetry of a Different Kind: I made an album!

I say I made an album, because I not only wrote the songs, I also did the mixing, “mastering” and artwork. It’s DIY or bust! If you’re into synthwave, darksynth, 80s horror soundtracks and modern renditions thereof (what I call “retrauxwave”), maybe I have something for you.

It is right here if you want to listen, and is available for a free download if you so choose:

http://aghostinseoul.bandcamp.com/album/the-damned

Tell your friends, your enemies, your loved ones, people you haven’t talked to in years, the guy from across the street… spread the word!

A Little Bit More

The Damned is the end result of nearly two years of effort: on-again off-again for the first, decidedly on for the second. It’s nine tracks and forty minutes plus, each track dedicated to a separate story.

I drew inspiration from my own musical tastes, namely metal, the darker side of cinema and of course, synthwave / 80s. I am a firm believer in four on the floor beats, so I used that as my jumpoff point and didn’t question it every turn. In fact, I didn’t question a lot of things – the perfectionist in me was told to fuck right off so I can finish what I am working on, and he obliged (well, he had no choice.)

I worked with a few restrictions for both the sake of consistency and as a challenge to myself. No drum machine samples from machines originally released after 1989. No digital-sounding “modern” synths; analog dirt or nothing. No questioning the wisdom of four-on-the-floor; other beats are fine, but four on the floor reigns supreme for a reason. No forcing overarching epics. No mind paid to production until songwriting is done – absolutely no mixing before the tracks are finished.

As for the songs themselves, I prefer synthwave or any instrumental music to tell a story, so I decided to have scenes or developing stories in my head. Occultation was a ritual gone wrong; The Voices was the turmoil of a patient in an asylum trying to cope with the voices she hears; Pandaemonium was exactly what it said on the tin.

There were exceptions there, too. Welcome to Hell House and its successor track Radio Belasco were both in tribute to Richard Matheson’s 1971 novel Hell House and the Roaring Giant himself, Emeric Belasco. The book introduces the foyer of Hell House with a self-playing vinyl recording that greets potential visitors and promises them wicked doom. I thought, well, what if instead of a record player, it was a radio, and it turned on by itself to play Emeric Belasco’s welcome music to them and conjure some phantasmagoria for the visitors to experience right from the off?

The production was done by me as well. I mixed it as well as I could, “mastered” it only in the very narrowest sense of the word and tried to make sure it at least sounded good enough to listen to.

The artwork, i.e. the cover image was my work as well. The logo for A Ghost in Seoul was done with a Daft Punk-esque free font, and the image itself was intended as sort of a tribute to the poster of the 1982 movie, Poltergeist.

So drop me a line if you happen to listen. Enjoy!

One thought on “Poetry of a Different Kind: I made an album!

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