Cover drawing by Tom Foxmarnick, thanks!.
This album is now only available as part of the Katso kukkaa album! It’s made with the help of all my new tasty analog gear, and mixed under much better circumstances, and sounds just swell!
It’s yet another summer solstice and time for a new album.
For the past four years I have been working on this. The philosophy behind the album goes again deep.
The world we live in today is full of readymade things. Quick food, disposable fashion clothes, the latest and “best” plugins and synths… Cheap furniture, houses that are in a demolition state after 40 years of use, crappy products that break down and degrade our culture and thinking are abound everywhere… People want everything fast, there’s no time to wait. You have to be productive, efficient, beautiful strong and young. If you don’t feel like that, surround yourself with products that make you feel like that, and maybe other people believe that too for a moment.
What is the position of the electronic musician in a time like this in our culture? What am I thinking when I write music?
First of all, almost the whole album is created with free software. Except for EnergyXT, Renoise and a few VSTs, all the plugins are freeware. Also, many of the sounds on the album have their origins in my own samples. I have built a mass of acoustic instruments over the last years, and also spent dozens of hours sampling the Finnish nature, my blacksmithing workshop, and just about any other place I could think of. So self-made spike fiddles, flutes, drums, finger pianos and you name what are behind the sound of this particular album.
I’m completely for supporting developers that you like, but I am even more for the production and distribution of free tools. Especially for the non-professional who can’t spend a lot of money for the equipment, it’s never been easier to build a 100% audio workstation. The world is full of used and discarded PCs, and even with something that’s years old, it’s possible to do things that people could not imagine twenty years ago.
Also I chose not to use any commercial sound libraries for this album. Sure, you could buy/pirate (did I mention I don’t use any pirated software?) the latest sounds from MOTU, Spectrasonics or whoever. And sure they would sound good, because it’s the best musicians and studio engineers whose work you’re getting. Thousands of hours of it… But you would sound like everybody else. Maybe it’s just me, but hearing the same sounds over and over in movie and TV soundtracks these days is a bit like eating processed food. It’s maybe fine, but it’s the same thing one day after another…
So I wanted to go beyond this, and chose to build and sample my own instruments. Maybe the loops and sounds on this album are not of the same pre-built high quality than on 99% of electronic music albums that use acoustic sounds, but at least it’s my OWN sounds.
(I have built many, many more instruments that did not make it to this album, see pics here)
Also, I have spent considerable time working on the polyphonic harmonies and sometimes atypical modal scales that the tunes use. Because I’m not a professional or trained composer, making a two part counterpoint melody takes maybe ten times longer than just writing the (for the genre) typical monophonic leads. And if I add a third part, it might take twenty times longer… And so on. So in this way I believe that the music is more interesting than typical modern trance, where you hear the same boring scales, arpeggios and one-finger leads everywhere. I hope to take this development even further in the future, but progress is slow because I’m working almost by ear alone, just like all other folk musicians around the world.
So considering all this, I feel safe to proclaim that I have really created an electronic folk album, even though the music might not sound like what people typically think of as “folk” music. Of course it’s a kind of individual folk in the way that this is not music of the people, and there is one specific creator for all the tunes. But if there is interest, I might try to export MIDI files out of EnergyXT so other people can maybe build on this music and create their own interpretations.
Considering the mastering: I didn’t want to have that kind of super sleek studio sound that is popular these days. So I was quite careful with compressors, limiting and such, and always checked each individual track in the multichannel mix very carefully to check that the dynamics of all instruments are not flattened. So the music does not sound as loud as most other releases these days, but that’s for a reason…