Excursions, before it was what it is now, was a 30 minute release that I created to, mostly make people know that I still exist. However, I didn’t stop creating until ultimately it became a release that is over 100 minutes in length.
I’ve created this release exclusively only with a 2014 MacBook Pro, which turned out to be a difficult process. Most of the songs use more than 50 individual channels. That’s part due to my creative workflow and part due to me working as fast and as messy as possible. Until recently MacBooks only came with 16 gigs of RAM, which is perfectly fine for most all people, except video editors and people like me. For example, the song Thunderbird, clocking in at 13 minutes, needs around 18 gigs of free RAM to open without a hitch. Shockingly, MacBooks can still open a song like that with 16, because of their weird compression technique. However… it’s also a lucky coin flip on wether the software crashes or not.
Technical problems aside, I’ve posed a few challenges to myself to make creating Excursions interesting.
- I wanted to create the same piece over and over again in as many different places and mood sets as possible
- I wanted to use recorded speakers as a means to record room acoustics as much as possible
- Excursions is supposed to feel like a journey through the messiest parts of New York, yet still feel tranquil and relaxing
To achieve number 3, I’ve decided to bake in the sounds of nature with additional grimy spooky places. Surprisingly, it makes the whole record feel very calm even with the most intense songs.
Here’s a few breakdowns on what I think are maybe the most interesting tracks.
“Excursions” was originally a track for a very early prototype of a game concept, but I felt that it deserves a better place than my dropbox. After a bit of. polishing, I think it’s a very lovely way to be an intro into the album.
“Cold Summer” is probably familiar to some of. you, as it was the first song I created and put out on Soundcloud with no real goal in mind. Only later I decided that there needed to be more.
“Tingle” was created in a weird spot in my life. I just got broken up from a 2 year relationship that I thought was the most important thing in my life, but it really really wasn’t. I spent the summer traveling to close friends. One of them was my good and composer Jukio Kallio, aka Kuabee. I think he dragged me out to his studio mostly to cheer me up. We ended creating this piece and I’ve polished it until I left the country. It did help.
“Beton” was a piece created to distract myself from being sad, as it was the track I created the closest to my breakup. Making music, at least for me, is very much connected to emotions. If I feel awful, I have a very hard time even jotting down a single note. But somehow I managed to create this whole piece without stopping for a minute. This piece was also the creation of the idea of making this album with as many mood sets as I could muster.
“Thunderbird” is the longest piece. Created in its namesake coffee shop in Austin, I got obsessed for a week or more just creating and creating and creating more until it stopped making sense. I was so obsessed with creating this song that I’m not actually sure what this monster is that I’ve created. I think it’s a bit of a case of staring at something too closely for too long.
“Aviva” was originally a present for someone, but I didn’t want to hide it.
“Nest” is a celebration of tracker music. I got fascinated with trying to transfer the feeling and sound of it into modern software, which is why it essentially is two songs in one. Most tracker music uses 8 bit sample files to save space, which gives them all this low bitrate feeling. The hum of old files. It felt very appropriate for Excursions.
“The President is dead” is a reference to an old movie soundtrack. Which one exactly I’ll let you figure out. Starting with “ATX” until “Hope”, these tracks were kept hidden until the official release date on September 7th. The reason for such an unorthodox release window was a technical leak from the music publisher that I’ve used for this specific release. The unfortunate leak led me to create four more tracks, which ultimately made me feel way happier about this album.