My newest album, OMNIVERSE, drops today! This is my first full VOCALOID album, and features twelve original works and one cover song. Over the next month or two I plan to share more background information, release a few more single versions, and create more promotional materials like lyric videos. For now, let’s just get directly to the music!
So, obviously I want to get this music into as many ears as possible, so please like and share, but also let’s get some conversations going. Comment on the things you like, and even things you don’t like! Ask me questions so I know what you’re interested in learning about. I realize that Vocaloid is new for a lot of people, and I’m more than happy to share what I’ve experienced in my limited time working with this fascinating technology.
Also, subscribe to things! Especially YouTube and Bandcamp. The numbers help, but also, these are usually the places things will show up first. Videos go up on YouTube hours before I start announcing them or blogging about them, and Bandcamp has actually had the album live and available for sale since Friday, because I upload directly to them, instead of going through a distribution service like I do for the more popular services.
And while I’m on the subject, sometimes people ask me if I have a preference regarding which service they purchase/stream from, and that’s an easy answer: Bandcamp. They give me the biggest share of the profits, deliver that money to me the fastest, and give you the best quality product (or at least the choice, since you can stream or get MP3s from them if you want to) of any service. I’m thrilled to have you listen wherever is convenient, cost effective, or just preferential to you, but if it doesn’t make any difference to you, please consider giving Bandcamp a try!
Not a lot of time to write this up because we are in the middle of painting the studio in preparation for moving stuff in, which is slated to happen at the end of the month:
But in the meantime, I am nearly done composing my next album, tentatively titled ‘OMNIVERSE’. Not only that, we have pretty close to finished tracks (mostly waiting on final tuned vocal tracks from me) on well over half of the album! The album will feature Luka, of course, as well as Avanna and Dex from Zero-G. At this point I am shooting for a roughly late June or early July release, which seems totally doable unless ‘life’ happens, heh…
Here is some awesome cover art by Space Robinhood, which I commissioned. He is also working on art for several single releases, so everything is on track (ha!) for releasing when the music is finished.
So, some updates regarding my previous post: I am no longer streaming Final Fantasy. It was a fun test, but ultimately off brand. A lot of my Vocaloid community colleagues have indicated that they would love to see streams of me tuning the Vocaloids, so if I can figure out an effective way to set that up I will!
I may also give up on Trello for organizing albums. I’m not 100% sure what I will ultimately use to manage my music projects and share that process, but Trello isn’t cutting it for me, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve taken to using a physical white board and/or scraps of paper again instead. I will find a shareable digital solution eventually, but Trello doesn’t seem to be it.
That’s all the updates for now. Should be able to do more updates more regularly once moving is complete and the new studio is set up properly. In the meantime, rest assured that I am constantly working on stuff, I just don’t always have time to post about it 🤓
UPDATE: I am no longer streaming Final Fantasy on Twitch, nor am I actively using Trello for music organization. Check out my newer post for details!
As many are aware, I am an avid player of Final Fantasy XIV online. I have been experimenting with streaming on Twitch, both FFXIV and emulations of earlier Final Fantasy games. I have put together a schedule I will follow so you can watch. Below is a calendar of my intended streaming to which you can subscribe. For the moment it’s just a repeating schedule of nights I know I will be able to play and stream. I will likely revise this a lot based on scheduling changes and interest, but this should be consistent for a little while, and I’ll try not to change things that are less than a week away.
By the way, I don’t stream voice through the PS4, so if you want to chat during the stream, I have a personal Discord server set up. Higher level permissions for the Discord will eventually be a perk for my patrons on Patreon, but I am happy to invite you in to chat. Comment below or get in touch with me in whatever way is convenient and I can link you in.
I also have a calendar related to specific music related scheduling, and I am now making it public. For the moment, most of what is on it is my mix sessions, but I will start adding more details and expected release dates over the next few weeks as I more firmly establish my new schedule. This is primarily intended, along with my a Trello board, to allow me to remain organized and transparent with my process so that my patrons on Patreon can see what I’m working on and what they can expect from me.
So this is one more step toward getting Patreon launched. I am struggling a bit with the intro video (mostly technical issues related to the room in which I am trying to record audio), but I should get that sorted out soon and then y’all can sign up and we can have an amazing musical journey together! Enjoy the Twitch streaming, and I’ll have new music available ASAP.
P.S. I’m totally new to most of these things so if there are more relevant tools I should be using to share this kind of info, let me know and I’ll look into it!
You may be wondering what happened to me. It’s been months since I last posted. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing:
Moving back to the Oregon Coast.
Replacing my nearly dead computer system with a new one.
Working on an album. And a bunch of singles (lots more on that to come…)
Preparing to launch a Patreon page.
Learning Adobe After Effects and developing a new visualizer style for my videos.
Learning to tune two new VOCALOIDs (Avanna & Dex from Zero-G).
Playing my TTRPGs as schedules have allowed (more on that to come as well…)
Playing Final Fantasy XIV (yes, I still do that…)
Experimenting with streaming FF XIV on Twitch (that part is relatively new…)
Learning to make a cheesesteak (this town doesn’t have a proper cheesesteak shop).
Training Kirby to shake hands.
Oh, and finally got a proper domain name for this site, so update your links!
Probably other stuff.
But really, the move and the computer system revamp is what really threw me off. I’m just not in the habit of posting stuff when I don’t have music to release, and those events threw my schedule way off, so I’m just now really starting to get my feet back under me. And on that note, I should mention…
I’m not actually done moving yet! I am here, but a lot of my stuff is still back in Washington, so I may have to “go dark” at least once more this year, depending on how things go. Plans are up in the air right now.
I am ramping up to be much more efficient. Stay tuned for more on that in the coming months.
You can actually watch my progress on my upcoming album and single projects here on Trello. Hopefully it’s pretty self explanatory, but I may do a walk-through video at some point soon to show people how I will be staying organized (and transparent) going forward.
Oh yeah, and this is Kirby….
Okay, so there’s a quick update. Enjoy the revamped website, let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see on here, anything broken that needs fixing, etc. I will be starting to push out releases, my Patreon, more YouTube content, etc., in the coming months as life allows. Things should be more or less stable again well before the end of the year, so bear with me in the meantime.
So this is just another quick update, really. I spent a little bit of time updating the rest of this site, so the RePulse track pages are more up to date. I may still add more to them but I think they’re pretty consistent now and it should be easy enough for y’all to find tracks if you want to stream or purchase them. I’ve added pages for my upcoming holiday EP featuring vocals by Vocaloid Megurine Luka (巡音ルカ). There isn’t really anything on them at the moment, but the placeholders are there, so as I start rolling out tracks and/or promos, info, etc., they will have a home.
Quick Shameless Plug
At least for the foreseeable future, my plan is to keep certain ‘add-ons’ exclusive to Bandcamp. If you want the full RePulse experience, including full resolution download options (like FLAC or ALAC), the video version of the full album (including all of the YouTube promo videos plus three otherwise unreleased videos) and the 24-page uncensored digital booklet featuring art, lyrics, etc. to accompany the album, you’ll need to purchase it from Bandcamp. Furthermore, there is a second version of the album ‘RePulse: Stripped‘ which features the tracks without samples (i.e. instrumental versions), and it comes with a 36-page exclusive ‘archive’ digital booklet with even more uncensored art and design work, behind the scenes notes and unused materials, etc., for the true die hard fans. You know who you are.
So, About Luka
I’m a little over halfway done crafting tracks for the upcoming holiday EP featuring Luka, and I am so happy with her performance so far. She has managed to learn the original Ukrainian words to a popular Christmas song, the original French version of O Holy Night, “Cantique de Noël”, and several fairly complex jazz-style vocal arrangements, without blinking an eye. She has a huge range, never misses a beat, never sings off pitch, and is perfectly content to spend hours experimenting with weird ideas for harmonies and styles. Of course, she also never really has any ideas of her own. I have to literally teach her every note, every inflection, every word in every language I want her to sing. So I guess she’s far from perfect. But does that make her less, or more human? Probably less. I’m going to go with less. Anyway, I love her. Not in a creepy ‘gotta buy a body pillow of her and cuddle with it at night’ sort of way (glares at friends who have suggested such things…) but in the same way I love my Moog synthesizer and my Mac Pro*. They are amazing tools that let me express myself musically in ways I never thought I could. Luka may be the best of them yet, and she is just the start. I will definitely be delving deeper into this, possibly moving on to Cyber Diva and/or Cyber Songman next, since they are apparently based on American voices and therefore perform with less of an accent. (Secretly I kinda like Luka’s accent though, it makes her feel more like she has a real personality than if she had, for example, a broadcaster-style American accent.)
So that’s it for now. I’m going to be super busy the next couple of weeks but then hopefully I’ll get back to updating things more regularly. Let me know what you think about Luka and the upcoming Holiday EP project, check out RePulse because it’s amazing, and generally keep in touch because I like hearing from y’all!
*Okay, fine… I ‘might’ have occasionally thought about cuddling with my Moog and my Mac Pro…
Tomorrow (today by the time this releases) we will have a memorial service for my dad. My mom asked my brother and me to put together a compilation of music that my dad liked for after the service. Going through my collection, I realized how much of my musical taste and influences are a direct result of the music I grew up with. Even in cases where I discovered something later in life and shared it with my dad, our tastes were so similar in some areas that it was easy to predict what he would like. Here are most of the songs I chose (some aren’t available to share) and some brief context for each one:
My dad was a fan of big band swing music, especially Benny Goodman. Not sure if Benny Goodman was my dad’s inspiration for learning to play the clarinet, or if he liked Benny Goodman because he happened to also play the clarinet, but there was definitely some sort of connection there.
Dave Brubeck popularized odd time signatures in jazz and is a huge inspiration to me in terms of my rhythm choices in Pulse Depravity and other projects. A lot of my respect for and enjoyment of such ‘theory based’ musical choices comes from my dad’s near constant analysis of Brubeck and other more experimental artists.
My dad was a fan of Oscar Peterson, but had apparently never heard of The Singers Unlimited. When I discovered this album and played some for him he was really impressed (and who wouldn’t be!) This piece in particular was a stand out favorite for both of us.
I am a huge Beach Boys fanatic, and I would play their hits and the ‘weird stuff’ in more or less equal proportions as I discovered them in high school. My dad liked a lot of it, being a vocalist and vocal enthusiast himself, but he always said this was his favorite by far, I think because of the chord structure.
My dad had this on vinyl and I listened to it dozens of times growing up. To this day, for me, this and Wendy Carlos’ “Switched-On Brandenburgs” (also one of my dad’s records) are the quintessential Brandenburg recordings for me.
Simon and Garfunkel were among my dad’s favorite musical duos, and even though I don’t remember hearing this song much, something about the choir-like nature of it makes me think of my dad more than a lot of what we actually did listen to. Sort of a weird thing, but it makes sense in my head.
My dad loved the technical side of music, and did a lot of live recording as a side business throughout his life. He would often talk about the technical achievements of Les Paul and how much he loved these recordings.
Shortly before my dad passed away we watched a live performance of Fleet Foxes and he was really impressed, but he never got much out of the studio recordings they made. He talked about singing a variation of the Pentatonix version of this song in choir, however, and seemed like he was really impressed with them as an a cappella group. So to me this sorta represents my dad and I enjoying some newer acts together in different ways.
When I was little I would play this album constantly. I called it “The Rain Record” because of the rain sounds on the second side. My dad loved the way the sounds were used in the stereo field, and would always say that if you want to test your stereo setup you should put on Soolaimon.
Finding great clarinet music can be a challenge. A lot of composers seemed to avoid it as a lead instrument. I recall my dad saying he really loved this particular one by Mozart.
This reminds me of some of the smaller a cappella groups I heard my dad sing with. He did a lot of choir music, but it’s the smaller groups that I always preferred.
My dad loved the things Paul Simon did with lyrics, and he always got a little grin on his face during the opening line of this song. Maybe not the cleverest lyric Simon ever wrote, but the impact was palpable, and apparently resulted in the song being edited or not played in some regions, so the fact that my dad seemed to get a kick out of it amuses my dark sense of humor.
Another Benny Goodman tune because I know it was among his favorites.
Since I don’t listen to a lot of choir music, preferring small groups with tight harmonies, this is about as close as I get to appreciating the types of harmonies my dad usually sang. I don’t know if this is something a full choir could easily sing, as TSU are known for featuring incredibly difficult arrangements, but this sounds similar to the kinds of harmonies I would hear in the choirs my dad sang in as I was growing up and it reminds me of that.
How could this not be one of my dad’s favorite pieces of orchestral music. Not only is it Gershwin, who my dad loved, it featured the most famous clarinet solo of all time. As an added bonus, my dad was a huge Bernstein fan, so this recording is like a trifecta of dadliness. (Dibs on the band name “Trifecta of Dadliness”.)
My family listened to a lot of 70’s pop while I was growing up, as is to be expected, and I heard the big hits like “Windy” and “Cherish”, but this was a song I remember discovering as a teenager, and when I talked to my dad about it he said it was one of his favorites as well. The vocal arrangement changes a lot throughout the song and features some really big, emotional swells and other not-very-poppy stuff.
As a sort of combination of a cappella and sudo-bebop this recording is another that feels like it strikes multiple chords for me with regard to my dad. He and I listened to this album a few times after it was introduced to me by a professor when I took a jazz appreciation class in college. We both really enjoyed the way the voices seem to emulate instruments in a way that is rarely used outside of scat singing.
Peter, Paul and Mary were among several folk groups my dad listened to, and they were a big influence on my early songwriting and performances. This song pokes fun at rock and roll in a very loving way and reminds me of my dad’s playful sense of humor.
Not sure how much my dad liked the Four Freshmen, to be honest. I started listening to them because of their influence on Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, and I played them a bit with my dad around, but I didn’t really get strongly into them until I’d moved away, so we never really discussed it. I’m pretty sure he liked or would have liked them, however, because they really fit everything he loved about music; big band arrangements, tight vocal harmonies, and classic well-written songs. For some reason, the almost palpable sarcasm in this song seems like it would be right up his alley.
My dad passed away on Tuesday, March 28th, about two days ago as I write this. He was a very private person, and normally I am too when it comes to things like this, so it took me a couple of days to decide to go ahead and open up publicly about what his life meant to me, and how his death changes things.
Aside from the obvious things every parent passes on to their children, the greatest gift my dad gave to me was an appreciation of high quality sound and music. Both he and my mother have always done what they can to support my musical pursuits, and that continues even now. But I’ll get back to that later.
Growing up, my parents always sang in church choirs, and I grew accustomed to hearing vocal harmonies as a regular and important feature of music. My tastes in music, while sometimes wildly different from my dad’s, have always tended toward lush harmonies. We shared a love of those harmonies, and I will miss listening to those kinds of recordings with him.
My dad didn’t have a lot of synthesizer-based music, certainly nothing like modern EDM or Kraftwerk or YMO, but he introduced me to what is arguably still my favorite synth album of all time, Wendy Carlos’ “Switched-On Brandenburgs”. The sound of Bach’s epic orchestral pieces performed brilliantly by Ms. Carlos on a modular Moog is still emotionally moving to me even after quite literally (according to my play count on iTunes) hundreds of plays.
As I got more into creating my own synth based music, I eventually bought my own small Moog synthesizer, and lamented the fact that it had no white noise source. My dad set to work building a small custom analog noise generator. He loved to work with electronics, and his years as a professional technician meant he was really efficient at it. We eventually named the module “Noizilla” and even discussed marketing it. We had discussed creating some other custom generators and effects.
My dad and I used to talk about social media, and where to draw the line in terms of sharing openly with the world. For us, it’s not a matter of personal embarrassment, or fear of identify theft, or other concerns for ourselves. The biggest issue is that other people are always involved. It’s very difficult to mention a major life event without also ‘outing’ other people who have participated in that event. So particularly when the event is negative, it’s easy to paint oneself as the ‘hero’ and dump all over other people involved, and that doesn’t seem like a fair portrayal in most situations.
Also, it often seems like a plea for attention, and neither of us are looking for that. Except, wait, I totally am. Sorta.
Here’s the thing. My life has had a lot of bumps and sharp turns and pitfalls and things just not going as planned. If you were to start writing a story about a total loser according to American stereotypes, I might be your protagonist. Without getting too much into the specifics I am very much living off of the generosity of others right now, trying to rebuild my life as a musician. And the person who most helped me figure out that I needed to do that was my dad. I don’t want to minimize the contributions of other family and friends, because there were and are several people contributing financially and emotionally to my continued pursuit of music in the face of overwhelming odds. But my dad has to top the list. He was the first person to put his resources on the line and allow me to stop being practical and just focus on music full time. The rest of my family was, and is, graciously attempting to continue that support, and it is really tough, because without him resources are even tighter.
I miss my dad. I want to honor his memory, and the best way I can think of to do that is to continue on the path he helped put me on. It feels selfish sometimes, since I know how much sacrifice it is for my family and friends. It’s especially difficult with an artist like me who does things far from the mainstream. I don’t know how long it will take to build an audience. I don’t know how lucrative it will be once I have an audience. I only know that I have to make the art that comes to me, and hope it finds its way to the people who will appreciate it.
My current project, focused around the Pulse Depravity album re-work, is representative of my most experimental and perhaps ‘darkest’ work. Going forward, I will also be doing music based on classical works, video games, my own ‘synth pop’ style songs, and ‘cover versions’ of popular songs from a wide variety of genres. A lot will depend on who I meet and work with, and what kinds of resources are available. I want to make music that people will love, while still being true to the sounds and ideas that come naturally to me. I hope that eventually all the people who have believed in and supported me, and continue to do so, will see that work pay off somehow. No one does anything alone. We all require so much support in so many ways. I lost one of my strongest supporters, but I have to stay strong and not let that support be in vain, and that’s what I intend to do.
I realize that when something like this happens, people want to help. I really appreciate that, and I’ll be honest, I don’t know what will help the most right now. Obviously money is always helpful, but I don’t want people to buy music they wouldn’t otherwise buy out of sympathy, much as I appreciate the gesture. Sure, if you want to buy my music because you like it and want to listen, that would be fantastic, but there are other things that might allow us to establish a more honest relationship. First of all, if you like or don’t like something about my music, my artwork, my videos, please say something! Feedback is the most useful thing, especially at this stage of my re-boot. I have no idea what people really want or don’t want, if I’m communicating my messages well, if people can even find the content I’m trying to distribute, unless I get feedback. If you want to contribute financially, but don’t necessarily care about downloads (for example, if you just like Spotify or YouTube), you can always donate via my Artist Union page. By far, the best way anyone can help right now, however, is simply by sharing like crazy. Like and follow and share everything, a lot. Make your friends wonder why you keep sharing my stuff, so they get curious and start listening, because even if maybe you’re some crazy person who doesn’t happen to love the music I make, your friends might be!