#13 - Apotropaic: The Midi Diminishedography

by The Owl

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1.
It was though... Written for Diascorium. That intro is crazy, and then it drops in the death metal riff with some tech widdlings, I love that section. Off it goes into some weird progressive territory, and a really hooky section that repeats a few times here and later on, before the ending that I picture would have sounded intensely heavy and chaotic. I struggle to imagine fully what the drums and vocals would have been doing on this, but, there would have been some crazy, weaving ideas placed around the music, that's for sure. I am still really pleased with how this sounds, just as a piece on its own anyway. I really like the sound of bass and piano together, which is why I wrote these in this way, despite being intended for a band, and I feel that structure and ideas wise, I got this to a completed state. Also, about the title, so, yes, get looking at your history pages if you aren't aware, but, the title is very true. The really weird thing about this title is that, I wasn't reading about it at the time, I've still not been to Bosnia and Herzegovina since all the break ups took place, just the knowledge of it was in my brain from being a teenager, and then for some reason, 15 years later when this track was made, the moment it was complete, I just named it this! Even though I KNEW that it was, because I remember seeing it on the news with my family, I still had to go and double check the information, because it felt really strange that it had just popped into my head, that specifically, when nothing in the music at all hints of anything to do with Yugoslavia in the 90s! Anyway, it's probably not weird to anyone else, but, I wanted to tell some stories.
2.
Originally called 'Little Scurrying Feet Falling Off A Cliff' (the music suggested that) but, I thought I would give the little guys some hope in the end, that they can somehow learn a new unprecedented skill just at the moment of death and before the impending doom of their drinking buddies, and also, the 'little guy' could just be any of us in a much bigger, seemingly unalterable situation that is crushing our spirit. The change in mood at 28 seconds is a group of them all gathering around and seeing one of their friends displaying some sort of levitating magic just by moving its tiny arms around fast. They have no idea what's happening, but are excited... and so they all try it with varying degrees of success, but the commotion at the Lemming Saloon is chaotic at least, and the sense of community, team spirit and camaraderie is very endearing and inspiring. The ending, well, I'll let you decide what happens when they try and fly. I gave it a nice ending, so, if you send them to their death still, then I think that's pretty mean of you. Certainly so after having a couple of minutes to be with them on their little journey through some sort of self-realisation and the possibilities if they just try something different than following the usual routines and what is expected of them. Shame on you! So that's why this song is now called Lemmings Learning To Fly as opposed to them scurrying off the cliff... I bet you're glad you asked now? Another song that was written for Diascorium but only as far as bass and piano. This is a crazy little thing for sure.
3.
It is though... the song I mean! Another one for Diascorium, crazy little 1 minute 'bit' that, I think, does everything it needs to. It has some mad technical stuff going on, a beginning, a middle, and an end... and this is where the first of the drums come in, just to help with the notion of this being a really heavy death / extreme metal song.
4.
Many different kind of divergencies are involved in this song, and I was probably drinking a lot of gin, and many other things, at this time. Straight away, can I tell you just how into the change / riff at 1'20 I am! For any fans of death metal / grindcore, this is the bit! So, the sound is slightly different on this one, but still in the same sort of theme. The first full song with drums in, to follow on from the introduction of them at the end of 'Wiggly'. This has been some of the battle in recent attempts to 'complete' this Apotropaic project, was getting things to sound relatively coherent next to each other and the ordering of them, since I thought I couldn't do any more work on them, structurally. Anyway, this would have been another Diascorium possibility here.
5.
So, this is a big song for me. This was going to be the next song that I would have offered up to be worked on as a full band (hence why it has full drums on it as well), and I had actually learned it on bass as well. Another one with an all over the place intro, throwing the main theme in your face instantly, with lots of switch ups and mis-directions. The build up and release of the heavy breakdown tease between 1'45 and 2'15 is something I am very happy with, and then following it with the black metal and massive doom riffs, then back to the main theme... and then, off it goes into absolute insanity... and that polyrhythm bit at the end STILL bends my head to this day, and I know what goes on in it! Another one that throws all the kitchen sinks in all the bathrooms out of all the windows in all the houses. I hope you can imagine this even remotely how I imagine it. Diapompholygos is actually another meaning for the word Diascorium, both of which are absolutely obscure!
6.
Honestly, I have no idea what this means anymore! Neither word exists on the internet, so, any suggestions are welcome! Back to being just piano and bass, and another one I didn't get chance to / or maybe even decided against putting any drums on to make it sound like a song for a full band to play. Wasn't necessarily done for Diascorium this one. It was more playing around with some ideas, and leans more towards jazz than anything else. Really proud of the stabbing piano variations section around 2'20 and how it resolves itself to go into the next and final section, another part I am proud of, in how it builds from something dark, slow and broody into a pretty big sounding climax.
7.
Originally called 'Inspired By The Mighty Sky', because of the band Sky who were one of the first bands I ever liked, due to my Dad having their records. I remember feigning illness when I was about 7 because I knew he had brought a copy of their newest album home on tape from a friend at work. They were a huge influence on the musical me, for life, since they mixed up classical and rock, blues and hints of jazz, they had elements of 'humour in delivery of sound' in some of their songs, which is something I absolutely love and try and put across in my work. I amuse myself a lot with some of the things I put into all of this music. Sometimes throwing in weird ideas that just don't fit, just because it's funny to do that, awkward, interesting, different. The reason things don't always 'fit' for some people is because it's not expected, so it's worth challenging that at some point. After not working close with these songs for quite a few years, I am listening to them not like I made them. Completely impartial, in fact, some parts I had forgotten what happened in them, I couldn't remember what came next, and it was a nice surprise, like, 'What? As if I did THAT with that bit!'. Anyway, this piece was my first attempt at something of a slightly, only very slightly more traditional classical music piece, but trying to fuse something a little different in there too. It's definitely veered more towards everything else nonsensical I was doing, but, I am still pleased with it, even though the mix is a little wonky. Some sounds come out sounding weird compared to the MIDI sounds, this is deliberate, I wanted to play with some of the sections before releasing it on this one a lot more, rather than leave them sounding as mechanical as otherwise. This is why this (and 'Onwards') are at the end, because they are separate from the Diascorium based stuff anyway, and have a bit of a different feel to them, which is why I played around with extra sounds on these two and not the others. This is another one I hope you can use the imagination on and picture a collective of 6 or 7 musicians playing this in a big hall with a pipe organ at the back of it (maybe even being played in that slow section around 2'30) It sounds weirdly 'produced', I admit, I'm not 100% with the mix and the balance overall, but, after so many attempts at sorting it out, I don't know how to make it any better. It's down to the original recording I made from the Guitar Pro file, but, such is the nature of this whole project, this release, and this entire challenge that I decided to do... it is now as finished as I can get it. I am letting go of it, and it is imperfect, but, it will never ever ever be perfect, never ever be exactly how I want it to sound. The big part of this challenge, and the challenge that a lot of recording artists face is the letting go of their music after being so inside it for so many months, or even years. This has always been my biggest problem, part of why I haven't released a lot more over the years... and it has haunted me for half my life, so, this is where all that stops... Onwards to a very different future...
8.
The MIDI part of this was originally just the ending of the previous song, I ended up layering it up in ways I am more used to as more of an ambient thing for some of it, and since this now forms the last track of this current batch of five releases, it is quite fittingly titled and created, and I am pleased with how it rounds off the whole thing, it very much puts a lid on something that has been 10 years in the making. Strangely nice and calming, but, hopefully not too cheesy for some ears.

about

A video for 'A Short But Powerful Wiggly One' is here (and in the download), using the brilliant short animation 'The Other Side'... www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBjtO8U8wfY

- Influences: Behold The Arctopus, Frank Zappa, Sky, Diascorium, Blotted Science, Discordance Axis, Scott Joplin, Roadrunner Cartoons, John Stump, Mr Bungle, Insomnia

- All songs originally made on Guitar Pro between 2010 and 2013
- Finally finally finished April 7th 2020
- Original files lost on a dead hard-drive before being completed.
- Files recovered in 2015, then 2 days later the laptop I had them on got stolen from my flat.

Thankfully I had audio files still, but, recorded all different ways. The 5 Releases in 5 Days Challenge made me revisit them, and I have been determined to finish them off.

1-5 were written for Diascorium; the techdeathblackdoom metal band I was in. We mostly wrote songs in Guitar Pro then tried to learn them. Some of these could have been the next ones we attempted. It is a huge shame we never managed to record the last batch of songs, but they're all on YouTube. What a wonderfully silly band that was! diascorium.bandcamp.com

6 could have been for them too, but seems like a good bridge between those 5 songs and the last 2, that were written with a different mindset.

There is a story for each track in the 'lyrics' link.

I hope, if you're not into the MIDI sound, that you can still imagine them as intended and as I hear them, with a full band playing them.

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ABOUT THE 5 IN 5 CHALLENGE...
This has been a huge week for me, going through old works and finally just calling things 'complete'. They're not necessarily perfect, but they will never be perfect. This is the creative person's curse and gift, making them strive so hard to make things exactly how they want them, but never being happy enough to say that they are done.

That's what this personal challenge has been about, increasing my capabilities of just 'letting go' of works when they are as done as I can make them, and to push myself to 'clear the decks' so to speak or so many bits and pieces that have never come to fruition. It's going to take a lot of years to get through everything, plus do everything in the current time, but, the floodgates are now open and my productivity levels are going to remain through the roof.

As ever, thank you for listening and reading. I still just do this for me, so I can call things complete, and to give me something to look back and listen and read in years more down the line.

Hopefully you will understand my persistence in not letting these particular songs disappear into dust, but also my now-obsessional behaviour at having to get everything completed in my mind. I've spent far too many years never completing projects or realising ideas to their fullest, but the challenge and The Owl name overall has entirely broken that curse and routine.

If I can let THIS recording go free, I now know I can't place any restrictions on myself. Absolute liberation achieved.

credits

released April 9, 2020

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The Owl Leeds, UK

- Sound experiments since 1994. As THE OWL since Autumn 2018. Headphones advised.

- Worked with the following lovely labels: Trepanation, Korobushka, Nailed Nazarene, Basement Corner, Vacuum Noise, Sputo, ExtraNation, Kalamine, Pichula, plus of course Owlripper.

- Looking for compilations of any style. Please message me of any happening. Thank you.
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