Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Lyraka Symphony No. 1, Mvt. 3

This isn't the final mix, but very close, and plenty enough to get the ideas across. This movement started out as a piece for a string symphony, but midway during composition I realized I needed a very large orchestra and set of synthesizers to most faithfully represent my vision. Random and aleatoric elements were also integral. Forgive the overall sound, as this hasn't been subject to a final mix and master yet, it's just there to give fans an idea of the piece.

                                 All music and lyrics © 2017 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Composer's Workshop: Symphony no. 2 Mvt. 2 Early Sketch

This is a very rough sketch of the second movement of my Symphony no. 2, featuring the themes and general orchestration ideas for the piece. Obviously this is just a fragment, as I haven't fully fleshed out the arrangement on the first movement yet, so I've got my work cut out for me on this symphony, especially if I plan it to have manifold movements like no. 1.

Note here the hint of old school action and fantasy on display, more of an uptempo movement. I'm excited to see where these ideas take me, and thought fans and friends would find these inner workings interesting.


Many thanks to Andy Timm for this amazing picture.

All music © 2017 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina



Friday, September 1, 2017

Lyraka and the "Serial Vignette" Approach to Composition, Pt. 1

After recently reviewing my work of the past eleven years, I've come to realize that I'd quasi-inadvertently invented a musical form that is the product of what I call Serial Vignette Composition. That type of writing was already evident on Lyraka Volume 1 ("Palace Guard", "Errandia", "Neires"), and since then I have refined its execution a great deal, coming to a strikingly effective...let's say, personality quirk. This form of stream-of-conscious, almost film cue-esque writing has never been as thoroughly explored as in my music.

Please bear with me for a mercifully brief autobiographical aside.

When I was young, my parents were huge movie buffs, and we regularly went to cinemas to indulge. Movies were a big part of my life since I was young, and I came to love them very much. I was a fan of  Coppola, Kubrick, and Scorsese, and during the 90s Quentin Tarantino. In regard to Tarantino, I'll never forget watching the layout of his films ("Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill" for just two instances) and feeling as though I'd found a creative soul mate. The way I diverge from his method is by not being as ruled by the movie form as he (understandably) wa$. To elucidate, Tarantino's films led to satisfying conclusions/resolutions, despite the odd internal sequencing, while my music tends to mirror more the internal experience by often leaving conflicts unresolved, or radically resolved to (say), a rare (and/or seemingly random) chord or sudden halt, explosion...MacGuffin. Those last mentioned attributes were especially striking to me when I started studying the films of Alfred Hitchcock and the repertoire of his greatest collaborator, maestro Bernard Herrmann, because such irresolution is part and parcel of their art as well (even more fun: I didn't even discover Vertigo until after I turned 50 lol! It was like I had a couple of artist friends all this time and never knew it! :). Watch the movie, pay close attention to the score, and you'll understand better what I mean.)

This style of composition could be seen as either an oblivious concession to and/or more "artistic" example of of the ADD (i.e. popular) culture we live in, but it originally stems more from my own,  vignette-laden inner experience. To be more specific, I often reflect on experiences in a cinematic way, and this is why much of my music sounds storyboard-ready.



Thursday, August 31, 2017

Lyraka Musical Update

First off, thanks so much to the tremendous patience and generosity of our friends and patrons, all of  whom have gone well beyond the call of duty in terms of support. We are both hugely indebted beyond any material means, and you will all be remembered forever.

I am currently juggling the final mix of Lyraka Vol. 2 with the Lyraka Vol.1 reissue (the latter will include actual recorded orchestral sections and tutti, especially striking on tracks like "Coronation", "Palace Guard", and "Errandia"). So, added to my daily musical studies and writing of myriad orchestral pieces I'm still doing this 7 days a week, six hours minimum per day! The bad news is that this is going to take me quite awhile, but at least there's a definite light at the end of the tunnel for Lyraka Vol. 2. I am putting up a blog article that pretty much repeats the above, but I just wanted to make sure to connect to all my awesome friends personally.

I'm going for it, wish me luck as I wish all of you great success and happiness.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

François Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 and A Change of Heart

I watched this film because I love the Ray Bradbury book, plus I'm a huge fan of Bernard Herrmann's music. I gave it my usual two views, and came away greatly enchanted by the end scene (again, mostly for the music), and completely turned off (at times furious) about the rest of it. The bizarre, antiseptic feel to it, Julie Christie's hardly acceptable acting, the (imo) negative departures from the book...

then I watched it a third time. And a fourth. The movie progressively went from a weak two stars (the music was the whole movie for me at first) to five.

As intimated above, Fahrenheit 451 is one of those movies that unfolds its value upon repeated viewings. Upon my aforementioned fourth viewing, the whole plot device involving the public-sanctioned medications really hit home for me, today it almost seems prophetic. This day and age brings with it the era of seemingly any sort of admitted feelings of (perfectly natural and essential) angst being labelled as "clinical depression".

The sterile, hospital cleanliness of the film also started to make sense the more I watched. In a world that does all it can to exclude internal experience (vociferously campaigning to erase "unhappy", i.e. individual thought), the setting would ultimately end up being about as spotlessly clean and neat as certain areas of the world today (which I won't point out specifically due to political reasons that might colour this review negatively).

The masses are encouraged to watch television. A lot. And what's on tv is a lot of condescending talk that comes across as intentional dumbing down...and if you don't like it, there's something wrong with you. At one point Christie's character (the protagonist Montag's wife) engages in what appears to be a sort of pseudo-interactive tv show. The show's prefabbed seams show obviously, even to a pre-reading Montag. When Montag mentions the program's gimmick, Christie calls him mean for mentioning it ("oh dear, that means I have to think")...and turns to the tv once again.

In this world, savoring something is discouraged....Montag's wife can't even remember how they met (providing one of the most revealing scenes in the movie). Her cluelessness (and, judging by her actions it is an at least somewhat willed cluelessness) is just one of the things that starts to stand out and bother Montag once he's started reading.

The government portrayed wished to have children as its subjects, and through the use of media and drugs and long work hours they achieved it. Books (inward reflection) were subversive, why rock the boat?

Even Bradbury loved the film (and agreed with my own, oblivious judgement that Christie was the most glaring weak point).

The people at the end, repeating the books they love over and over, holding fast, at any cost, to relics of personal expression. Their own ability to express their inner experience was sparked through the eyes of another, leading to a fire of reflection, the sort that even the heaviest snowfall can't snuff .

Sartre (whom is mentioned specifically in the film) would have had a field day with this movie. And so will you.

If you just allow yourself to think about it.


Lyraka Symphony no. 1, Mvt. 5

This is my rough cut version of "Lyraka Symphony no. 1 Mvt. 5". By rough cut I mean that this hasn't been treated to a final mix and master yet, it exists simply to give Lyraka fans an idea of the full arrangement. Note the extensively embroidered, hybrid composition, as well as more of my Serial Vignette compositional technique. Though the instruments have been woven together, there is a strong modular side to this composition, evident not just from the overlapping (and at times exclamatorily interjecting) parts, but in how factors such as, say, effects are arranged, automated, and so much more. I paid lavish detail to those and other factors, in order to most faithfully represent what I heard in my head. The presence of aleatoricism is evident not only in the transitions  and rhythms, but to some extent in the sequencing. Of course, this is essential purposeful composition and orchestration here, but happy accidents are the meat and potatoes of both the Serial Vignette and Aleatoric compositional styles, and were as always welcomed both during the composition of the piece and its final production. Finally, it was important for me to express a multi-dimensioned listening experience, evident for instance in the changing distances of both the separate instruments and enembles...even the movement in tutti. The sense of depth and distance is just as much achieved through predelay on a good reverb as well as scrupulous panning and volume automation. Well, not too will become obvious as you listen to this that there's a lot of space to breathe, and in the interest of complete disclosure, such happened more times than not by accident during the early mixes. The massive initial set of themes were written in a rush of inspiration, from there it was like a was taken into a world said brass took me, and couldn't stop writing.


All music ©2017 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina

Friday, March 31, 2017

Lyraka Volume 2 Update April 2017

I am very grateful for all the Lyrakan interest and support, the people who like my music really seem to like it and are flatteringly loyal. There has been a huge show of faith, from more people than I can mention here. The most recent update is in bold toward the bottom of this article.

Lyraka Volume 2's release date remains up in the air; once we get more financially solvent then the album will be released. We are hoping it will be sooner than later, but life itself, along with some disappointingly unsatisfactory performance issues with certain participants (several of whom have been outright fired), plus (obviously) an unsatisfactory financial deficit seems to be getting in the way of the release of this album again and again. Since my artistic conscience will not let me release the album unless it's completed properly, and the financial situation that would be required to follow through with that goal would have to dramatically improve before work could recommence, it bears proclaiming, more than ever, that anyone who has already invested in the album, doesn't want to wait any longer, and wishes a refund can contact and we'll be more than happy to give your money back (all the while profoundly grateful for your having believed at all). To make it easier for people who are struggling to ask for a refund, please understand that we would rather give you your money back than to feel rushed to put an album out due to financial pressures (pressures that are very much ongoing). Please don't be worried about asking, we will not hold it against you in the slightest, besides, as intimated above, you might be doing us a favor.

As people who follow Lyraka already know, Chris Tsangarides has agreed to help put the finishing touches on my production job, plus mix and master the album. This requires mean, dreadfully-cold-yet-lovely cash. The same address given above to receive donation refunds serves a dual purpose as a Pay Pal address for donations. If you wish to stick things out and continue contributing, well that's about as wonderful a show of belief as I can imagine, and accept both my and Jasmine's profoundest gratitude right here and now. This album will most certainly be released, there is just simply no release date in sight, period...and there won't be until we can get together with the man who will help us finish it the right way. Chris is one of the precious few producers alive today with the scope of vision required to help me transubstantiate my own.

I have given, and am giving, everything of myself into this album. I think there are things that a lot of my friends and "Dinosaur Rock Guitar" soulmates will really like about the album: supernaturally great vocals from everybody, songs at turns catchy, labyrinthine, aleatoric, avante garde, "progressive" (without the puerile obfuscations and masturbational technique-mongering found on the majority of music bearing that term),  guitar solos straight from the heart. This album was started shortly after Volume 1 was released in 2010, and the extra time has benefitted it mightily; I've made huge strides forward in my compositional and orchestrational powers, have advanced greatly in my knowledge of music production, and have mastered one of (if not the) most important instruments of the past century, the synthesizer. All of these newfound abilities were woven into Lyraka Volume 2.

I also think it's only fair to warn that there are some things on the disc that are very dissonant, modularly constructed, heavily layered, and thus requiring mindful attention on the part of the listener; however, it must be stated that any effort one puts forth into appreciating the album will pay back in gold, and for years to come. Some might find it uneven, which is fine, as it more often than not eschews the Rock templates that were already worn out in the 70s (the same progressions and song structures that the Beatles took to their respective limits in the decade before).

To elucidate the last point, the album is most certainly not on cruise control, as only a handful of songs play through like typical Rock/Metal; in fact, much of the album is in movements and at times could be considered diffuse, thus requiring some forgiveness and conscientious, willed immersion from the listener. It's definitely not for everybody, however, as mentioned, the rewards are great for anyone who takes the time to grasp the concepts and complexity. Suffice to say, if you're looking for something to ape (whether unintentionally or not) Rainbow Rising or Sad Wings of Destiny for the course of an album, look elsewhere. At the risk of alienating and/or offending those who love those albums and their like above all (an attitude I at least partly sympathize with), Lyraka Volume 2 is beyond that. I put aside making a great "guitar" or "heavy rock/metal" album in favor of making music that stands up to anything out there, that will both rock with a vengeance and give you something to appreciate with each listen. I aimed for great music, period.

Once more on this album I incorporate different genres into the opera, to help delineate the different characters and situations. Things have become more advanced in terms of the way I layer out the different genres...much like a tapestry. I call a portion of it "Metal", but my definition of Metal is different from most, as I count Richard Wagner's operas and select other Romantic, Classical, and Atonal pieces as being just as "Metal" as Deep Purple, Manowar, or Slayer. I won't give my reasons, as other, much better writers have gone on at length concerning the subject. However, there are not only elements from the abovementioned music, but freeform jazz, country-western, blues, death metal, gospel, as well as electronic music, dubstep, black metal, a hefty, prevalent influence from the avante garde, film soundtracks, and assorted other,  synthesizer-oriented, musics. I imagine this might not make lovers of the aforementioned Classic Metal particularly happy (especially upon first listens), but again that's not why I made this music. However there are, assuredly, things on the album I'm positive will appease those rockin' folks (of whom I am most certainly one).

After recently reviewing my work of the past eleven years, I've come to realize that I'd quasi-inadvertently invented a form that I now call Serial Vignette. That type of writing was already evident on Lyraka Volume 1 ("Palace Guard", "Errandia", "Neires"), and since then I have refined its execution a great deal.

The album looks like this, trackwise:

1) Overture
   a) Act 1, Scene 1
   b) Pelagic Rapture

2) Volcano
   a) Treadmill
   b) Abyss I
   c) Futility
   d) Mechani-Errandians

3) Lilliput
   a) Lilliput's Desert Sun
   b) Proclamation
   c) Even a Queen can Doubt

4) Lyraka (On Dragon's Wings)

5) Vignette
   a) Fake
   b) Entropic Void

6) Entombed By Choice

7) Father
   a) Angst
   b) Semmonet 1
   c) Semmonet 2 (Oedifunk)
   d) Neires' Ocean Journey
   e) Meditation

8) Abyss
   a) Quasi-Canon for Choir and Strings
   b) Proclamation
   c) Depths
     1) Serial Suite
     2) Escalating Self-Questions
     3) Go ahead and jump! (Modular Elektra)
     4) Grand Canon
     5) Abyss in his true form
     7) Mermaid Wraiths
     8) Primal
   d) Sublation

9) Fidei Defensor
   a) Locke and Neires
   b) The desert queen's entrance
   c) Alone
   d) Semmonet's Closing Sentiments

10) Volcano Reprise (instrumental)

Lyraka Volume 2, to quell all the rumors, indeed will be a two-disc set. This music features serial, electronic, and hybrid compositions,  operatic vocals, plenty of traditional orchestra as well as modern Rock, Electronic, Avante-Garde, Romantic, Baroque, and 20th Century Serial Composition.

And that's mostly it I guess, there will be posters of the five Ken Kelly/Lyraka art pieces available and shipping to our patrons, I'm hoping to have a good sized booklet with a detailed essay regarding the story and the archtypes will be what it is, a masterpiece for the ages to come. And nothing without you, Lyraka friends.To quote our beloved Manowar: "In our eyes you're immortal, in our hearts you'll live forevermore!"

Most Recent Update 4/11/17: I have a habit of taking down the Lyraka facebook profiles every now and then, both because there won't be any musical news upcoming any time soon, unless our financial situation changes, and because I've found facebook to be the epitome of diminishing returns: it's too easy to waste time there, and I have music to continue honing, arranging, composing, and studying. My catalogue is large now, and I have a lot of post Lyraka Volume 2 material completed...but again, all this won't be made public until we are in a better place financially. Until then I will continue to master my craft, while being profoundly grateful to our fans for having put me in a situation where I can work unfettered, aiming at substantiating the personalities and actions of Jasmine's Lyraka characters into music.
I can't go without thanking my Uncle John, who's been there more than anybody, bar none.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Palace Guard

This is an early example of my use of the Serial Vignette style, which involves the laying out of  musical "scenes" in a Creative Cinema way. Due to this being an earlier composition, "Palace Guard" was mostly aligned with the classic heavy metal style, however it's interesting to hear how the building/lead guitar part stops on a dime and goes into a far more lush, lovely orchestral setting. At first I worried that people would be permanently put off by the abruptness of the transition, but I left it like that because...well, we're talking about black-armored Mer-men and women plunging headlong into battle, singing their song. Some degree of recklessness should be allotted :)

I've had Lyraka friends ask me about that cockeyed, abstract solo after the symphonics, and a few heard Allan Holdsworth-isms in it (maybe for its "outside" sound). Count me as a fan of Allan, but I think it was more a shared, Bartokian headspace. Bartok's compositions were really being played a lot by me at the time (String Quartets 2 and 4 in particular), and wanted to play something quirkily expressive on the guitar. I notice now that section's backing sounds a bit like the Assault Attack/Into the Arena slow arp, pretty obvious how that happened...and how strange to have such an "off" solo over that backing.

But that one, abstract solo was the foreshadow of things to come: intensified self-expression and thinking-outside-the-box.



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Lyraka Symphony no. 1, Mvt. 1

This is a rough cut of Lyraka Symphony no. 1, the "Modern" symphony, which has been composed, arranged, conducted, orchestrated, engineered, and produced by me (and is still being edited by me in the last two areas.). This is the first movement, which unfolds multiple vignettes in a stream of consciousness way. It can enhance your experience of the piece to listen mindfully to its dynamic mapping; volume itself became a type of instrument to me during the creation of this symphony; the levels crescendo/decrescendo both overall and between instruments, a method which helps evoke multi-dimensional depth. Think of a conversation between an ensemble of personalities (or more precisely, points of view), each perspective going through the process of delineation, integration, assimilation, and sublation from all the others as its individuality asserts (and, through the process, concurrently affirms) itself. There are interjections, varying degrees of harmony and disharmony, variations within variations, extensive use of aleatoric and randomization techniques (with ramifications spilling into even the actual production and arrangement), alternatingly stark and enormous layered rhythms, elements of the grotesque, modularity...

I applied a conscientious, creative method to the panning as well, which was challenging considering the sheer number of instruments.  On that last I had to imagine a Straussian orchestra where a whole row of laptop computers (I use software synthesizers exclusively) and electric guitars are included in the ranks. I had to make sure to find a specific place for each in the mix.

Thanks to Lyraka fans for your support, without you I couldn't have conceived of creating such a large scale work as a symphony. Your belief put wings on my heart.

Special thanks to Jasmine Lyraka Aliara and my Uncle John for unfailing support, and I mean from all perspectives, with my Uncle John providing the tough love where applicable...I'm crazy aboout you both, you're my family.


All music © 2017 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lyraka's "Gnashing" with Opera Vocalists

    On this version of "Gnashing" we worked with opera singers Nichole (Soprano) and Brian (Tenor). Note the polytonality of the composition, with hyper-compressed harmonic layers superimposed over the original. Here the multi-layering (in the form of manifold, clashing tones) serves to emphasize the rhythm, subtly propelling the piece into a dirge.


"Haunted" and Polytonality

Polytonality in music composition is one of the most exciting advances in art over the last 150 years (more or less in regard to time frame, the debate rages on amongst musicologists). From Wagner's arguably unintentional forays in his last works to the employment in Richard Strauss' "Elektra", culminating in the rampant experimentation in early 20th century art music, polytonality remains a realm fecund with possibilities.

Though I've experimented in using this device throughout my musical career (shades appear in "Errandia" and tiny, Lizstian bits in "Palace Guard"). However, Lyraka Volume 2 is where my application becomes more intensive (see "Gnashing" below, as well as the short example here). The harmonic layers get crashing and chaotic with Lilliput's soliloquy in "Fidei Defensor" due to her rebellious, adolescent angst; at another point they rally in creepily comforting fashion during Semmonet's most obviously self-fooling rants.

In this next musical example, taken from the aria "Haunted" from the upcoming Lyraka Volume 2, please note both the discordant sound and its highly animated movement in the instrumental ensemble. What I mean by animated is that most other composers since Bartok use dissonant layers as more of a backround padding to their works, relying on low volume and extended chords. Here the layers act more in a writhing, actively involved way; even the cantabile-ish English Horn and Flute seem ever in danger being overtaken by the snakes of harmonic discord. This piece required just as much strenuous mixing as thoughtful composition, due to the aforementioned, mobilized layers and heavy instrumentation. By dint, the results are peculiarly cinematic in and of themselves.


Donations toward the final production, engineering, and release of Lyraka Volume 2 can be made by Pay Pal to: and thanks for all the amazing belief our patrons have shown over the years!

Andy and Jasmine

Monday, January 23, 2017

Lyraka's "Deathless" and Hybrid Composition

A strangely dysgrammatic (but kind) review of "Lyraka Vol. 1" for Metal Rules magazine includes this quote: "This is one of the more interesting and unique projects I have heard in a long, long time. Lyraka has written and arranged and composed a type of cross-fertilized metal that I don’t think I have never heard before. Bands mixing different styles and influences is nothing new, but Lyraka have really created something special. "

Well, that was the intention 😈. My goal at the time was specifically geared toward advancing Rock/Classic Metal's long-in-the-fang'd structures, and one of the ways I did that was by adding manifold genres outside the former ; admittedly, the "cross-fertilized" sound was just as much a product of my aim toward delineating the different characters' personalities through musical tastes and/or reflections, but there it is.

In recent years my compositional priorities changed; as I studied more advanced harmony and orchestration in classic Art music I became convinced that the goal of advancing Rock/Metal was futile, as the trendy, "fashion-oriented" side to the genre was simply integral to the whole. People will more often than not be more interested in the tried and true, which means that they would always be more interested in hearing the same song structures and chord progressions that the Beatles and Beach Boys basically pioneered and beat to death in the 60s (not to forget the huge discography of  other composers in the genre like Frank Zappa and, for a more recent example, John Zorn). I saw that most fans of Rock would rather turn to either Space Rock (Pink Floyd) and the erroneously named "Progressive Rock/Metal" when they wanted to feel elevated, not caring that there's a difference between adding psychedelic elements and odd times (or showing off your masturbatory instrumental powers) and writing advanced compositions (at least, advanced from the broader musical perspective). When I learned to accept these truths, money and popularity became subservient to personal expression in my writing. I'm mostly interested in outward manifestation of the vision Jasmine and I share, plus (as mentioned above) staying true to my goal of composing in a uniquely personal, expressive way. Plus very few people (besides me) actually pay for music today, at least that which isn't part of the MTV machine

In this composition you can hear the incorporation of Rock/Metal and electronic elements with the more traditional orchestration and even hymnic;  also note the presence of more familiar, present-day effects and panning techniques as well as the wide dynamic range of the piece as a whole. The numerous themes add to the diffuse quality of the work, keeping the listener engaged and waiting for developments that more often than not don't occur. Here elements of Durchkomponiert are even more thoroughly applied than on the first album, edging this more toward the avante-garde than anything remotely popular.

"Deathless" also stands as one of my most personally expressive pieces, this is taken from inside of me, my personality transubstantiated into music.


Donations toward the final production, engineering, and release of Lyraka Volume 2 can be made by Pay Pal to: and thanks for all the amazing belief our patrons have shown over the years, "in our hearts you'll live forevermore!".

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Note the polytonality of this composition (video below), with hyper-compressed harmonic layers superimposed over the original. Here the multi-layering serves to emphasize the rhythm, seeming to propel the piece on a gut-level dirge.


Without the vocals this piece sounds a bit vampiric. I like the way the contrabassoon works with the Double Bass, the two ultimately giving the low end a rugged, gouging sound.