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

"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.

Monday, January 2, 2017

"Everything is Subjective", Uh...No.

I find the "everything is subjective" argument harmful toward others' education. If everything is subjective, then Beethoven's late era works (including the 9th and Kammermusik) can be seen on a level with Kiss. Hate to break it to Kiss fans (I'm one btw) but that's complete balderdash.

The worse part of this is how it might make the young composer lackadaisical toward appreciation of music that's still, to this day, ahead of anything going on. Talk about setting a limit to your studies.

Studying works like the 9th can add so much to a young composer's education, and that also goes for works like the Brandenburg Concerti, Don Giovanni, and the Rite of Spring...far, far more than the score to, say, "Sweet Home Alabama" (great Rock song of course)...or "We Are The World" for that matter.

Whenever I see that "everything is subjective" thing I know that person has little understanding of the compositional scope and depth of the older compositions listed above. And I tune out, because it's pure ray serene horseshit of the lowest caliber. That "subjective" claptrap might be true when talking completely within the confines of the Popular music genre (Rock and all its subgenres, hip hop, country western, MTV, etc.).

Not in the far broader scheme of music. If you don't believe that, then you just don't want to believe it. Just don't try comparing Jay Z to Mahler in front of someone who has any sort of formal music'll be laughed out of the room. That doesn't mean the music of Jay Z is invalid...far from it, it's exemplary within its genre. But musically speaking (strictly) ha ha. NO.