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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 lyrakametalopera@yahoo.com 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 inherent...it 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.