If I’ve been quiet of late on my blog, I’ll catch you up on why. January finds me exploring new directions for the year ahead (and beyond). Years ago before I developed an interest in art and writing, I spent a lot of years writing and recording music (and even performed a bit). I gave it up for a while, but last December, I had the good fortune of connecting with a local music promoter. He listened to a few tracks I’d uploaded onto YouTube (as well as some personal music files I sent him) and liked what he heard. So he introduced me to a musician out of Guelph, Ont., and that musician said he’d enjoy it if I wrote and recorded demos (like this video) and sent them to him for consideration (either for recording, performance or both). This is my first demo—a completely unplugged recording. It’s just me singing and playing an original song in front of my camera, and please excuse the odd flubbed chord. (I’m not really a guitar player.) I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll definitely keep you in the loop with news and other demo videos as I go forward. And of course, I’ll be posting new artwork in the year ahead as well.
PS: Much belated thanks to all the new subscribers. It means the world to me that people enjoy what I’m doing in this admittedly strange hybrid place of art, writing and music. Thanks, thanks and more thanks. 🙂
Masked orchestral dubstep composer Zero agrees to allow “Elysium” as the soundtrack for “Half-World.”
After weeks of back-and-forth emails with enigmatic musician Zero, I’m absolutely thrilled today to announce that the mysterious orchestral dubstep composer has given me full permission to use his track “Elysium” as the soundtrack for my final “Half-World” art video.
As a blend of violin, driving rock guitar and dubstep, “Elysium” might be described as Lindsey Stirling meets Skrillex. Yet beneath that lies an intricate and subtle layer of woven sound that can only be called Zero. With its hints of Cirque and shades of Epica, “Elysium” so powerfully evokes mystery and passion that I immediately knew it would be the perfect soundtrack choice for “Half-World,” and I’m jazzed that the masked composer gave me permission to his use his track.
Hope everyone had a great weekend! Cheers for now.–Xris
Okay, the song is actually called “Evermore,” but I thought I’d title the video as a nod to what conditions were like while recording.
I wrote the song in about 10 minutes. It’s just me with an acoustic guitar, a microphone and two tracks of dry signal. (So I guess it was a lot like how I used to record in my basement as a kid.) With the brief return of winter, the studio was pretty frosty except for a bubble of warmth around an oil heater, where I sat for a few hours to produce music for some video footage I’d randomly shot in February, 2016, in Las Vegas. I also included a bit of footage shot at Rosewood Farm and on the road.
The overall dirt-lens look of this video comes courtesy of my smashing partner and fellow adventurer Mary Beth (who appears as the elusive woman in the video). I’d originally cut a simple sequence of clean black-and-white shots, and didn’t initially notice how jarring the effect was. Beth suggested transitional dissolves, as well as a graininess. So I overlaid the sequence with a long clip of film grain, as well as a static shot of a dirty screen, and I think the end result is pretty sweet. Beth also inspired the freeze-frame clips and image rotation for added effect.
The recording itself was done in two takes in about 20 minutes, and if the lyrics seem spotty in places, it’s because I’m just making up words as I go. These “scratch lyrics” are just to work out the flow, melody and rhyme scheme before I write proper lyrics and record the song again. So I guess this video is simply an unvarnished, day-in-the-life snapshot of what I like to do.