Brutal Resonance labels “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” as great, telling you to GO BUY IT!

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Brutal Resoance ‪reviewed‬ our album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”!

Their conclusion was that “With the amount of talent on Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars, there is bound to be something that you will enjoy. If not, then you might just have a serious lack of taste. Go buy i“. Read the full ‪#‎review‬ here: [ http://www.brutalresonance.com/review/psyaviah-seven-sorrows-seven-stars/ ]


If you haven’t ordered or listend yet, below are plenty of options to get the album!

Reviews & Mentions

Where to Buy/Listen?

~ Album of the month by Coma Music Mag’s Oontzcast (listen here)
~ A real contender for album of the year, CHAIN D.L.K Magazine 5⋆ review (read here)
~ Complete and sonically stunning album, Intravenous Magazine review (read here)
~ Radio Interview on 4ZZZ FM, Dark Essence Radio Show (listen here)
~ Side-Line Magazine track-by-track interview (read & listen here)
Streaming / Downloads
~ Spotify, iTunes / Apple Music , Bandcamp, Amazon MP3, Deezer, and more…
Physical CD’s
~ Alfa Matrix records, Poponaut, FNAC, MediaMarkt, Bol.com, and more…
~ Or ask your local recordstore!

Music Videos related to “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”

Not What I Expected

Never Look Back

Lessons from the Past


…and more music videos coming soon!

Psy’Aviah releases studio album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” featuring guests Kyoko Baerstoen, Roeland van der Velde, Mari Kattman and many more… #TripHop #ElectroClash #EDM

Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars (album cover)
Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars (album cover)

Two years after “The Xenogamous Endeavour”, I’m back with a new album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” – a journey that started after drawing inspiration from the 2014 movie “Interstellar”. The album will take you through the varied landscape of electronic music, from triphop filled with lush pads and warm vocals from the likes of Ellia Bisker (of jazz band Sweet Soubrette), Kyoko Baertsoen (Lunascape, ex-Hooverphonic) driven by deep basslines and electroacoustic drumkits – as well as introduce ambient moments, with poetry and electronic ballads with vocals of Pieter Van Vaerenbergh (Metafuzz, Zelon) and Diana S. (Junksista). Synthpop, both introspective and soul searching with emotional vocal performances of David Chamberlin (Entrzelle) and Mari Kattman, to the more powerful kind with nods to harder dancy synthpop, electroclash with powerful vocal passages of Roeland van der Velde (Model Depose), singer/songwriter Alvin River, Andrew Galucki, Bernard Feron (Combat Voice) and Addie Nicole (Halocene). Breakbeat lovers and acid fans will also be treated with a melange of both hard hitting psytrance influenced moments mixed with electroclash and the vocals of both Miss FD and Fallon Nieves. But listen and judge for yourself on our soundcloud page (soundcloud.com/psyaviah), or on the album’s bandcamp page, where we offer all tracks in full preview / streaming.

We live in a world where we sample music and, but I urge you to at least once listen to the album from the first to the last track. As the tracklist is specifically balanced and chosen to offer you this rollercoaster of sounds, emotions, energy and soul – a varied mix of electronic music, but with the typical Psy’Aviah touch I always give to the songs. Written & produced at my homestudio in Antwerp, mixed by Mitia Wexler (at wxlr.mx studios) and mastered by Geert de Wilde (at the IC 434 / Skyshifter studio). Out now, on April 15th, worldwise via Alfa Matrix records on all major digital platforms (such as Apple Music / iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, etc..), online cd stores (ECI, bol.com, elektronaut, FNAC, MediaMarkt, etc…) and your local record stores (if not there, just ask at the counter).

Reviews & Mentions

Where to Buy/Listen?

~ Album of the month by Coma Music Mag’s Oontzcast (listen here)
~ A real contender for album of the year, CHAIN D.L.K Magazine 5⋆ review (read here)
~ Complete and sonically stunning album, Intravenous Magazine review (read here)
~ Radio Interview on 4ZZZ FM, Dark Essence Radio Show (listen here)
~ Side-Line Magazine track-by-track interview (read & listen here)
Streaming / Downloads
~ Spotify, iTunes / Apple Music , Bandcamp, Amazon MP3, Deezer, and more…
Physical CD’s
~ Alfa Matrix records, Poponaut, FNAC, MediaMarkt, Bol.com, and more…
~ Or ask your local recordstore!

Music Videos related to “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”

Not What I Expected

Never Look Back

Lessons from the Past


…and more music videos coming soon!

Intravenous Mag calls “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” a complete and sonically stunning album

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Intravenous Magazine ‪reviewed‬ our upcoming album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”!

Their conclusion was ‪#heartwarming‬ to read after putting a lot of heart & soul into this album:

This seventh album is perhaps the most complete and sonically stunning album in the Psy’Aviah back catalogue to date. Once again Schelpe has pushed the boundaries of electronic music and continued to explore and experiment with different approaches and it has once again paid off for him. Simply, this album shows why Psy’Aviah is one of the stand-out names on the Alfa Matrix roster.

Thanks a lot wwww.intravenousmag.co.uk for this very nice review, I’m blushing ^^. Read the full ‪#‎review‬ here: [ http://www.intravenousmag.co.uk/2016/04/review-psyaviah-seven-sorrows-seven.html ]

Shout outs to KONER,@Alex Dalliance, Liquid Divine, Cutoff:Sky and Girlflesh as they’ve been noticed by the reviewer for having delivered stellar remixes. Also mentioned are the crisp sound, for which I again thank Mitia Wexler of @wxlr.mx (mixing) and Geert de Wilde of IC 434 (mastering).

If you haven’t ordered yet either wait until April 15th to order via online CD shops, Fnac, bol.com, Spotify, iTunes etc.. – or pre-order them via these links:
> Download via Bandcamp: http://alfamatrix.bandcamp.com/album/seven-sorrows-seven-stars-bonus-tracks-version
> CD: http://alfa-matrix-store.com/psyaviah-seven-sorrows-seven-stars-CD
> 2CD (With Bonus Remixes): http://alfa-matrix-store.com/psyaviah-seven-sorrows-seven-stars-2CD

“Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” got *****s from CHAIN DLK Magazine!

PSYAVIAHThe first ‪#‎review‬ of our new album is in, by ‎notorious‬ / ‪infamous‬ Chain D.L.K. Magazine! Yiha, we got 5*stars.. Read all about it here: [ http://www.chaindlk.com/reviews/?id=9120 ]

Here’s a quote I really enjoyed reading: ”

‘Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars’ is a real contender for album of the year. Yves’ synthwork and production is stellar, and the album flows very well through its peaks and valleys. With such an array of talented vocalists and great writing, there is never a dull moment.

” ~ Thx a LOT Steve Mecca & Chain DLK for the review!

If you haven’t ordered yet either wait until April 15th to order via online CD shops, Fnac, bol.com, Spotify, iTunes etc.. – or pre-order them via these links:
> Download via Bandcamp: http://alfamatrix.bandcamp.com/album/seven-sorrows-seven-stars-bonus-tracks-version
> CD: http://alfa-matrix-store.com/psyaviah-seven-sorrows-seven-stars-CD
> 2CD (With Bonus Remixes): http://alfa-matrix-store.com/psyaviah-seven-sorrows-seven-stars-2CD

Presenting the new album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” for Pre-Order

SevenSorrowsSevenStars_800x800 April 15th will open the gates for a new world “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”. This seventh album called for a new approach, thematically drawing inspiration from the 2014 movie “Interstellar”, life and musically opening a gate of wonder and euphoria with a unique blend of triphop, electroclash, eurodance, synthpop and eurodance while staying true to PSY’AVIAH’s deeply emotional core in both sound and lyrics.

Pre-orders start as of today at the Alfa Matrix Bandcamp page & post a review if you want – or order the physical CD at the offical Alfa Matrix store. But you can also wait until April 15th when “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” will hit every digital download & streaming platform (e.g. Spotiy, Apple Music), as well as physical CD stores (e.g. FNAC, MediaMarket, etc..).

Excellent 5-ST★R Reviews

Intravenous Magazine summed up the new album as “perhaps the most complete and sonically stunning album in the Psy’Aviah back catalogue to date. Once again Schelpe has pushed the boundaries of electronic music and continued to explore and experiment with different approaches and it has once again paid off for him. Simply, this album shows why Psy’Aviah is one of the stand-out names on the Alfa Matrix roster.”; whilst CHAIN D.L.K gave it a full 5 out 5 stars and concluded that “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars’ is a real contender for album of the year. Yves’ synthwork and production is stellar, and the album flows very well through its peaks and valleys. With such an array of talented vocalists and great writing, there is never a dull moment”. But please judge for yourself and pre-listen on bandcamp or on our soundcloud (also embedded on this page).

Aside from the new directions Psy’Aviah takes, there are of course there are still here some songs which defend the more “sorrowful” part of the album and reminds us of PSY’AVIAH’s darker side: like for example “Alcubierre Drive” featuring once again lush guest vocals by Kyoko Baertsoen (ex-HOOVERPHONIC, LUNASCAPE) and her unique timbre fitting so well this blend of trip-hop rhythms and EBM basslines; or yet the melancholic and moving “Looking Back” and the very expressive voice of David Chamberlin (ENTRZELLE).

But “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” definitely has this kind of interstellar shining touch, connecting dots together and offering a very unique kind of modern synth pop with an upbeat futuristic twist reinforced by another impressive selection of guest vocalists, with this time a clear progression towards more male vocals than on past releases. Take for example the alt-pop “Frozen” which is fusing energy and soul with stunning vocals by Andrew Galucki, or yet the more house / 80’s e-pop approach on the dancey “Liberosis” and its driving synth lines, club beats and awesome voice of Alvin River, the loud e-pop “Face To Face” with Roeland van der Velde (MODEL DEPOSE), or yet the addictive body-pop song “From Another World” with Bernard Feron (MED, COMBAT VOICE…).

Besides the more moody and almost “PSY’AVIAH classic” songs like “Lessons From The Past”, with one of Yves’ favorite partners in crimes for years now: the talented singer Mari Kattman, but also the minimal and semi-acoustic “Opia” with Pieter Van Vaerenbergh (METAFUZZ, ZELON) as well as the band’s last single and video clip song “Never Look Back” with Ellia Bisker (SWEET SOUBRETTE);

Yves Schelpe of Psy'Aviah
Yves Schelpe of Psy’Aviah

we find harder and straight industrial-dance compositions evoking the band’s early and more aggressive period like on the dreamy club hit “Peace Paradox”, the more chaotic and cyber distorted breakbeats of “Wild Ride” feat. the unmatched Miss FD, a club trance inspired pop track “Stronger” with vocals this time by Addie Nicole (HALOCENE), as well as on “Not What I Expected” that is a sort of frontal floor-packing track with incisive synth lines, hypnotic grooves à la PRAGA KHAN lead by strong female vocals with attitude by Fallon Nieves.

Pre-Order

Physical CD

Getting back my Musical Mojo… #NoInspiration #BlankPaperSyndrome

The story of how “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” was born
Behind every (favorite) song is an untold story
Behind every (favorite) song is an untold story

One of the worst things that can happen to a musician, besides hard drive failure or losing an instrument, is the “blank paper syndrome”. No inspiration. The will and urge to create, but, left there without any inspiration…

After finishing the album “The Xenogamous Endeavour” I was met with this syndrome for the first time. Well, I’m lying, I had periods of being uninspired before, but this time it kept on going for months! Every drumbeat, bnasslines, synthesizer melody or lyric I wrote sounded dull and unemotional for me. It had no soul, it was clear that I lost my mojo…

 

Going through the motions

I resolved to playing games, from Tomb Raider (reboot), Dragon Age: Inquisition, Project Cars, F1 2014, Diablo III : RoS (ps: add me with battletag lerenard242#2134) and imerged myself into that world. Along with watching the weekly Co-Optional (gaming related) Podcast of Totalbiscuit, Dodger and Jesse Cox. I emerged

Playing Tomb Radier (2013 Reboot)
Playing Tomb Raider (2013 Reboot)

myself in programming at work, learned new technologies. Did a lot of walks, running and I also watched a lot of movies with my girlfriend. In essence I took a step back, I hadn’t fired up my DAW for serious work in about 6 to maybe even 7 months.

In the beginning I was very stressed, I also said that “The Xenogamous Endeavour” was the last album I ever made, and I would never be able to make another again. Gradually though, by emerging myself into the other worlds of gaming, programming, nature and movies (especially movies) made me forget about that stress – I was enjoying other parts as well.

 

 

 

Lightning strike

And then, suddenly, out of nowhere, me and my girlfriend decided to watch “Interstellar“. Not knowing much about the plot or the movie itself we dived right in. I was totally immersed by the cinematography, the shots, the pace, the sounds, the visuals, the acting, the story, the atmosphere.. Very little movies stay with me – I only have a few. The Professional (Léon), The Fifth Element, Moon, Ex Machina and, now ofcourse, Interstellar as well.

I couldn’t get the atmosphere the movie left behind out of my head. I was constantly reminded about certain scenes, the overall feeling and images. It inspired me so much to fire up my DAW for the first time in months. Out of that grew the first song of the album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars“, named “Alcubierre Drive ft. Kyoko Baertsoen” – a direct reference to the movie. I wanted to capture the overall feeling of the movie in this track I was making, both in sound design as in the lyrics.

More On Alcubierre Drive

The thriving basslines and big pads were for me the dramatic and slightly melancholic feeling I had when watching Interstallar. Alcubierre Drive’s lyrics are a description of the father / daughter relationship throughout the movie. Yet, I wanted to make sure that people could experience this without having seend the movie, so I made sure that I transposed the lyrics to the “real world”, so they can be enjoyed and understood without needing to have the full background of the movie. See this YouTube clip that combines both scenes from Interstellar, the music of “Alcubierre Drive” and the lyrics to illustrate what I mean with the fact that I’ve created my own personal “soundtrack”.

Keeping momentum

I couldn’t get enough, after that first track I started making about 10 songs which were directly related to either the feeling and atmosphere, or specific scenes. I effectively made my own personal soundtrack to Interstellar. Before I knew it I had all the demos and ideas ready, they only needed to be fleshed out – which takes a long time, but I knew I had my mojo back. I knew I could make enough songs out of this.

Keeping Momentum, Recording, recording, recording ideas...
Keeping Momentum, Recording, recording, recording ideas…

I never turned back to see the movie though, I wanted to keep momentum and not overanalyse the feeling I had… Going with the flow I had due to the memories that remained stuck in my head. Part of them real, part of them maybe a bit altered.

Lessons learned

Taking a step back, not thinking about music, doing other things cleared my mind. And like lightning bolt, Interstellar sparked my imagination again and delivered me a framework to work in. Out of a few exceptions all the songs on “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” are directly referenced to the movie, yet I always made sure to transpose the lyrics to the world we live in, or project them to my own life – so that it’s both a personal soundtrack for Interstellar as it is a reflection of how I see the world and what I experienced the past years… I picked “Alcubierre Drive” to illustrate the point, but as I said, there’s numerous other tracks on the album that directly relate to the movie – or to a specific scene.

Inspiration is a weird one. When it is there, it’s sometimes too much to handle, when it’s lost it’s almost impossible to get it back. This experience made me realise that now I can draw inspiration from everywhere – and that when it doesn’t come immediately, I shouldn’t worry or stress too much. Eventually a lighting strike will hit me again to kickstart another creative period!

What are your methods to get back your “creative mojo” or to break out of the lack of inspiration loop?

I tried AudioKite, should you too? #MusicMarketing #Review

TL;DR> If you are a band, musician or business guy/girl that dreams of a future where there’s a need to have revenue from music then you should absolutely take a closer look at AudioKite. However, if in your dreams revenue is not a factor, then leave AudioKite in the back of your mind, but don’t waste time and/or money on it. And even if this service will give you good results, there’s still the real world that will have to decide. So use it wisely, or be wise and maybe just don’t use it ;)! Read more on why I believe this is true below…

What is AudioKite?

AudioKite promises to give you “Market Research for Music Creators”. In short, it says it’ll survey your music to thousands of active consumers so you can learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your music, the attention span, what genres it fits into, with what brands you can assiociate it etc.. etc.. All this is brought to you in a single page report that you scroll, hove and click on – in a very friendly and nice UI environment. You can find all of this in more detail on their website audiokite.com – they even break down what the audience (demographics) is you’re sending your music to.

Is that really true?

To be fair, I heard about this platform through Brian Hazard of Color Theory, who wrote an article about his experience with AudioKite on his blog “Passive Promotion“, which dates from 2014 ~ roughly two years before I tried it out. It sounded amazing in that article, so I gave it a shot. However, things aren’t quite as they seem. As you’ll read below, I do have some remarks and points to make to state that it isn’t a tool for everyone out there. So before you even start I’d consider you to read up about the service and decide whether it’s something you feel you need to invest in with your music, or not.

My experience With audiokite

I signed up, chose their “Commercial Potential Report” with 50 listeners three times, coming at a price of $29.99/report. I uploaded three tracks of which I felt were varied enough to give a clear view per report of the range/spectrum of the audience at AudioKite and their reports. I went for a smothh, vocal heavy, electronic triphop like song called “Never Look Back ft. Ellia Bisker”. Next I chose for “Not What I Expected ft. Fallon Nieves” which is a more upbeat dark electro track, still vocal heavy but also relying on a lot of synth elements – no conventional radio material. To close, I picked “Wild Ride ft. Miss FD“, a typical big beat industrial-electro tune. Complete with distorted vocals, energetic beats and a big focus on the musical/electronic elements. Here are the links to the songs and the accompanying reports I got from AudioKite which I will discuss in this blogpost:

  1. “Never Look Back ft. Ellia Bikser” [ open report | stream track ]
    Scoring a 7.0 on average, 96th percentile*, +0.6% from the AudiKite average.
  2. “Not What I Expected ft. Fallon Nieves” [ open report | stream track ]
    Scoring a 6.5 on average, 71st percentile*, +0.1% from the AudiKite average.
  3. “Wild Ride ft. Miss FD” [ open report | stream track ]
    Scoring a 6.2 on average, 49th percentile*, -0.2% from the AudiKite average.

If you’re seeing a trend in the scoring versus the genre and moods of the tracks, then that’s to be expected, at least for me it made a lot of sense. It’s what I predicted in terms of overall enthusiasm for one song against another – which proves to me at least that the AudioKite audience is quite predictrable – even though I tested it only once with three songs. It did match my expectations for this run.

*percentile: Generally speaking for AudioKite, the higher towards 100, the better. 96 would mean that for every 100 songs reviewed only 4 would’ve gotten a better review. This way you kind of know where you stand towards other songs uploaded on the service – which means 7.0 is a pretty high score. [ read more ].

Limited options

AudioKite score for song "Never Look Back ft. Ellia Bisker"
AudioKite score for song “Never Look Back ft. Ellia Bisker”

The first thing that I noticed when I uploaded my “electronic” music is that I couldn’t fit it into a good category. I wasn’t able to drill down further into the genres of electronic music, as they were so limited. I also feared that when I’d put in “indie” people would expect rock music, or when I’d put in jazz/blues people would expect just that and nothing electronic at all. So tracks 2 & 3 (Not What I Expected & Wild Ride) were filed under “Electronic” and I took the risk with song 1 (Never Look Back) to file it under Jazz/Blues. I felt this was a weak point and that I were to be potentially judged by the wrong audience as I could not specify any further. On the other hand I though that this shouldn’t matter as people do browse around and can’t choose what plays on the radio either.

Thick elephant skin

Before uploading and going all in, take into consideration how well you can deal with criticism. If you get demotivated, down, depressed or generally unhappy with negativity and personal opinions/taste of individuals, then I’d advise you to let someone else do it for you – so they can filter out the rough parts – or just simply don’t do it all. However, I feel this is actually a good element in the AudioKite system. These unfiltered messages are the humanity, the voice of the audience that listened to your track. Raw and unfiltered, as no one would ever tell you when you let them hear your music. It’s honest, it’s sometimes brutal, but sometimes so sweet as well. I really liked this part of AudioKite – even though it doesn’t really add substantial value, it’s a human touch that adds an extra dimension to an otherwise numeric filled statistical report…

science & surveys

When doing a proper survey, 50 people per song (which I chose) is really not enough to get a good scientific representable measurement to work with. But if you have to crank up that number to get a good scientific sample size (taking into consideration the population, margin of error and confidence levels), you’d have to invest quite a bit of money. For example, if I start with 500 people per song I would’ve ended up with $249.99/song – quite expensive for just one track when you’re an indie band… And do consider that when you want to get serious with these statistics, 500 is probably the minimum you want if you want to be taken seriously when using the report to pitch to say promotors, radio, labels, etc.. You’d have to ask yourself the question then, what do I want to use this report for, and really weigh out the pros & cons.

Contradicting comments & metrics

The audience are allowed to place comments, as raw and fun as they are, they’re also pretty contradictory a some times… For example in the track “Not What I Expected” some really like the vocals, whilst some dislike them – same for the instrumental bit. There’s some screenshots of quite contradicting reactions below, after reading those I’m sure you’ll get my point.

AudioKite reactions to the song "Not What I Expected ft. Fallon Nieves"
AudioKite reactions to the song “Not What I Expected ft. Fallon Nieves”
AudioKite reactions to the song "Never Look Back ft. Ellia Bisker"
AudioKite reactions to the song “Never Look Back ft. Ellia Bisker”


Again, as I said before in this blogpost: even though they are contradictory and quite useless in the general stats, I quite like them because they are so raw and honest. It’s a strong point of the system that they actually let people voice their opinion without filtering it. It goes to show that everything is quite relative and one person can adore the song while another one simply hates it, and others just don’t care enough to even write a comment!

Some useless metricsaudikite_songclassification_notwhatiexpected_psyaviah

It was difficult for me to decide whether “Brand Associations” and “Movie and Televion Associations” were relevant to me, or anyone else. At least in my view and for my music, it was irrelevant how “Not What I Expected” releated to brands like “Apple”, “Gucci” and “Victoria Secret”. I don’t think this report will convince companies, advertisers or tv & movie to license my music?

The “Song Classification” was a bit weird to me as well. In here they evaluate “In what physical environment the song could be played”.. The track “Not What I Expected” rated high on a college party & skateboard park, as well as in an art gallery.. At least my song’s title has relevance to the results they show me here.

The evaluation for music outlets go from “None” (red – not shown here), “Digital Streaming” (yellow), “Terrestrial Radio” (blue), “Satellite Radio” (green), “Digital Radio” (lilac). If thie pie chart resembles the chart of every other song uploaded on AudioKite it wouldn’t blow my mind completely. As everyone knows digital streaming is very popular nowadays, ofcourse it will score high. I don’t see the point of including this metric, apart from filler material. It’s irrelevant to me at least.

I did like the metric “Regardless of how this song clas classified, what genre is the most appropriate”. All three songs I uploaded were ultimately classified as “electronic” and scoring high(er) on “pop” than I expected.

AudioKite Fan Profile for the song "Now What I Expected ft. Fallon Nieves"
AudioKite Fan Profile for the song “Now What I Expected ft. Fallon Nieves”

Fan profile

The fan profile seems like a good idea, and I generally like to see this reflected. It’s a sum of the other metrics shown to you, but broken down into a profile, for a listener that would either really like or really dislike your music.

I already knew this

Apart from that, a lot of things being asked I already knew. This might be the biggest let down for me in fact. I thought I’d learn something – and while maybe some people would say I did, I don’t have a feeling I tested enough people (see sample size / etc..) to really get a good indication.

Now this all feels quite generic and a bit predictable. I know what kind of music I make, and per track I can quite honestly predict who will like it and who won’t.

So, when tested, I already knew that I’m not producing radio-ready mixes with intros that are too long for radio play. Songs that are quite agressive and sometimes not suitable for national FM airplay. I’m also not aiming to have a “hit” song.. So maybe I chose the wrong report from AudiKite. it’s what I have them as feedback as well, I’m waiting for their answer on this – as I feel maybe I interpreted the intent of the report/measurement wrong. I could’ve learned more if I chose another report, or targetted it specifically to a genre that matched more with the audience that got to listen to it.

DO i run a business or do I make music?

In the end you have to conside whether your dream really is to make music for a living, or whether you live to make music. In the latter case, AudioKite can be fun, but is an unnecessary cost.

Conclusion

They all hate my band name. That doesn’t come as a suprise, I know this already, it’s the worst bandname .. “XYZ” would do better. But, I’m stuck with it, and it’s already out there with my other music and projects. It’s difficult to remember and pronounce, unappealing, but it’s out there, whether they like it or not. I can’t just change it now. yet every single report hammers that the band name is bad.. Without taking these things into consideration.

My end conclusion is a like my TL;DR, only a bit lengthier. If you wish to run your music like a business, then go have fun with AudioKite. Even though it’s limitation and expensivene nature VS scientific relvance, it does provide you some tools to analyse your music – and afterwards present those reports to the people you want to convince.

However, if you’re a band or musician that writes music without conventions, if you have no expactions on commercial succes and don’t expect to make a living off your music alone. Then I’d advise you to wait it out and not to check in. As the relevance and genre specific needs are not tight enough, and the expenses you have to make for a quality report (read: scientific relevant) are too high in my view. You’re also probably a bit too unconventional for national airplay and probably you don’t want to be compared to Rihanna, Selena Gomez or Lana Del Rey (not that I don’t like some of their music). Take your time and money to the studio, to the mixing and mastering, touring, instruments, .. and if then you have spare time & money, maybe look at AudioKite, if you really want to – but it’s not vital.

(PS: The website itself is very easy to navigate and work with – the reports are nicely made and shareable. The support team is highly accesible and responded to me within a working day. Quite happy with that ;))

Dissecting the song “Lessons from the Past ft. Mari Kattman”

In “Dissecting the Song” I try to explaing what’s behind the lyrics, what production techniques were used, and more…

“Lessons from the Past” is a track taken from the 2016 album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” (pre-order at Alfa Matrix (CD) or Bandcamp (Digital), released worldwide on April 15th). It’s written by Yves Schelpe, vocals performed by multi talented Mari Kattman, mixed by Mitia Wexler and mastered by Geert de Wilde.

History Lessons & Relevance…

As the title suggests, the track deals with the history of the human race. In particular our destruction of the world around us, and the repeated mistakes we make. Ranging from the very personal to the global, we all make mistakes, and yet, we rarely seem to be able to take those experiences with us to prevent future failure.

As a student I adored history lessons, due to the fascinating stories. I admit, I had very good history teachers, they knew how to tell a good story and that is essential. Yet I hate to see that history itself is looked upon as a boring subject…

With this song I tried highlighting my interest (passion is too strong of a word) in history and it’s relevance to the world we live in now, and the future world we’re building. Accompanied with the music video (watch on youtube: youtube.com/watch?v=mIgO8rMw9Wc), which portrays humanities repeated war mistakes, from the very beginning of the big bang up until the most recent conflicts…

Production

100 BPM, a monotone basslines, a vocal with long notes and layers of pads and synths to reach to an ultimate climax… I wanted to make a fairly downtempo track built layer upon layer, almost house/disco like, but with a dark edge to it ofcourse. I started out by using a bassline, very rigid and quite monotone, on which I added a chord sequence with just a pad. All this to give it that housey/disco feeling I was after. The main dark and somber pad which plays the main chord sequence can be heard on the soundcloud on the right. It comes from the Native Instruments ABSYNTH instrument, I don’t often use it, only when I’m after a really distinct kind of sound or feeling. It fit quite well with the drums and the bassline.

On top of that I layered a typical saw synth sound, again quite monotone, but sidechained, with delay and with a subtle change in melody at the end. The sidechaining is there to make it very groovey into the track, it almost fits like a lego piece for me, tightly in the rhythm. The delays are their to make it smooth and make it sound big. I used Native Instrument’s MASSIVE for this sound, which you can hear on the left of this page.

To complete it all I wanted a very typical element of house/disco, a repeated female chant in the background. That’s the humming Mari provided, “hmm, hmm, hmm”.. It really adds value and completes the emotion in the track for me. Listen to the track in full at to hear the end result.

The vocal Performance, A word by Mari Kattman

LftPWhen writing a track, I usually end up recording a full demo version, “sung” by me to give the performing vocalist a hint of how the track should end up sounding. They then record at their home studio, or a studio close to them and send me back the files. Sometimes I’ll ask to record extras, and we iterate until both parties are satisfied. I love working with Mari, who performed the vocals on this track. She’s very talented and has a unique voice. Her timing and pitch is perfect, and her sense of giving the performance an emotional touch is amazing! I’ll hand the word to Mari now to give her perspective of working on this particular track.

“When I got the message from Yves that he wanted me to collaborate on another Psy’Aviah track, I was really excited. Yves always brings amazing heart to his music and words, and the tracks we have done in the past have been extremely well received. I feel lucky to be set up with Yves because I sort of get to make something amazing out of his brilliant ideas! 

The catchy “uh-huhs” which carry through the song, were definitely right up my alley,
they sorta gave me a Dave Gahan, Depeche Mode sorta vibe.
~ Mari Kattman

When he sent me the draft for what he had in mind for “Lessons from the past” I really loved the groove of the song. The catchy “uh-huhs” which carry through the song, were definitely right up my alley, they sorta gave me a Dave Gahan, Depeche Mode sorta vibe. I love bluesy, sultry harmonies and I really felt that some of that could be implemented in this song. 

I really enjoyed recording the vocals for this. My usual methodology is to sing a base part that will carry throughout the song and then play around with some ideas for harmonies. That dual harmony that comes in at the second part of the chorus was really fun to come up with, it really took it to the next level and gave the chorus some added dimension and depth. I really love working with harmonies and hearing them fall into place at the right moments. It really gives you goosebumps when you find the right fit and this song gave me plenty of those. 

The song is about teaching our children these mistakes
so that they will not be repeated.
I agree fully and love that there is a great message here.
~ Mari Kattman

The subject matter of this song was especially moving to me. I feel like a lot of what we are doing right now  is looking back on the wrongs we have done, to each other and to the world. There are a lot of us who feel that it is extremely important to never let our mistakes repeat themselves. I see a lot of people becoming more environmentally and socially conscious and it makes me feel hopeful as I feel it is really what must happen in order to make this world a better place for our children and all who follow after. This song, especially the video, depicts images that are powerful and moving, destruction, segregation and war are among them. The song is about teaching our children these mistakes so that they will not be repeated. I agree fully and love that there is a great message here. 

I felt lucky to be a part of this collaboration and hope that this song has moved many people. It means so much to read the words of support and comments people leave about how much they enjoy the songs we work on. Thank you for listening!”

mixing process, a word by Mitia Wexler

As previously mentioned in another blog post, I work with a mixing engineer to maximize the potential of the music I write. I do make my own demo mixes ofcourse, so the engineer has an idea where the track is headed, and I can go all out creatively. Yet, when sending the stems to the mixing studio, I always provide dry versions (no fx, only creative fx) so that the engineer has the “source material” to work with when mixing the track. Below you can read how Mitia Wexler tackled the song “Lessons from theh Past” in his wxlr.mx studio.

“This funky mid-tempo song is centred around its groovy beat and Mari Kattman’s vocals. As such, it was a pretty straightforward mix job — keep the low end powerful, the drums and the bass groovy, the vocals clear and present, and ornament all of that with the layers of synths.

Drums

The tracks are treated to some EQ here and there, Transient Designer for the snares — to bring out the attack, and for the second kick — to tame the muddy decay. Yves often uses musique-concrete-like crash sounds, which come with lots of low end information interfering with other elements, so these were high-passed and given some compression to prolong the sustain.
The rides were also compressed to be more of a noise-pad-filler than a properly percussive element. I muted the rides and claps in the verses to further emphasise the verse–chorus contrast. The drum bus had a compressor with the timing chosen to add some punch and movement.

All in all, it was a very pleasant and a rather quick mix
that left me wanting for more once it was over.
~ Mitia Wexler

Bass

The main bass is a sampled electric bass with a very pleasant timbre, on which I used an amp sim mixed in parallel to thicken the low end and make the timbre a little more full. The synth bass called “80sElectroShit” by Mr Schelpe himself moves the rhythm along and, as its name suggests, adds an eighties vibe with a healthy dose of grit to the bass-line.

The group went into a character compressor shaving off a couple dB now and again, tightening the bass sound.

Synths

Lessons from the Past Mixing Sessions in AbletonThe synths did not get heavy processing, mostly minor EQ adjustments. “Absynth Magic” pad went through M/S matrix to leave some room in the centre. I mixed in a little amp sim to “Extra Melody A” lead to make its sound more abrasive. “Extra Melody D” staccato part went through a dynamic EQ to tame the “C” note that was sticking out.
“Solo Synth B” lead was processed with a tube saturation emulator to make it fuller and some cabinet emulator mixed in to round off the abrasiveness handled by “Extra Melody A”.

Effects

This song has only two effect tracks, clearly heard in the intro and the outro. The “Hiss” track is present throughout, automated to get out of the choruses’ way. It is also the only track that isn’t sent to an aux track.

Vocals

Mari Kattman is an exceptional singer whose performance is both passionate and remarkably skilful and the vocals did not require much post-production trickery. I often prefer riding vocals “by hand” rather than relying on compressors. Depending on the genre, vocal style and particular delivery, the compressor route may be the best fit, but with Mari I always do it by hand, striving to retain all the live energy while keeping the vocals in harmony with the digital backdrop. The backing vocals were widened so they would fill more space in a choir-like fashion, all the while leaving the centre spot for the lead. There are some level and pan automation leaps towards the coda, where the parts switch roles.

Mari Kattman is an exceptional singer whose performance is both passionate
and remarkably skilful and the vocals did not require much post-production trickery.
~ Mitia Wexler

One of the hooks of this song is Mari’s “uh-hmm”’s. Starting with the first verse and going all the way until the coda, this is a very pleasant catchy element, but also a very repetitive one. So, aside from the level automation, the “uh-hmm”’s went through a fast attack / slow-ish release compressor with the side-chain fed by the lead vocals, giving them more movement in time with the song and leaving more space to the lead.

The vocal bus went through a compressor removing no more than one-two dB. Certain words were sent to an aux delay track.

Busses

There are two reverb auxes: one creating a light ambience to help glue everything in a common location, another one — a vast long space for the elements that are “out there” and a delay aux return.Funky and emotional, Lessons from the Past had it all — the groove, the melody, the heartfelt vocals and the polished electronic production. All in all, it was a very pleasant and a rather quick mix that left me wanting for more once it was over.”

Lyrics

WarHeroes01(hmm, hmm)

I see the same things happening every day, every night, every time and every hour
on this planet, the same thing every time
I see the same things happening every day, every night, every time and every hour
on this planet, the same thing every time

To all the newborns, and the young lives
All the monuments
For all the battles fought and the lives ruined
Families torn apart
We owe them lessons from the past
Recognize ignorance, lessons from the past

I see the same things happening every day, every night, every time and every hour
on this planet, the same thing every time
I see the same things happening every day, every night, every time and every hour
on this planet, the same thing every time

To all the life living on the big blueWarHeroes02
For all the chaos and bombs
Mistakes that were made
Habitats ruined and blood poured all just for gold
We owe them lessons from the past
Recognize ignorance, lessons from the past

I see the same things happening every day, every night, every time and every hour
on this planet, the same thing every time
I see the same things happening every day, every night, every time and every hour
on this planet, the same thing every time

Nothing changes, nothing ever changes,
Nothing changes, nothing ever changes…
We owe them, lessons from the past
We owe them, lessons from the past…

 

This Was 2015!

Music-Love-Headphones-2013-WallpaperI don’t care about new year celebrations, I don’t care for fireworks, drinking champagne, nor going partying tonight for what is in essence just and end of the year. That’s just my opinion ofcourse, I don’t judge those who like to go on a party streak, by all means, do, and enjoy yourself (no sarcasm here!).

I do however like to stand still and reflect on what has happened – as I feel (personally, for me) that’s the only thing worthwile doing in such a period. This is what you’ll find below…

I liked music…

Completely arbitrary list, don’t mind the order, these are the tracks or releases that I either discovered, rediscovered or had an impact on me this year…

  1. Conjure One ft. Hanna Ray – “Kill The Fear”, from the 2015 album “Holoscenic”.
    Really liked slow paced beat, dragging and thriving bassline. Yet, still with the typical drums and ethereal sounds and vocal approach of Conjure One. No single Conjure One album has disappointed me so far, this one is again one I will play a lot in 2016 and onwards!
  2. Florrie – “Little White Lies”, from the 2014 EP “Little White Lies”.
    Yes, she’s been around quite some time, but I discovered her late 2014 and early 2015, so for me it’s a brand new release ;)… I just like the mix of electropop and mix of styles. Apart from “Little White Lies” my most favourite track (though from 2012) is “Shot You Down” due to the very repetitive, but always building in tension, epic synth layered track.

  3. Tove Lo – “The Way That I Am”, from the 2015 album “Queen Of The Clouds”.
    I relate this quite a lot to the kind of music Florrie brings. Yet Tove Lo is bit more dirty in sound, yet still pop, yet still an alternative dark atmosphere with emotional and striking chords. The track “The Way Thet I Am” is far from “THE” representation of the album, but it’s one the tracks I did play most – there’s plenty more to discover though!
  4. Sting – “Russians”, from the 1985 album “The Dream Of The Blue Turtles”.
    Yes, not released in 2015 (as I said it’s my arbitrary list ;)), yet still very relevant for the state of the world today. As such, it would be such and ignorant thing to not include this track.
  5. Karin Park“Thousand Loaded Guns”, from the 2012 album “Highwire Poetry”.
    If you like 80s, synthpop, electropop… Be sure to check out this track, I discovered it by going through her catalogue this year after her 2015 release “Apocalypse Pop”. This is my favourite track, and another prime example of what I like to find in electronic pop music with a darker edge. Both vocals, lyrics, melodies and epic strings that are building up towards a climax. Top!
  6. Emika – “Battles”, from the 2015 album “DREI”.
    I’m following Emika since her first release, and for me it’s like Karin Park, one that’s still deserves a lot more attention, yet recently Emika is starting to get this, fortunately! The track “Battles” is typical, classical, Emika. My favourite track of her is still “After the Fall”, from the 2013 release “DVA”, due to the floating sounds and weird synths all around, especially in the chorus.

  7. Entrzelle – “Fraud”, taken from the 2015 album “Part of the Movement”.
    David Chamberlin, the man behind the project, has an amazing voice and brings a very fresh sound to the table with his male vocal based electro and synthpop. Partly due to mixing in elements into the music that are exotic to the genre, and twisting some rules. I was pleasantly surprised, and was happy to contribute a remix to the album as well.

  8. Arctic Sunrise – “200 Souls”, from their 2015 album “A Smarter Enemy”.
    I picked “200 Souls” here, but you should listen to the whole album to listen to the production, choice of sounds, the vocals, etc.. Really well produced and written synth/electropop. A totally new discovery for me this year, this band.
  9. B-Sights, a project from Dizkodude. He did a remix for a track of ours, “Words ft. J Airi”, and I really really digg his style and approach to remixing as well. Check out the remix below, it has been very well received and was very happy he could find the time to make this cool remix. Looking forward to more of the solo work B-Sights will put out!
  10. And so much much much more music from Purity Ring, Röyksopp, Robyn, Lovelorn Dolls, Guru Josh (RIP), Essence Of Mind, Junksista, Selah Sue, Vérité, Arctic Sunrise (really like the sound of their 2015 album “A Smarter Enemy”, and much more ofcourse…

I liked games…

Apart from music, I like playing games from time to time… The games that captured my attention this year? Find out below…

  1. Party Hard from Pinokl Games.
    The story? You’ve been woken at 3PM, the party will not allow you to get asleep, kill everyobody at the party and don’t get caught… It’s a quite addictive stealth game and it has a really cool 80s inspired soundtrack :)! The game still recieves a lot of updates via STEAM. As I said, it’s fun, but it’s not quite an easy game.. Patience, stealthy, being cunning enough and sometimes a bit of luck will give you the win, or the kill… 😉
  2. Project Cars from WMD & Slightly Mad Studios.
    A kind of sim racer, not true sim as iRacing or rFactor (2) and others. But it does give you a more edgy, difficult experience than an arcade racer, which it is far far from. It isn’t a perfect game either, but when it does hit the mark, you can have some epic experiences on the track as well as online. And whilst the studio itself has had a bit of a rough start, and avoiding or ignoring criticism from the users, they’re still releasing patches and content for the game that is indeed improving it along the way. Apart from the initial release, after patch 3, I did start having a lot of fun mastering the cars and driving endurance races, as well as GT3 sprint and touring (Clio & Megane) races. Enjoyable to get away from this world and focus on something completely else for a few hours!

2016, here we come

I can’t wait to start 2016 – not because of the partying, celebrations and such, but because in 2016 I will be releasing the new PSY’AVIAH album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”. And the closer to that date, the happier I am. Really eager to share the work of late 2014 and most of 2015 with you. Stay tuned!

Grtzz
Yves Schelpe
Psy’Aviah

#ThisWas2015: EP “Never Look Back / Words”, Videos and 18k listeners on #Spotify

Thanks a bunch to all of you out there who supported us by either streaming, buying or having played something of us this year. I’m happy & grateful to have landed on some of Spotify’s hot (#dance / #electro and #triphop) playlists that made us discoverable for a lot of new people that would’ve otherwise not found out about us.
18000 listeners on Spotify for Psy'Aviah in 2015

Anyway, there’s a lot more new music coming in 2016, our new album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” for example that is a follow up on the EP “Never Look Back / Words”, so stay tuned for more!

Grtzz & see you in 2016!
Yves Schelpe / Psy’Aviah