The Stars and Beyond: New Album About Space Pirates, Starfights and Parallel Universes Out Now

Oh boy, this is pretty exciting.

The new Songsworth album, The Stars and Beyond, was published last Friday. It’s now available on Spotify and iTunes and will soon be available on various other webstores and streaming services.

I’ve worked on the album for the last two years, on and off, and it’s taken quite a lot of thought to shape it up into its final form. This is the first Songsworth album out since 2013.

Music and stories work well together. Previous Songsworth albums have linked with science fiction stories – books, movies, TV shows – that I’ve found inspiring through the years.

This one, though is based on something else.

I’ve always dreamed about writing a novel one day – who wouldn’t? In 2017 as I travelled a lot around the world for work, I lugged this delightful device called Freewrite around with me. I’d take it out when sitting down on an airplane and write stories whenever the plane got off the ground.

I ended up with manuscript drafts for two novels. One of them is a kind of a quantum physics mystery. The other is the story about this post-human space pirate queen called Lyra, who terrorizes this Asimov’s Foundation -style galactic society through millennia, kept alive by a sort of nanotech, until she starts finding hints about her past that will change everything she thinks about herself. And then just as she’s about to realize something kind of weird, she gets thrown into a parallel universe through this weird “junction city” called Pan Caravel.

The story, called The Stars and Beyond, runs some 350 pages. It has a beginning, a middle and an end – but it’s not finished yet. The reason being that while I did work ten years as a professional musician and have published seven non-fiction books, I don’t yet have the skills to finalize a work of fiction. Both of the manuscripts I mentioned still need more editing and a deeper understanding of literary nuances I don’t yet possess. As time goes by, I’m working on developing the competences that I’d need to actually publish some of this stuff. Who knows, maybe one day.

Writing these stories feels like peeking through a portal to another universe. And while the text is not yet good enough, it worked as a source of inspiration for this music. On this album, every song somehow links to one of the novel’s characters, except the one about Pan Caravel, which is a place and Curiosity, which is the cutest little space rover if there ever was one.

The music is now out there. I’d really appreciate if you gave it a spin.

It’s instrumental 1980’s inspired synthesizer pop, so maybe not for everybody. But if you like artists like Jean-Michel Jarre or Vangelis, or listening to movie soundtracks, you might enjoy these tracks too.

I certainly had the time of my life writing them.

You can listen to the album here:

 

New Album on the Way: The Stars and Beyond

Album cover art by the wonderful Paavo Järvilehto

I have been working on new Songsworth tracks since 2017. The tracks are now finished and mastered, and the new album is on the way, due to be released later in 2019 on major streaming services.

I’m really excited to have completed this music – it’s the first Songsworth album in six years. It has taken a lot of new design challenges, handcrafting new types of sounds (especially going back to my FM roots with some really fun stuff using Native Instruments’ FM8 and playing with some stuff I made on my Yamaha SY99 all the way back in the 1990s) and learning new ways of working, most interestingly drafting tracks using NI’s Maschine Mk3, which has quickly grown to be a big part of my workflow.

Also I’ve been really excited about working in a strange kind of a crossroads in music technology. On one hand, I recreated much of what I used to run as a hardware studio in early 2000s through using services like Roland Cloud and their amazing System 8 workstation which makes analog sound design feel like a dream, as well as Arturia’s wonderful V-Collection. On the other hand, starting to work with 21st century digital-first staples, like the wonderful Fabfilter plugins, it has finally started to dawn on me how to mix with a mouse. Feels a lot like the future now.

One more thing is, there is a tremendous amount of backstory that goes into these tracks. I don’t think I’ve ever written music that has this much of (hidden) context to it, I hope some of it shines through on the recordings themselves too.

Here’s the first soundbite from the album, called Jeff the Star Traveler.

 

Voxel EP is now available on Spotify and iTunes

Voxel EP

Voxels are these square things you can use to represent three-dimensional space. They’re like pixels but in 3D.

Voxels are used in 3D games and brain imaging. Minecraft has voxel blocks you can use to build cool stuff, virtual stuff. Legos are like voxel blocks in real life.

Voxels are cool. Square, but cool.

The Voxel EP is now available on Spotify, iTunes and all major digital distributors.

Listen on Spotify.

Get a copy on iTunes.

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Finders Keepers (lyrics)

You can run and you
You surely can hide

You, the fleet-footed hare,
Can run from the sky

Dive deep enough
You can crouch in the rough

The green never
Has had this mesmerizing sheen

Rolling in the hay
Diving like Scrooge

This, my friend, this is life
In livelies hues

Sun ups the pace
Speeds up in the race

You see, rules are
It’s finders keepers all the way

At this rainbow’s end
Hid in the pot

A green hanging, ticking fish
Thrones wrongly got

Looking glass games
Don’t quite work with true names

You see, rules are
It’s finders keepers all the way

The Games We Play (lyrics)

The morning star is rising again
Reborn out of a candle flame
It is but just a silly game we play

Seconds chasing one another
The time draws near but scarce few bother
It is but all these silly games we play

The honey tongue spins sweet little lies
Rumpelstiltskin in disguise
It is but all these silly games we play

Pawn and bishop play as equal
The golden yarn shines lustrous to all
It is but just a silly game we play

From Voxel EP.

All Tomorrows (lyrics)

Jenny’s got a brand new song
It keeps on playing in her head

I guess she liked it first
But now she’s hoping that the song would go away

It’s always so easy to crave
All tomorrows that will save
From the silence that life still
Feels like today

The thing is that no matter what she does
The song sits stuck tight in her head

It’s numbing repetition makes her think
It’s like these days, their all the same

She walked into the diner
Humming to the song and missed a change

The world slipped for a moment further from her
Gave the change the space to grow

It’s always so easy…

Now Jenny sees the change she’s brought about
By humming to that sticky tune

The contrasts have grown deeper
Sunlight scatters in a new, peculiar way

She looks out of the window
At the people hurrying down the street

And no one stops to note her Mona Lisa smile
She knows how they must feel

It’s always so easy…