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.

 

The Farcaster Network is Failing

The reason we could not find the AI’s was that the AI’s were not somewhere. They were everywhere.

Like River Tethys, the Grand Concourse flowed between military sized farcaster portals two hundred meters high. With wraparound, the effect was of an infinite main street, a hundred-kilometer torus of material delights. One could stand, as I did that morning, under the brilliant sun of Tau Ceti and look down the Concourse to the nighttime midway of Deneb Drei, alive with neon and holos, and catch a glimpse of the hundred-tiered Main Mall of Lusus, while knowing that beyond it lay the shadow-dappled boutiques of God’s Grove with its brick concourse and elevators to Treetops, the most expensive eatery in the Web. (Dan Simmons 1990.)

Songsworth: Tau Ceti Center

Infinity Begins Everywhere and Ends Nowhere

You are at the very center of the Universe. And you. And you. And you. And…

“Turtles all the way down,” or “The Infinite Turtle Theory,” refers to the infinite regression problem in cosmology. This problem originates with the unmoved mover paradox. The turtle in the anecdote refers to the notion common in primitive cosmological mythology, that is to say, that the flat Earth was supported on the back of a giant World Turtle.

This is not rock music.

Listen here. Download here. Contact here.

In a Time When Speed is Essential, Lightspeed is Quintessential

By morning we are each spectators in our own cinemas.

The reality we wake up to is gradually mixed up with chrome-tinted virtual reality, augmented reality, alternative reality, enhanced reality, unreal reality. Worlds of light where light is more real than the real. Life, game, fiction, film all merge together into a texture of purposes and ideas and hopes and wishes. Enmeshed in the net is the Man as the node in a cyberpunk fantasy become reality. The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.

This is not rock music.

Listen here. Download here. Contact here.

It Is Not Enough to Stare Up the Steps, You Also Have to Step Up the Stairs

So many ways to go and look at the stars.

A space elevator is a proposed structure designed to transport material from a celestial body’s surface into space. Many variants have been proposed, all of which involve traveling along a fixed structure instead of using rocket powered space launch. The concept most often refers to a structure that reaches from the surface of the Earth on or near the Equator to geostationary orbit (GSO) and a counter-mass beyond.

This is not rock music.

Listen here. Download here. Contact here.

Between the Head and the Hand, There Must Be a Heart

‘Work’ is a term that is gradually losing meaning, all the while that we are in an ever growing need of meaningful work.

While it has to be admitted that Freder was born with the silver spoon, he did eventually grow to show character. Perhaps it is only fitting that the liberation of the workman arises from the very nest of the tyrant. Mediation, at best, combines the best of both worlds.

This is not rock music.

Listen here. Download here. Contact here.