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Greetings,

As you can tell, it has been a long while since I wrote something here.  Coincidentally, I have chosen to write on the sixth anniversary of when Alpha was completed and released*.  Thus, this will be a post that will cover not only the past but also the present and perhaps the future as well.

* Between us, there was a snag in making it available through the Internet Archive and it was only until several weeks later when it was finally made available there.  I still consider its first release date to be December 30, 2008.

The original intent for The Spangle Maker was to have the EPs to be “concept-driven” while the LPs are just an anthology of songs that have nothing to do with each other other than its creator and similar timeframe.  To drive home the point, the LPs will have standard issue titles: Alpha being the first, Beta the second, Gamma the third, etc. I started coming up with ideas for songs since late 2006 or so while I was finishing The Romantic Dysthymia.  Originally, Natalie Garland and Andrew Thompson were going to be involved but they ended up pursuing other projects.  I continued to work on songs through 2007 and into 2008.  This was on top of many other things that were happening to me personally.

Alpha was definitely a demonstration of both what I could do and what was on my mind.  I had talked about how “Firerage” was inspired by the Greek forest fires during the summer of 2007 and “Grey Clouds Hover Above the Clouds” was inspired by the Virginia Tech shooting.  The other songs were just emotional reflexes on various things.  “The Automaton’s Rebellion” was my discontent with both any and all day-jobs I had and living in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  “When Will the Moment Begin” and “The Blue Shore” represented my romantic side.  “The Modern Ameinias” – which is separated into two parts, “Tears” and “Blood” – was an attempt to tell a story about someone who desires a same-sex yet strictly platonic relationship and yet ends up with something else.  “Fall of the Leaves” were created as contrasting interludes to give the album a certain flow.

Amy Green (at the time) and I share the same alma mater.  Even with the departure of Natalie Garland, I still wanted a female vocalist for some of the songs I wrote.  She appears in four of them: “The Softest Chord”, “Firerage”, “Circumambulation (A Way Forward)” and “Before the Empyrean Throne”.  “Firerage” had the concept already there and she was able to take it and make it her own also.  “The Softest Chord” was designed as a dream-pop song (and perhaps one of the few times where the project sounds similar to the artist who provided the name) and she was able to make it about the river representing time.  (The phrase came from a contemporary translation of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus.)  “Before the Empyrean Throne” I intended to be a kind of hymn for the heavens and she sensed this as well.  “Circumambulation (A Way Forward)” took a neo-Baroque piece and she made it into a look at the history of man’s vainglory.

The album was completed and released mere days before I made the biggest transition in my life: moving from the Washington, DC metro area to the Boston metro area.  The transition was not a particularly easy one and it is still painful to recall what had occurred during that first year.  In summation, it was not pleasant.  Interestingly enough, this angst formed the basis for other songs that were intended for the next LP, Beta.  But over the course of nearly six years, things have changed greatly.

It was a combination of various factors.  As stated earlier, the transition from VA to MA was not an easy one.  This also occurred when I experienced another not-at-all easy moment that happened during the making of Alpha but before the move.  All of these bad turns led to a personal depression, which still lingers even after all these years and other positive things that have occurred.  I also believe that the circumstances that led to the depression also affected my musical ambitions directly.  As I was not feeling the strong impulse to make more music, I was feeling the desire to work on film projects as a writer and then eventually as a director/producer.  It was during this intense moment of my personal depression where I wrote three feature-length scripts.  Since that time, film has been more of a focus for me creatively, though it has also created its own tribulations.  Finally, there is also the expense involved in making music.  Right now, I am at a point where I am stalled musically due to equipment mishaps and malfunctions.  (The current one is an almost seven-year desktop computer on the fritz.)  As music – not just mine, but in general – does not yield a great return, I have yet to acquire the resources to make appropriate upgrades (and perhaps expansions).  There is more but I will leave it at that for now.

This is not to say it has been extinct.  I was able to release through The Spangle Maker another EP, The Rose of Al Basrah, a couple more singles and then the single compilation The Singles Volume 1.  I even wrote a song for my brother’s wedding called “All That Heaven Allows” and even performed it as part of my toast to the newlywed couple.  I still have ideas and I occasionally record a demo or a sketch whenever I feel inspired by something.  But as stated in the previous paragraph, music and I have reached an estranged relationship.

Right now, I am working – when there were plenty of times when I was not – and it has been stable for almost two years.  However, the hours are long and often unforgiving.  When I am not working for money, I am either decompressing from the workload or I am working on film projects mostly as they seem to provide not only the most inspiration but also the most drive.  As I am supporting myself and with very little outside support – of any kind – it has been extremely difficult for me to get a lot of the things I want to do to have happened.  And the path I chose was never the easy one.

I am not writing this to provide a pity party.  If there is anything that you should get out of this, it is an awareness of how difficult to realize anything creative and that any and all support is not only encourage but also greatly appreciated.  All I can do for now is till soil and plant seeds until something blossoms.  So far, I have yet to see the yield.  Yet, I keep going.  I am not sure if I can fully – much less succinctly answer – answer why I do.

All the best, DP

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~ by djproject on 30 December 2014.

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