First impressions are paramount wherever your music is concerned. While your work should indeed speak for itself, it’s just as important that your music is packaged and presented in a compelling way. Something as subtle as a logo can serve as an entry point to your music. In this episode, we’re going to explore a few ways to develop a cohesive visual aesthetic. With this groundwork in place, you’ll be able to communicate the full breadth of your artistic vision…all without having to say a single word!
Like many worthwhile ventures, cultivating a music project is an ongoing act of passion and deliberation. Many good ideas often become great ideas as a result of thoughtful iteration. Last time, we touched on this topic specifically as it relates to your artist or band name. If you’re totally amped about your project name and are itching to put that name to work, this episode is for you! We’re going to bulk up your to-do list with some very important action items: locking down your moniker, saving a seat for yourself on distribution platforms, and drafting an effective artist biography.
If you’ve already endured the rigorous gauntlet of refining your sound and discovering your creative voice, then you’re in luck! You have already done the most difficult part. If you’re not quite at this stage, don’t worry—writing and production will be touched upon in another article series. If, however, you’re ready to get your music in front of people and take your project to the next level, this series is right up your alley. Leveling Up Your Artistic Identity is a episodic column that delves deep into the fine minutia of topics like how to build a marketing strategy, how to get your music in front of new fans, and how to grow your professional network. In this first installment, we’ll explore how to set the stage for your budding project and, armed with that knowledge, know how to choose an appropriate name.
I must be getting old, because these days I’m actively seeking calming music to play me off to dreamland in the evenings. I already shared my go-to sleepytime album a few months back, but while checking out related and recommended albums after last month’s review I stumbled onto a release from a tiny German label called Dead Bison. I was intrigued – they’ve got almost no web presence and just three releases through the last three years, I’m not even sure how they popped up aside from Bandcamp’s recommendation algorithms being very, very good. ‘Driving East’ by Natsukashii is one of these three releases, and by halfway through the first track I had experienced a relaxing calm so pure I knew this had to be what I’ve been looking for.
Over the last few years, for reasons best left to the wastes of time, I’ve dedicated a lotmoretime on the blog writing about albums that feature FM synthesis, be it on live chips or emulated. It seems like in a sea of Gameboy music, FM often goes by the wayside. Thankfully, some folks in the frozen northlands of Mapleopolis Montreal are fighting the good fight and have been working to change that. If you’ve used a DAW to make chipmusic in the last 20 years, you’re probably familiar with Plogue and their line of chiptune emulation VSTs. Their latest release, the PortaFM, focuses on the emulation of the YM2413 chip (also known as the OPLL), and the good folks at Toy Company have released a small album to demonstrate just what this baby can do.
This month, we were graced by a new Cheapbeats release written and produced by UK electronic artist, Gesceap. Released on May 4th, the seven track album is full of glitchy percussion and hypnotic melodies composed with Nanoloop. With a variety of digital elements comes a strong song structure created from from samples and soft synths. Interestingly enough, this was the first Nanoloop iOS album ever released on Cheapbeats, so on top of the sound being sublime, listeners can hear history unfolding right before their ears.
When I listen to a record, just like how when I make one, I tend to listen and check my mixes on both my studio speakers and headphones. I’m currently on the road and, as I write this, I’m limited to my iPhone speakers. Just from hearing it from this extremely limited audiosource, I can say the album’s mixes are done very well. The percussion cuts through perfectly, and the bass holds its own space without creating a centimeter of mud. While an album isn’t just about a great mix, I can honestly say that each track was wonderful to listen to and the album itself was easy to listen to at one time. As a whole, it was unique and beautiful, and I can see why Cheapbeats proudly released it.