A Snapshot of Ongoing Projects July 2020

“Into the Valley” 2018 by R J Hembree Photography
“Into the Valley” 2018 by R J Hembree Photography

1.) I officially announced the full-length “Asymptote” album in May of last year – sixteen months ago – saying that the all-instrumental album was “a hugely eclectic offering that I hope to release both digitally and on CD later this year” but, obviously, that didn’t happen. The project continued to grow in scope and complexity and I announced in my “2019 Year-End Update” that I intended “to make a trip out to Nashville in April and return with a completed album mixed to the premaster stage” but, again obviously, that didn’t happen either, primarily because of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As things currently stand I have all the audio files for fifteen programmed songs on the album and am merely waiting until I am able to spend two or three quality days in Nashville at the mixing console with my co-producer Alex in order to finish things up properly. For the record – and I can’t stress this enough – I am also waiting the physical distribution channels to properly reopen before I complete the album.

These are the fifteen “Asymptote” songs that are already effectively finished, approximately 66 minutes of music, in alphabetical order: “Ameles Potamos” feat Ony (Greg Onychuk); “April Covenant” feat The Unified One (Stephen Speelman); “Brookside Interlude” feat Anne Epperly; “The Chase” feat Jeremy Barnes; “Continuity” feat Gormuzik (Gordo Bennett); “Dream Sequence Gunmen” feat Nazim Chambi; “Emelya Durák” (Емеля Дурак) feat Andrew Negoustorov; “Galactic Edge” (لبه کهکشانی) feat Farzad Golpayegani; “Hephaestus the Cuckold” feat Farzad Golpayegani; “Mister Wizard” feat Jason Cale; “Parallel Play” feat Jason Cale; “Power Curve” feat Jason Cale; “Quicksilberdrachenlied” feat Milt Gore; “Stare Con Te” feat Marco Iacobini; and  “Trompe L’Coeur” feat Nazim Chambi & Anne Epperly. I have two more songs “on deck” for “Asymptote” but at this point I’m not concerned if they’re ready for this album or not.

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Original photo copyright 2019 by Pete Feds Photography

2.) I had always planned on recording and releasing the three song “No Contest” mini EP separately from the “Asymptote” album and in digital-only formats but since production of “Asymptote” was held up we pushed forward with production of the “No Contest” mini EP. As I’ve described them elsewhere, the “No Contest” mini EP is “an eclectic trio of saxophone-driven songs overlaid with hints of jazz, blues, funk – and even a touch of progressive – but are straightforward rock at their core.” All three songs are driven by the superlative saxophone work of Jeff Saunders and all three songs are currently in the capable hands of veteran drummer Jae Sinnett so he can track live drums in place of the current MIDI-generated placeholders. We’re producing the EP locally here in Virginia and there aren’t any restrictions that might affect digital distribution so we fully expect to have the “No Contest” EP out sailing the digital seas by the end of September. Wish us luck.

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“I Kissed a Girl” cover by Randall Lee
via digital manipulation of one of Cara’s original photographs, used by permission

3.) As it will say on the release itself, “I approached Cara Isadora in February 2020 about singing the vocally driven songs of my forthcoming full-length ‘We Are Also the Dreamt’ album, a heavily prog-tinged affair full of operatic and madrigal nuances. During this discussion we discovered that we both had widely diverse musical tastes and decided to record a licensed version of my straightforward rock arrangement of Katy Perry’s 2008 hit ‘I Kissed a Girl’ just to test the waters of our musical compatibility and have some fun doing it.” It’s a harder edged, heavier version of the song than the original and we’ve finished recording all the tracks, including a killer guitar solo and embellishments by the virtuosic Milt Gore. I’ve already purchased all the necessary rights for downloads and streaming. Just like with the “Asymptote” album above, however, I have to wait until I am able to make a brief trip out to Nashville so I can sit at the mixing console with my co-producer Alex in order to finish things up properly. This would be a much briefer trip than the “Asymptote” sessions and physical distribution is not an issue so I hope to make it happen sometime within the next several weeks.

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ALSO IN THE WORKS:

“Hephaestus” digital painting
by Farzad Golpayegani, 2020

If I can make the “I Kissed a Girl” session happen sometime soon, and if scheduling allows for it, I intend to release a preview version “Hephaestus the Cuckold” featuring Farzad Golpayegani from the “Asymptote” album at that time. I will make it available exclusively via bandcamp but there will also be an accompanying video available solely via the Quicksilver Night site.

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In addition to the full-length album, the mini EP, and the standalone single I mentioned above – projects that should all see the proverbial light of day in the relatively near future – I have been also spending a lot of time working on the music for the full-length album “We Are Also the Dreamt” but I don’t plan on beginning the tracking phase of it until 2021, after the official release of the projects I wrote about in the above paragraphs. I also have plans to record and release another cover song with Cara on vocals in 2021 but I’ll keep it under my hat for now. We’re making progress on all fronts, however annoyingly incremental that progress can sometimes seem.  New music is coming soon, I promise.

2019 Year-End Update

…All Things Quicksilver Night

The year is effectively over – as is the decade – and I find myself reflecting on the year gone by and making plans for the year ahead.

Quicksilver Night released the three-song digital-only mini EP “Presque Vu” in May and then an unplugged version of “October Skies” from that EP in November. Featuring Meagan Finning (vocals) and Jason Cale (guitar), Quicksilver Night’s “Presque Vu” is a trio of drivingly melodic songs, progressive but rooted in classic rock with Celtic overtones and Gothic undercurrents. Available at digital outlets everywhere, go to https://quicksilvernight.hearnow.com/presque-vu

Most of my musical activity in 2019 beyond “Presque Vu” centered around the forthcoming “Asymptote” album. I talk further about that project in another section below.

As I posted to my facebook page on December 6th: “Here’s a screenshot from the final slide of Spotify for Artist’s online presentation of Quicksilver Night’s activity for 2019. It’s a nice year-end validation if nothing else. Thank you all for your support!”

By far the largest part of the activity represented by those metrics from the 98K cumulative streams of the “Presque Vu” mini EP that we released in May. I tried several different avenues of Spotify promotion with various degrees of success and I believe I know which of these to pursue with the release of the “Asymptote” album in 2020.

As I posted on November 30th, Quicksilver Night’s 2018 full-length album “Symmetry” album was nominated for a Friday Night Progressive 2019 Indeprog Award in the “Vocals” category and won third place from among a great many more nominees! I was humbly but very pleasantly surprised by this accolade. I’m especially proud of the title track “Symmetry” – featuring as it does the powerful vocals of Jon Boylan and the amazing fretwork of Farzad Golpayegani – and am happy that it was played on several Internet-based radio stations in 2019 and spent some time as my most-streamed song at both Spotify and Pandora.

“Symmetry” is available as a physical CD and download/streaming at multiple digital outlets via this link:  https://quicksilvernight.hearnow.com/symmetry

Check out this excerpt of an amazing photograph “Into the Valley” by my friend Bob Hembree. Taken December 4, 2018 at Monument Valley, Utah, I’ve licensed this photo for use as the album cover of Quicksilver Night’s forthcoming all-instrumental “Asymptote” album.

Work continues apace on “Asymptote”: it is currently programmed to contain 14 songs at a total runtime of 59:01. As of now I have five of those songs essentially finished: “Mister Wizard” (feat. Jason Cale); “Power Curve” (feat. Jason Cale); “Brookside Interlude” (feat. Anne Epperly); “Trompe L’Coeur” (feat. Nazim Chambi & Anne Epperly); and “Hephaestus the Cuckold” (feat. Farzad Golpayegani). I have three more that are very nearly finished and only await final polishing by my collaborators: “Quicksilberdrachenlied” (feat. Milt Gore); “Dream Sequence Gunmen” (feat. Nazim Chambi); and “The Chase” (feat. Jeremy Barnes). I have heard samples of what these guys have done with those songs so far and they are unbelievable across the board.

As to the remainder, I just finished recording my guitars for three other songs: “Emelya Durák” (feat. Andrew Negoustorov); “Essere Con Te” (a working title, collaborator TBA); and “Dorian Gray” (another working title, featuring Jason Cale) and the song “Continuity” is in the capable hands of Gormuzik’s Gordo Bennett. For the record he wrote me on  December 16th “I’ll iron out what I’ve got and work out more solid ideas before I waste your time with it then I’ll send it along for your approval” so I’m greatly looking forward to that. I also have another pair of untitled works currently being spun up at the hands of my co-producer – my friend and invaluable ally – Alex that will be recorded before January is out.

My goal is to make a trip out to Nashville in April and return with a completed album mixed to the premaster stage with one caveat: at that point, after I have everything sounding as good as I can reasonably expect and it’s otherwise ready for mastering, I intend to engage a professional drummer and bassist to re-track the drums and bass for the entire album. I will probably keep the MIDI-driven synthetic tracks but will mix them well-beneath the live tracks where they can provide subtle drive and layering beneath the real drums and bass, more felt than heard.

Also in the works, Farzad and I are in talks to produce a video to accompany the song “Hephaestus the Cuckold”; Farzad is an incredible visual and graphic arts wizard as well as a musical alchemist and the song suggests imagery that naturally lends itself well to Farzad’s surrealist/expressionist stylings. I will make further announcements on this front as they become warranted but at this point I’m fairly certain I want to go ahead with it and I am debating on whether to release the video ahead of the album and exploring the possibility of embedding a copy of the video on the CD itself. We’ll see.

So, to sum up, Quicksilver Night had some small degree of success in 2019 and I’m looking forward to the possibilities 2020 has to offer.  Life is good; have a great year!

“What’s Next for Quicksilver Night?”

Well, since you asked…

Check out this excerpt of an amazing photograph “Into the Valley” by my friend Bob Hembree. An impressive vista, isn’t it? It was taken December 4, 2018 at Monument Valley, Utah. I’ve licensed this photo for use as the album cover of Quicksilver Night’s forthcoming all-instrumental “Asymptote” album, a hugely eclectic offering that I hope to release both digitally and on CD later this year (but to be honest I’m probably overly optimistic about the time frame).

An all-instrumental album might seem a little bit like an odd choice but I’ll tell you how it came about. I posted this earlier in the year and it still applies for the most part so rather than reinvent the wheel:

“My musical output in terms of instrumental parts far exceeds my ability to write meaningful lyrics and as a result I have a huge backlog of instrumental pieces, most them guitar-driven, just waiting for the right axe slinger to come along and make those songs his or her own. To this end I’d like to announce a forthcoming full-length instrumental album by Quicksilver Night . . . covering a range of rock subgenres. We will begin recording this album in early 2019 upon completion of the “Presque Vu” EP and intend to release it – in digital and on CD – before the year is over.” But wait, there’s more…

You might notice that little gap in the quote above; taken from my old website, it used to say “…featuring the incredible Jason Cale on guitar…” but that’s no longer entirely true. I realized that it was unrealistic of me to expect Jason to give me an entire album’s worth of melodic and solo material in such a relatively brief time and thusly simultaneously bottleneck both my workflow and his. He’s got numerous other musical projects going on; I’m thrilled to be a small part of it but I don’t intend to monopolize his time. At the moment the “Asymptote” album is set to include the following songs, all of which are well-into the tracking phase and in some cases already nearly finished (in alphabetical order):

1. “Dream Sequence Gunmen” – featuring Nazim Chambi, a fun but driving instrumental rock song that reminds me of a hybrid of “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “Highway Star”

2. “Hephaestus the Cuckold” – featuring Farzad Golpayegani, a powerful prog metal number replete with ringing anvil strikes

3. “Mister Wizard” – featuring Jason Cale, is odd-meter funk with elements of prog, blues, and a whiff of jazz

4. “Power Curve” – featuring Jason Cale, as the title suggests, is powerful and melodic, sort of Van Halen meets Argent in Ozzy’s living room

5. “Trompe L’Coeur” – featuring Nazim Chambi & Anne Epperly, piano-driven and classically-inspired with melodic electric guitar passages and sweet flute interludes

In addition, by way of a heads-up: I can guarantee you some neoclassical flash from my good friend Milt Gore but we haven’t titled the track yet. I also have a tentative agreement with Gordo Bennett regarding the song “Continuity” but scheduling remains problematic; we’ll see. I’ve gotten positive responses from Jeremy Barnes, Andrew Negoustorov, and Jay Rakes regarding their involvement but we haven’t yet hammered out specific details; I will do my best to keep you informed as meaningful updates become available.

As to any questions about the chosen title, you can easily look up the definition of “asymptote” but you might be wondering why I chose it as a title. It’s not arbitrary; I’ve actually long been fascinated by the idea of a line getting ever closer but never quite reaching something, always approaching but never quite getting there. It’s a mathematical term that has useful philosophical implications in my book. The story of why I actually chose “Asymptote” as the title has to do with two things: 1) My working title of the album was “Mister Wizard” after the track of the same name but once I expanded the album to include other featured artists I didn’t want to name the album after one of the tracks and perhaps thusly create the impression that I value the musical contributions of any one of my collaborators over that of another and 2) I was looking at Bob Hembree’s “Into the Valley” and thinking in terms of vast distances and the idea that the horizon might appear close or distant but we can never quite reach it because we perceptually create it ourselves.  While the road might be suggestive of a line toward the horizon I was thinking of it as might allegorically pertain to our lives and our ambitions.