Turns out today (02/02/2020) is the first palindrome day in 909 years. The next such occasion will transpire on 12/02/2021, after which, it'll be another 1009 years until the next. On the one hand -- kinda neat; on the other, humans are pretty silly with their attraction to numerical oddities.
A little over a month into the new year, I've been hard at work writing new music, plotting collaborations with other spiffy artists (in genres well outside of my own), learning the art of marketing (aka calculated self-whoring), and redesigning pretty well the entirety of my existing live show. In light of the latter, I've compiled and recorded last year's iteration of my live set, which you may access in its final form via my SoundCloud here:
If you've yet to see me live, let this be a teasing taste of the zany flails that transpire on the stage.
The new album, "The Graveyard of Maybe-Somethings", is available for listens today via BandCamp, the official webpage, and all other platforms where fine musical media is bought and streamed. That being said, if you download it through the website, you'll not only get the full-quality WAV files, but also a tiny bit of bonus content in the form of the original hand-drawn artwork, as well as the digitized versions thereof (with and without title text).
Description reads: "The direct successor to 2018's "Recreational Schizophrenia" debut EP, "The Graveyard of Maybe-Somethings" is the culmination of Alexandre "Alyag" Popravko's tune-tinkering conjuration efforts o'er the twelve or so months that'd followed. As per Alyag's typical modus operandi, the eight-track album twirls and brushes up against an especially eclectic myriad of genres n' styles not often sighted in the same space, yet grooving together rather amicably under less-than-usual sonic circumstances; from melodic guitar-driven drum n' bass hitters, to punk-jam prefixed trance-step, heavy metal psy-trap, ambient psy-chill, something akin to a samba funk rock action movie soundtrack with dueling shredding guitar solos... and then some, plus a half. It's zany, it romps hard, at times gently tugs on the heart-strings, and even introspectively acknowledges itself via spooky cover art by the illustriously talented Rebecca Mead."
Set forth now, my pretties, listen, and enjoy!
It's here! The third and final teaser for the album (title TBA very soon) due later in the fall of 2019, "Molotov Milkshake" is a groovy electro-funk track where gritty single-coil guitarticulations join jaunty sonic tendrils with serrated synths.
This was one of those rare and wonderfully inspired tracks where the riffs just kind of fell out of me and all came together incredibly quickly. I believe the acquisition of my blue modded Telecaster earlier in the year was the culprit -- every time I pick up that guitar, all I want to do is play gritty funk, and this tune is kind of a testament thereto.
In any case, I'm going to keep this tune a BandCamp exclusive for the time being (it'll end up on streaming platforms eventually, as part of the full album). It's a pay-if-y'like getup, so you're definitely more than welcome to snag it as a freebie download. In the meantime, there's also a playthrough video up on mine YouTube, if you're keen on watching me make faces while I dance-flail through the riffs.
As per always, maniest o' thanks for your kind listens!
Oof. It's been a few months since the last word blurb, and what an involved few months it's been. Between producing a pile of new tracks slated for release later this year, to preparing and performing multiple varied live sets (either solo or as collaborative efforts with my dear pals Kali Yuga & The Genesa Project) at local venues as well as festivals around the province, to eventually realizing I'd amassed enough material for the album I've been putting together since last September, and preparing the logistics thereof... yup, it's been a wonderfully busy time.
The long n' short of it is that, as a result of persistent fervent toils over the past months, I now have a solid enough track count to add up to a full-length album; and, although I haven't set an official release date there-for quite yet, I aim to unleash it upon teh interwebz sometime this fall, likely mid-October. The relative nebulousness of the deadline is loosely based on the fact that I've yet to decide on a title, which then dictates the artwork design; there's also track order, the launch of one final single release (making an eventual total of three), and then all the marketing and pre-release legwork, which is a whole other realm I'm admittedly only just beginning to immerse myself in on a serious basis. Such is the life of the independent DIY artist, however -- mastering the wearing of many hats all at once.
I've one more festival on my roster this summer, which I'm endlessly excited to participate in, both as a stage crew member and as a performing artist -- the legendary Shambhala Music Festival. Once again I'll be joining my dearest and most gracious pals, Kali Yuga & The Genesa Project, this time on the Pagoda Stage, for an extended collaborative set featuring a few of my original tunes, a lengthy list of finely handpicked others, all fused and interwoven with a unique assortment of live instrumentation by way of guitars, synths, and sampled percussion. We've played a lot over the past year, and in doing so I think we've really honed into a sort of interpersonal creative rhythm, which as an all-encompassing experience has been far, far superior to any "band" (in the traditional sense) I've ever been a part of. I also kinda sorta owe these two cats the world, not only because they've repeatedly dragged me out into the spotlight, continually challenged me to step outside of my zone of familiarity, plus an extensive list of other reasons I shan't even dare get into. Always super stoked to share the stage with 'em, however, and this one will be the coolest damned event I'll ever have been part of, ever.
Anyway, once I'm back from Shambs, it's right into the grind. The amusing bit is that I'm equally as excited for the album release as I am to get it way out of the way, just so's I can move on from this batch of tunes, and onto the next. Don't get me wrong -- the album tracks are absolutely the coolest, most characteristically varied and interesting things I've written to date -- but I'm already looking past and into what the future holds, because something something ideas galore.
To celebrate the eventual release, I've finally gotten around to doing that video project I'd alluded to last December -- filming a couple of playthrough videos. The original idea of performing a full set has instead evolved into individual tracks, which just made more sense logistically. The first of these is a heavy/melodic guitar-driven drum n' bass track infused with a hard-hitting psy breakdown, called "Your Beloved Scapeghost". This was actually the first track I'd completed for the album, produced last September, though I instead chose to release its immediate successor, "Poofball Ferocity Bush", as the first single. Both will be featured on the album, though Scapeghost takes the cake as being my first music video, so there's that.
Without further adieu (and to finally cut off my run-on rant), here's what a trusty assistant wielding an iPhone 7 camera with a clip-on fish-eye lens, a black backdrop, a couple of rented lights plus a fog machine, and a free copy of video editing software will get you.
And, if you're thusly inclined, here's a free heckin' download of the track, because I love you.
Moar deetz on the album to come in the coming weeks, kthxbai and thanks for listening!
Thus far 2019 has been as busy as expected and then some, although I've somewhat neglected posting ongoing updates in the meanwhile. Here's to changing that.
First and most obvious of all, is the fresh new single from the upcoming album -- "Poofball Ferocity Bush". This was the second track I'd completed for said album, but figured it most worth of a preemptive release as it's already been performed a few times at various live outings. 'Twas my first attempt at a Zebbler Encanti Experience -esque psy-trap sort of heavy drop infused with spicy acoustic guitars, a whiskey barrel cajon, e-piano fueled jazz breakdown, a wall of shreddy guitars, airy harmonies, psytrance builds, and more. That aside, my favorite aspect of this particular release was the artistic collaboration with the illustriously talented Rebecca Mead, who was kind enough to not only humor the visual manifestation of my ludicrous concept of a Poofball Ferocity Bush (yet another of many nonsensical titles featured in my ever-building list of spontaneously made-up and recorded phrasings often spawned within the context of rambunctious wine-fueled ramblings 'tweenst me n' mine); not only did she entertain the idea, but had also spent countless hours drawing the fictitious beast out by hand, and eventually fired the image my way, which I'd promptly imported into Photoshop and went to town with the layers and the superimpositions and the whatnot. Super stoked on the end result:
Speaking of ultra-dope collaborations, my latest tinker-project is a collaboration with the veritable vocal powerhouse that is Tobey Kai. Pals for manious years though we may've been, this is the first actual musical effort we've embarked upon together, with Tobey firing me some vocal stems, around which I've since begun building the rest of the track. A recent Instagrizzle post captured some of the percussion I'd designed for said tune using samples of broken glass, timpani, white noise, and smashed electronics. Aside from my ongoing tinkerings with my own set and sounds, this one's my current primary endeavor, and will be finished in the coming weeks -- will linkie once available.
Speaking of live set, I've confirmed some upcoming live appearances! First and foremost is my feature in the monthly Low Frequency showcase of local electronic talent at Habitat Living Sound here in Calgary, featuring my dear pal Tanner Cherry (aka The Genesa Project), Fat Elvis, Grawlix, and Countdown. This'll be my first official live appearance since December, will feature a pile of new (not to mention unreleased) tracks, a slightly revised and very much optimized setup, and a fresh continuous hour of all original tunes. Manious excitings I has for this 'un.
After that, I'll be doing a guest performance at the return of the colloquially beloved Genesa Series events with Kali Yuga & The Genesa Project, who'll be hosting the official 2019 Pagoda Stage / Shambhala Pre-Party at the Junction bar, featuring Kursa, Seppa, our dear crew, Mary Jane, and KO! with Beama Visuals and some of the most incredible local vendors and vibes.
The final announcements feel utterly unreal to me, yet they're absolutely happening, and I couldn't be more excited: I'll be performing alongside my two dearest pals, Kali Yuga & The Genesa Project at both Astral Harvest and Shambhala this summer, as part of an ever-evolving collaborative set we've been rocking since first teaming up in 2015. Many things are in the works for these sets, from live improv instrumentation to fresh new tunes, and we're all incredibly jazzed to bring it all to the stage. Can. Not. Wait.
The live set I'd prepared for the fundraiser show at the Ship & Anchor Pub earlier this month is now available for listens to all, just in time for the holidays (if your definition of holiday music is thirty-six minutes of high-energy blistering guitar wankery atop of a bedlam blend of electronic grooves). The lone thing missing from this 'ere set is the cornucopia of ridiculous emotes I exhibit as I jump between instruments and the 'puter; but fret not, Internet - I'll tend to that later*.
As is my existing modus operandi, the bed tracks are all pre-mixed and pre-automated, with as much live instrumentation as my mere four limbs can handle.
- Don't Feel Sorry for Bigfoot
- Squat Lobster
- Quicksand Vampires
- Poofball Ferocity Bush (unreleased)
- Public Restroom Justice Warrior
- Argyle Twinkletoes
*My next project will be to orchestrate a video playthrough of said set... just gots to rent some video recorders, spiffy lights, rig up swanky decor in the basement and see what gives. I'm not much of a video guy, so wish me luck.
I've also come to realize that, although it's a pile of work to piece one of these together, it's tremendously fun. Unraveling and remixing my completed existing tracks feeds right into that perpetual producer's thirst for revisiting and updating previous work to current, more evolved standards; solving the challenge of blending already highly varied music to flow together cohesively and adding a fresh contextual spin to everything on a larger scope; writing entire new sections that are exclusive to that set (some of which may even potentially evolve into new standalone tracks down the line); and figuring out which chunks to take out and recreate or even improvise live - all of these aspects add a wholly new layer of depth to the creative process, and are absolutely something I'd never experienced while rehashing the same old songs in a band-type setting however many years ago. The ideas just never seem to stop snowballing, and I kinda sorta love it.
Anyway. Come see me live sometime, and I'll make silly faces at you.
If I were to attempt to articulate as eloquently as I could possibly muster the summation of the past few months, it would be, in a word: phewf!
Long story long, it's been a wonderful whirlwind of happenings, creative concoctings and collaborations, extensive instrument practice, live performances, and copious amounts of blanket-fort-hermit-holing in-between.
In September I'd had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Kali Yuga & The Genesa Project at FozzyFest -- easily my favorite Western Canadian electronic music festival, on the effervescent sandy beaches of Lake Koocanusa -- as well as another smaller local event this past weekend. It's always a blast and a half to join those two and bring my instrumental widdlies to their DJ sets, as their selection of tunes, often being well outside my usual stylistic modus operandi, challenges me to think outside of my regular creative parameters and try my heckin' utmost to tastefully layer a live element over-top of their already incredibly well crafted flowing mixes. We'll definitely be gearing up to do as many more of those as we can muster in the coming year, with more deetz to be announced as they come.
As far as my solo tune-tinkers are concerned, work has begun (and is well under way) on a debut album -- I'm about three tracks deep right now. Shan't say much more than that at the moment, not the least of all because I've little else to go on at this time, but rest assured I'll be leaking information once I has it ironed out.
Finally, I'm in the stages of polishing up a solid 'nuff press kit to start pitching to promoters and event organizers in hopes of booking some live appearances in the coming months. As such, I'll be consistently tweaking some elements of this 'ere website o'er the next few weeks, and may potentially even upload a short-ish set (a half hour or so) for a sort of, "here's how the eff this sounds live" caliber of previewing samplitude.
As per always, maniest o' thanks for your continued listens and support, friends, and I'll shower you in specifics soon!
A couple o' weeks back our local Calgarian legend (and all-around swell fella) Defunk geared up with SKIO Music to throw together a remix contest for one of the tracks off his latest EP, "Empire" -- original track linkie here.
Suffice to say, I was amply elated to leap at the opportunity to dismantle and re-assemble his tune with an Alyag-ish twist. 'Twas admittedly my first time working with a trap/hip-hop sorta track, so it took a few listens and thorough ponders to sort out precisely how I could make it fit within my usual melodic instrumental mold.
Having eventually unraveled the stems in Ableton, the part I'd immediately latched onto was the piano bit right at the end of the original track. It reminded me of Parov Stelar's album Coco (most namely the track, "Distance"), and suddenly I'd imagined the heavier hip-hop feel adopting a slightly faster swing groove, with the underlying orchestral instruments taking a greater space in the spotlight, accompanied by acoustic guitar strums. The first drop takes to that swing with a heavy, almost psy-glitchy attitude, while the second erupts into a full-blown drum-n'-bass crescendo with layers of orchestral strings, hypersaws, chugging guitar harmonies, and then some.
Regardless of the remix contest results (which won't be announced for another couple of weeks), I'm super jazzed on having had the chance to do this 'un, and -- much like any other remix/collab in the past -- learned a tremendous deal about my own sound and production style. And, if you're of mind to support my endeavors in the contest, I humbly ask that you click the image linkie below to listen, like, and perhaps even share the track so's to draw some attention to it (which definitely helps with said contest).
Thanks, as per always, for your generous listens, friends!
Salutations, my pretties!
I'm most pleased to announce that, after many a moon of fervent tune-tinkering toils, I've a shiny new EP on the way! Scheduled for release on August 10th, 2018, and appropriately titled "Recreational Schizophrenia" (sort of pertains to my creative process / typical day-to-day existence), it'll feature four all-new, previously unreleased tracks. As per regular Alyag tradition, each one is vastly different than the next, and cohesively zigzags between a myriad of genres, styles, and beats per minute.
I'll put it this way: if I truly had to sum it up within the parentheses of a ridiculous run-on sentence, I'd describe it as... [cue massive inhale] ...a crowd of feral gremlins stomping frivolously at a bouncy funky neuro-disco rave to the sound of Euro-trance gated saw jitters blasting laser sounds overtop a shield-wall of down-tuned guitars chugging along to the rhythm of Viking-esque war drums beating a heavy electro beat while a drunk mountain troll blows a tremendous air horn in the distance and causes an avalanche. [cue gasp for air to catch breath] Or, something like that.
Now that I've aptly summarized the gist of it, here's an actual breakdown of the tracks:
1. When I'd first seriously began this electroinstrumental journey under the Alyag guise, I began amassing a list of ludicrous, zany, at times paradoxical, rarely sense-making word salads and catchphrases, most often derived from wine-fueled ramblings with my dearest pallo (the notorious Bree, of whom I may paint a more descript picture later, maybe), or podcasts, or what-have-yous, to be used as future track titles... Squat Lobster was the very first entry on that list, and I'd long since intended to make its sonic namesake to portray something jaunty, a tad mischievous, and more than a little weird... and I think I've done that quite well.
The resulting track begins with a jingle being played by what sounds like a ceramic bongo complemented by bells made of bouncy balls ricocheting in the distance; suddenly, a train of funky electro-bass revelers comes barreling by, leaving a swelling synth solo in its wake; in enters a spanky Telecaster followed by a swingy drum breakdown (I legit went down a deep YouTube rabbit hole of Big Band drummers breaking down their performance techniques, and subsequently sought to emulate some of those during programming); a wah-ridden heavy disco build gets crushed by a trance metal mechanoid, followed by more Telectro-funk exploding into an airy guitar solo and synthy-chordy-fadey-outey exit. (I'm seriously making up words now)
Speaking of the swingtastic drum breakdown: it really inspired me to look deeper into sample pads (ex. the Roland SPD::ONE WAV), as physically drumming on one of those is infinitely easier than manually programming individual drum hits and velocities in MIDI, as I've been doing for aeons hitherto. Apt as I am at beat-making via the ol' clicky-mouse method, it's way-hey-hey more fun to actually play the parts, and tweak them after the fact. Added bonus is the live performance aspect down the road; because the more I have to do on stage during a solo performance, the better. More on that later, though. Ahem.
2. Copacetic is a track whose narrative I describe as such: if someone were to take Bossa Nova -esque elevator music, feed it a cocktail of amphetamines, and send it dancing on stage at a drum-n'-bass show in a hazy retro 80's bar while frantically strumming the acoustic guitar... that's essentially the core of it. It actually started out with a sort of jazzy acoustic guitar riff (there's an InstaGrizzle vid shortly after its conception and errrthang), later supplemented by a fretless J-Bass and a pile of layered piano / organ sounds, which I'd aimed to tone as if they came from a ramshackle elevator in an old run-down hotel lounge (anyone here play Fallout?). From there it builds and drops into a drum-and-bass re-rendition thereof, gets all airy and pretty with some of my favorite old-school bell-layered synth pads, explodes into a shreddy guitar solo, mellows out and serenades with the lone vocal verse on the entire EP, and... well, whisper and boom.
3. Argyle Twinkletoes is tense, thick, heavy, and beautiful. This one's easily my favorite to play, and I can't wait to bring it to the stage. The dynamics shift from the creepy and ominous, to the aforementioned shield-wall of down-tuned guitars, to soaring lead guitar harmonies (as if my Scandinavian melodeath influences could be more obvious), to beating war drums, to... eh, I'll let you listen to it, but there's definitely a bit of a twist a fair way's through. Speaking of war drums: while my affinity for giant cinematic percussion has certainly charted an exponential swell over the past couple o' yarrs, the undeniable source of inspiration for the inclusion of the hefty rhythmic elements within Argyle can absolutely be attributed to my powering through the latest season of Vikings around the same time I'd produced this track -- go figure. Also, the infamous Bree became solely responsible for the title, with her remarks re: my wearing a fresh pair of argyle socks being something along the lines of, "well lookit you, mister Argyle Twinkletoes!" -- and thus, a track title was born.
4. Don't Feel Sorry For Bigfoot draws its titular inspiration from some passerby episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast (one of my all-time favorites). At this point I can't rightfully recall which episode, or who the guest was, but it was a line that Rogan had spouted mid-hearty-hilarious-conversation; one I deemed amusing enough to write down, but not important enough to note the context of... my loss, I s'pose. While working on this track, I'd put in a serious multi-hour effort to go back and revisit several of the most likely culprit episodes (Duncan Trussell, Chris Ryan, etc) in an attempt to find and potentially sample the specific line ([build, build, build... "Don't feel" ..build... "Don't feel" ... build... "Don't feel sorry for Bigfoot" ...BWAOW! Drop, etc]), but in the end my efforts bore no fruit. Eh. Already over it.
Anyway, the track ended up being borne of a necessity to complete the live set I'd been working on in parallel to this EP -- surprise! (not actually though... I'd been waxing poetically about this ongoing live set project for many months, virtually everywhere except my website... durr; I swear I've been meaning to properly articulate my intentions for said endeavors via blog post for a while, and totally will at length later... I've been busy, k?) ...long story long, the track I'd initially intended to be my set closer didn't pan out due to some technical reasons, so the decision came to scrap that plan, and instead write something altogether new in its stead.
A year-plus prior, around the same time that I'd tracked the acoustic guitar parts for Public Restroom Justice Warrior, I'd also recorded another, as-of-yet-undetermined-in-its-intended-destination acoustic riff. Two, actually. Both were super fun to play, and good exercises in fretboard movement, so I'd figured I would cash in on them later, when more ideas came to. And so, lo and behold, with the old Ableton sesh resurrected, the entire track came together within the scope of some three-ish days.
It's a fair bit more minimalist than the other tracks on the EP, yet I felt little temptation to succumb to my usual M.O. of dunking it into a layer cake of sonic textures. It's also the only tune I've conjured to date, ever, in any genre, that morphs between different tempos (three in total), which was kinda neat. My favorite part, I think, was the angry gremlin-esque electro-powerhouse bit near the end, where the drop-A tuned seven-string guitars mimic the precise rhythm of the gritty synth, and are hard-gated -- which is kind of a sloppy audio-nerd way of saying that there's a muting gate applied to the guitar tracks, which only opens when it's triggered (#triggered) by the aforementioned gremlin synth. Basically, as soon as the synth makes a "BRRAP", the gate opens, and the underlying guitars are also allowed to make a "BRRAP", and together the two sound thick, and saucy, and rhythmically tight. Yays for days, all around.
Finally, a note about the artwork. Since I was developing my live show alongside the EP, the art pertains to that as much as it does to the recorded release, if not even more so. You can see the four titles, along with their tempo and key markers, poking out beneath the pile of other tracks being arranged on the giant blank canvas. The side-chained gremlin synth mentioned above is also being referenced within one of the holographic thought bubbles. I'll get into the other details and their relevance in my next blerg post, in which I'll talk about the live show (which is now ready, yasss!)... but in the meantime, enjoy the track streams as I throw them online in the coming weeks, and keep an eye and an ear out for the actual release on Friday August 10th!
Maniest n' humblest o' thanks for your listens and reads! Love ya's muchly. ^_^
Last week, a freelance word-slinging gentleman by the name of Karl Magi had graciously reached out to me via email, asking if I'd be willing to discuss a few things regarding my tunes. It'd have been remiss of me to say anything other than, "hells to the heckin' yes!", so here we are.
In the interview, we discuss what it was that had initially sparked my desire to pursue music, my approach to writing and production, the creative process in general, the core discipline behind staying inspired and finishing projects, the current state of electronic music in general, as well as what's next in store for Alyag -- including a new EP, and the live show I'm working at preparing now.
The full interview (along with a number of other badass local artists Karl has had the pleasure of interviewing previously) can be found here.
Maniest o' thanks, Karl!