AGP is all but done at this point; masters are in (and sound great) and the artwork is complete. Distribution is now in place and the album will be hitting virtual shelves everywhere within the next few weeks!
There are seven tracks on the upcoming album (six songs and one spoken word bit) and it runs about 55 minutes in length. Unlike the first AF album, this one was mixed entirely 'in the box'; that is, no outboard gear was used when mixing this album.
There are a LOT of textures on this album, and I am very happy with the variety of tones from both guitar and synths.
So, how is this album different from the first AF album? As the audio streams will show, there are a few differences:
1. The production is crisper. On the first AF album I relied heavily on the guitar sound developed in Phantom Isle: very '70s influenced fuzz tones recorded with a ribbon mic. This gives a larger-than-life, dark, thick guitar tone. On AGP, I wanted a slightly more modern edge, so I looked to early 80s Rush and Yes for inspiration. Gone are the fuzz pedals (for the most part) and ribbon mic; in are overdrive and dirty boost pedals and a dynamic mic (Sennheiser e609).
2. The songs are 'shorter' and more 'to the point'. Whilst there are still some longer instrumental passages, there are a lot more lyrics this time around. They are also less Pink Floyd/spacey types of jams and more like cinematic interludes and soundscapes. As a simple example, the longest song on AGP is just under 12 minutes in length, whilst the average guitar solo on EoFaF was the same length!
3. The music is more complex. The dial was definitely turned up in terms of complexity for the arrangements on this album! Odd, poly, and subdivided time signatures abound. The solos are more technical and 'metally' and I made a concerted effort to play the keyboards beyond a simple drone.
4. Improved 'fit and finish'. For EoFaF, the lyric booklet was an after-thought once I realized I could not fit the lyrics into the physical CD insert. This time I opted for a simple 2-sided insert but there is a pretty flashy digital booklet included this time around. (Once again, physical copies are EXTREMELY limited to hand-outs for the occasional review and mostly for handing out to close friends)
Looking past this seemingly-endless NYC winter, collaboration will begin on the October release in the Spring of 2015. In fact, the guitar and synth tracks are already recorded for this one and I can promise that it yet again pushes my limits in terms of writing, scope, and composition.