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Paul Muzea

ambient, world and otherworld music

The year of the CD

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on January 1, 2017
Posted in Music in progressProgress in music. 

The last sunset of 2016, Fremont Center,NY

I have been threatening the release of the CD “Ambient Energy” for several  years now. Unsuccessfully.

This year that will change.

First, a reason/excuse why it’s not done after all this time:

Short answer-it just doesn’t feel right yet.

Longer answer-It’s an ambient album, and creating an ambiance is creating a feeling. If the feeling is not evoked, the album’s a failure. By definition ambiance is a feeling, not just a sound.

The CD has become a bit of a mental/musical block. With at least three other CD’s of material lined up in my queue, none of which are ambient, focus can get diluted. So focus needs to be placed back on the CD at hand. And it has.

I’m really beginning to enjoy ambient energy, and enjoying working on something makes it much easier to persevere. It’s beginning to take on the 4 dimensions I envision and define as ambiance:

  1. Width: of sound, or stereo space
  2. Height: of sound, or frequency spectrum
  3. Depth: some items deep and far away in the mix, others front and center.
  4. Time cohesion: this is the concept that time-space must be gently transitioned through, as Steve Reich once stated “Like the shifting sand of a beach slowly and subtly being sculpted by the waves (not his exact words, but close to the point)

There is one more track that need be added to the CD. It is a piece I created in the early eighties, titled “Arctic Winds”, conceived at the foot of a glacier in a remote area of Alaska a good ways off the the Valdez highway (Chitina, for you map lovers-some places you never forget).

As a side note, that evening I camped within 20 feet of a roaring waterfall. There is an audio-related reason I mention this. Of the thousands of nights I have slept in a tent, only about 2 dozen really stand out a truly memorable and that was one of them. Though the sound of the falls was deafening i had a great rest that night. The power of organic white noise I guess.

The original composition, though still powerful at evoking the space I envisioned, lacked the feel, due to limits of technology (4-track reel-to-reel, DX-7 and sequencer) and the lacking of my production abilities at the time. I feel it is in need of a modern make-over.

For historical purposes, I posted the original “Eighties rendition” on soundcloud.

That is the one major task that need be tackled before the final CD compilation work. But it will get done. And I make the vow that “Ambient Energy” will be completed in 2017.

And in this opening to another year. I beg your indulgence and leave you with this wish/toast/quote I found on a back road deep in the snow covered mountains of upstate New York:

In this new year:
May you choose paths that take you to the destination of your desires by the start of the next.
May you never be swayed from the path of your dreams
May you never beckon someone from their own.
May you have the good fortune to have a companion that shares your path
And may you have the wisdom and courage to bid a warm farewell when paths must part
May you always choose the right path over the familiar and comfortable one.

 

Rendition of Arctic Winds from 1984

Where was I…

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on November 16, 2013
Posted in Progress in music. 

The last 5 months have kept this studio pretty well occupied with business as… not so usual.
I don’t usually take on artists’ projects. But when I heard Sara’s voice, her soulful lyrics, I felt like I didn’t have a choice-I needed to do this. Maybe it’s stupid to get so attached, but when I feel strongly about an artist or music, I can’t leave well enough alone.
She was just embarking on producing her debut CD. What started as an offer to play guitar on a session or two turned into a major part of production on the CD. Now Sara and I are building her a band-I feel fortunate to play guitar in it.
Producing her tracks has been a real joy- I never tire of hearing her sing. But my work on them is done-kissed off to final mix and mastering.

And now it’s time for me to get back to where I left off on at home. My music is an entire mindset, a world away from what I do live with Sara.
For me they are not tracks, they are a place unto themselves and a time unto themselves. They are a solo journey I have yet to find a partner or group to join me on. They feel like visions. They feel like worlds. When I open the door to that tiny room deep in the wee hours of the night- I don’t see a tiny room. I see a wide open expanse of aural possibilities, limitless in all directions. No matter which direction I choose, I know that I can’t possible reach the end. It is mind boggling and inspiring, like being an astral traveler.
Dimensionless, timeless, spaceless and infinite.
Where I was when I left off is irrelevant. I will pick up right…. here and I will head… there. And there will be music along the way. Always.

But here’s a little of what Sara and I have been doing for the past five months..
https://soundcloud.com/sarahulse/marigolds-premaster

Summer Sessions

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on August 13, 2013
Posted in Progress in music. 

Living in paradise-I live where people go on vacation.  The drawback is you never go on vacation-but I love my work so it’s cool.

My own material has taken a back burner as of late for a few side projects. Some background music for a video, an experimental trio with me on guitar.

And Sara.

When I first heard Sara, (even before I got inside the building where she was performing-I heard her from outside)  my first thought was “Man she’s good! What is this singer doing in this place?”

As I got to know her and her music, I became more drawn into the sound of her voice, the lyrics and the sound she creates with just her tiny ukulele.  This lady’s talent runs deep.

So here I am, doing production on someone else music for her debut CD. Something I never planned to do.

The biggest challenge is not to let the music get in the way of her voice. Easy to do, because the songs are so strong. But it’s all about making her sound the best.

I really hope I see this lady go far. I’m here to give her a solid push in that direction.

One of her songs. Not bad production wise, but not done yet.

Tabularasa

Musical Playground

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on June 7, 2013
Posted in Progress in music.  | Tagged With: ,

Since the CD release I haven’t posted much new material; lately I’ve gotten into “experimental” mode- that means trying stuff I’ve never done: alternate tunings, attempts at using household items as percussion instruments and the like… sometimes (most times) things don’t work out the way I intend. Sometimes they work out better,  sometime they don’t work out at all. That’s ok by me.

I see the sonic realm as this vast playground where you can do whatever you want, you can explore to your heart’s content. If you fall down sometimes, so what? As long as you have fun.
And I have also been seriously considering realizing the life-long ambition of building a power/electro/jazz/fusion band for performing. This is all in the planning stage. This will be a deep commitment on my part-much deeper than pure studio-built music. I have about 3 performance-ready tracks (none are yet posted, as they will all be performed with live players, and maybe one low-profile daw/droid) , when I have seven or so I think I’m good and ready to get the plan in process.
But for now tracks move forward. Here’s a little sample.

About the new CD..

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on April 4, 2013
Posted in Progress in music.  | Tagged With: , , , , , , ,

CD_Cover3

Well, my originally goal had been to have the CD “The Sky Suite” done by end of 2012. That’s come and gone. The obstacles, the countless remixes and remasters are also now gone, and I’m happy to say the CD is now available online as a download, and soon to be released as a physical CD.
For me the whole process of mastering is tedious at best, but still there is something so magical about witnessing a bunch of tracks and sound layers getting “glued” together as a real album, and I’m pretty happy with the result.
In any event I hope you get the opportunity to get as much enjoyment out of these tracks as I do. All the tracks are on ReverbNation for a listen, and the download is available at BandCamp

muzea.bandcamp.com/

Up next:
Spring has sprung here in the Catskills (sort of) and after pretty consistent 7 day work weeks for the past 4 months, now that the CD is done and opening day (for fishing) has just passed, I think I’ll just steal a day or two for myself, take my backpack and fly rod and disappear into the wilderness of the Catskills, and hopefully come home with some new sounds and melodies in my head- it’s called re-creation for a good reason.

Then on to the next CD: “Indigo Project.”
Lots of prelimimary work done already, and all the tracks are pretty much sketched out. Who knows, maybe end of 2013 for finishing that one might be in stars
… and lots of music beyond….

Another Year-Made it

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on January 5, 2013
Posted in Progress in music. 

It’s a new year and we made it (Here’s to a good, rockin new year to all).

This was to be the time I was plugging my CD “End of the Sky”. My intention  was to have it done and in stores by end of  2012. Life, as I know it, got in the way.

Instead I have seven wav files, all mixed and good to go to production.  They all sound great.

Except for one. The biggest baddest track of all: serious huge percussion, laced with lots of swirling synthesizers and dancing guitar parts in a humongous canyon like space. Not that it sounds bad-it sounds awesome- in my head. It’s that little detail of getting into an mp3-that the problem.

I thought this one was ready to go at one point. I was building the master CD files. I gave this one listen, not even a critical, hard one. Ouch! back to the mix.

To date: 212 hours, 51 different mixes.  78 tracks (not counting the ones deleted). It has been through 4 major metamorphoses.

I’m not going to say it’s close to done because I’m not sure what it will take to get that sound.  And I’m not giving up-I know when it is done it will be well worth it.

There are several ways to look at a problem, in the studio and in life in general:

  • View it as an insurmountable obstacle. Have someone else do it or just give up
  • Do it half-assed
  • View it as a challenge. take the time to learn. Make mistakes, do it again and again until you get it right.

I choose the last one. It’s not a choice really. I always remind myself to be true to the music -I owe it that. I owe to anyone who enjoys my music. And I owe it to myself-I really love doing this, even when it’s not going right.

So once again: Looking forward to my debut CD “Cry of the Sky” being out in stores in early spring.

And when it is, I’ll make it available as a free mp3 download to fans on facebook.

As always, thanks for listening

Here is a track from the CD that is good to go.

Kiss it off…

Posted by paulmuzea_wp on December 14, 2011
Posted in Progress in music. 

Sometimes It’s hard to know when a mix is really finished.  There’s always something else that can be done to make it a little sweeter, a little crisper,  a little smoother etc etc…

This one is pretty much sounding just the way I want, so I will kiss it off and move on. It’s definitely not what I consider normal repertoire for me (love songs, if you can call it that are not my standard) , but this one really grew on me as it developed. And it’s great to step out of your normal groove when faced with a new challenge. I love it when an artist does something out of the normal for them. So here’s what i consider a final mix.

A tribute to the animal instinct in us all.