I have decided to re-release all of my previous recordings from 2005 – 2009 on my netlabel Vulpiano Records and, consequently, Internet Archive under Creative Commons Attribution. I have been busy with so many other projects since then and carrying on with college and work that music has unfortunately become a kind of afterthought to the day. I have begun to change that by re-learning my old methods of composing and completing works and trying to let go of the imaginary pressure to turn out finished pieces right away. The works can be downloaded individually on Internet Archive or Mediafire or all at once in this handy .ZIP.
My old method of working on songs involved doing “sketches” of a song first by improvising around on the keyboard for a minute or two. Perhaps I would record another instrument or layer on top for added interest. I would usually have a piece of scenery or maybe something that would work for a video game in my head or a mood, sometimes a person. At times I would make up lyrics to go along with what I was playing, as if the instrument was a “voice” for those lyrics but the words would not ever appear except occasionally in the title of the finished product. I would play back the song sketch and decide what parts worked and which ones didn’t and record again until I was happy with a more developed song.
Some more sketchy tracks do appear on some of my releases, especially the earlier ones, and they can be difficult to listen to, but I think they show my process of working more clearly as they are so obviously improvised. And anyhow, who said that a finished product can’t also be the result of playful improvisation?
The re-release collection includes the following:
Selected Recordings: 2005 – 2007: This was my first ever release and compilation of tracks I worked on from ages 15 to 17. These are all tracks resulting from playing around with and trying to learn the Korg Triton LE. At this time, my most immediate influence in work was video game music (Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo, Tomohito Nishiura) and very little else. This is what I grew up learning to play along to and it wasn’t until a little later that the other music I listened to figured in as inspiration. Many of these tracks play off of one very specific idea / scene (such as “Seaside Marketplace”), like how one might do a soundtrack piece. At this time, I was very interested in the idea of doing video game soundtracks myself (and still would not be opposed!) or perhaps film soundtracks. Some of the songs were made specifically with a video game element in mind like “Final Boss” and “Battleground”. I was quite interested in string and sitar sounds and figuring out how to use more than one instrument in a track, which was totally new for me then as I’d only used an old school basic CASIO before this time.
I particularly enjoyed making songs with a spooky atmosphere, like “Rattling Bones” and “Yomi”. My best song here is “Indigo”, which would later reappear on New Limerent Object and get a lovely music video by E.K. Wimmer.
Dark Mist EP: This was my first focused attempt at a release instead of a compilation of odds and ends. The theme here was to explore more of the dark themes that kept cropping up in my material. I feel like I was gaining more control over the Korg and in keeping to a minimal and deliberately uncomfortable atmosphere. I would like to revisit the mood of this EP again on another work in the future. Music video for “Overshadowed”.
Bits: Bits functions as a kind of counter-point to Dark Mist, being brighter in many ways, though still unsettling (like the slightly out of tune harpsichord effect in “Clouds Cast Shadows” and the haunting organ of “Pythoness”, which would not be out of place in Ultimecia’s Castle in Final Fantasy VIII). “Demon Neighborhood” was made with an imagined 8-bit town of demons in mind. Many songs are intentionally cute like “Last Seconds of Dancing” and “Mice in Luv”. I made “Salome” when I was in high fever over Oscar Wilde. Music video for “Olive, the Lounge-Cat”.
I Dreamt of Sound: Songs are very much more cinematic than the previous releases, and more consistently clear in terms of recording. Unlike the previous two, there isn’t a unifying theme and the presentation evokes the mixed bag of my very first compilation. Maybe it is meant to evoke the drifting between images and scenarios of dreams? I believe the most successful track here is “Space Jungles”. The whole release is a bit of a transition point between the video game soundtrack influence and bringing in more of the other instrumental works that I liked (Brian Eno, being introduced to BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Ghost Box, etc.).
The Best of the Beginning: What I felt at the time to be my 20 strongest tracks from the previous four releases. Something I passed around to family and friends that asked about my music.
Rarities and Demos: I remember finding the idea of putting out my own rarities and demos collection to be pretty funny being that I was always in control of releasing my music the whole time. What caused this collection to be different from the others is that it was material that was excluded from my initial compilation or from the other releases. I think there are a lot of great thematic tracks here, like “Evening News” and “Forest Clearing”. Some of these are the ‘sketches’ I mentioned previously, and I think it shows, but in a way that is fun to listen to.
Ermine EP: With the release of this EP, I was finally confident enough to really start sharing my music outside of the Last.fm and Rate Your Music communities and began sending my material to blogs. Drone and shoegaze became an influence here, heard especially well on “Snowtape”. This is when I began to use Propellerhead Reason for most of my composing and final output. Music video for 感嘆符 (!).
New Limerent Object: My first proper album. My description upon release: “New Limerent Object, the 2009 debut album from 19 year-old electronic instrumentalist Marilyn Roxie, provides 16 tracks that hint at their variety of influences, including electronic masters from Brian Eno to Nobuo Uematsu, krautrock from Faust to Kraftwerk, and library music from Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to Ghost Box Records artists today, as their unique stylings show through the blend all the while.” By this point, I had a much more cohesive idea of the themes I wanted to explore and, along with Dark Mist EP, this is the release I find the easiest to listen to and that I am the least critical of. I don’t think it could have been made without being directly influenced by Spacemen 3 / Spectrum and Natural Snow Buildings. I chose the name based on my own feelings of romantic/sexual frustration.
Limerence, as posited by psychologist Dorothy Tennov, is an involuntary cognitive and emotional state in which a person feels an intense romantic desire for another person (the limerent object). It is characterized by intrusive thinking and pronounced sensitivity to external events that reflect the disposition of the limerent object towards the individual…Tennov describes limerence as beginning with a barely perceptible feeling of increased interest in the limerent object, that, if nurtured by appropriate conditions, can grow to enormous intensity, although in most cases it subsides to a low level after some time. At this stage, states Tennov, limerence is either transformed through reciprocation or it is transferred to another person who then becomes the new limerent object. (source)
Earth and Water: My final releases before disappearing into obscurity on the musical front were collaborations with fellow musicians, mostly encountered through my music blog A Future in Noise or Last.fm / Rate Your Music connections. I intended a series of collaborative EPs based around the elements and only got as far as Earth and Water! Perhaps one of my next steps should be finishing off the series? I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve gotten from folks over the years.
This concludes the purge of my previous material. Hopefully the unearthing of all of this will set a clear path forward for new material.