New album "Middle Ages" by long time member


and The Brain...
Hello all,

I don't post a lot anymore and tend to visit in spurts overall. Once upon a time this forum was invaluable to me as a fledgling home recording musician. It's been 6 years since my last full album of music. You can read about the prior album and revelations related to its release here. Fast forward, my collaborator and long time friend Scott has been increasingly involved with the music composition on these last two albums and we decided the project has earned its own band name, Ummm.

We live about 200 miles apart (Vegas/LA), so all of this was done over the internet with weekly writing sessions direct from my DAW (Cakewalk Bandlab at the time) using Audiomover's ListenTo streaming plugin, that allows multitrack streaming in real time with only nominal lag. I would share my screen using the free AnyDesk app so we could compose and adjust things together. Worked fairly well, though I'm not sure I would ever consider this for live jamming or tracking over the internet.

I don't get into brickwalling in mastering. The mixing style here is mostly traditional, focusing on good takes and minimal post processing (using VSTs inherently provides a lot of flexibility in the process). The album's a testament to doing a lot with minimal gear, Focusrite 4i4 with Waves and assorted other plugins. Computer at the time was a modest aging AMD Ryzen 7 3700X. Superior Drummer 2 for most of the drum sections, some of them played in parts using my Roland SPD-SX or piecing together sections using my now very large drum midi sample library.

Anyway, figure this might be of use to some to see what a modest setup can accomplish. Music and production often come down to personal preferences, so how I chose to do this is obviously different from how someone else might approach the same music with the same set of tools. It's a variation on the theme worth hearing IMO.

Musically this is rooted in alternative rock, though many rock styles are present throughout the songs, and sometimes within the same song. There's a track for most every rock fan somewhere in here.

Here's an assorted means of enjoying the album for free:

Website: [currently forwards to bandcamp]
Youtube [Lyric Videos]:

Pay sites
Apple Music:
Amazon Music:
Compact Disc:
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One month later followup -- good feedback on the album. Not much movement online in terms of new listeners, other than Youtube randomly promoting our lyris videos for a few days resulting in a couple of them getting more views than would otherwise be expected.

We didn't think much was going to come from the album, without a large marketing budget and insider access to get onto playlist, review sites, and other buzz producing outlets the hopes of anyone important catching wind of it and promoting it on our behalf were very slim. The idea of spending countless hours doing promotion ourselves (a la the 'TikToker' means) was as loathsome to us as the music falling on deaf ears. So it's out there, much like our last album 6 years ago, in a state of irrelevancy and decay. 8-)

Our underlying goal for these two albums was to have something to look back on and feel proud of. A labor of love. Whether or not it charted and pays the mortgage ultimately doesn't change whether or not it's 'good', and worth the time we were going to spend regardless.
I posted this on another forum and figure it serves as another followup in what has become a bit of a farewell rant from me regarding the ongoing state of online music and the decline of "independent music". At some point there may be a full circle moment where people realize the cookie cutter garbage being shoved into playlists isn't objectively good or interesting, but I've grown inpatient waiting for it.

Tough balance making music that's accessible and yet engaging enough for the musicians making it. On top of that, we wanted the lyrical content and music to be cohesive and support one another. In the past song ideas were rarely a precise vision from beginning to end, but with Scott handling probably 2/3 of the "this song's direction is going to be this" aspects, it allowed each track to form its own (complete) identity.

As interested in prog as I am, it doesn't tend to serve the lyrical content / meaning behind the non instrumental music very well. Keeping things rooted in 4/4 and fairly simple song structures is inherent in whether someone can follow along AND "get it". Music intended for the masses needs to function on a base level, we usually only get one listen and sometimes not even a complete song to grab a potential fan.

On that note -- from an objective growing the brand standpoint, this album was a failure. We had more Youtube views but only a handful of complete song listens (based on the youtube analytics). I ran an ad campaign to funnel potential listeners to Spotify, and same there. It's tough to compete with establish artists and 60+ years of rock music at our finger tips. Not to be overly dramatic, but this was the last hurrah. We set out to make an album (really, the last two albums) that represented our vision for the music and brought what we could offer to the music community at the highest level we could reasonably offer. It's largely fallen on deaf ears. There's just too much out there, oversaturated streaming services competing for the same percentage of vaguely interested (and let's face it, aging) ears. We did it for ourselves, and in my heart knew this might have been it, so we did it at a high level as a farewell.
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