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The blog is being migrated and merged with multiple Imphenzia blogs so the format and content will be inconsistent for a while.

Triumphant Return by mindXpander

Today I received word that mindXpander, a Swedish spacesynth duo, released an album on 28 January 2012 titled "Triumphant Return."

If you don't know of the spacesynth genre, not to worry. Neither did I until recently. I have, in fact, loved the genre for decades without actually knowing what it was called. I would, probably wrongfully, describe it as a modern take of the best oldschool "mod" music from the golden Amiga era of the 90s. The duo started making music using Pro Tracker on the Atari, so maybe I'm not entirely under water with my comparison. I find it to be a treasure that melodic elements have been kept intact in the music of mindXpander, even 20 years on!

The album contains 7 lengthy tracks (durations range from 05:30 to 07:32) with a nice variety of tunes. Production quality is excellent and the instruments used are crisp and sound very unlike default presets and patches. I have some insider information from David of mindXpander that quite a lot of time is spent creating new awesome sounds using modular synths. Personally I would freak out if a saw a single cable today, but these guys clearly know what they are doing.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is #4, "Hoshi No Koe", as it reminds me very much of a mod tune named "Space Debris" by Captain. Space Debris is a legendary track that got me involved in making music to begin with back in the 90s. Listening to Hoshi No Koe brings me back memories. Great memories. The difference is that now I can enjoy a crisp modern production and the mix sits great in my Sennheiser PXC450 headphones.

Another great track from the album is the first one, "Blue Creatures." I must admit that the initial 13 seconds are a bit "cliché" (synth music with a typical bassline) - but give it a few seconds and the experience quickly turns into a very enjoyable uplifting melodic journey.

The genre is different from the music I make, but you may find melodic similarities as this style has influenced me a lot over the years. Personally I bought Triumphant Return as an MP3/FLAC album on bandcamp before even reaching the midpoint of Blue Creatures. If you like it as much as I do, consider supporting mindXpander by purchasing Triumphant Return and enjoy it offline in very high quality =)

I will also take this opportunity to inform everyone that I'm working on a little surprise Imphenzia project. Keep your eyes and ears open!

The new Imphenzia music site

Following three months of development the new Imphenzia music site has been launched to start off the new year. This time it was a total re-make from the ground up of the music site and I had to learn how to develop using JQuery in order to get the visual effects, real-time updating of pages without page reloads (using “AJAX”), and at the same time keeping the development effort to realistic proportions.
During the development process I set two requirements upon myself to fulfill, 1) make the new site clean, and 2) make it very simple to use. By using JQuery and quite modern features of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) I realize that there are visitors that will experience problems with the design and functionality, namely the visitors that use old browsers or have disabled javascript. For the first time, however, I felt that it is a sacrifice for the greater good as the vast majority of visitors will benefit from a much improved experience.

I also had time to reflect on the historic designs and trends that my site has endured over the past 13 years. In recent time, for the launch of the 2008 site, it was all about content, content, content, account features, google ads, and more content. Following the trend at the time the font was small to fit in as much text and information as possible and the layout was split into three columns complicating it even further. The 2011 site is the complete opposite with much less information presented in a tidy manner with larger text and without columns. I also think that the time of content packed sites was a natural way to progress as it was expected to make use of fancy layouts and high screen resolutions, where as we’re now back to putting the visitor at the center of attention making sure that the message you want to get across is clearly visible and simple to understand.

For some time I have been contemplating over how I should release my music. In the very beginning it was only possible to purchase physical albums, then the addition of mp3 albums, then single mp3 tracks, then a “donation” to download all tracks for a period of six months. I found the various options, and how they were presented on my site, to be very confusing. What would my visitors think if I thought it was confusing? The idea of a donation, for example, would only make sense if all tracks were downloadable to begin with since a donation is giving without the expectation of receiving anything in return. Bottom line; it was very confusing.

I hope that the new site has taken a big step in the right direction to combat the issues outlined above. The album section has been totally redesigned with a clean look and a visitor can add digital albums and CD albums into a shopping cart. The donation feature has been replaced with a new feature for full access that still focuses on allowing the visitor to contribute with an amount of his or her choice and is return rewarded with longer term of access depending on the size of the contribution.

What is music worth to you

It's been over 12 years since my first album, Sector, was released and back then physical CDs was how music was distributed. I know many listeners still prefer to own a physical copy of the music they purchase, but for me that train has passed a long time ago. The money wasted in pressing, printing, storing and delivering physical discs, both for the artist and for the listener, along with the environmental effects of this process, is to put it simple: unecessary.

Imphenzia MP3 Album


Making quality MP3 albums was a focal feature when I redesigned the Imphenzia.com web site and an important factor was to make sure  that the album would be instantly accessible upon purchase ready for transfer to your MP3-player. The cover and disc artwork is also available for those of you who wish to make a physical copy for your car stereo (although your car most likely plays mp3s by now as well so even that is becoming a redundant requirement). If you purchase an Imphenzia album today, you will always have access to download the music from wherever you are. Have a look at the screenshot to see how the tracks, zip-archive of the entire album, and artwork is presented.

For a long time, however, I've actually thought that the entire concept of albums is quite out of fashion as well. Why should you need to purchase a collection of tracks that may contain tracks you don't particularly like just to get the ones you do want. Again, it comes down to the extra sense of value found in the packaging and concept of an album. The obvious solution to solve this would be to purchase singles, but then it becomes a tedious work to add the ones you want to a shopping cart...

What is the music worth to you?

So what is the solution? The most recent feature developed on Imphenzia.com, available from 8th July 2009, is that instead of purchasing a single or an album, you make a donation representing what the music is worth to you - and you'll get instant access to ALL the imphenzia tracks. I've been thinking about this concept for some time and it is the time to take this step. If you feel 6 hours of trance music is worth $10 - that is what you donate to get access to the music in high quality. If you want to show extra support and appreciation and feel that the music is worth $30, then that is what you donate. I believe that the consumer is mature enough to make this decision and I think it is a way forward for the music industry to combat piracy. In all the debates I've seen about piracy, it's all been about "It costs too much", or "It's not simple enough", or "I don't want DRM" - this is a solution to solve those issues.

LFS Practice

Nordic Racing Group

Today has not been very Imphenzia-oriented due to other commitments. Been to work and the gym and practiced for the Live For Speed race on thursday (it's a new 'Thursday Race' season starting this week). I race for 'Nordic Racing Group' that is proudly sponsored by Imphenzia :) Now, however, I am creating a few copies of Illusion due to some recent orders so I'll ship them tomorrow. I see it's already past 1am as well, hopefully I'll get more time for Imphenzia tomorrow.