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.
Another two years have past since Illusion was released and I was pleased, and somewhat surprised, as I unexpectedly decided to release "Duplicate My Soul". I should probably follow traditional marketing strategies and build up a hype well ahead of an album being released but when I have my creative periods I spontaneously do these things. At the same time I'm quite happy not to follow all the rules and I'd rather take the opportunity and take advantage when the spontaneous outbursts pay me a visit.
On the 19th of March 2010 I started working on a new track under the project name "Logic Surface" (I always have random names of my tracks until they are finished and I can name them appropriately depending on their character). I nearly completed the track on the 19th but on saturday 20th March I also managed to complete it fairly early in the day. As I named the track "False Awakening" I started to add tracks released after Illusion into my winamp playlist and as the total duration grew to 1 hour, 11 minutes, and 51 seconds (including 4 bonus tracks) it hit me - it's time for my next album to be released! By the evening on the 20th "Duplicate My Soul" was released and available for anyone to get as an mp3-album or as a physical album with artwork and the complete works.
So, in addition to creating "False Awakening" what did I do for this release during the 20th March?
Compiled the final track listing
Created the cover artwork for the jewel case and disc label (using a photoshop tutorial on the internet)
Changed ID-tags for all tracks included on album and re-encoded them in MP3, OGG, ACC, and FLAC
Uploaded all the re-encoded and ID-tagged tracks to imphenzia.com
Added album (artwork, zip-archive for mp3-purchases, and individual tracks) to imphenzia.com
Updated the web site to include the latest album
Created promo video for album demonstrating how I created the artwork (+ upload to youtube)
Sent out an e-mail to my mailing list regarding the new album release
Updated common social networking sites with album release (twitter, facebook, youtube, etc.)
Over all I'm very pleased with achieving all of this in one single day from spawning the idea of releasing an album to actually releasing it.
What to expect from Duplicate My Soul Most of the tracks are of true Imphenzia character with a melodic and uplifting sound. The main 9 tracks are all trance styled with what most probably would refer to as a classic (or retro) styled Trance which was more popular in the late 90s. I haven't been on for following trends or releasing what is currently hot or not, I'd rather create the type of music I love as there are still quite a few out there who appreciate this style. The one exception is probably track number 9 named "Vapour Trail" which was a very experimental track incidentally enough also casually released in silence on imphenzia.com in retrospect 2 years after it was created =) Following the 9 tracks of trance is the first bonus track "Theme of Decimation X" which was originally created for the intense retro shooter game "Decimation X" by Xona games. It fits the over all mood and is very much in line with my normal music that it qualifies as a bonus track on the album. The last three bonus tracks are chilled out downtempo edits of some of the tracks featured on the album.
The name of the album comes from the first track on the album with the same name. The name was selected for two reasons. First of all it is a tribute to my first child (a son) so it is in a sense duplicating my soul, and secondly because the track and all the music of Imphenzia really does reflect my soul and the music I create.
For those of you who are curious of what type of equipment I used to create the music on this album I use the following: Computer: Quad Core Intel 2.4 CPU with 4GB Ram running Windows 7 x64 Master keyboard: Roland FP-7 (88 keys hammer action) and an Evolution MK-226C Sound card: Motherboard's own soundcard believe it or not (with ASIO4ALL drivers) Sequencer: Steinberg Cubase 5 VST instruments: Mainly native Cubase instruments, reFX Nexus2 (plus expansion packs) and reFX VanGuard (plus expansion packs)
Finishing off this post, here is the promo video for the track featuring clips from the first four tracks and a quick preview of how the artwork was created:
Many many hours of hard work finally resulted in the launch of the new 2009-look for Imphenzia.com. All previous sections (music, games and soundtrack) have been united and also a new addition is the section textures which is a searchable database of textures for game makers and modellers.
The new site has cross functionality between the sites and it was developed in PHP with a MySQL backend. The sections now share a common user account feature which will enable anyone who has previously purchased a track, mp3-album or registered a game to access this content at all times.
Another feature is that it was designed with the ability to skin the site so it can be customized, maybe becuase you want a different look or because you want a bigger font or narrower page size etc. There is only the default skin available at the moment but now that the site is launched I may find some time to create some skins.
I hope you like this new site and please feel free to give me feedback or comments. You can also discuss it in the Imphenzia forums :)
Another sleepless night resulted in a new track called "Evolution". It's a very upbeat trance track with a very happy melody and I found the mood quite appropriate now with it being Christmas and all :) As you may have read on the main page it's a free track so the mp3-file (in very high quality) can be downloaded.
My next focus will be to try and get my music launched on Spotify.com. I have already contacted them but they are not quite ready for indie-artists yet but will hopefully launch an upload platform next year some time. I think that Spotify finally delivers a good platform that is perfect for both artists and listeners. Not only is the songs extremely accessible for fans and listeners, but the artists receive compensation from the adverts on free accounts and from the paying members. It's like radio on demand basically :)
Continued remixing the track now and progress is quite slow still due to these tempo issues. The duration is now about 2 minutes and at the end fading out with the original SID will the ideas is to introduce tempo change into a more trancey beat... We'll see how things progress :)
I can definitely tell I'm back in 'real life work now' as I only find 30 minutes here and 45 minutes there to remix. Just when I get into it it's time to quit. It's 2:15 am now and I have to get up at 7:am... hmm, signing out!