Lughnasad (24​-​bit Collector's Edition)

by Andy Pickford

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1.
Mundo 04:48
2.
3.
4.
5.
Obsidian 06:31
6.
7.
8.
9.
Drifting 05:46
10.
Lughnasad 07:48
11.
Vanilla 04:35
12.
Heart 07:45
13.
14.
15.
Mnemosyne 26:40
16.
Senanque 26:47
17.
18.
19.

about

The Lughnasad album began as an idea back in 2000.
It’s meant to represent a spiritual journey from the mundane here-and-now, through into deeper realms of… stuff. I was also heavily into frequencies for healing, self-hypnosis and general f*ckery at the time. So a ton of that went in the mix too. Such fun.
And if that wasn’t enough, I was getting some terrific homegrown from my mate in Germany ;-) It was needed too, since around June time I slipped a disc and ended up off work for several months. I was both inspired and in agony at the same time.

For the entirety of Lughnasad and its additional material the sole instrument in use was a Korg Triton, maxed out with 128mb ram, Zip/Jazz drive and that same Akai 1gb 4-track recorder used on Nemesis. I contributed some words and overtone wailing for good measure ;-)

Mundo
The mundane world, pretty much. Where most peeps are right now. A jolly good place place to start any trip ;-)

Sunstanding 1, 2 & 3
One of my homages to Summer. Listening retrospectively, I can hear how the mood is bright and positive, but also there’s underlying mystique in there which expands that out to a deeper level.

Obsidian
And speaking of deeper levels…
Here’s me serenading the virtues of ancient volcanic glass. I hadn’t quite got in mind about it killing white walkers in Westeros, but hey ho! Actually, what had I got in mind? Erm… a fair amount of THC I would say. That’s it! Forget anything arty, I was clearly off my noddle ;-) It’s my excuse for anything I can’t explain without needing many words :-D

Voices in The Deep
Now, by this stage in proceedings I must have been so mashed I decided to put a mic boom in the echoey stairwell and start wailing out overtones, to varying degrees of success, topping it off by clearly failing to play a whistle in tune whatsoever! Seriously now, I was actually in the most pain from my slipped disk at the time, it was about 30’C outside (sweltering inside). So picture me standing like a monkey, hugging the wall to stand up, wailing this stuff out to take my mind off the bloody pain, which had been significantly dulled by self-medication but still hurt. All that and I was only wearing my boxers cos of the heat! Hehehe… now what has been said cannot be unsaid ;-)

Mnemosyne (excerpt)
It’s an excerpt of Mnemosyne, that’s what it is!

Paths of Vision
Many paths, many visions, montage kind of sound. Listening back, I can’t work out how on earth these samples managed to work and still sound synced, tempo-matched etc. I mean, it was a Triton after all - before built-in ass-wiping technology.

Drifting
Ah… nice toon, positive major key stuff. It’s quite a simple construction which worked out very nicely.

Lughnasad
Original album version of course. Those hoping for a version which has me on vocoder and not Rachel, sorry dudes. Ain’t happening. My 2020 mix (last track) gets quite close though.

Vanilla
A thing at the time over in Germany which my mates got up to almost ritualistically, was to eat vanilla ice cream after getting whacked on homegrown. And often after several beers. It was thought that it could help you think more clearly. Presumably then you wouldn’t slip off the 15ft balcony and end up with your arse in the elder bush below.

Heart
Here’s me bringing things back to ground level with a nice rousing anthemic thing which settles down nicely and rounds the album off well.

Just Passin’ Thru / Secrets
Really the first thing I did on the Triton while getting to know it. Whereas not capable of the rocket science of the Kronos which I have today, in many ways that’s a blessing. Those were the days of find sound - record - play - easy-peasy. With stuff like Kronos you get choices about choices, about menus, about more menus and…. really f*ck that sh*t.

Mnemosyne
The full piece to which Mnemosyne (excerpt), is an excerpt of. Kinda.
This one is rocket science, so here goes…
Theres two overlaid sections. One has voice samples of myself. The other, sequences and ambience. For the sampled section, I calculated the relative orbital times, rotation times, etc. of the planets and assigned LFOs to represent those values accordingly. Each planet being a different note of course. For the sequences I took all the zodiac constellations, mapped them out to a note grid and created sequences based on those notes, playing the entire zodiac in succession. Mnemosyne represents a year.


Senanque
Wailing. Synthy music. Wailing and synthy music. Goes to together like garlic and bread ;-)

Dreams of Lughnasad (RadioSilence)

Kinda what happens if you take some genuine back in the day stuff from Lughnasad and play around with it to make something new and hopefully worthy of inclusion here. As well as some samples the piece is entirely based around sequences and phrases you may recognise.


Lughnasad (2020 mix)

Along the way of tinkering with this track, some years ago I arrived at something of a final state featuring a return to vocoded harmony (per the original demo version I actually don’t have now). This is simply a refinement of that mix and marks where it’s finally at.

Lughnasad (Early Demo)
Well no sooner had I released the collection than my old buddy Kevin Sommers (cover designer) told me he'd got an early demo. He had - a wav file no less. Nom nom nom thought I :-)
So here we are at last added a day late - and something I'd thought I'd lost for good. The very earliest demo version of the Lughnasad title track. With vocals by myself.

Remastering.

This was a whole different challenge to Maelstrom and Nemesis. As with Nemesis, this album hadn’t been through a mastering process as such. I gather it got a good listening through, after which it was decided it sounded good enough as it was. Hmmm…

Anyway, here we are now and I still have the wav file used for the master CD. So I’m starting at 16bit of course.
My previous process used on Maelstrom/Nemesis wasn’t making that much of a difference on Lughnasad and I felt the sound had much more to deliver so should undergo the best enhancements I can find. So I tested several new mastering systems out before deciding to add a couple of new modules to my existing chain. This is a franken-chain featuring plugs from T-Racks, Waves Abbey Road, Britson etc. In particular I added a much more detailed multiband compressor and a hint of maximiser. The dynamics still had to be there but with significant turd polishing. Another thing challenging me was the stereo field. I wanted it widening but doing so had a knack of losing the phantom centre. Nothing a little M/S tweaking down the line couldn’t resolve. 

In any case, each individual track was handled separately before being constructed again. Then the newly completed pre-master went through a final process similar to before to ensure the whole thing did actually sound like a whole thing again!
To get this one to sound good, I ran my setup maxed out at 32bit 96kHz. Basically, if I could piss off all the bats round here and shake the foundations at the same time I knew I was getting there :-D

Lughnasad - origins.
Now, given that I’m not one for iffy statements online, going by the principle that whatever you do write can and does result in at least one asshole wanting to indulge you in assholery. However, if you are all seated comfortably, I’ll begin…
Over on Youtube you’ll find no end of videos featuring some team or other of “paranormal investigators”, in which they film some shadow entity out in the woods, before generally being seen running away to locate the nearest changing facility. Poor souls!
Well, so there’s me half a mile into some North Wales woodland at sunset on April 30th 2000, armed with just one can of beer and good intentions. I was already an avid student of all things spiritual in Nature and I was there to experience the moment, have deep, meaningful thoughts and neck my beer. Anyway, I noticed the birds over to my right making alarm calls, so I got up to see what that was about. Yeah. It was about 18ft that’s what it was about. Just a tall form about 1/4 mile down the path, just standing there, darker than its surrounds.
Now, I hadn’t got the benefit of Youtube videos of idiots haring off on brown alert to assist me. Thankfully. So instead I just looked back at it thinking “yeah okay, so this is happening, what now?”
Anyway, I then felt a strong compulsion, as if taking instructions somehow, to walk back to the caravan I was staying at. I would describe this like this place kinda belonged to “it” and “it” was merely escorting me out of its domain, but there wasn’t anything to fear at the same time.
I stopped a few times to look back. Each time the shadow dude was back there on the path. When I reached the embankment at the edge of the trees and was just leaving the wood, I got the command to stop and turn round. I did, so what? Colour me stoopid but I looked right back at it. I felt a lot of pressure in my head and started getting masses of stuff - geometrics, symbols, pictograms, equations. Basically, me and the big fella there had a bit of a chat.
Now, screw the Woo-Woo for a just a minute, I was sick for ten days afterwards, with migraine, nausea and loss of appetite. Also, I wasn’t really the same person as before. No, my head wasn’t suddenly full of tree-hugging shite and crackpot ideas, well no more crackpot than usual. Somehow I did gain an understanding of things at a much deeper level than before, but not in a way I could easily articulate. And much more Woo-Woo was to follow, but you ain’t hearing shit about that in a hurry :-D
One thing you can say about these shadow dudes though, they’re not the smartest bunch are they? I mean if you’re going to impart ancient mystical knowledge you should at least check to see if the dude you’re handing it to is destined to do something more constructive for humankind than fart around with synths the rest of his life.
As it was…
I also got the urge to create music based on this new understanding. So I created Lughnasad. It'll have to do ;-)

credits

released June 26, 2020

Originally composed, performed and produced by Andy Pickford between 2000-2002. Remastered/Remixed for 24bit Spring 2020.
Vocals on the title track by Rachel Cohen.
Lughnasad cover design by Kevin Sommers.
All Files are 24bit except the 16bit WRAP file.

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