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Home arrow News arrow Music News arrow Deluge Grander
Deluge Grander Print E-mail
Written by RogorMortis   
Sunday, 26 January 2014
Deluge Grander's new album Heliotians will only be issued in 205 numbered CD each with their own artwork........... Heliotians (2014)

1. Ulterior (14:00)
2. Saruned (5:00)
3. Reverse Solarity (21:30)

The release date for Deluge Grander's third album "Heliotians" is February 5, 2014.  205 numbered copies of this album have been made.  Each copy has a vinyl LP, a CD, hand-painted artwork, hand-written lyrics, and is signed by all the musicians who played or sang on it.  It was recorded and mastered mostly on analog tape, using mostly analog instruments.  There are no plans for releasing this album in any other physical format, though some of the musical ideas might appear in different arrangements on future Deluge Grander albums.

On this recording, Deluge Grander is:
Christopher West: Bass, Flute, Vocals, Ressikan Flute
Cliff Phelps: Guitar, Vocals
Dan Britton: Fender Rhodes, Multivox, Univox, Vox, Mellotron (Thanks, Jim Rezek!), Hammered Dulcimer, Acoustic Guitars
Megan Wheatley: Vocals
Natalie Spehar: Cello
Patrick Gaffney: Drums

Although the music on the album is hopefully interesting and enjoyable, if people talk about this album at all, they'll probably talk most about the packaging.  People might be surprised, confused, or even angry about it, so here are answers to some Questions You Might Have (QYMHs):

Why not also release it on a regular CD in a jewel case and sell them for $12-15?
A perfectly reasonable question.  A release like this does indeed fail to satisfy someone who just wants a regular CD.  I myself actually prefer regular CDs to expensive collectible vinyl LPs and electronic files.   But as music is heard on the Internet more often, I think if you're going to release music in a physical format, maybe you should try to make that physical format as artistic and interesting as you can.  This is one way to do that.  Many people also like to have music on vinyl records, the containers of which are big enough to allow sizable, tangible artwork.  Since roughly 2,000 people thought previous Deluge Grander albums were worth paying about $5-15 for in CD or electronic form, I'm hoping that maybe 100-200 will be willing to pay $38 for this handmade version, and that the rest will be content with the downloadable versions (Itunes, Bandcamp, etc.) and freely distributed video that contains all the music.  Additionally, this release is the first of a planned seven-album series, the upper tiers of which will likely be released in less expensive CD formats, containing new pieces with some of the music on this release.  I'm not sure if the whole series will actually be finished as planned; that depends mostly on how well things go with "Heliotians."

Did you really write all the lyrics out 205 times? And do 205 different paintings on the sleeves?  Are you insane?
Yes, yes, and maybe.

Why sell vinyl LPs and CDs in the same package?
Each vinyl LP costs roughly $2 and each CD about $1 to manufacture.  If a copy of "Heliotians" were sold with only one format, it would probably be sold for about $36 rather than $38. (The main reason the album is expensive is the sleeve.)  There probably are some people who only want the vinyl LP and some who only want the CD, but they can rest assured that they wouldn't have saved much money if their unwanted disc weren't included.

How was the music recorded?
We recorded about 88 percent of the album ("Ulterior" and "Reverse Solarity") onto analog tape, using mostly analog instruments.  Mixing it onto tape proved difficult, so we ashamedly reverted back to the digital realm (in 24-bit, 96-kHz files) for mixing, but the temptation to do additional recording once we had the digital files was resisted.  We actually had the resulting mixes mastered by a professional (Andrew Mitchell of Audio Bay Mastering) especially for the vinyl release, and another mastered version for CD.

How did you get the CDs in the LP jackets?
I made 205 special cardboard inserts with slots that hold the CDs.  They're not beautiful, but they get the job done:

(the yellow thing is the CD; the cardboard square is inserted into the left side of the gatefold)

How should the sleeves be handled and stored?  Might the paint fall off?
Many things were done to improve the durability of the artwork.  Although the sleeves were handled by many people during the lyric transcriptions, group signing sessions, and while being moved around, as of January 2014 (more than a year after the sleeve creation process began), about 70 percent of the sleeves show no sign of deterioration.  Another 15 percent show some minor chipping along the spines, and another 15 percent (mostly the ones that were painted first) have some noticeable deterioration, again mostly along the spines.  These partially damaged albums will be the last ones to go on sale.  Paintings are not meant to be bent, so some spine damage is almost inevitable, and hopefully it won't be regarded as a major flaw.  Each album will come with a high-quality 6-millimeter polyethylene sleeve which should protect it.

Do you have anything to say about the actual music?
Why, yes!  The first track "Ulterior" was initially intended to be very atmospheric and almost ambient, but the band being what it is, we added a few more intense parts in the middle.  There is a three-ascending-chords motif throughout the piece, and of course a big slow coda at the end.  This one features cello, flute (including a Ressikan flute), and hammered dulcimer prominently. "Saruned" was based on an improvisation from almost 10 years ago.  "Reverse Solarity" is notable for maintaining a steady beat through most of the 21 minutes (drummer Patrick Gaffney gets credit for recording the whole thing in one go on the second attempt), and there are some good chord sequences, guitar solos, real mellotron (Thanks, Jim Rezek!), and yet another big slow coda at the end with some great vocals.

And what about the lyrics?
The lyrics are about the earth being a hollow shell, with a small sun floating in the middle of the core, and lands and oceans on the other side of the approximately 20-mile deep crust. This interior side of the Earth can be reached by digging through the crust ("Ulterior") or flying through the small holes at the North and South Poles ("Reverse Solarity"). The sleeves are paintings of a view of this inner sun viewed from the surface of the inner crust.

Dan Britton, Deluge Grander, January 2014

Deluge Grander music is usually:

COMPLEX: dense compositions with more instruments than normal.  This means you have to concentrate on listening to the music to really appreciate it.

"RETRO": Mellotrons and mellotron-like sounds and non-modern production.  For the record though, a lot of what gets labeled "mellotron" are actually samples of other instruments I spent a long time creating, in the vain hope that we might do something that sounded new, but everyone just assumed it was all mellotron and labeled us "retro-prog."

ATMOSPHERIC: lots of reverb, and a DIY production aesthetic that some will like and others will loathe.


NEWS (as of July, 2010): So what is Deluge Grander up to nowadays?  Well, we are working on new material, and our plan is to record and release some albums a little differently than how we did the first two.

We're going to try and go into an *analog* recording studio for the next album, probably to be entitled "Heliotians."
This will necessitate executing the compositions very well as a group, and we'll only be able to make a few edits and overdubs.  Some believe it may also yield a more natural sound.

So far, the material for this album is still epic and grandiose, but we're going to try to keep the album's mood more consistently atmospheric: it should be an album you can take a nice nap to.  There might also be plenty of room for voices, but that's still uncertain for the time being.

In keeping with the analog vibe, we're thinking about releasing it on vinyl, perhaps in a very limited edition of 100-200 copies, maybe with handmade artwork for each one.  Insanity!  We would probably also make a CD of it, but I'd like to keep the handcrafted cottage-industry spirit with the CD release as well, so maybe deluxe packaging and limited editions in the digital domain, too.

"Why limit your audience like that?" you ask?

Well, the very tentative plan at this point is to release a series of FOUR limited edition albums, then combine the material on them, probably rewriting and re-arranging everything in the process, and release TWO regular CDs.  Then, as the piece de resistance, release ONE other album that contains only the best material from all six of these releases, probably re-arranged and re-recorded yet again, and maybe release that as a free or very inexpensive download.  The insanity never ends!
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