Cygnus Wave Blog Archives 2012

November 11, 2012

Wounded Warrior Benefit 11-11-11Last year on Friday, November 11, 2011 we held a Wounded Warrior Benefit Concert at at Champion’s Sports Bar in Highspire, PA. Absolutely everyone involved was pleasant, upbeat, and helpful and the show could not have gone smoother. When my wife Karyn and I tallied up the all the donations including the door cover, raffle, cash contributions, CD sales by participating musicians, and business and online monetary donations we found that this single event had brought in $1,103. Well, we instantly shook the sofa to scrape up an additional eight bucks to bring that total to $1,111, which fits perfectly with the unique date of this event.

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October 30, 2012

Dolphin Flying In the SkyThe Miami Dolphins defeated the New York Jets 30 to 9 on Sunday in the Jets home stadium. There was a lot of nervousness in the stadium because a hurricane was rapidly approaching. The Dolphins are used to being nervous about hurricanes approaching their own home stadium but the Jets are not.

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September 9, 2012

Imaginary Lines 33Three years ago today, on 09/09/09, we released our biggest release with Imaginary Lines 33. This massive collection of 33-tracks running nearly 2 ½ hours of all original music was written and produced by Ric Albano. The songs are an eclectic mix of thoughtful and philosophical lyrics combined with sonically unique yet melodic music that, while experimental, remains accessible enough to draw in the passive listener. Then it gets better and better with each successive listen.

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August 27, 2012

Vieux Carre, 'The French Quarter'With another major hurricane headed for New Orleans, we’d like to reflect on the story of the song “Vieux Carre” by Animal Society, which was influenced by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The song was also influenced by a family vacation that we took to the Cresent City just months before that tragedy, and the extraordinary differences between good times and bad.

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August 13, 2012

Hunter S. ThompsonI remember feeling disgusted when I heard the news because he did it while his sonm grandson, and daughter-in-law were in the house and while on the phone with his wife. Aside from my normal repulsion towards suicide, I also found the “grandiose” gesture was a lame attempt to replicate Ernest Hemingway and try to cement his legacy as a rebellious folk hero. I was immediately moved to write some lyrics.

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August 7, 2012

Imaginary Lines 33 promo posterAs we approach the third anniversary of our biggest release yet (Imaginary Liness 33 on 09/09/09), we will be exploring a song a day for the 33 days. This will commence with song #1 “Crimson, White, and Indigo” tomorrow and continue through “Long Way Home” on September 9th, 2012.

The 33 song collection is a semi-compilation which contains all the material from the 2005 album Imaginary Lines I along with updated versions of songs released on Imaginary Lines II in 2007 plus 12 tracks previously unreleased. In total, the 2 disc album runs for nearly two and a half hours.

July 22, 2012

Diane and her daughter, 2007On September 25, 2007, my sister Diane had surgery that changed her life, The surgery to remove a tumor from her optic nerve went terribly wrong, Diane was left with severe brain damage to the left frontal lobe. For months, the doctores told us she wasn’t going to wake up and if she did, she would be in a vegetative state. No one could offer any hope for her future except to suggest that we prepare for the worst.

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July 8, 2012

Saturation Acres promo, 2001For nearly a decade and a half, Saturation Acres recording studio has been the most highly regarded and respected in Central Pennsylvania as hundreds of projects have been produced at Saturation Acres. These projects have crossed the musical spectrum from hard rock/heavy metal to country/Americana and just about everywhere between.

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June 24, 2012

Cygnus Wave blogThere are times when songwriting is just not so serious. One such example for me came in the late spring of 2006, when I sat down to write a song about summertime, but ended up writing a cool riddle which gypped lines from songs from eight of my favorite classic rock artists. The song was “She Said” and each of the nine lines within the three verses begins with “She said…” or “She says…” with either direct or paraphrased quotes from established songs.

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June 10, 2012

Imaginary Lines song storiesIt was as strange and surreal a moment as it was wonderful. The moment that is now captured forever in the quarky little 7-second intro to the song “Lorelei”, started out as a simple enough task but soon escalated into a long and deep yet frustrating conversation.

The tune itself had been bouncing around the house for years with various lyrics and themes but by the summer of 2004 I was in the midst of a prolific writing period and decided to take this simple, jazzy melody of this tune and try to revamp it with a new theme. That theme soon arrived by my merely going to work everyday, with plenty of material coming as a result of one asinine remark after from some of my “enlightened” co-workers, especially in the political context of an election year. I would then go home at night and occasionally hear refreshing remarks from my 6-year-old son Jacob, who seemed amazingly just as interested in Campaign 2004, but yet seemed to make statements just as (if not more) profound then those “grown-ups” had made during the day. I had my new song!

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May 27, 2012

America's VeteransLast Saturday Sound Off for Vets (a site sub-hosted on Cygnus Wave) throw their annual free benefit concert to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and raised $900 for that great cause. Due to the donated efforts of many volunteers, local business sponsors, and performing musicians, the show was once again a success.

The event took place on City Island in Harrisburg, PA and the four hour show consisted of sets by Pennsylvania artists Chris Nelson, Rhyne McCormick, Michael Anthony Smith and the Dirty Thieving Gypsies, and Shift Seven. Nelson, the benefit’s organizer, claimed this to be the best show since Sound Off began in 2010;

These folks came out and played free of charge in order to help us get the word out about our wounded service men and women…”

The show was videotaped in its entirity and there are discussions about possible DVDs for sale to raise further funds for the cause. On this Memorial Day weekend, it is essential that we all remember and give appreciation to those who put it all on the line in defense of our country, our citizens, and our freedom.

Material Submission

If you are an artist and feel Cygnus Wave would be a good fit as a label, submit some demo material for review. Send an audio CD along with a one-sheet which includes the artist name, members and corresponding instrumentation, songwriting credits, important dates, a brief history of the artist(s), and future goals to:

Cygnus Wave Music
P.O. Box 126
Highspire, PA 17034

Or contact 33 Dimensions:

info@33Dimensions.com
(717) 829-4224

More Info on Cygnus Wave Releases

Wahray and Soul

The Evolution of Noise Album       List of All Wahray and Soul Songs

 
The Evolution of Noise, 1987-1995The analog recording process has all gone the way of the horse and buggy, so it may be a good time to reflect back on this recently past age. With this realization, producer Ric Albano has decided to finally release the many semi-professional, analog recordings he made close to a quarter century ago with The Evolution of Noise, 1987-1995 by Wahray and Soul.

These recordings of original songs were all made in an attic “studio”, on a Fostex 4-track cassette recorder. There is alot of trial and error, experimentation, and development of technical proficiancy along the way.
 

Suggested Listening
Someday (1988)
Blue Flowers & Beige Towers (1989)
The Telephone (1989)
I Need Her Bad (1989)
It’s Hip to Live In Disgrace (1990)
When It All Falls Down (1990)
Ballad Of a Big Breasted Bimbo (1991)
Everything I Forgot (1991)
Run (1992)
Don’t Look Back (1993)
The Difference Between (1995)
The French Toast Affair (1995)

 

Animal Society

Animal Society in 2009Animal Society was formed in October 2008 by Matt Roy, Erik Trabert, and Ric Albano. Matt and Ric had been jamming together for several months with Matt on drums and Ric on keyboards, but soon found this arrangement was very limited in potential and scope. So Erik, a co-worker, was asked to come to one of their “jam” sessions to see if they could come with anything interesting. They did and the band was born.

The name Animal Society stemmed from an argument between Ric and Matt over whether, in fact, animals (non-human) could actually form a society. Although the argument was never settled, the name stuck.

In those earliest days, the band worked on covers from such classic rock staples as Led Zeppelin, The Who, Rush, The Kinks, The Animals, and Pink Floyd, as they were each big fans of this genre. On the flip side, the band also played covers of more non-conventional acts such as Widespread Panic, Cheap Trick, Men at Work, The White Stripes, and Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. This reflected the deep diversity within band that would grow over time to make Animal Society a very unique and interesting group.

This diversity is present on several different levels within the band. In musical background, Erik and Matt had a bit of structured and formal training, while Ric is nearly 100% self-taught. In age, there is now currently a member of the band in his twenties, his thirties, and his forties. And then there’s politics – Ric is fairly conservative, while Matt is fairly liberal, and Erik, well, he believes that politics itself is an evil concept planted in our minds by a sinister galactic overlord.

With this diverse selection of cover songs and the difficult vocals styles of favored bands such as Rush and Zeppelin, the band sought a fourth potential member to provide lead vocals as well as additional instrumentation. But, as time went by, no one suitable for these duties was found and the band eventually decided to continue as a trio, which meant cutting back on some of the more ambitious covers.

Also, after several months of working on covers, the band decided to start working on originals. The first of these were some adaptations of Imaginary Lines songs, such as “Tommy’s Got a Gun”, as Ric was still working on that project through 2008 and 2009. Eventually, though, it was agreed among the band that they would find their own distinct sound for Animal Society and develop exclusive originals. This process was slow at first, as each member came in with ideas, hooks, riffs, and, beats and matching these together into a cohesive composition was initially difficult.

In June, 2009, the band completed its first song, “California”, built from a bass/drum riff by Ric and Matt, a chorus by Erik, a mid-section anchored by Matt’s frantic drumbeat and Erik’s psychedelic-surf guitar lead, and lyrics by Ric. It was a true collaboration that was interesting and unique and a preview of many other Animal Society songs that were composed in 2009 and 2010.

Animal Society’s first public performance was on July 18, 2009 in Zion Grove, PA at a graduation party for Ric’s eldest son. The gig consisted of two sets made mostly of cover songs along with “California” and a few original “jams”. At the request of Ric, the band rehearsed and performed several songs just for this special occasion, including songs by Oasis, Stealers Wheel, and The Doors.

Later that summer, on August 22nd, the band played the “No Regrets” benefit at Gullifty’s Underground in Camp Hill, Pa. This would prove to be the first of several benefit shows that the band would donate their talents to, including Dollars for Diane 33 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa in January, 2010 and Sound Off for Vets in Harrisburg, Pa. in June, 2010.

Animal Society Album, 2010After composing new material through much of the winter (2009-10), the band went to Saturation Acres recording studio on the first day of spring, March 20, 2010, to record their debut album with legendary music man, Bret Alexander. In a single, exhausting day, the band recorded ten original songs from scratch, nine of which would be included on the Animal Society’s debut album, Any Atomic Lies.

Originally scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2010, internal disagreements ensued and the project was halted before publication and Animal Society disbanded in late 2010. Cygnus Wave published the mixes of the songs as they were in December 2010, presented as the eponymous album Animal Society. This album contains a diverse selection of truly original songs that cross the boundaries from rock to pop to folk to country to jazz to funk to some things that are just not easily categorized.

Imaginary Lines

List of all Imaginary Lines Songs       Imaginary Lines 33 Album

Erik Trabert, Bret Alexander, Ric Albano, and Ron SimasekImaginary Lines is a studio project produced by songwriter and musician Ric Albano. It was initiated in 2004 and has yielded two full-length albums; Imaginary Lines I (2005) and Imaginary Lines II (2007), and will culminate with the triple-length compilation Imaginary Lines 33 in 2009, the final Imaginary Lines product. Ric Albano had been an active songwriter, producer, and performer in the Hazleton, Pa. area for over a decade starting in 1985. Educated as an audio engineer, he wrote and recorded several semi-professional albums under the pseudonym RAREx, later renamed Wahray and Soul. Many of these recordings have recently been remastered and released by Cygnus Wave as a 72-song collection called The Evolution of Noise, 1987-1995.

From 1996, Albano entered into an undeclared era of retirement from songwriting that would last for the better part of a decade. In those subsequent years he developed several extended piano instrumentals that were worked and reworked until finally being forged into the songs that would become some of the earliest Imaginary Lines tracks (“the original six”). These included “Twilight of Innocence“, “Dawning of Decadence”, “Welcome Home”, “Episode IV” (a Star Wars tribute which was later re-written as “Lorelei“), “Imaginary Lines”, and a couple of instrumental pieces that would later be combined to form “Good Friday“. In 2003, a couple of more songs – “Anthem” and “33 Flames For Mary” – were written and added to the mix.

Originally, Imaginary Lines was to be a “concept album” with several songs that focused on the chasms between perception and reality. Some of the songs that fit well into this concept were “Lorelei” and the title song (“Imaginary Lines” which later became “Soliloquy” and then ultimately “One“). Several other songs that appear only on the 2004 demo were written in this fashion such as “Speak No Evil”, “Paradise”, “Elitist Lament”, and “I Don’t Want to Live Without It”. Over time however, better, more traditional songs were developed to replace the “concept” songs, including “Good Friday“, the 2 written in ’03, and newcomers “Perfect Light” and “The Phoenix“.

The demo was completed in December, 2004 and Albano spent the early months of 2005 shopping for a recording studio in the Harrisburg area. After meeting with Bret Alexander at Saturation Acres in Danville, Albano decided that was the place for him and recordings on Imaginary Lines I began on April 7, 2005.

Taking advantage of the “house band” feature of Saturation Acres, Albano brought on Cellarbirds Bret Alexander on guitars and Ron Simasek on drums. He originally envisioned using several more session players and singers for this album but found that to be over ambitious and costly. Nevertheless, he was determined to make Imaginary Lines I a richly produced album and did so by layering the songs with digital effects, orchestration, and counter-melody. After drums, guitars, and bass were recorded at Saturation Acres, Albano added keyboards and vocals at home studio along with all initial mixing and mastering.

Ultimately, the album contained nine tracks; seven (or half) from the 2004 demo along with two tracks written in early 2005 – “Peace” and “Donovan’s Dread“. There were also two tracks recorded at Saturation Acres that were excluded from the album – “Welcome Home”, which would not appear until Imaginary Lines 33 and a version of “Lorelei” that was determined to be too slow and was chucked in favor of overdubbing and remixing the original, demo version of the song. Over half the songs on the album were longer than five minutes in length and all were constructed with unique arrangements, chord patterns, and instrumentation. The ultimate goal being to compose something of longevity, with new discoveries on every listen, and which might still sound fresh five or ten or twenty years down the line.

Imaginary Lines IAs the first album neared completion, Albano decided that Imaginary Lines would be a 3-album “trilogy” with a definite end, presumably in 2007, no matter how successful the project would be with the public. This plan would lated be adjusted. Imaginary Lines I was released on October 24, 2005 to moderate reviews that ranged from positive comparisons to Genesis, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd to negative comparisons to “show tunes” or over-indulgent prog rock or worse. Ironically, it was Albano’s primary goal of producing a richly-layered album that also may have caused Imaginary Lines I to lack accessibility to the casual listener. While unapologetic about this initial project, Albano was receptive of honest critique and decided early on that the next album, Imaginary Lines II, would consist of more traditional, shorter, and simpler rock songs.

Production for Imaginary Lines II was set to begin in April, 2006, with a timeline similar to that of the previous year and album. The intention was to combine several songs written in late ’05 and early ’06 with a few of the original demo songs left off of the first album. However, these plans got delayed and production on this album did not begin for over a year.

Albano decided to use this time to write in volume, and 2006 became his most prolific songwriting year of the era. “Crimson, White & Indigo“, “The Last Man to Walk Alone“, “The Cup“, “Keep Doing What You Do“, “She Said“, and “Believe” were just some of the songs conceived during the year. A song called “Deuce” was written to end the album with a link to another song “The Last Day of February”, which was set to kick off the album Imaginary Lines III, but neither this song nor album ever materialized. The earliest version of a song called “Trinity”, which was intended be the final song in the collection (last song on Imaginary Lines III), was also composed, cleverly making the final songs in each album to read: “One”, “Deuce”, “Trinity”. A couple of upbeat instrumentals were also written; one called “Can’t Get My Mojo Risen’” and another called “I Kicked a Dog”.

Recording for Imaginary Lines II finally got underway on April 13, 2007 at Saturation Acres. Ron Simasek was again enlisted for drumming duties, but no immediate plans were made for guitar tracks, as Albano tried to stick to the simplicity principle of just piano/bass/drums/vocals of each song with each song being either three or four minutes in length and with a “traditional” arrangement. One planned deviation was to be the 16-minute-plus, four-part “Ocean Suite”, which concatenated two of the “original six” – “Twilight of Innocence” and “Dawning of Decadence”, with the new songs “The Old Man In the Sea” and “Here On the Beach“.

A couple of the later songs written for Imaginary Lines II were the near-comical “Naked“, probably the closest to 1970’s pop that Albano would come, and the driving rocker “The Fool’s Overture“, which picked up the “dangling string” from “One” and kicked off the album.

Imaginary Lines IIAs production progressed on Imaginary Lines II and projection on Imaginary Lines III was assessed, Albano determined to change the overall arch of the project. First, as the deadline of the end of ’07 rapidly approached, Imaginary Lines II was trimmed to 12 tracks by excluding the song “Half Hearted” and including only “Here On the Beach” from the extended “Ocean Suite”. Also, the song “Trinity” had morphed into “Long Way Home” and would conclude this album instead of Imaginary Lines III, which was scrapped altogether due to lack of focus and/or strength of the projected material for that album. Instead, initial plans were made for a large compilation that would include both Imaginary Lines I and Imaginary Lines II in total, along with some of the better songs either excluded from those first two albums, or slated for the now-defunct Imaginary Lines III. So it was that an intentionally under-produced version (or “Naked” version as it was sometimes called) of Imaginary Lines II was released on December 27, 2007, with the promise and understanding that the full version would be featured in the upcoming “33” compilation.

The significance of the number 33 has a bit of history, as Albano considered that as an artist title when he was actually aged 33 (2001-2002). It was later in the title “33 Flames for Mary“, although that was more coincidental than by design. During the later phases of Imaginary Lines II, Albano wrote a light-hearted reciprocal to that song, from the instrumental that was “I Kicked a Dog” and renamed it “33 Shots at Louis“. He also considered a third “33” song (“33 Visions of Time” from the unpublished song “Only a Matter of Time”), but that never materialized. Nevertheless, “33” was a real number to be met by total track numbers and several decisions needed to be made to reach it. Even though far more songs than that sum had already been written (in whole or in part) by the end of 2007, some judicious editing needed to be made to optimize the remaining selections. Ultimately, Imaginary Lines 33 would be made up of 3 distinct sections (spread over 2 discs in hard copy).

Imaginary Lines 33The first section of the compilation (tracks 1-8 of disc 1) is made of previously unreleased material, save that which was omitted from Imaginary Lines II due to time constraints. These include the songs “Crimson, White, & Indigo“, “Tommy’s Got a Gun” “Deuce“, “Princess of Pearl Avenue“, and newcomers “Sister Josephine“, “999 Escape“, and an instrumental titled “Rubicon“. Also included is “Ashes“, which appeared as the prefix link in the Imaginary Lines I version of “The Phoenix“.

This leads into the second section of Imaginary Lines 33 (tracks 9-17 of disc 1), which is the whole of Imaginary Lines I – nearly verbatim. Aside from the re-mastering, the only significant changes to the original are the omission of the “Ashes” intro into “The Phoenix” (the new “Ashes” immediately preceeds “The Phoenix” anyway) and the editing out of about 36 seconds of ad-lib during the coda of “Perfect Light“. Also the faint lyrics (…where is the buzz when you need it the most/drowned in black coffee, eggs, bacon, and toast…) were re-instated into “Lorelei” shortly after the organ solo in the mid section. The first disk ends much the same as Imaginary Lines I, with “One” and the fading of the “dangling string”.

The second disk (and third section of the compilation) is made wholly of the full, complete version of Imaginary Lines II. Starting with the introductory “dangling string” during “The Fool’s Overture“, it is immediately apparent that this is updated from Imaginary Lines II, as Bret Alexander’s droning guitar (originally recorded along with “One“) joins in. All of these songs on disk 2 were remixed and re-mastered, with many having guitar parts added by Erik Trabert as well as further arrangement and production enhancements (albeit not quite to the level of Imaginary Lines I). The sequence of songs follows the same pattern as the original Imaginary Lines II up to track 9 (“The Cup“), with tracks 10-13 being the separately listed tracks of “Ocean Suite”, followed by “Naked“, the previously omitted “Deuce and “Half Hearted“, and finishing with “Long Way Home“.

With the release of Imaginary Lines 33, the project has come to it’s completion. Being that there are no immediate plans to perform live shows, the name “Imaginary Lines” is effectively retired.

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