Madeeha's new album cover paradox

New Music Album Release ‘Paradox’

My new album is finally completed and now available on Bandcamp. This is going to be quite a blog post. So, if you want something to listen to while you read on, then here’s the link to Paradox 🙂

Also please don’t forget to write a review on Bandcamp if you’re enjoying 🙂

It’s been quite a week actually, especially with other things simultaneously happening. I’ve been working hard to get everything right with the album and I didn’t realize just how involved it was going to be. I know, I’ve released albums before and I thought my last release, Zaman, was involved. Paradox took it to a whole new level. The reason being is that I have more than one way to create music now, not just using my Amiga.

Neelix on music equipment

In the previous albums, all I really needed to do was connect my Amiga through my stereo separation adjuster, Which you can read about here, into the Focusrite Audio interface to record. At most I had to worry about the cables being decent quality. But then came the Polyend Tracker just as I was completing my album Zaman. ‘Mirrors’ was my first creation using the Polyend Tracker and the only one on the album.

Music setup with cobalt 8

So, I start using the Polyend Tracker a bit more and then get into synthesizers, especially the old-school ones. If they’re not vintage then they’re either remakes of vintage synths, or like my latest addition, the TherapSID, which drives SID Chips.

Here’s a video review/exploration I have done on the TherapSID, if you’ve not watched it already.

Another thing that made the recording of Paradox more of a challenge, was that each track has it’s specific setup or synths. I have done a video showing the recording process of the album and talk about how each track requires a different setup. With the way things are here at the moment, my project room not set up, I have to work in an ad hoc manner. Half the time this mischievous fluffy freak takes over, I know he has a sense of humour for sure.

Neelix the cat laying on yamaha reface cs

So, on the album Paradox, I’ve used a Yamaha SY22 & DX7/TX7, a Modal Cobalt 8 and the new Twisted Electron’s TherapSID with 6581 and 8580 SID chips installed. Three tracks were created on the Amiga, one completely with SID and one purely on Polyend Tracker. The rest, despite being created on the Polyend Tracker, use external synthesizers alongside samples. Each track uses different ones, so it kinda makes things a bit more interesting and fun.

TherapSID and DX7/TX7

Now I have had a few commenters throughout saying things like “Use a sequencer” or “Use Renoise” or “Use Softsynths”. My answer to that is no, not for me. I’m not doing this for practicality’s sake. For me using the actual synths when available, adds some soul to my music. I’m not against software or emulation, it has it’s place and uses. But for me personally it feels like the difference between painting digitally with a stylus and painting with oils on an actual canvas. There’s something special about working with actual hardware, you either recognize it or you don’t.

Yamaha SY22 Setup

Speaking of art, I have to thank Rich’s mum, Jan Garbutt, for letting me use her wonderful painting as the album artwork for Paradox.

Forest Painting by Jan Garbutt
Forest Painting by Jan Garbutt

Jan has the attention to detail which I myself cannot come close to. She’s very talented and has been an artist for decades, her experience and her passion for what she does really shines through her work.

Jan Garbutt Painting on canvas

This album itself has a bit more feeling to it and it’s not because of the equipment I used or any other technical aspect. Usually my music is based on feelings and moods, but in the case of this album, I definitely feel I dove deeper into my inner world which has shone through more in my music. I can tell because, when I do listen to most of the tracks on ‘Paradox’ , they each bring out a vivid memory or feeling, a specific time and place, heck even nostalgia for the times before they were created.

A1200 sunshine

One thing I learned while creating this album, particularly on a few key tracks, is that what I create music on and the equipment I use, affects and influences the kind of music I write. I don’t mean in terms of the feelings I’m trying to convey, but more in technical terms. My way of creating changes depending on what I’m using. I’ve written music on the Amiga mostly using Soundtracker Pro 2, in the past I’ve used MODPlug Tracker (now OpenMPT) and finally the Polyend Tracker in recent years alongside Amiga music creation.

MOdal cobalt setup

After writing the track ‘Dimension’ on the Amiga and after creating the last few tracks on the Polyend Tracker, I noticed it felt like how I used to write music. The tracker I used definitely influenced the way I work and how I approach music creation. This means that my way of writing tracks differs even using different trackers. I have had the few comments on my Polyend Tracker video and Amiga videos saying “I use Renoise and it’s the best” or “I think you should use MODPlug Tracker instead”.

Well firstly, I’ll use what I want to use since I’ve decided what’s best for me :-)). Secondly I’ve learned it’s not as simple as “A tracker is a tracker is a tracker, except the new ones with most features are always the best”…That’s like asking “Why are you using a palette knife to paint oils on canvas when you can buy expensive Davinci brushes with luxurious bristles??”.

That’s because I cannot get the same effect on the canvas with a luxury brush as I can with a palette knife. Maybe that’s the look and texture I’m after. And who says that it makes it less of an art piece? The very fact that I’m still using an Amiga, and now actual SID sound, adds to the art of my music. It adds soul and meaning.

Blue Amiga1200

Art and creativity comes from feeling and just like different mediums in painting can influence a piece of art you do, different music making tools influence how you create music. Sometimes the excitement of creating on the Amiga and all the nostalgia tied to it will make me create a certain specific feeling in my music.

Creating music using the SID chips has had the same effect on me, to the point where it almost through Rich off when I first created my track ‘Electronic Tides’ using SID chips within the first 24 hours of receiving the TherapSID. Just as I did when I first created ‘Mirrors’ on the Polyend Tracker, just hours after receiving it. His reaction to the first draft of ‘Electronic Tides’ was interesting. He was quiet and seemed puzzled. He kept saying “I cannot recognize you in the tracks like I can with your other music, I’m not sure how I feel about it”

Therapsid and yamaha reface cs setup

I understood what he meant, because at this stage, I had only done a single layer of SID using the F5 mode in Paraphonic on TherapSID, which only allows you to use a single voice. So in effect it was just a single “Instrument” doing the bass, chords, lead etc. And without any specific sounds or samples in there nor any effect commands. So other than the main melody, chords, bass etc, the SID was doing the rest of it all. After hearing the final mix, I think Rich is more at ease. I’ve add more of “Me” to it by layering it and creating my own SID sounds.

But again, despite using Polyend tracker to do the tracking for the SIDs, it changed the way I create music. Sometimes the sounds or samples you use really make a difference to how you approach music creation.

I’m going to stop here as I can write all night long about all this, also don’t forget there’s a video upcoming about the album and how I put everything together.

I will leave you to enjoy my album, Paradox.

Edit: Bob from RetroRGB has now posted about Paradox, check out his blog post about it and other stuff on RetroRGB:

10 responses to “New Music Album Release ‘Paradox’”

  1. Corey Ostman avatar
    Corey Ostman

    Congratulations, Maddi! I just received the alert from Bandcamp and am enjoying listening while Nenita and I are plotting our next sci-fi novel. I know how much hard work goes into making an album, but it really shows. Also, seeing the TX7 warms my 1980s heart! Have a wonderful weekend!!

    1. Maddi avatar

      Thanks so much Corey! I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying Paradox. I’m also happy to see that you picked up on the TX7 and share that love and appreciation for it. Thanks again Corey nd hoping you have a great weekend also!

  2. Paul Jackson avatar
    Paul Jackson

    Congratulations on your new album release Maddi.

    The range and combinations of the musical equipment you use is simply astounding but I can very much feel that they are all lovingly crafted by the same artist. Some may be on a very different “canvas” but each one very much has “you” in the tracks.

    Your Amiga Soundtracker tracks are simply incredible. So much heart and soul squeezed out of 4 channels. Plus the mixing of those Amiga mods is incredible too and they sound fantastic through headphones.

    And such beautiful album cover artwork!

    Have a lovely weekend.

    1. Maddi avatar

      Thank you Paul! I’m glad you can recognize me within my tracks, The strange thing about it is, I don’t realise it myself probably because I’m the one creating them. But others have said the same as yourself, that they can pretty much hear ‘me’ in my music and it’s a nice to hear that 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed the Amiga tracks in particular, The Amiga version of Paradox is a little statement being made by the Amiga, I tried to re-create it the best I could, the track has some complexities which I wasn’t sure would translate well to the Amiga but hey, I succeeded 😀

      Thank you again Paul and I hope you have a lovely weekend!

  3. James Pearson avatar

    Wonderful, Maddi, can’t wait to have a proper listen to it. Sounds brilliant from what I’ve gathered so far, but I want to give it my proper attention to it later. Congratulations. Looking forward to your video about it too. 🙂

    1. Maddi avatar

      Thank you James, I hope you enjoy when you do have a proper listen, i’m also looking forward to putting the video together and releasing it, I hope you have a great weekend 🙂

  4. Jason Marrison avatar
    Jason Marrison

    Hiya Maddi,

    Well…this album is outstanding. On my 4th play through of it (5th if l count the transfer to audio tape) and it’s just wonderful.

    You can tell without even knowing you and the processes used that this album has been crafted with passion and love for the medium.

    There are just layers beyond layers, subtle little shift changes and harmonic tones that fit together so precisely in each track that demand repeated listening to so l can try and catch and appreciate them all, (and l am still find new sounds within each track)

    “Dimension” for example, just gave me so much joy to listen to. That slowing of the tempo and then re-injecting that tempo back in and switch it all up was sublime.

    With the amazing album artwork from Jan and just the nature of the way this album was made with so many different pieces of technology and then mastered the way it has been was worth the wait.

    Congratulations Maddi. Paradox is fabulous!!! ☺️👌🏼

    1. Maddi avatar

      Hey Jason,

      I think Jan is going to be thrilled, once I show her at the art group today, the love the album along with her artwork is getting. I’m touched at some of the things people such as yourself have been saying about their experience listening to it, it’s quite heartwarming. Thank you so much! 🙂

      I like how you’re talking about the subtle shift changes and the details in the background as those are the parts I’ve always noticed in music, even when I was little I noticed the background details. It seems it’s the things that people in general tend to not notice and take for granted. It’s a good feeling someone hearing my music in this way and listening to the background details.

      In the new video I’ve just posted you get to see the way the speed steps up and slows down in ‘Dimension’ as I show it playing on the Amiga. Along with how I added some of the other details in the making of it. I have a feeling you may be interested in seeing how I’ve gone about creating these tracks. I hope you enjoy if you’ve not watched already 🙂

      With regards to all the pieces of technology, I personally feel that it adds to the track as a piece of art, the way it was done, the journey taken to complete the piece in my eyes is just as important. And it’s lovely that you recognize that!

      Thank you once again Jason, I really appreciate your support and kind words, always 🙂

  5. […] than all the videos and projects, I’ve, created, recorded and released two albums, Zaman and Paradox, while I’ve been in this ad-hoc state, not to mention the tracks for the upcoming album. I […]

  6. […] created it on the Polyend Tracker but with the TherapSID synth (More mentioned about it on my last album post). So the arpeggio of this track is true SID. 6581 in one ear and 8580 in the other, creating a […]

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