UNEARTHED is a compilation album of choice cuts from the 'zircon' archives; rare, classic and hidden gems that were never before released on an album or EP. From vocal trance like the classic "Just Hold On" (feat. Jillian Aversa, used as the FL Studio 9 demo song) and "Shadows" to atmospheric downtempo like "Over Easy" and "Above the City", this album has something for every kind of electronic music fan. There are even forays into heavy, aggressive genres beyond those found on previous zircon albums, such as "Devil's Spirit" (dubstep) and "Firewall" (heavy breaks).
The material on UNEARTHED was culled from a library of songs and instrumentals spanning from 2007 to 2012. I chose only the best unreleased material; though there are many more unreleased or non-album tracks, the ones on UNEARTHED are those that I really want to make available to the public and especially my loyal fans who have been waiting far too long for a new album. As a bonus, this 56+ minute album includes unreleased versions of tracks like "Warhead (Skrypnyk's Deep 6 Mix)" and "Mindbender (Circular Breakdown Mix)", both from Antigravity, and both featuring the remixing talents of other artists (Skrypnyk and Big Giant Circles, respectively.)
1 - Just Hold On (feat. Jillian Aversa)
[Composed: 2009, w/ Jillian Aversa]
Possibly my most well-known track ever! This was originally written for another album, but ended up getting adapted as the default demo song for FL Studio 9. I don't know why it took me so long to make it available on an album for everyone to enjoy... but better late than never, right? As always, working with my wife Jill (www.JillianAversa.com) is a pleasure, and her ethereal vocals are as good as ever here.
2 - Star Trails (Emotion Mix)
Some of you may have heard the original version of this track on my album "Mass Media Constant", but this version was originally only available on YouTube. It features gorgeous live violin playing by composer and violonist Jeff Ball (www.JeffEdwardBall.com) whom I've worked with on several video game projects.
3 - Spatial Recognition
If you've played the game "Peppers" on iPhone, you will recognize this track, which serves as the only piece of looping music in the game. I had to make it pretty dynamic and evolving to keep the player's interest, while also not being too in-your-face and bombastic, as Peppers is a puzzle game. The developer also asked that I work in elements from Cellular, a track from my Fittest album. So, if it sounds familiar, that's why!
4 - Devil's Spirit
I wrote this track after studying dubstep production techniques (Skrillex, Nero, Knife Party, Zedd, etc.) for several weeks. It came on the heels of Soulcalibur V, a game I composed for. One of the hidden characters in SCV was "HARADA", the real-life producer of the Tekken series (produced by the same company that develops Soulcalibur.) You could say this song is basically a tribute to his inclusion in the game, as it uses the heavier electronic elements reminiscent of the Tekken soundtracks, as well as dramatic orchestra a la Soulcalibur.
5 - Dark Drifting
One of my unfinished side projects was an album of all dark, atmospheric downtempo music. This was the first track I wrote for it, inspired by artists like Massive Attack and Zero 7, as well as the score to shows like House. I had a lot of fun working with all the filtered beats, pulsating synths and dense chords, but in the end I couldn't do a whole album of it. So here you go!
6 - Shadows (feat. Jillian Aversa)
This song was written in collaboration with Jill, but unlike some of our other collaborations I had more of a role in writing both the melody and lyrics. Believe it or not, the original purpose of the song was for a class project (songwriting class, of course) so I was focused on making something with a bit more of a traditional structure and memorable melody. Not long after the first version was submitted for that, Jill and I turned the song into something softer and more World-influenced for her Origins album. Not long after THAT, I went back to it and retooled the instrumentation to make it into the dance track you hear now!
7 - Warhead (Skrypnyk's Deep 6 Mix)
Another remix that came out of the same remix competition as the Mindbender remix above. It was created by my fellow OC ReMix Andrew Skrypnyk (https://sites.google.com/site/djskrypnyk/) who truly excels at chill, downtempo, ambient and glitch music. I thought the transformation of Warhead from a high-intensity big beat track to something very laid-back was really cool, and thought it would be perfect to include on this compilation.
8 - Above the City
This one was written for a table tennis training DVD... one of my more unusual projects! I love the imagery of cities at night, vibrant and full of life. This track is meant to evoke that atmosphere as if one was flying above and watching from a distance. Smooth, cool but still a bit detached.
9 - Mindbender (Circular Breakdown Mix)
This remix of my track Mindbender from the 2007 album Antigravity was created by my good friend Jimmy Hinson, aka Big Giant Circles (www.BigGiantCircles.com) for an Antigravity remix contest. His musical style is in many ways similar to mine, but he skillfully uses even more organic elements. This is probably my favorite remix of Mindbender ever and I'm happy to include it here, giving it the attention it deserves.
10 - Cubic Movement
Another instrumental written for the aforementioned table tennis training DVD. This one was meant to be in the style of some of my earlier Phasma Elementum & Impulse Prime work, as per the client's request. I really enjoy creating downtempo atmospheres like this.
11 - Firewall
Part of working on original music involves starting or sketching plenty of tracks and seeing what you really like. For every track I finish there are probably between 5 and 10 more that don't get finished for one reason or another. Occasionally, I complete a track but dislike the final result. I suppose that is what happened here, but honestly, listening to it now, I'm not sure why I didn't like it back then. It's definitely different than my normal 'heavy electronic' style with more industrial and gritty elements, a la KMFDM or Nine Inch Nails.
12 - Scars of the Past
This track was born out of sonic experimentation, in particular the use of the "PaulStretch" (HyperMammut) sound processing tool which stretches audio up to millions of times its normal length. I had been feeling particularly inspired after my first visit to the Game Developers Conference in 2010, having heard a talk by fellow sample developer and composer Troels Folmann on musical sound design. Many of the textures in this song are based on very simple sound sources. For example the very dark texture that lasts throughout the song from the start is nothing more than a distorted guitar palm mute!
13 - Planetscape
One of my guilty musical pleasures is the artist Paul Hardcastle. Something about electronic-driven smooth jazz is really enjoyable to me, so I wanted to take a shot at it in my own style. It's all part of my dream of being a late, late-night smooth jazz radio DJ in Manhattan, sipping water on my 50th floor penthouse studio...
14 - Over Easy
I composed this after "Dark Drifting", and really it's inspired quite a bit by "Over the Line" by The Crystal Method (album: Tweekend). However, even though that was my initial inspiration, I took it in a more ambient, melodic direction with some very 'open' sounds plus a bit of glitching. I could never find the right place for this song on other albums. But it does have a special place in my heart.