Sinclair Soul

Mission

Below is the original mission for the Sinclair Soul project as expressed by Ric Albano at the beginning of 2013. At the time, 13 original songs had been written and proposed for recording but (as of mid 2017) none of these original songs have yet been produced. Much has changed but, with the release of The Journey, there is new life in the project and a new missions statement will be released in the near future.

Ric Albano Music Project

January 9, 2013

Background

If you check out the Cygnus Wave Records website, you’ll see I’ve done many recordings of original music over the past 25 years. From the late-80s through mid-90s, I did analog demos in my attic on a 4-track cassette (Wahray and Soul), playing all instruments, including the ones I had no idea how to play.

I took a break for about 8 or 9 years before doing some professional, digital recordings called “Imaginary Lines”, a massive project recorded over 5 years. Here a stuck to just keyboards, bass, and vocals and hired musicians for guitars and drums, with recordings taken place about 50/50 between a professional studio and my home studio. The end result was a goliath, 33-song double CD, Imaginary Lines 33 in 2009, which I’m pretty proud of but virtually no one has heard of.

From 2008 to 2010, I was also in a three-piece rock band (“power trio”) called Animal Society, where I played bass and sang. We did an album’s worth of studio recordings, all within a single day and pretty much “live” in the studio. I did some overdubs and production at my home studio, but the group broke up before that album was officially released.

This next project in 2013 will be my final, non-commissioned music project, which draws from a variety of undeveloped ideas through the years. Here, I’d like to step back as less of a performer and concentrate strictly on composing, with the majority of the music recorded by other talented performers.

Songs

  • 13 Tracks – These are all pretty set, save the possibility that one or two may be traded out if better material emerges. These songs span many years (or even decades) as far as concepts, riffs, and lyrical themes. Although (as of today) none of the songs are completely finished front-to-back, they all contain strong identifying elements and core concepts.
  • Music – The composing is where I will take the most active role and most of the music is complete, with 11 of the 13 song arrangements finished. The songs are written in classic rock style (vocals-guitars-bass-drums) with several sub-genres used for diversity. There is also a wide range of dynamics among the songs, from simple and “quiet” ballads to layered crescendos with much space being left open for guitar leads and vocal improvisation. The goal of the arrangements is to add some layers of complexity without becoming too inaccessible to the average listener, and I am pretty confident I’ve achieved this so far.
  • Lyrics – There are still a lot of lyrics that need to be written. Like the music, I’ve drawn lyrics from a whole bunch of undeveloped ideas over the years – a line or phrase here, a verse or hook there – so it is challenging to put these together in a coherent fashion.
  • Charts and Tempo – Although I don’t write traditional sheet music, I can provide chord charts, tablatures, or other notation for musicians with some allowance for improvisation. Although some of the songs have complex arrangements, they all maintain consistent tempos.

Instrumentation / Musicians

Aside from myself, this project may use 5 to 10 additional musicians and vocalists. This will mainly depend on availability, cost, and interest.

  • Drums – I have a specific drummer in mind, Ron Simasek of the Badlees, who played on most of The Imaginary Lines tracks. We spoke about this about a year ago and he said he was on board but I’ll have to check his availability because the Badlees are recording a double album this year.
  • Guitars – Although all the songs are composed on piano, I foresee this as a very guitar-centric album, with heavy use of acoustic and electric guitars. I have 3 or 4 guitarists in mind with different specialized skills and styles and may try to use each of them.
  • Bass – I can perform bass on most tracks except for 2 or 3 where someone more technically proficient may be required. On one track, I envision using a finger-picked “stand-up” or double bass and would need someone proficient in that instrument.
  • Keyboards – The songs have all been composed on piano but piano/keys will play a relatively minor role overall (then it did on Imaginary Lines). I should be able to handle most of the keyboard parts myself for this project.
  • Vocals – Here is the biggest wildcard, finding the appropriate lead vocalist. I can start by applying “scratch” vocals and perhaps maintain the lead on a handful of songs, but there are many parts which should use someone with a better vocal range than mine. So, it is currently up in the air whether there will be a single “front man” or several lead vocalists. There is also a lot of room for background vocals, especially female vocal choruses.
  • Other Instrumentation – Like I mentioned above, I may want to use a double bass on one track. Other possible instruments may include mandolin, banjo, fiddle or violin, harmonica, and various percussive instruments. It will probably be a game-time decision on whether I use native instruments or synthesizers for some of the desired topical effects.

Production

Being that the bulk of my home recording equipment has been collecting dust for over two years, I’d prefer if the majority of production takes place in one or several professional studios. Also, I’m open to bringing in a professional producer or co-producer to offer a fresh set of ears.

Timeline

My goal is to have this finished and published by the end of this calendar year. We can work in many phases of pre-production, recording, mixing, and mastering. Whether the final product is put to disc or simply available electronically is up in the air, but I would like to explore mixed media, such as YouTube videos for this.

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