Thursday, December 31, 2009

What's In Store For The New Year

Hi all:
With this, my final post of 2009, I'd like to thank all of you who have been so encouraging to me since this project began. As Random Acts of Beauty (the album's tentative title) moves closer toward the finish line, I would like to especially thank legendary Camel guitarist/flautist/singer/keyboardist/composer Andy Latimer whose guidance and words of wisdom have been truly invaluable; along with my son Justin who continues to amaze me with his talent and sunny attitude; and brother-in-law Guy for his amazing drumming and state-of-the-art mixing studio. What 2010 holds remains to be seen but I have a feeling things could get rather exciting.

The instrumental Vampyre is now finished save for Justin's guitar leads. We will most likely mix that song along with the highly complex Chambermaid sometime next week which will bring the number of songs that are completely in the can to four (Blue Rain, Panic Attack, Chambermaid, and Vampyre). Masquerade is nearly complete but remains a work-in-progress to some degree.

We're going to take a short break while I concentrate on getting Camel's new DVD The Opening Farewell, which I am producing, ready for release. When we resume recording, we will begin tracking the new as yet untitled song which should (hopefully) turn out to be one of the album's highlights.

Hope you all have a healthy and exciting New Year!

David Minasian

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's In The Mail

Another busy week. We did two final mixes this past weekend (Blue Rain and Panic Attack) and they sound great. I also sent Blue Rain off to our mystery vocalist this morning in the hopes that he'll want to sing it. Keep your fingers crossed. In the meantime, we've started tracking Vampyre and should have it finished this week.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Reviews

Well, you are all in for a treat. I didn't think my son Justin could possibly surpass the guitar parts he'd already recorded for Chambermaid or Panic Attack. But his leads on Blue Rain simply blew me away with their intense beauty and emotion. Wow, who taught this guy how to play? Actually, as much as I would like to take credit for it, I can't - he's self taught. Nevertheless, between Justin's and Andy Latimer's contributions, lovers of emotional guitar leads are going to have a field day with this album.

I decided to get some feedback on our latest completed track and sent it halfway around the world to a good friend of mine in Scotland also named Dave. Dave owns millions of CD's (well... it seems that way) and knows just about everything there is to know about music (well... it seems that way). And I trust his opinion (well... oh, nevermind). Here's his reaction to Blue Rain which he posted on the Genesis forum last night...

"Well guys and gals, I have just had the pleasure of listening to a track from Dave Minasian's forthcoming album. The song is called Blue Rain and it's 7 and a half minutes of class. The song begins with a solo piano and then haunting oboes are introduced over a backdrop of lush synths very reminicent of Camel at their most symphonic. Then we enter into Moody Blues/Barclay James Harvest territory with John Lodge style hushed vocals over those gorgeous oboes. The track also reminds me somewhat of the Paul Cusick track Fade Away in the same symphonic style. Things pick up with drums and bass coming in during the next verse and there is no doubt the influence on this track from the aforementioned bands. Just when you think you have heard it all, in comes a lovely harpsichord which reminds me of Denis Quinn's excellent Open Secret and then a superb guitar solo that John Lees or Justin Hayward would be proud of. The piano comes in again and a final chorus and guitar reprise brings this superb song to a close.

If this is a taster of things to come then I cannot wait. I have heard some of David's older material but this is a big step up to my ears. I cannot thank him enough for allowing me to hear this song. All I can say is that this is shaping up to be something special if this song is an example of what is going on the album."

Thanks Dave from Scotland, we'll continue to do our best.

David Minasian

Monday, December 7, 2009

Early Reviews Are In

I sent the first three tracks from the album to a producer friend of mine a few days ago and got this unsolicited and unexpected response:

"first off, i need to tell you that your work is really great - beautiful stuff you've done here. all the tracks you sent me are very strong.

masquerade - very beautiful orchestral textures, the mellotron is great, vibey vocals, this almost has a sorta kinda pink floyd vibe which i love - also cool melodies and counter melodies, harpsichord is awesome.

chambermaid - also very cool stuff, ethereal, haunting, beautiful, great arpeggio runs, great lead guitar, cool.

panic attack - all great. love the ye olde fairy tale beauty then big rock! this almost has a trace of a vibe like the band muse would do. very cool.

dynamic, visual, regal, delicate, rude, and ultra musical. it's the kind of music that you don't just listen to, but you actually step inside it and experience it."

Whew! Considering that this gentleman has worked with everyone from Rod Stewart to Shania Twain to Motley Crue, this is very encouraging indeed.

Regarding album progress, Blue Rain is nearly in the can. In addition to the previously recorded piano and harpischord, we were able to add mellotron (strings and choir), cello, 12 string guitars, oboe, bass, drums, and vocals this past week. All that remains now is the lead guitar scheduled to be recorded later today. After we've done a couple of mixes (one with vocals and one without), we will forward them to our potential guest vocalist who will decide whether or not to participate. If not, well, I'm afraid then you're stuck with me singing lead... oh, the humanity!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

My son Justin added a couple of jaw-dropping guitar leads to Panic Attack this week while I provided some acoustic guitar. This brings the total number of songs 'in the can' to two. Now it's onto Blue Rain. Upon completion of this track, I will be submitting it to my mystery celebrity guest vocalist for his consideration.

I've also looked into bringing on a seasoned producer to help with the mixing process. The plan would be to do some final mixes of 4 or 5 of the completed songs sometime next month and use those songs to secure a distribution deal as well as get some samples out there on the net. And while that's going on, I can be finishing up work on the remaining three or four tracks.

Gotta keep moving forward...

If you have any questions, feel free to ask:


Monday, November 9, 2009

Album Progress Update

Hi all:
I thought I would bring those of you who are interested up to date on the progress of the new album. I wrote the final song for the album this last weekend and I think it's going to be a good one. Subject to any last minute changes, here's how things are shaping up...

Track 1: Masquerade. I have yet to receive all the files from Andy Latimer who continues to record parts for this song. Initially clocking in at around 7 minutes, the final version could very well swell past 13 minutes depending on how things end up being put together. Andy's contributions to this track so far are truly goosebump inducing.

Track 2: Chambermaid. An epic 9 minute track with an accesible melody, lush 12 string guitars, pianos, mellotrons, etc. and a long instrumental section that should please most Genesis fans. My son Justin has added a couple of excellent Steve Hackett/Justin Hayward style guitar solos and there's a nice moog solo ala Pete Bardens or a subdued Rick Wakeman from me. Lyrically it's a bit strange - a Tony Banks story song of sorts with a touch of Ian Anderson cleverness. Hopefully you'll find it all somewhat interesting. This one is completely finished, except for the mixing.

Track 3: Panic Attack. A 5 minute instrumental piece featuring cellos, harpsichords, flutes, and mellotrons which takes a sudden left turn about 2 minutes in, and that's where the electric guitars, synths, bass and drums begin to battle it out. Another left turn results in a Renaissance-like passage before an explosive ending. We only need a few guitar overdubs (probably this week) and this one's ready to go.

Track 4: Blue Rain. A lovely 8 minute piano and harpsichord based ballad. Only the basic tracks have been recorded so far. I'm hoping to get a very famous guest vocalist in for this one. It probably won't happen, but you never know.

Track 5: I Thought She Was a Sandwich. An epic 10 minute prog instrumental written back in 1978 and never recorded. It's been sitting in the back of my head all this time - boy am I glad to get rid of it! I'm not sure about the title for this one yet (Can you guess where I got it from? Here's a hint - it's a line from a famous music-oriented movie made during the mid 60's). Only the basic tracks have been recorded - this one needs a lot of work.

Track 6: Untitled. This is the newest song written only a few days ago which replaces one I wasn't too keen about. I still have the lyrics to write. Fans of the Moody Blues' core 7 albums or Kayak's lush ballads (Phantom of the Night, Frozen Flame) should be happy with this one. Maybe it's a bit too similar to Blue Rain, but who cares... I like it.

Track 7: Room With Dark Corners. A short catchy uptempo track in 3/4 and the only song on the album which even remotely has a chance as a single. The classical arrangement will probably keep that from happening though - which should make all you proggers happy.

Track 8: Vampyre. This third and final instrumental piece is a haunting classically based song of mine from 1979 and was originally featured in a much shorter version on my first album. All the usual pianos, harpsichords, mellotrons, flutes, and lead guitars are here in abundance.

And there you have it. Still got a lot left to do. I hope to keep you all updated with the recording process in the days ahead.


Monday, October 26, 2009

And So It Begins...

I awoke a few mornings ago to find an email waiting for me. It had come from half way around the world, to California from the UK. The contents of the attachment had me giggling like a schoolgirl.

It was an audio file… a guitar solo to be specific… a long, very special guitar solo. I immediately played it. The sound was unmistakable. Even without the benefit of hearing it with the rest of the instruments, I knew it was perfect.

I then quickly booted up another computer in my studio which held the Pro Tools tracks I had been working on since June and transferred the solo to its appropriate spot nestled among the swirling keyboards, strings, woodwinds, and drums. I hit play… and held my breath…

Pure magic!

The opening track from my new album had reached a whole new level. The song, a classically-tinged progressive rock tour-de-force, was turning out far better than I ever could have anticipated. Featuring piano, harpsichord, mellotron (strings and choir), cello, oboe, classical guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, the track was now highlighted by a powerful, passionate, and melodically stunning extended lead guitar solo from the fingers, mind, and heart of Andrew Latimer, legendary guitarist for the band Camel. Is it as good as Ice or something off Rajaz? Maybe, but I might be biased. You’ll have to be the judge.

I wrote back to Andy saying that I couldn’t thank him enough for contributing to my album. Knowing all that he’s been through in the past few years, I simply could not fathom that he would take the time to record this for me. But he did, and for that I will always be grateful.

But it didn’t end there. Over the next few days I continued to receive more files of additional guitars and even vocals. I was stunned. The song was being transformed into a true epic right in front of me.

I had met Andy and his wife and lyricist Susan Hoover back in 1997 when I was asked to produce and direct Camel’s concert DVD Coming of Age. Since then I have produced an additional six DVD’s for Camel Productions including Curriculum Vitae, Footage I, Footage II, Total Pressure, Moondances, and the as yet unreleased Opening Farewell, an epic concert extravaganza recorded in Santa Cruz, CA during Camel’s Farewell Tour in 2003.

For those who may not know my background, I began classical piano training at the age of five. Later, after hearing the track Land of Make Believe from the Moody Blues on the radio, I became interested in progressive music and began my discovery of bands such as Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull, Renaissance, Barclay James Harvest, Strawbs, and of course Camel.

In 1978, after deciding to give the music biz a go myself, I began writing and recording demos. But alas, my timing was off. Record companies in LA at that time simply didn’t want prog. So I successfully pursued my other passion – filmmaking. In my spare time, I went ahead and independently recorded the album Tales of Heroes and Lovers. It eventually got released in 1984 and was accompanied by a self-directed music video which actually got MTV airplay.

An ill-fated attempt at recording a pop album for CBS (with ex-Yes and Moody Blues keyboardist Patrick Moraz slotted to produce no less!) in 1986 was nearly completed, then shelved. The 1990’s saw an additional album being recorded with limited release along with a song being placed in a Kris Kristofferson film, and this kept the musical flame flickering… barely.

Finally in June of 2009, with Andy's encouragement, I decided to go ahead with plans to record a new album and was more than delighted when he kindly offered to contribute to the track Masquerade.

I hope to complete the album, titled Random Acts of Beauty, by the end of the year with a release date set for sometime in early 2010. It will include mostly brand new material, and even one or two pieces I wrote back in the pre Tales days!

Here's hoping that the lush, symphonic, melancholic, melodic, classically–tinged progressive rock we create will find a home in some of your hearts. Check...

for more details in the coming weeks and months.

David Minasian