i think my heart might burst. home from a long day of mixing the first four songs – only six days now until they’re released and the pre-sale of part 1 begins.
this would feel surreal enough even if 2020 wasn’t all that it has (and hasn’t) been. hard to know when a good time is for anything anymore. but maybe this just means that now is more important than ever.
even before everything changed, i’d promised myself to be less closed for album #4’s release than #3’s, which was a man whispering, “it’s out” into an envelope before sealing it and running away to a wild place…with the envelope in his pocket. so here’s the first installment of keeping that promise:
1. #4 is a double album. 22 songs at this moment, not including the two i put out in 2016.
2. making CDs or vinyl right now, especially for an album the size of nine Mongolias, is impossible financially, as i’m in debt from recording (and still not quite finished). but physical copies are vital to me. so below is a solution that i hope will solve both problems, and as a bonus, ensure that no one (including me) is crushed under a five-years-in-the-making avalanche of songs.
3. the album will be released initially in two parts, each essentially a full-length album by itself.
4. four new songs will be released on december 17th, on bandcamp exclusively. because i need to release something before this year is over – as a gift to all of you, but also to me. these will be free to listen to and download, but my hope is that they might encourage you to pre-order the album – a pre-sale for part 1 will begin that day too.
5. part 1 will be released on february 9th, 2021, on bandcamp and all major digital platforms.
6. part 2 will be released once i can afford to make CDs of the full album. as soon as i’ve raised enough to start the process (whether it’s from selling my music or finding an abandoned warehouse full of saffron), i’ll announce the release date of part 2.
7. the double CD will reunite part 1 and part 2.
so: december 17th: 4 new songs. february 9th: the release of part 1. shortly thereafter (i hope): the release of part 2, with the reunited full/double album on CD.
(p.s. for twitter users, a recently dusted off, six-years-dormant account (@raisedbyswans6) will function solely as a notification source for new updates posted on my main website as well as on facebook, going forward.)
coming next week: an announcement regarding the release of a certain album a certain someone’s been working on for the past six years.
not trying to be coy. just wanted to promise this while i’m feeling charged up, in case the roller coaster comes off the rails again. not quite ready with all the details right now anyway.
i guess i also want to savour the fact that i have a proper announcement to make after all this time.
i’ve not known what to say here for a while now. i still don’t. but i’m sending love through my songs always. i hope you can feel this.
i know some are wondering about album #4. i have only the vaguest update about this for now, which is that if the situation continues to improve, it will still be released this year. i was very close to finishing it when the world closed down.
thank you for your messages and emails over the past months, they’ve meant so much to me. if i’ve not replied to you yet, i’m sorry. even pulling this sad little pile of crumbs together has taken an embarrassing amount of time and energy. for now, know that i love and appreciate all of you, and that i hope you’re okay.
10 years ago today, i released my second album, ‘no ghostless place’. i wrote its 13 songs over four years in the same little room i’m sitting in now, using a borrowed ADAT machine to layer parts, and with number six often curled in my lap as i worked.
on my first day of recording ‘no ghostless place’ at the house of miracles, i received a rejection letter from a government agency i’d applied to months before for help with recording costs. the application process had required horrible mountains of paperwork, but also the submission of two demo versions of songs meant to be on the new album (i sent “hail of arrows” and “we were never young”). although i’d initially intended to re-record both songs, this raw demo of “we were never young” is the one that ended up on the album, and that a little while later, appeared in a movie called ‘Chloe’, which is where some of you may have first heard my music.
not sure why i’m sharing this really. i guess i’m fond of the idea that the recording of this album began with a rejection. that the album itself opens with a rejected song. and i hope that anyone reading this who’s in the same boat doesn’t pay any attention to what others think about what they’re creating.
i’d promised more of an update about the planned vinyl editions of ‘no ghostless place’, but always underestimate how posting things online makes me feel. i feel like a turtle without its shell today. without its skin, too, now that i think about it.
so for now, happy 10th birthday to this album, which is impossibly dear to me (though no dearer than the others), and which has brought me close to so many of you, even if most of us have never met. more information on the vinyl editions soon – lots of work still to do, but progress is being made.
thank you for your messages of support.
all i’ve been doing since my last update is pouring myself into album #4. i’ve now recorded approximately 91% of its instrumentation and sung precisely 72.22% of its songs in the studio.
unfortunately i’m also 100% out of money. this is inevitable when one prioritizes recording costs over far less exciting expenses like rent/heat/clothing. who needs clothes without holes anyway, besides maybe scuba divers. but probably best not to get evicted in the middle of winter, as much as it might be worth it in exchange for two or three more sessions.
everything will work out, as it always has. just wanted to let everyone know that (a) i’m in the midst of sorting out a solution, and continue always to work and prepare at home, and (b) there’s no doubt that the album will still be out this year. i’ve just had to delay my next session in the studio, and therefore the release date – though hopefully not for long.
sending love and hope to all of you for 2020,
p.s. a small update on the ongoing saga of possibly creating vinyl editions of “no ghostless place’ tomorrow, which happens to be the 10 year anniversary of its release.
happy fifth anniversary, Öxnadalur.
(first posted 13.9.18 on facebook)
it’s 11 in the morning and home recordings of a nearly finished album #4 are washing over me at devastating volumes as i type this. even though i was tired and anxious when i first sat down i’m now feeling more like a newborn phoenix breathing in synch with the entire universe than a lone, bespectacled man sitting in a public library with headphones on and a banana on the table in front of him. last night at 3 am my heart was a freight train with its brakes ripped out as i lay in bed replaying the songs in my head. there were no sheep to count to help me sleep; lucky for them, as i could only have plowed through their woolly bodies at a million miles an hour, shouting apologies over my shoulder as i hurtled through the night.
i’m back in Canada now after six challenging but extraordinary months alone and vehicle-less in the countryside of North Iceland, where i found the songs #4 had been missing. while there i also became a tree dad to 10,000 baby birches, literally hiked my boots into pieces, slept in three caves (one beneath a thundering waterfall, one beneath a mountain, and one i hollowed out of a snow drift), buried two tiny friends from the winter of 2018 who had somehow squeezed into a bottle of peanut oil and drowned, discovered fossils in a wild place meant to be bulldozed, and acted as a surrogate innkeeper to sporadic guests who mostly treated me as nothing more than an insignificant shadow. which was fine with me. oh and i made preserved lemons.
every króna/dollar i managed to save from working is for recording costs, and i’m so grateful for these opportunities to earn some money as i worked on music in privacy, close to nature – very eric-specific circumstances i either can’t find or afford in Canada, as beautiful and enormous as this country is. thanks S and Ó, and thanks Skógræktin, even though i nearly lost my mind many times planting the 10,000 babies up in the hills, especially when my ancient iPod malfunctioned and insisted on playing one of the worst songs ever conceived over and over again in a horizontal rain.
if all goes well, #4 will be released in early 2020, which also happens to be the 10 year anniversary of “no ghostless place” (see below).
i want to start looking into booking tours/shows for spring/summer/fall 2020 to celebrate the release. the truth is i usually get stopped by my own anxiety, as booking shows is a horrendously unpleasant task. trying not to have this happen this time. will check in with some wonderful people who helped organize things with the last European tours with Midas Fall and see if they can help for a start.
on the same note, i refuse to do what i did for ‘Öxnadalur’, which was essentially run away the moment i released it. again, i was overwhelmed with all the uncomfortable non-musical stuff that comes with making music. but i can’t have that happen again. this album has taken five years of my life, and i want to celebrate it for a long time.
anything anyone can do or suggest to help keep me out of my shell, find shows, etc. would be so appreciated. i will hire a band, some people who’ve played with me before, and there will be massive glorious full band shows and also the tiny intimate solo ones i love so much, as these different contexts have always been equally important to me.
also, i hope to finally release “no ghostless place” on vinyl. on or around its 10 year anniversary, which is January 2020. still working on this with a very patient person who first offered to help me fund it two years ago (very patient, as mentioned – thank you, R).
that’s all for now. my bravery is evaporating as i’ve turned the music off. but in keeping with my promise to myself to try not be so shy as this album reaches its climax, you’ll be hearing from me more often as its release approaches. just with less words. i won’t ever be someone who spreads himself across dozens of social media platforms, but i can’t rely only on facebook and my personal website forever. soon i will start using a long-dormant twitter account, if only for the most basic updates. my brain might have other ideas, but i’m going to stay a phoenix for as long as i can. maybe i can burn my way through some darkness for a while, if only for the sake of these songs, which are everything to me, as dear as my blood.
today is my first day back in the House of Miracles since two years ago. i’m heading there right now.
thrilled and touched that GEO France has featured ‘old fires’ in an introduction video to an article on Iceland’s Westfjords, in a remote corner of which two of its staff found me hidden away last year.
merci beaucoup, Olivier et Thomas. c’est un honneur de savoir que ma musique a accompagné votre voyage.