That time I dabbled with pop rock, orchestral music, and political themes… A rundown of my second album!

Something I’ve always loved about writing fantasy is that sense of freedom and awe that comes with the worlds we can just breathe life into ٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶

It’s probably my own desire to just see more of the world, but my writing over the past few years feature extensive themes of travel especially, which is definitely something divisive for my beta readers—a few have said that it feels too fast, others have loved that sense of adventure as much as I have!

But that’s the thing about art: every little detail is subjective, isn’t it?

I think it’s even more interesting when we enjoy consuming a certain kind of media, but not really creating it: and it’s that position I was in a year ago!

Before anything though: you can click on this image banner to go directly to my YouTube Channel!

So if you’ve been enjoying my music so far, then I’d love if you could pay a visit and maybe a subscription or two *\(^o^)/*

I’ve also already discussed some of this album’s songs before, and though I won’t go over them again for the sake of time, you can have a look at them all in order here~

So with that out of the way… let me take you to one of my personal favourite locations in my works: the Island of Decceliar ♪( ´θ`)ノ

“To protect the paramount authority, to mentor brothers and sisters, to defend the homeland by bullet or by blade.”

This above is the core of most Decceliar natives’ beliefs.

In an archipelago of eight major islands sits Decceliar in the northwest: the largest and most-populated, yet the most divided.

Once renowned by its neighbouring island nations as a warm and vibrant paradise, it has become a geopolitical pariah in the year 2277, becoming more isolated and erratic ever since it was blamed for instigating a war known as the Cataclysm.

Decceliar’s landscape is diverse, with low, beautiful coasts in the southwest, vast meadows in the centre, rich mountains in the northeast, and steep cliffs along the eastern shores.

This brings with it a diverse population, including many immigrants from neighbouring islands. As a whole, Decceliar’s divided into 31 counties, among them one unrecognised separatist region.

Socially, topics of faith and the military are in the hearts of Decceliar’s residents, many adhering to the teachings of the Prince of Loyalty, Lucellius, but debates over how these philosophies are discussed constitute only the first of many, many controversies on the island.

One key issue stands out: that of exacting revenge on its longtime rival, the island of Ledunridge, whom nationalist locals blame for the island’s current, isolated state.

They believe that Ledunridge, allying with the other major islands, turned public opinion against Decceliar to exaggerate their role in the conflict, but reformists and moderates oppose this view, instead seeking for a reconnection with these islands, whom they have not had any relations with for the last 70 years.

This is the reality the average Decceliar citizen faces: trapped on an increasingly-partisan island that seems far too willing to turn itself into an embarrassment once again.

“When personal preferences masquerade as the facts, they will become the facts.”

And yet… I love Decceliar ( ^ω^ )

It’s a beautiful mess all around—and an exercise for me in crafting everything from geopolitical relations to historical misinterpretations to administrative subdivisions and-

I’ll stop myself there!

Point is: you can ask me anything about Decceliar, and I’ll probably, probably, be able to answer it in detail—just because of how much I’ve obsessed over it! The summary above is more tailored just for this discussion- I’d love to challenge myself to write a Wikipedia article of this island~

I was so obsessed, in fact, that I made a whole album based on it…

From themes to events to locations, it’s an album that doesn’t capture Decceliar’s mood all too well honestly, but without the island as context, it’d be a bit emptier for sure (*^▽^*)

So let’s start right in Southwest Decceliar: specifically, the county of Holstanveld.

Holstanveld goes by many names: the Jewel of Decceliar, the Nest of Giants, the Pride of Man, all owing to its status as the island’s busiest and wealthiest commercial district!

Let’s go back to this photo from earlier, since it’s a good attempt at capturing what I feel Holstanveld is like!

From bustling avenues lined with hotels and casinos to garden plazas dominated by cafes and boutiques, it’s a common saying among locals that, if a foreigner claims to have never seen Holstanveld, then they were never actually on the island.

As it sits by the coast, Holstanveld hosts breathtaking views of the sunset, depicted even in its county flag and postage stamps!

Our very first song comes in right there: at sunset in Holstanveld as evening news channels spark to life.

The Broadcast is one unusual song for me, especially compared to my recent works, but it’s one I still have some fondness for ʅ(◞‿◟)ʃ

My initial vision was to let it be an opening theme of sorts for Holstanveld’s evening news, which was where the intro horns came from, but at some point I got distracted as usual and just went with… a straightforward rocker!

It builds, it builds, and it keeps building until we get a crescendo near the end with the lead guitar, a bass guitar, a drum set, an orchestra, and a grand piano—which brings me to why these songs are so different for me!

They are almost all either pop rock, hard rock, or straight-up orchestral music—styles which I have never attempted since!

My main reason is just that I’m not good with these genres; what you’re hearing in all of these songs is autoplayed, so my contribution is really just putting it all together… (*´ω`*)

But for just one song, I did the opposite… and instead slashed it asunder~

“Perhaps innocuous, perhaps nefarious…”

The next two songs are tracks I envisioned as one long medley, and personally, I think they’re the peak of the kind of orchestral music I was able to put together—with one competitor, but that’s irrelevant for now \(//∇//)\

Our scene shifts from Holstanveld further east to the political heart of Decceliar: The Noble County of Viel tem Caxillian, home to the Palace of Lucellius, where the bicameral Parliament of Decceliar operates!

I mentioned earlier that Decceliar’s politics have become very partisan—and when I talk about the island again in the future I’ll explain that more—but this medley coming up is basically my vision of a daily session in there:

We start here with a slow song that I personally think is pretty lovely!

It’s just a section of legato violins at first, a calmness soon complimented by a slow piano, before our lead viola sets in, almost muting both of these in its entrance!

But as the song builds, the violin section returns, then so does the piano, then a drum kicks in, and the orchestra continues building.

I see all of this as a debate in this Parliament getting more and more and more heated as the hours tick by, but while it’s all good and civilised first, that partisan nature comes back soon enough, and-

With little warning, we’re thrust right into our next song: Broken Arrow, the second half of this debate marked by nothing but an escalating argument.

Just like World of Fabulists, we begin on a quiet section with just a piano and the drums, but the way we’ve transitioned from D♭ Major to D Minor should be the first sign that things are gonna get rough!

A new instrument emerges: an electric guitar, completely absent from World of Fabulists, but it builds from there as the orchestra slowly returns, disappears, then crescendos again and again.

Fun fact here—the second, climactic orchestra section features the most string instruments I’ve ever played at the same time: 35!

Around 1/3 are mostly muted in the background, but the remaining ones definitely carry not just that bit, but also most of Broken Arrow!

And once they leave and the drums kick out, it makes the final outro all the more… bizarre.

The song ends on a repeating series of two notes: C4 to C5, with a total of 8 such pairs played.

Does that sound familiar for you~?

That same sequence is how I ended my previous song Relic from Another Breeze, which I previously discussed here~!

I called it the “doom signal” there, and in this song, it serves that purpose once again: the Parliament has adjourned, and nothing has been accomplished that day thanks to the bickering.

Broken Arrow is our third song on The Broadcast, but it also closes off what I call the album’s Third of Tranquility…

With the government too busy arguing to function, Decceliar’s problems remain ever-so-prevalent, and from here, we finally get a glimpse into the hardships on this island.

“A force that has stopped looking after them.”

I’m gonna make this clear: I love the Half Life franchise!

The games—and even the Asian-exclusive versions which I was lucky to try out a few times—are among the titles that made me interested in… well, gaming in general!

I can’t put into words how good Kelly Bailey’s music is; it’s this mix of realistic grittiness with synthetic danger that suits the franchise perfectly, and if you have time, I highly recommend checking out his soundtrack on YouTube!

But as with any composer I love, I made one attempt to try, keyword try, and emulate Bailey’s style…

But first: the setting!

We move westward in Decceliar and end up just north of Holstanveld in the county of Aeritar, another dense, urban area home to the Clasellience, Decceliar’s leading research university for anything from the arts to the sciences!

Medium-rise apartment blocks and low-density flats dominate the cityscape of Aeritar, many built and run by opportunistic developers looking to accommodate Clasellience students, but in more clumped areas away from the university, the tightness of these buildings creates many narrow alleyways, where a growing number of homeless people are forced to take refuge in.

Our protagonist for this song is one such destitute resident, who has just stolen an unguarded handbag out of desperation. They’re spotted and forced to retreat into Aeritar’s alleyways, where they continue running and hiding from pursuers close behind.

And thus opens Involuntary Seclusion, my one and only attempt at a hard rock song!

Just like a lot of Half Life music, I open with this mechanical but punchy synth that sets up what I feel is a heavy tone right from the start—and once the guitar and drums smash in, that carries on right to the end!

There’s a bit of an Amen Break-style drum sequence in the middle, but other than that, this song’s a straightforward rocker that I think’s quite alright, but doesn’t have much more to it than that ( ; ; )

So you can imagine the whiplash when one of the following songs is:

“A tribute song, perhaps. You will know who to write it for when the time comes.”

This header is what I wrote as my prompt for our next song, Lucidity!

And it’s a song that I think best speaks for itself—nothing too grand, nothing too upbeat, just a nice, if lengthy, tune I made with that prompt in mind.

As for who it’s for… that’s something I’ve never told anyone, not even my friends, just because I find it funny—I’ve seen them guess it’s about some crush or celebrity or influencer, and I’ll gladly rule all of those out (๑>◡<๑)

Because the correct answer is actually ██ █████, ██████

“Yet this year, the snow was thinner. Noticeably thinner.”

The outliers in this album continue, especially here in the second side, with a song that honestly fits more in Another Breeze than it does here:

Decceliar‘s location is fairly tropical, so snow’s rare—this song’s thus not set on the island at all!

Rather, it’s more like a brief glimpse into reality, tackling a theme of global warming again just like Another Breeze, and told in… a fairly similar way~

A slow, quiet start, then a synth solo, then the same melody but played on a Zheng (事), then a sudden escalation, then a climax, and finally a reprise of the melody before the song fades out—nothing too complex, but!

I personally feel that Arcadia Express is one of the better tracks on this album, and especially here in the second side, if only for how unique of a feel it has compared to everything else…

I’d almost call it the best of side two, but there’s one more song that beats it~

“Competition is only an inevitability.”

Right here at the tail end of The Broadcast is, fittingly enough, The Broadcast (Reprise)!

Personally speaking, this is my favourite on the whole album—only really competing with the World of Fabulists / Broken Arrow medley~

I imagine this song is the inverse of The Broadcast: now we’re watching as the sun rises over Decceliar and the morning news starts broadcasting mundane topics like sports or celebrity drama, though as of late I’ve imagined this song kinda differently too-

Like is it just me, or does it kind of sound like a fitting credits theme too~?

As simple as it is, I love how the song still has distinct sections like the piano / orchestra / drum break early on, even when it’s mostly just the same melody developing again and again until it all closes with a crash!

With all the chaos before this, it’s nice for me to just end things in a roundabout way, and especially now that I look back on this album as my worst one…

It’s songs like this that make me reconsider that notion sometimes (^O^☆♪

~Some closing thoughts~

If you’ve read this far… hiya!

I’d really love to know what you thought of these songs, even if I don’t really plan to produce more tracks like them (^^;

As much as I’d also love to return to some kind of schedule though, I think working with something intermittent and flexible like this is best for now—so how does one write-up a week now~?

Might be more if I feel it’s right, maybe none if it’s a busy week—whatever the case, it’s refreshing whenever I get the chance to sit back here, enjoy your content too, and just appreciate the work everyone else here puts into their output!

I’m planning on putting up another AI Art showcase this week at least, so we’ll see if that can go through, but until then: here’s a little bonus!

The full playlist for The Broadcast, exactly in order—though it is long, I don’t know- I personally wouldn’t sit through this either HAHAHAHAHAHA

Take care everyone, and until we next meet, all the more love to ‘ya!

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