I'm making it a point to work on the new album in between all my soundtrack and video work which at this time is quite intense. But I love it!
Regardless, I'll be recording Cherylandra's vocals in the next week for the album's (currently) longest track for which Mark Van Natta has also recorded guitar and vocals. Should be a tidy little epic!
Some other tracks should prove to be fairly quirky and rather un-mainstream with such niceties as quartal harmonies and asymmetrical meters. To be fair the first album had its goodly share of such attributes (like the polytriads and varying time signature changes from in "Saint Augustus") as they were they woven into a somewhat more mainstream synth-pop sound. But I tried to maintain compositional interest by stating and developing themes and recapitulating them with variations in the album tracks. An extension of that approach can be heard on the video version of "Hubris" where I took the guitar solo from later in the song and re-interpreted it as a classical/jazz hybrid for the new introduction. The video version still has the creepy augmented-chord sections in the middle which I tried to match with a creepy yet funny delivery!
And I truly love ongoing modulations throughout a piece (like in "Portal" and "Saint Augustus"), jazzy harmonies and a bit of fugue ("Djibouti"). So I plan to carry on some of those approaches for tracks on the new album.
I hope to have some interesting and strange timbres in the new album too; with my new software synths I have many sounds to explore and tweak so I'll try and keep the orchestrations varied and interesting.
It's been an enjoyable process and I'd say the album is about 65% done. I appreciate all the comments and questions about it from folks who have been following the band. and I hope to have it finished by the summer. We've already been playing some material from it live to good response which bodes well for future performances of the new album.
There is a demo version of one of the new tracks, "Exchequer Prague" at the MySpace Aethellis page. It's a tongue-in-cheek hybrid of techno and jazz with a sort of comical keyboard solo at the end. Enjoy!