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Entry 2024.0002 — WINNER
The Treehouse of Memory & Regret
Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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Original Concept:

In the Portuguese language, an important and inscrutable word dominates part of the national psyche -- "saudade."  While there is no exact counterpart in the English language, "saudade" refers to a deep sense of wistful longing, soaked in yearning and melancholy.  "Several Songs of Longing" will explore various traditions and experiences of our collective urge to seek, while never quite finding, an emotional desire just beyond our reach.

Artist Post-Game:

This was a good opportunity for me to develop some ideas around memory and loss that I've been studying recently and finding to be interesting.  I borrowed two melodies from songs that I wrote for FAWM the previous month, reworking them lyrically to fit the theme for the InCoAlMo album.  One other song, "Solastalgia," was largely written during the winter, and I re-wrote it and set it to a different arrangement for this album.  I also took a basic guitar riff that I used for a FAWM song two years ago and expanded it into the song "Samba Sung Blue" (the title of which is sort of a play on words regarding the old Neil Diamond song "Song Sung Blue").  If anyone listens to this album and as a result decides to check out Portuguese fado music on their own, the effort in making this collection will have been worth it.

Entry 2024.0006 — WINNER
ICAM 2024

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Original Concept:

Either finish last year’s album or try my hand at ambient.

Artist Post-Game:

My first stab at ambient. I’ve always wanted to make ambient, but didn’t have enough know-how, This year I thought maybe I can finally do it. I am happy with the results. Also, my songs are almost always completely sequenced so I can hit GO and the song plays itself. This way I can tweak everything just so. This year’s final song (final created, but track 1) I couldn’t sequence. I had to perform it live. That was a super mega challenge and I’m proud of my accomplishment. Thx as always for the challenge.

Entry 2024.0010 — WINNER
Joseph Mancuso
"The Last Total Eclipse"
Pennsylvania, USA

Original Concept:

In roughly 600 million years, lunar tidal acceleration will render one final moment when the moon is still close enough to the earth to completely eclipse the sun.

Driven by a semi-improvisational engine of very short recordings and randomized words, this spoken-word experiment seeks to capture the journey of a creature wrought solely for the purpose of observing that moment.

Artist Post-Game:

I'm happy to report that this record did actually get done!  My approach, designed to keep things simple and lighter-weight this year, worked out pretty well.

My process went something like this:

0)  I came up with my production concept: record one spoken-word track each day of March, largely improvised, to create a 31-track album.  So long as the average track ran more than 78 seconds, i would successfully meet the Rule of 40.

1)  Prior to March, i did a little research on my album concept and prepped and outline.  I decided that, for every track except the first ("Realization") and last ("Redemption"), i would use a randomly selected word (https://randomwordgenerator.com/) within the track text, and as its general subject and its title.  I drew 29 random words (one for each day in March other than the first and last).  Using the words in the order they were drawn, i started mentally outlining a rough story that would move the protagonist through different stages of the adventure.

2)  Each day in March, i quickly put together a few paragraphs of copy for the day's track.  I did this by taking a look at the outline, quickly skimming the previous day's copy, and then (often with speech-to-text) dropping a draft into my Notes app.  I then made a fast pass of edits, and recorded the copy using my Voice Memo app.  Editing was done right in the app and kept very minimal: just trimming front and end space and pauses/noises from recording between paragraphs.  On most days, the whole process took maybe 30-45 minutes.  With only a few exceptions, i managed to keep pace by getting one track done each day.

3)  On the last night of March, after getting the final few tracks recorded, i dropped them all into GarageBand, spaced them out, added dynamics control and EQ, and automated out a few spurious noises that popped through the gating.  I also added and mixed in the Super Secret Bonus Feature: a background ambient synth drone track by KC2, which he cooked up for me alongside finishing his own full-length album this year!!

At this point — written, recorded, edited, and mixed — i called the album "done". ... but there were a few catches.  First, due to some technical issues (and my limited availability in the final days of March), the audio for KC2's track had some unintended errors in it; the result was still listenable, but it wasn't really what he had composed.  Second, in the midst of trying to put all that together in the last night of March (after losing a few full days to travel), i ran past midnight by about 4 hours.

All that said, i'm still calling this album a WINNER for this year.  I'm invoking the Rule of 0 because of the lost days, the fact that KC2's work was a bonus feature not in the original plan, and the fact that i only went over a few hours.  Given the technical issues, i've decided to replace KC2's drone with the corrected version and release the album in its intended form.  All in all, i feel that this final product falls successfully within the spirit of the challenge.

So, given my invocation of the Rule of 0, i'm otherwise compliant: album runtime is over 54 minutes (Rule of 40) and all new/original material (Rules of 30, 20, and 10).

As for my experience, this album was a fun and relatively easy project to bang out — as intended (cuz i have a lot going on this year!).  The random-word-driven semi-improvized approach definitely got the juices flowing, and i feel like i ended up with a neat little cinematic story that people might enjoy.

Entry 2024.0004 — PARTIAL
Uncle Sixer
Stuff I Am Working On...
Right Here

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Original Concept:

"Speaking in Public"

Finish a couple of complete songs (at least to demo-quality)...  the concept, for me, is a creative challenge: can I write some lyrics and sing some vocals.  Maybe a unifying conceptual theme will develop, maybe not...  I just want to overcome what feels to me like my biggest hurdle in music, writing and singing lyrics without being too self-conscious about it.

Rules are already broken because I have music ideas in my head and on the hard drive already; but I want to finish a few things to call my own and hopefully be proud of them.  I may drop in a cover or two if they come together.

Artist Post-Game:

April 8: Uploading one song per day.  Will post a link when everything is up. This collection of music is not what I intended and not a proper INCOALMO project, but it is stuff I am working on. Work, wife, kids, and other projects got in the way, but that's how things go.

April 14: Finished some mixing and last upload and calling it all done...

Tracks 1 and 2 were mostly done in March
Tracks 3 thru 7 were recorded previously and were supposed to get lyrics written and vocals recorded in March, but that didn't happen
Tracks 8 and 9 are some things my son and I have been working on to supplement his trumpet lessons
Tracks 10 and 11 were mostly recorded prior to March, but my friend's vocals and my guitar solos were recorded first week of March and I think they represent the capabilities of what I can do in the Loft these days

Entry 2024.0007 — PARTIAL
Paul Collins
An Album Cover

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Original Concept:

"codename: "Sean Connery""

This project will rely on a liberal interpretation of the rules. I'm keeping it under wraps for now.

Artist Post-Game:

So, this project wound up not being music. Instead of creating 40 minutes of music, I leaned into my expertise as a visual artist and created 41 Album Covers. Making the album cover has always been one of the highlights of my project in the past anyway.

Despite the liberal application of the Rule of Zero, I accomplished what I set out to do on March 11 (the date that I realized the music was not happening this year). All of the work (save the "Bonus Track" #41) is wholly original, either from my own photo library, or created from a blank canvas. It was almost all created during March, except for one series that stretched to April 2.

Entry 2024.0001
Joseph Mancuso
"Shadow Work"
Pennsylvania, USA

Original Concept:

Album title look familiar?  It should, because my primary goal for InCoAlMo this year is to finish last year's record.  :D

My InCoAlMo 2023 album was mostly done on time, but needed a couple more songs to fully realize its intention and meet all of the challenge Rules.  (The full story can be found in my Post-Game from last year.)

Of course, this means that this entry will be an automatic PARTIAL (at best) for this year, but given everything that i have going on in my life this spring, that's maybe okay.  :)

For easy reference, the album's concept, as written last year, is the same, and reads as follows:

"No matter how fervently we seek the light, there are always remnants of our journey, forgotten and unchecked in the shadows.

Before they can be let go, they need illumination."

Artist Post-Game:

Sadly, i didn't get very much done on finishing this project.  My other entry for 2024, "The Last Total Eclipse", was lightweight (as it was designed to be), but still took priority because of it's one-recording-a-day nature.  I was hoping that, beyond that, i'd still have time to finish the last couple of songs for "Shadow Work", but there were just too many distractions this year.

The little bit of progress i made was some continued writing on one of the two final songs, "Red Moon", which is coming along nicely.  The last track (both to be written and to close the album), "Die Trying", has yet to be started (beyond the overall concept and a few lyrics fragments).

I will probably go back to the original Plan B (since Plan A was actually finishing this album in March of 2023) and try to finish this record later in the year for release whenever it's done.

Entry 2024.0003 — Registered!
my four fastest
ann arbor & lexington

Original Concept:

a musical exploration of the violence of calling a child an "underachiever"

Entry 2024.0005 — Registered!
"Unvarying Transisions"
Esbjerg. Denmark

Original Concept:

The Concept I'm tackling this year around. Will be based upon I something I noticed listening to RAM (Daft punk album) and also on Beta+Alpha (Minecraft albums).

I'm going to try'n make as many unexpected but musical transitions as I can. Still keeping with my usual "cinematic/Filmic" sound. And beyond that I'm getting a tape eco/delay. (aiming for an older Watkins Copicat model)

Entry 2024.0008 — Registered!
Jeff R.
"Songs To Listen To at the End of the World"
Left Coast

Original Concept:

It's been a rough time out here.  Big storms, a multi-day power outage, global chaos, personal chaos, etc... has me thinking about a different kind of transition.

I'm hoping to do songs related to this theme, touching on the personal and larger aspects - if the world was ending, what does that mean ... and what would it mean to me?

Entry 2024.0009 — Registered!

Original Concept:

Once again...digging deep down into co-related personal matters, and utilizing this as an opportunity to thread together a concept of FOUND SOUNDS together with a soundchecking and activation of my now legendary yet itinerant home recording gear.


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