The Future of Antichrisis & The Lost Album

Bob Dylan was definitely right when he sang "The times, they are a-changin'" in 1964... and if it comes to music business, times have changed pretty much within the last few years. Having grown-up in the heydays of Punk, I totally and wholeheartedly agree that this change was indeed necessary, that it's about time that greedy record companies have to worry about their prospective revenues and realise that they cannot treat their customers like cash cows.

Being a musician myself, I'm torn between the two sides: on the one hand the internet and its possibilities of sharing and distributing music (but if we want to call a spade a spade we should include a term like "illegal downloading", too!) has turned out to be nothing less than a big "Up Yours!" towards the record companies' pricing policy, but on the other hand it has also caused a lot of severe problems for the kind of really devoted musicians and labels trying to make a living from what they're doing.

Experts affirm that today there's only 1 % of legal purchasing of songs and albums, which means that there is only 1 in a 100 songs that the artist or his record company actually gets paid for - and you can't run a business on that terms. That's why our label Reartone Records simply can't afford to release the long awaited Antichrisis album "The Legacy Remains": there's absolutely no chance of breaking even with new independent releases of that kind, hence I totally agree and understand Reartone's decision although I certainly regret that "The Legacy Remains" will now become some kind of "lost album", and that all the work we've put into its production so far was in vain.

Reartone cannot release any new albums as long as the aforementioned situation stays like this - and that doesn't affect Reartone Records only: Even a successful independent company like Chicago's Touch & Go Records with bands like TV On The Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Coco Rosie has to reduce its output because they just can't cover the costs any longer. Mac McCaughan of Merge Records commented this with the words: "If a company that did everything the right way can't survive in this environment ... then who can?"

But what does all that mean for Antichrisis? Well, there won't be any CD or album releases in the near future at all (unless another label would be interested in signing Antichrisis). As aforesaid, I can understand Reartone's decision and I totally agree with them, hence there's no bad blood between Reartone and Antichrisis. If the economical situation should change, there's no obstacle for resuming our collaboration.

In the meantime (or for the future - who knows) , Antichrisis will be stripped down to being a 1-man-project again like it used to be in the early days of "Cantara Anachoreta". I'll be doing everything on my own again including mixing and production, and as soon as new songs are finished I'll make them available on this website via streaming audio. I don't have any idea at the moment if there'll be a way making these new tracks available for purchase, because I don't like any of the current online distribution possibilities for independent artists: there are too many different internet platforms with too many different terms and conditions, which makes it difficult to work time- and cost-saving. But as soon as there's a proper solution on the horizon, I'll be trying to provide a good and easy way for acquiring Antichrisis' songs by purchase.

Anyway, I doubt that there will ever be an album by Antichrisis again, as I really don't believe in albums any more: they are a thing of the past, and the future's definitley in releasing separate songs as soon as they are ready and leave it to the customer which individual song he or she wants to have - it should be up to them if they want to burn it on CD or not. Online distribution is the future of any multimedia content, whether we like it or not - but it's all still in its infancy!

So "The Legacy Remains" will possibly never be released and Antichrisis will be reduced to being a 1-man-project again. I definitely won't stop making music, because it's simply such a vital and important part of my life. Of course I could now finish the songs of "The Legacy Remains" on my own, but to tell you the truth it just wouldn't feel right, because these songs were the collective achievement of a band that unfortunately doesn't exist any longer, and it would be quite unfair towards my former band members if I'd release those songs single-handedly now.

The reason that the band has now ceased to exist is due to the fact that we've never been a live group but a studio band. And as all band members are living far away from each other in different parts of Germany, the only occasion we got together was when we met in Reartone's Bluehouse studio for rehearsing and recording. So the end of the collaboration with Reartone Records implies the end of the studio band Antichrisis, too. But I'm glad that both Näx (uilleann pipes) and Frank (vocals) have assured that they would love to contribute their input to Antichrisis in the future, too, so there'll be still some guest musicians around!

Nevertheless my deepest gratitude goes to Jens Bachmann (former guitarist and producer), Tilo Rockstroh (former keyboarder and sound engineer) and Jens-Nils Kuge (former Drummer): these guys did such a great job for Antichrisis on "Perfume" and "A Legacy of Love Mark II", and I'm sure that "The Legacy Remains" would have confirmed what outstanding and unique musicians they are. It was an honour and great pleasure to work with them, and I sincerely appreciate the time we've been recording together.

A new chapter of Antichrisis is aborning - back to the basics, in a manner of speaking, and these basics will sound a lot like "Ocean's Too Wide" or "Crossing The Line" (already available on this website's Music section). And as I don't have to focus on album productions and studio sessions any more, there'll probably be some new tracks here quite soon... so stay tuned!

Introducing Alchemy

Last year was definitely a good year for softsynth-aficionados like me: first we had G-Force's significant update to their famous M-Tron called M-Tron Pro, which offers much more sounds and tweaking possibilities than one could have ever expected from a Mellotron-replica, then came Spectrasonics with their groundbreaking Omnisphere (which will receive another important update on January 26th with more than 2000 new patches - and don't ask me when I'll ever find the time to check them all out!), and finally in December Camel Audio released their long awaited sample manipulation synthesizer Alchemy, which I had the chance to work with during the last two weeks.

First I should confess that building sounds from scratch isn't exactly my cup of tea: I love to have a proper library of inspiring sounds that I can tweak and work with, and in these terms Alchemy is simply gorgeous even if not as packed and well-assorted as Omnisphere, but then Alchemy doesn't require 40 GB of free space on your hard drive like Omnisphere does, instead it just asks for reasonable 2 GB.

Alchemy is equiped with over 300 presets sorted in categories like Arpeggiated, Bass, Brass, Drums, Guitars, Keys, Leads, Loops, Mallets, Organs, Pads, Sound Effects, Soundscapes, Strings, Synth, Vocals and Woodwinds, but don't expect any "traditional" sounds: that's definitely not what Alchemy is all about, moreover it aims to create new and outstanding sounds - no wonder, because it allows you to tweak and manipulate every aspect of any given sound, and best of all it also allows you to import your own audio files and put them through its additive, spectral or granular grinder... only the sky is the limit of what you can do to any sound snippet loitering on your hard drive! To find out more about Alchemy's numerous possibilities take a look at Camel Audio's tutorial videos here.

I was most impressed by Alchemy's arpeggiated sounds, its drums, pads, loops and strings: these sounds are so unique and inspiring that I could hardly stop myself from fiddling about with them for hours and hours - really great stuff! I only wished the guys at Camel Audio would have equiped Alchemy with more than just 10 drum sets, because each of them is a case of sui generis and high musical quality.

Alchemy's sound effects and soundscapes on the other hand are the categories that I won't have much use for, but then it's a bit unfair to judge strange sounds like these after I've worked my way through Omnisphere's sound library just a few weeks ago: Sure Alchemy's soundscapes and sound effects do sound interesting and vivid, and there's also a lot of morphing going on, but I think Omnisphere remains simply unexcelled concerning weird and eerie atmospheres and sounds - but keep in mind that someone else might see (or hear) things different, because these categories are of much more use for composers & producers of movie scores and computer game tracks than for your average and humble musician.

All in all Alchemy is an extraordinary and wonderful softsynth offering myriads of editing possibilities that even Omnisphere can't provide. It works like a charm, contains hundreds of unique and inspiring sounds, is expandable (CamelAudio are currently offering 2 expansion sets on their website and there will be more to come) and put up for sale at more than reasonable price. It only took me just one hour until I had to realise that Alchemy will become one of my favourite softsynths!