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Dear Readers,

I was recently at a local outdoor music event, eating very interesting (also very good) Moroccan red quinoa tacos and listening to live music. After a while, I realized I wasn’t hearing the whole music anymore – instead, I was trying to find the song structure and the chord changes. Was that a 12-bar blues I heard? Was that a major turnaround? What was that drum pattern? So this is where I am at now – finding enjoyment in deconstructing other music to see what I’ve learned or what I can learn from it.

Song structure is important when you’re working with lyrics and vocals. The reading I’ve done on this seems to reinforce the idea as almost all the descriptions revolve around the lyrical portion of the song. All examples provided are lyrical songs – no instrumentals. It leaves me wondering how important having a formal song structure is to my own music.

I mean, in the strictest sense of the thing, any song I create will have structure. There will be a beginning, middle, and end. There will be volume changes and instrument drones that fade in-and-out. There will be chord progressions and multiple instruments, but many of the songs I’m working on don’t follow standard structures (12-bar, ABABCB, verse-chorus, etc.). Does it matter?

Well, what I’ve found recently is that songs following a defined structure definitely stick around in my head longer. I’ll walk away from working on the piece and still be humming a catchy part of the song later in the day because there’s some repetition in the music and using a common structure leads to having certain expectations. It’s like watching a movie – once you’ve seen enough in a single genre, you know what’s coming next.

The music I’m creating that is free-flowing and doesn’t focus on structure? Mostly, I walk away from these songs with just a feeling. The melody is forgettable, nothing more than a snapshot in time from the day I originally played the part.

I call it forgettable but that’s not the most apt description. The goal of the music isn’t to have a melody that sticks out or be distracting in any way. It’s music that goes in the background. It fills the void of silence, but it doesn’t have to draw you in. When done right, you will enjoy the music enough to remember the artist name but forget all the song titles.

Hopefully, you’ll be left with a good feeling and forget all the rest.

Sincerely,

Achira

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Dear Readers,

It’s been a little while since “City Dreams” came out and I thought I should tell you that, yes, I have been busy working on new material! Here’s a small sample:

Untitled Work in Progress

For this work, I’ve been focused on making a clean ambient sound. This should be the kind of music that can sit in the background while you study, sleep, or meditate. And, so far, I’m pretty happy with the results. That said, I’m still very much in the initial creation and mixing phase of my workflow – so I don’t yet have a target release time or any more details about the album.

My main focus, in creating the cleaner sound, has been in improving my mixing. I’ve largely focused on doing better with equalizers and, in some cases, attempted to apply a more standard song structure. My plan is to avoid drums in this release or, if they are added, having a minimal amount of them. What I want is to have a mostly free-flowing piano lead with a variety of ambient drones and strings in the background to invoke a nice sense of calm.

As for other techniques, I’m using a limited amount of compression, a variety of delay and reverb techniques, and a whole lot of shimmer. (See: https://valhalladsp.com/shop/reverb/valhalla-shimmer/). I don’t have too many third-party plugins but that one is definitely one of my favorites!

Anyway, I wanted to share some updates because I’m excited about this future release!

Sincerely,

Achira

Dear Readers,

On February 1, I learned about something called the RPM Challenge. At first, I thought, “This looks cool, I’ll try it next year.” I already had music lined up for release at the end of February and felt like I was pretty busy trying to prep for that.

Later that same day, I signed my name to the list.

I decided that it didn’t make sense to wait for 2022 and that I would rather push myself now while I’m definitely motivated and need to find ways to get my music out there. This challenge also presented an opportunity for me to push my own boundaries and explore something new!

So, with that, I’m extremely happy and proud to report that I have a second album titled “Exodus” queued for release! It is available on Bandcamp now, and it will be available on streaming platforms on or around March 5!

This six track album is the result of many, many hours of hard work for the RPM Challenge where I gave myself one goal: tell a story with a sci-fi theme. (Maybe that’s two goals…) I wanted to feel danger, loss, and hope come through in the music in a way that I did not target in the first album.

For your listening, here is song five from the release titled “Lost”. And if you want to something to read while listening, check out “The Caretaker” by Kate Landers.

Lost by Achira

As always, tell me what you think with a note to achira(at)achira.art or find me on twitter @AchiraMusic!

Sincerely,

Achira

Hello Friends,

It’s been a flurry of activity here over the last few months. When I made the decision to try and put out music, I didn’t really think about it beyond that. How does one get music into the world? What else do you need to put music out there? As it turns out, it’s a lot more than just pounding away on a keyboard. Damn.

But, hey, good news! I’ve been working through this process and have an album, “Inside the Red Room,” on its way February 26th! The album features seventeen songs composed with relaxation and general ambience in mind. I expect that if you’re into this type of music, you can turn this album on and let it fade into the background while you study, read, or otherwise go about your busy lives. Rest assured that there are no vocals or hidden messages so if you were to fall asleep to this music, you don’t have to worry that I’m trying to convince you of anything!

This album was a very large learning process for me which I intend to complain about document in this blog over the coming months, so stay tuned for more to come!

Sincerely,

Achira
achira(at)achira.art

P.S. Special thanks goes out to my partner (read her work here: https://katelanders.com) who suffered through my iterative creative process and was kind enough to provide all the track and album names!