Ascension’s Constraint, Part I. The Story.

When I set out to make Ascension’s Constraint in 2020, I thought it would take me about a year or so. It ended up taking over three years. It’s been quite a journey, and this is only the first part! It has been an arduous path getting here, full of frustration, late nights, trial and error, and honestly a fair amount of failures. More than once I wanted to give up and never think about it again. In some respects, it might have been a healthier option, since I’m almost six years removed from my mental health struggles, but some part of me just will not sit still.

Toward the end of 2019, I felt great about where things were headed with Pharmacose. We’d just finished part 2 of Prescription Fiction, and we were starting to get some shows booked. Things were beginning to get exciting. Then March 2020 happened, and while we were extremely fortunate not to experience any major tragedies, personal circumstances changed for all of us, and suddenly there was no “we.” It was just me. That’s not entirely accurate, since Lu and I are still working together some. There was no longer a band in the traditional sense, though.

I could have just let Pharmacose go quietly, but there was a moment around when the lockdowns were announce that I knew I was going to be stuck in the house more, and I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to get my production abilities up to snuff. I already had some clue as to what I was doing, but it still took me a year of writing, recording, realizing it wasn’t good, and then repeating the process before I started to gain a bit of confidence. Somewhere during that time I decided that since I was doing deep dive on production, I may as well do the same for mixing.

Along the way I built a project studio after my wife and I moved, and that’s where I was nearly every night from around 9:00-12:00, and sometimes more on the weekend. I put out versions of the songs on this record starting at the beginning of last year, and when it became time to start thinking about compiling them all into an album, I realized the recording and mixing just wasn’t good. So, earlier this year I set out to figure out where I went wrong and to do what I needed to do to get the songs sounding how I wanted them.

I ended up re-recording almost all the parts, which obviously meant that I had to mix everything again. It was disappointing at first to realize all this, but I’m glad I took the time to do it. Everything sounds so much better, and anyone who listened to the original versions won’t recognize these ones. Additionally, I feel like I’ve got a decent idea about what I am doing now, meaning that part II won’t take nearly as long.

Speaking of part II, I have already started working on some songs, but the question now is direction. I had been writing a book to go along with the album, and I got pretty far behind. It just became too much to do both at the same time. I did manage to get half of it written, and I already have the outline done, so I think I’ll finish it before I start putting out songs again. The songs and the story are so connected that it would be a shame to just let the story die. I’ve also planned out the story pretty far in advance, and I really want to explore the Corporation of America some more.

Until then, I hope you’ll give these new songs a chance!

Stream Ascension’s Constraint, Part I here.

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