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composer + artist • she/her • loves drums • advocate for emotional literacy in music • meep • EN/FR OK

Annette Singh @Troisnyx

30, Female

Music Director

Lancashire, UK

Joined on 6/26/11

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Troisnyx's News

Posted by Troisnyx - December 30th, 2020

I'm not normally one for retrospective posts. This year, in particular, I feel ill-suited to type out a retrospective post because much of our year has been spent in cautious, even terrified waiting. But I think I'll type one out this time -- because it grounds me in the knowledge that this year is about to end, and I'm about to cross the threshold into a new year, even if it's looking to be similar to this one.

This year has seen me at my most creatively active to date. And I think that warrants a post all on its own. Let us begin, shall we?

Before Lockdown 1

On New Year's Day of this year, half my drum kit was stolen. I would only manage to find one of the stolen drums before the whole nation shut down due to the pandemic. My beloved Seán and one of my bandmates, Greg, helped me to procure a secondhand kit to replace the one that was stolen.

I spent January working on my first solo release of the year, child of the woods, my longest song at the time of writing at nearly eight and a half minutes.

My doujin circle, Aetherhythm, released our first full original, an EP titled Astgaban. I did the last two tracks of that EP. The final track was the circle's tribute to one of our own, AvaliaKasa, who suddenly died at the end of 2018 -- she and a number of the doujin circle friends went way back, and so it was devastating to have lost her. Aetherhythm would wind up tabling at the Spring M3 convention, which was sparsely attended due to Covid-19.

Mere days before the first national lockdown was announced in the UK, my band (The Just Numbers) and I had our final performance for the year, on 15 March.

Lockdown 1

The first lockdown in the UK would last a whole three months. That was our spring and summer gone. To begin with, I took part in the Shelter in Place jam on NG with this entry, the first drawing of mine to have gotten frontpaged in a while.

Now I'm aware that it was probably because of the whole tag attached to the drawing, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

In April, I took part in the penultimate 21 Days of VGM. I say "penultimate" because there was one last one, held in the summer of this year, which I didn't take part in -- and the organisers are not holding these marathon runs anymore. Instead, they're holding shorter, more thematic challenges called 7 Days of VGM. I posted my progress regularly on Twitter, and some of the tracks made their way to Newgrounds after varying amounts of time. This period gave me not one, not two, but three whole frontpaged tracks, which I certainly didn't expect.

My output with 21 Days of VGM was noticed by @ForgottenDawn, who linked me up with @ZackTheGreat, who brought me on as a soundtrack writer and concept artist for an RPG in development called Adventures of Zack the Great; I have posted a good few pieces of concept art for it on Newgrounds this year, including this one which got a frontpage feature:

As my current circumstances dictate me to do things strictly nonprofit, my involvement with AOZTG is currently strictly nonprofit.

I also released hallowed silence in early April, as a sort of reflection on the national lockdown, the pandemic, Holy Week, and the lives lost.

On 12 April, which coincided with Easter Sunday this year, my Seán and I celebrated my 29th birthday in a very low-key celebration. There were only two of us, some lemon cake, a bunch of tubs of Pringles and other snackeroos. The day after that, 13 April (Easter Monday), I hit quite a milestone of 1,000 followers.

Between April and June I presided over the Art-Inspired Music competition, together with @Random-storykeeper, @Seth, and @VocalOutburst.

Towards the end of June I also began the process of presiding over this year's Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch, together with @Spadezer, VocalOutburst, @NekoMika, @AceMantra, @Jacob, and @SplatterDash.

For both these competitions I wrote thorough reviews for each piece at every stage, and compiled them all in PDFs exported from MS OneNote. I still have archives of every single last review I've written, so if any of you have taken part in either of these contests and would like to hear the feedback I gave over your pieces, hit me up.

Post-Lockdown 1

In July I auditioned for the Newgrounds Audio Underdogs competition, and got in by a whisker. I made my disdain over the process known across forum threads, and even on the Newgrounds Podcast server immediately after recording for the NGADM Finale Show had stopped. My suspicions and outcries were proven to be correct when a number of people who were eliminated from the NGUAC for not being "industry standard" enough actually made it far into the Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch -- which was meant to be a step up from the NGUAC. One even got second place!

Nearly everyone I mentioned this shambles to was speechless that this happened. I began my entry for the NGUAC immediately after learning that I made it in -- but as the hours progressed, it left even more of a sour taste in my mouth, and so I resigned from the competition.

This song, which I started and finished within a two-week period, would have been my Round 2 entry.

I much value artistic integrity and emotional literacy over the thought of winning. But one of the reviews I received said it all: that point marked a dramatic change in the way I made music and mixed it. I felt unstoppable. I could pull off anything I put my mind to, however difficult it might seem at any given time.

Also in July, I began a small Dungeons & Dragons group on my Discord server. We are currently on the slow march towards the end of our inaugural campaign.

Not long after that, I revisited A cause de l'ombre, a piece I composed in 2018 in the depression that I suffered and still continue to endure. I added to it and made it the definitive version, and it was given a feature.

Not long after that, @ninjamuffin99 approached me asking if I'd be willing to score for this year's Sketch Collab. I jumped at the idea. I went over my thoughts about it in this post.

The results were simply legendary. I had the help of @AkioDaku, Juan D. Cruz and my bandmate Greg for A Stroll Down St Pancras, which was released on the 10th anniversary of my arrival in the UK.

That would become the music for a feast of weird, wacky, unsettling, and uncanny animation:

In between the making of Pancras, Seán, Greg, and I travelled to Glasgow for a few days, and saw the sights. I also had the opportunity to present this drawing as a gift to @matt-likes-swords, in large part as a thank-you for the games and for what involvement I had with bits and pieces of the soundtrack and having one collaborative track of mine and @Phyrnna's in the game.

I wanted to meet @ronjaw as well, but she was self-isolating. Maybe next time, hopefully, when things are a lot saner and safer.

@AkioDaku interviewed me for his podcast, Heady & Weird.

  • Unpublished Submission

From that interview a friendship began to blossom, and possibly my involvement with a second band, as its drummer.

I also hit the milestone of 1,100 followers during this period, which I was honoured and humbled by at once.

Lockdown 2

With the help of a friend, I set up an Instagram page. In addition to my compositions, I wound up doing a number of drum improvisation videos which I shared on Twitter and Instagram; Instagram is probably the easier place of the two to access them. Sadly, the bass pedal on my e-kit (which was a trigger switch) gave me pains that travelled up to my spine, so I stopped playing the drum kit for a while until Seán and I could replace the pedal mechanism. However, I still continued to do improvisations on my medieval snare and a number of hand drums.

Lockdown 2 saw me returning to the game jam scene after five years of absence. I set up a page on itch.io. I also joined a number of game jam servers, the first of them being the Wholesome Game Jam, an unranked jam. Halloween was approaching, so I scored some quick tracks for a game called Haunted Yard. Two of the tracks were featured on the front page. I was astounded to have come up with a soundtrack in such a short time again after not having done this exercise for years.

In mid-October, I brought back the Newgrounds Worst Song Competition after a five-year hiatus. The contest in question would also be covered by the Newgrounds Podcast, and gave us side-splitting, ear-shatteringly painful tracks just in time for @PsychoGoldfish Day.

In secret, I began lyric-writing and recording the various drums at home for a project which I hold close to my heart. I'll get to that later.

Post-Lockdown 2

I took part in the 3rd Beginners' Circle Jam and the inaugural Miracle Tea Jam in November, and the Geta Game Jam earlier this month. The tracks for the Beginners' Circle and Miracle Tea Jams are up, but not the Geta Game Jam; I shall be uploading that one soonish.

Towards the end of November, that personal project I mentioned earlier, which would turn out to be my rendition of the Carol of the Drum, went in earnest. It was intended to feature both @Spadezer's and @Riy0's vocals; unfortunately due to computer troubles, Riy0 needed to pull out. Spadez and I began recording vocals in November and finished in early December; I finished it on 14 December and waited a whole ten days till the promised release date of Christmas Eve. I go over the process, and what it means to me, in another newspost.

I would spend the week and a half before Christmas playing the organ for funerals, rehearsing with my choir, doing socially distanced carolling and a couple other services, and singing, playing the organ, and drumming for the Christmas Masses. I did two vigils and one on Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day, I finally found the words to express what I want to do with my music, and what kind of music truly fits me best. I took the plunge and released a video of myself singing and beating the drum to a medieval carol, Gaudete, all on my lonesome on the organ loft of one of the two parishes I attend. I consider myself relatively small-time on Twitter and Instagram; for the small size of followers and friends I have on those places, that video held a captive audience, and I received a good few outpourings of love. You can view it here.




This is notable, in that it was the first piece of artwork whose drawing process I streamed live anywhere; specifically, I went live with the drawing of this on the Newgrounds Podcast Discord server. This was the first time anyone had actually ever seen me drawing on MS PowerPoint, and from that moment, people began to take me at my word when I talked about drawing on MS PowerPoint.

Cover artwork for please take care of this star and a drawing otherwise done in grief.

My first frontpage of the year.

The first piece of concept artwork for Adventures of Zack the Great that I ever posted on here.

The piece of AOZTG artwork that got frontpaged.

The drawing that was printed on a canvas as a gift.

Cover artwork for A Stroll Down St Pancras.

Cover artwork for Carol of the Drum.

And with that, that's me done for the year. A heady mix of depression, trauma, and all sorts of feelings positive and negative have transformed me into the artist that you've seen this year. While I have been prolific and better able to channel my emotions into my artistic output, I still have a lot to grapple with. I don't think 2021's gonna get any easier, but I'll at least still keep fighting.

I'm writing this whole thing as impassively as I can because I am struggling to positively connect with a lot of the things I've done, and I've lost all sense of time. I still hold some of these things fondly, but this year, my heart has bled for others and with others. I've also made a lot of friends in the VGM scoring community, and I am thinking of them and my other friends more than I am thinking of myself and my own state of well-being.

I shall be greeting the new year with those whom I hold closest to me, especially my Seán, with some food, drink, friendship, the beating of the drum, prayers, and the warmth and light of a fire. This is what I want to cherish. I want the passage into different times to be marked with the things that last, and I want it to be done in the presence of, and together with, the people whom I am most grateful to have in my life.

I am grateful for every single one of you. But when crossing the threshold into rites of passage and important times, I think these nights are best kept intimate.



Posted by Troisnyx - December 24th, 2020

Hey everyone! I'm pleased to bring you this new collaboration with @Spadezer, a carol that has truly touched my heart—

Carol of the Drum is OUT NOW!!!

I hope this warms your hearts as it did mine many years ago when I first heard it.

Enjoy, and happy Christmas and happy holidays!

I will likely update a bit after Christmas Day.



Posted by Troisnyx - December 23rd, 2020

The cover of Carol of the Drum (a.k.a. Little Drummer Boy) lovingly done by @Spadezer and myself releases tomorrow, 24 December 2020.

Ahead of its release, I want to talk about why it's so special to me, and what I endured to get to this point. I'll also be talking a bit about the process behind it.

CW: child abuse, violence, misogyny, transphobia, sexual abuse, rape.

I first heard this carol, and the sound of the drum, when I was three years old, and my path was set.

While I often feel stupid for not admitting to myself that my path was set and that this was what I was destined to do, I never really had the space.

For, you see, my drumming is tied inextricably with my history and who I am as a person. Yes, the drum is my favourite instrument, but I feel like I'm drumming in response to something. It is often a joyful response to being loved, cherished, appreciated as a person. Given the time, I would happily do a drum recital in front of my friends just to thank them for being there with me.

I guess, enduring a sorrowful history leaves me with no words to express my sorrow, and no words to express joy when it is there.

What I endured as a drummer, and as a person, is not something that I wish upon anyone, even my worst enemy. I would normally choose to keep it to myself, telling it on the rare occasion perhaps. But today, it's important for me to write it down, because all of these things led me to where I am today.

  • At age 3 I heard the sound of the drum and this special carol for the first time. From that point, I would pray through rhythm on a frequent basis. My body had already been violently treated prior, by my own parents, but this was new ammunition to them.

  • At age 5 I saw and heard a drum kit being played for the first time. I desperately wanted to play, but both parents made certain to tell me in front of people that "drumming isn't for girls." My parents would sooner believe that I was a lesbian or a trans boy, than believe I was a cishet(?) girl who loved the beat of the drum, and they made that known plenty through the years.

  • Since then, whenever I pleaded and begged to play, they would beat me up very badly. They beat me up for anything that didn't fit their precious little picture of what they wanted me to be. On a few occasions I lost consciousness as a result of the beatings. During this time, I kept looking for a drum to play, and when I did, I played it softly -- since if I did play it loudly, people would hear me, and my parents would inevitably find out, and the cycle of abuse would begin again. This would go on for years. This was also exacerbated by the fact that the place where I grew up hated minorities like myself, and so I had little support from school or anywhere. I was on my own.

  • At age 15, on Christmas Eve -- the anniversary of which is also the release date of that cover of the Carol of the Drum -- I was at a Christmas Vigil Mass with my immediate and extended family, and I happened to see a second cousin of mine playing kit that day, part of his parish music ministry. I'd been holding in my desire for years for fear of being badly beaten up again. I was in church, with the tabernacle right in front of me, and I was certain that they'd beat me up again -- but this time would be a point of no return. Believing my life forfeit, I looked straight to the tabernacle in front of me, and then told my parents about this. Surprisingly, I was spared that night. Something changed in my mother, too, and I can't quite put my finger on what.

  • At age 16, I tried out the drums for the first time. It was everything I yearned for, and more. No one taught me; this was my own natural ability then. I was, however, prevented from taking it up because of my GCSEs.

  • At age 17, I was gifted my first (electronic) kit, at my mother's urging. Little did I know back then that she wanted to make things right with me, in part because she was dying. In the month or so that she could do this, she sat by me to listen to me playing. Then, she was taken to hospital, and a hundred days later, she passed away. My father prevented me from showing her my playing for fear that I would "upset her" -- but the day before she died, while he was absent, I managed to show her a video of my playing. She smiled, and she motioned to a visiting family friend that I could play drums now. Now my father had promised me drum lessons once we got my mother out of hospital okay -- I don't know if that was to placate me or what; he knew she was dying. And while we were at home, he decided to make his feelings about my playing known, beating me up and calling me names on a regular basis.

  • I would spend the next few years in conscription, preparing to read law, and being bundled out of the country of my birth due to it being unsafe for me. In the absence of a drum, I drummed on my chest until it was red and painful.

  • At age 21, after begging friends to help me find a kit and finding out that they took the brunt of the verbal, sexist, and likely racist abuse meant for me, I felt like I had nowhere to turn. Someone whom I once considered a friend recommended that while waiting for a kit, I could try playing the bodhrán, if my desire to keep the beat was strong. With what little money I had I bought my first bodhrán, and began to beat it.

  • At age 22, homelessness, destitution and fear for what I endured growing up drove me to Preston, and drove me to begin the asylum process. I also joined the choir at the parish of St Wilfrid's, and I couldn't believe my ears when they said that one of their former members, who had sadly passed away earlier that year, used to beat the bodhrán for some hymns. I put myself forward, and my journey as a percussionist finally began in earnest. I also met my beloved Seán that year, and his late father used to beat the bodhrán -- it was his favourite instrument -- and the beat was one of a number of things that brought us together. My choirmistress would also take the decision to assign me to the timpani after hearing me play percussion for the first time, and that cemented my use of matched grip and laid the groundwork for my kit drumming. Unfortunately, that year would also mark the year that I would face reprisal in the form of sexual advances, as a result of my outward display of passion whenever I beat the drum. A flatmate would sexually assault and then rape me using my drum face as "consent."

  • At age 24, I finally had regular access to a kit, because I came across Soundskills, the community centre in the suburb of Brookfield, and discovered that they had drums at their studio.

  • At age 26, my friend from Soundskills -- Greg Slater -- decided to have me as the drummer in his newest band, The Just Numbers. My first ever live performance as a drummer happened that year. Bear in mind that most people would do this in their teens. I didn't have the chance until I was 26. Not long after, I was gifted my first acoustic kit by my Seán.

  • At age 28, after much wrangling on the part of my Seán and some friends including Greg, I finally was able to begin formal training on the drums. I talked about it at length in a previous newspost, but long story short, my tutor immediately put me on prep for Grade 8, the highest examinable grade by most exam boards, after hearing me play. My kit would eventually be stolen on New Year's Day 2020, and Seán and Greg helped me to procure a replacement -- which turned out to be better than the original kit, but I miss the original. (You always miss the first of everything, if it gave you a good experience.)

Which leads us to today. I am now 29, and this carol is done with the weight of everything that I've borne. Tomorrow, I release a carol close to my heart -- I release the song that sums up who I desire to be, and perhaps, who I always have been.

Everything that I mentioned above is just a summary, scratching the surface.

So why am I writing this, you ask? Well, those of you who have known me for a while know one thing about me in particular: I cannot, and will not, keep silent about an injustice that has happened until it has been corrected. That's all.

This was long thought out; I had the idea in my head roundabout the time that I was writing A Stroll Down St Pancras, in part for this year's Sketch Collab. I'd actually wanted to do it for years, but this year it really felt concrete. I felt that my mixing, my singing, and my drumming had reached the heights I'd hoped for this carol to be pulled off. @Spadezer suggested that we collaborate, and I was hoping to find other male vocalists to help me since I could barely reach baritone on my own. @Riy0 offered to collaborate as well -- but unfortunately, he needed to pull out due to computer troubles and difficulty with the couriers when having a new computer delivered.

I began recording in September; I concentrated on the drums first. I wanted them to be tribal and thumping and tight. Then, in October, I wrote the harmonies and sent MIDIs to Spadez and Riy0 in November. Spadez and I began recording vocals in earnest in November, and at the end of that month, I had enough parts to begin mixing.

I finished recording vocals in early December.

Mixing the song was a nightmare. Those of you who have been following me on Twitter and interacting with me on Discord may have found out, perhaps, that this project had a lot of gremlins. It was shifting pitches and dynamics and reverb settings where I explicitly didn't touch these. I did my best with a very uncooperative project file. I didn't have time to be faffing around especially since around Christmastide, I tend to be out singing carols and in services and things. It tends to be one of the busiest times for me each year; it certainly has been the busiest time for me this year. After nine months of downtime, it's been hard for me to be adjusted to this level of activity again, and I certainly wouldn't have time to sit at FL ironing out the project any further than I currently have -- I'm certainly not risking even more unwarranted pitch changes, not now.

However -- I do not feel bitter about the song. I feel immense joy and anticipation. My heart beats high like the drums in that piece. I look forward to sharing that joy with you all tomorrow. I will update, of course, with a new FP post when it releases.

I am a drummer, I am a composer, I am an arranger, I am a vocalist. I share all these parts of me with you tomorrow. It is my hope that I'll actually wake in time to release this; I plan on releasing the Carol of the Drum in the small hours, EST. Until then, thank you for reading -- and to those of you who anticipate this carol, I hope that your hearts beat as loudly as mine with that anticipation. ^_^


Posted by Troisnyx - November 27th, 2020

This is the banner image on my profile right now and I'm ready to only to show a snippet of the image. I'm recording voices for it today, and this thing that I'm teasing is what I'll be working on this month.



Posted by Troisnyx - October 14th, 2020

Today, 14 October 2020, is the day of release of the long-awaited Sketch Collab, and also one of two reasons why I have not updated with a newspost. (The other being my emotional frame, which I will touch on in a bit.)

On my socials I posted this picture to heighten anticipation for this long-awaited potpourri of animating talent.


There were two major hints to this image -- the parchment paper resembled the background of the Sketch Collabs of a good few years now, and the artwork was that of the sleeve cover to A Stroll Down St Pancras, which serves as the background music for this year's Sketch Collab.

All the reasons behind my delaying of this post are deeply intertwined, and I feel I can't talk about one without talking about the rest. Please bear with me.

I am going to be dealing with some very painful emotions in this post.

I want to underscore, for a moment, the fleeting feeling of being unstoppable.

It is a feeling that you get when you are surrounded by people who believe in you, and who enable you to do the things you aspire to do.

@ninjamuffin99 approached me in mid-August informing me that the host of this year's Sketch Collab, @NickConter, was looking for a musician, as @Geoplex would normally do this but he was reportedly swamped this year. I jumped at the opportunity; I was free, and I took it on.

I don't think very many know exactly how much this means to me, and I think I ought to come out and say this.

In years past, starting in 2014, I looked longingly at the Sketch Collab. I knew that Geoplex was relatively active on NG back then, at least on the audio forum, and I wanted to at least have a shot at scoring the Sketch Collab, or at least having my music used in there. I believed enough in my musical ability even if I didn't know how to mix. I remember approaching one of the previous hosts for it. I don't know if @TheMAM took me seriously back then, but I have great reason to doubt it. Thoughts coursed through my heart back then: how can I even get a chance if no one will believe in me?

Years passed, and I forgot about it. I vaguely knew of its existence but the memory really only hit me hard once I had been asked to score it.

By that point, I'd already felt like I'd outdone myself this year, having done the orchestral and vocal heart-wrencher that was please take care of this star. I felt I couldn't outdo myself any further, but sure, I'd give it a try, I thought. When NickConter spoke with me about what he and the others were looking for as far as music was concerned, he was looking for something catchy. It was then that I looked at previous Sketch Collabs and listened to their music, to try and gauge what it was that they were all looking for, and what I could introduce. Once I had finished scouring through past videos, I scoured through my past tracks.

One track in particular stood out to me, and that was the fragment of A Stroll Down St Pancras from five years ago. After having smashed please take care of this star out of the park, I felt I could believe in my own musical ability again.

@AkioDaku and I had previously had a long chat about what makes us tick as musicians, and in that chat we had heavily related to each other's struggles. At the end of that chat, we had offered each other the possibility of collaborating with each other. Once I had laid down most of the instrumental for Pancras, I felt the time had come for me to collaborate with him. I wasn't sure, but at least with him I found someone who believed in my ability, as much as I believed in his. He happily agreed to lay down the bass for Pancras, and him doing so opened up the window for me to include a second collaborator -- my very own friend and bandmate, Greg Slater, who had recorded guitar for a number of tracks of mine that had previously been submitted to Newgrounds.

Greg was willing to record the guitar, and so he sat down to doing it, feeling his way through the track. To me, aside from a bit of direction on dynamics and performance, it didn't matter what the end result was, so long as my friends' souls were injected into this thing. And they were.

Their passion amplified the passion that was already in the piece and transformed it into something far beyond anything I'd imagined.

Then came a third collaborator, who recorded his violin in a pinch after being moved by the melody I'd written for it -- Juan D. Cruz, jdcviolin on Twitter. Initially, I'd written the violin parts with the solo violin out of alpha Versilian Studios Chamber Orchestra 2 -- the same build of that series of samples that I had five years ago when I first dreamed up this piece. I stayed past midnight on 15 September to await jdcviolin's recordings and then mix them in, because I was determined that 15 September 2020 would be the day of release of this track.

It was originally meant to have been done for earlier, but there were a number of deadlines set for the animators, some of whom were struggling to get things done on time -- one of such deadlines was 15 September, which coincided with a major anniversary, i.e. ten years since I set foot in the UK for the first time. (I spoke about it at length in the description to A Stroll Down St Pancras.) The resulting song would be one of passion and freedom and experimentation and joy.

Those of you who know me well enough, and who know my situation well enough, know that I have been battling awful bouts of depression and post-traumatic stress, and that I am still in the thick of it now. When critics of people like me invalidate me on a daily basis, telling me that I shouldn't be here, that I have nothing to give back to this country, that I am not going to amount to anything worth a damn, it only brings back traumatic memories. It only makes the pain and suffering worse. The depressive, post-traumatic black Rottweiler is there on an almost daily basis and sometimes, it does more than bare its fangs at me: it bites me in places that are way too painful for me to bear.

There were even people who told me that I would never surpass Geoplex or (insert any name here), or do anything they did.

This all seems lesser compared to the dehumanising treatment I receive from some people and parties. None of it, however, can measure up to what came before.

When I finished Pancras I felt a deep sense of joy and relief. I also felt unstoppable. For the first time in a long while, I felt free -- as free as I did back in September of 2010. I felt that with people by my side who believed in me, I finally didn't need to feel like I was alone against the world, and I could finally thrive. It showed in my music. Pancras would turn out to be one of my best pieces to date, if not my personal best to date. With it I finally could sing with the same emotional literacy that I yearn for, that I look for in pieces I judge in competitions such as the Art-Inspired Music contest or the Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch. Compared to what I am still going through, it is a tiny sliver of light, but a very important sliver of light for me nonetheless.

It finally showed me, and others listening in, what I'm truly capable of -- and it's only going to get better from there.

It finally showed me, and others listening in, what a joy it has been to make music with these friends of mine.

And now, for the first time, my name is on a Sketch Collab -- as are the names of a small selection of the many musician friends and others who stood by me, believed in me, and felt together with me.

Never underestimate how unstoppable you feel when you have the good fortune of having people by your side who believe in you and want the best for you. Never, ever, underestimate that. It is an incredible privilege -- and I wish it were not so, because I remember how small I felt all those years ago, and I empathise with those people who desperately wish they could do something like this but, for whatever reason, feel they somehow can't. If you are feeling this way right now and reading this, I want to do everything I can, and I exhort my friends to do everything they can, to make sure fewer people feel that way. It's no good for me to simply rest on my laurels feeling satisfied that I did it, while others are feeling the way I once felt. It's time everyone got a chance.

It's time we believed.

MUSICIANS: Please stop selling yourself short. If the world doesn't cheer for you and you know you have something to offer musically, do not lose sight of that for a moment. If you want to score an animation or a game, make it known! Put it on your newsposts, talk about it, mention it in the Collaboration forum. Heck, if you are the annoying kind, perhaps even bug @TomFulp in a reply to the news forum posts every time he does something, I don't know! So long as you're speaking about your dreams, people will know that you exist and know you have dreams, and some people just might act on those dreams.

ANIMATORS AND GAME DEVS: If a musician out there really dreams of scoring animations or video games and makes this known on their newsposts and forum posts, it's time we believed in them. Imagine the wonders this belief would do for their confidence, their self-esteem, their willingness to put themselves forward for further projects!

Time for the Audio Portal to finally see the use that it's meant to see once again. Because let's not forget that the Audio Portal is full of incredibly gifted and determined musicians, many of them with dreams of their own -- and the AP is also designed for seamless integration with NG game and movie credits.

I remember what it's like to have begged for a chance to score a game or an animation.

I remember being brushed off so many times; I remember not being given a chance.

I think it's time we stopped that for as many musicians as we can find.



Posted by Troisnyx - August 26th, 2020

Yoooo lemme know what your handles are, so that I can follow you maybe~

In the meantime, I need to write a longish post about the recent releases and other things I've been going through.


Posted by Troisnyx - August 19th, 2020

Hey everyone, I am back and I have delivered.

I present to you all, please take care of this star.


As I promised in the description of this piece, I am writing this long post detailing the context and the process behind this song, and what I've been feeling during its making and after.

The piece of music, please take care of this star, is actually influenced by a good few things that I feel share the same symbolism. Incidentally, I also did an art piece with the same title, so one could say that this piece was partly influenced by that piece of artwork, as it came earlier.

The lyrics of that piece are ostensibly about an abused child receiving a star from her Maker, and struggling to keep its light going because she is abused into yielding it up or letting it fall into the wrong hands by people who are meant to love her and protect her.

It is also an allegory to Brexit.

At the end of January this year, the campaign group Led By Donkeys screened a farewell message to the European Union from the famous white cliffs of Dover. Said message famously featured the two WWII RAF veterans still alive at the time of making the message, who both voted Remain and who lamented the racism and small-mindedness that led us to that point, and the final two sentences of this message, which sent tens of thousands of young people like myself in tears, read:


The message has stayed in my heart for a long time, and I have long wanted to turn what I felt on that day in January into the kind of energy that would inspire people and tell them what my feelings were.

Having been abused and gaslit plenty by my own parents and others during my childhood and adolescence, I felt I could write from the perspective of a child like this, making it an allegory for how so many young people were talked down to, not listened to, consistently gaslit about our futures. I felt it on a personal level, and with Brexit, this became communal.

The "crown of twelve stars" refers to two things -- the crown of the woman in the book of Revelation, which the Catholic Magisterium understands as Mary, mother of Jesus -- and the twelve stars of the EU flag.

So yes, this song is heavily laden with plenty of emotion and plenty of meanings that are close to my heart. Every single bit of symbolism that I threw into these lyrics is borrowed from things that have galvanised me and that continue to galvanise me. The star of the child in the song could mean a number of things, as a result: Britain's proverbial star in the EU flag, the child's talent or personality that could not be developed, or the growth of the child that has been stunted as a result of abuse.

As I mentioned in the description of the song, as well as in my previous post: I began composing this song on Tuesday 11 August 2020 at 06:30 BST. This would have been my NGUAC knockout round entry, had I not resigned. I kept myself to NGUAC / NGADM constraints, aiming for a deadline of two weeks from the start date, as I had a lot of pent-up anger and consternation to use constructively. Composing the song was a quick affair, as I finished up the full structure complete with tempo envelope on the same day that I started writing. In theory, that meant I could record at any point after that Tuesday -- but I decided to embellish the song further before I started recording the vocals.

And on the subject of vocals and lyrics: the lyrics were part of an impassioned post that I'd written a good while back, detailing my feelings and the feelings of others of my generation and younger in the months leading up to and following Brexit. At the time of writing those, they did not have a tune assigned to them. (At the time of writing those, they also made me weep very bitterly and I thought that I would never see those words again, that it was catharsis and that it would be done and dusted.) What made me ultimately assign these lyrics to the tune that I wrote on the 11th was that it suddenly became topical again, with much of the fallout from what was meant to be a done-and-dusted spectre that had been haunting us since 2016 still going on, and some of it being reported in the news as late as July. The subjects behind the words incited in me many emotions and passions, and so I felt I needed to deliver in my recordings.

I wavered and nearly cried recording the parts.

I also nearly cried when embellishing and finishing up the composition and mixing of the instrumental, a mere six days from the start date. @LD-W and @ForgottenDawn gave the instrumental a once-over before I put in the vocals.

These vocals were the parts that I worried about the most in this song: outside of my delivery of them, I had trouble mixing vocals in the past. I have been known to have a problem of too many medium frequencies -- mids, as we call it -- and too many mids in audio can cause a piercing sound. My Seán physically recoils at piercing mids, and I do so sympathetically to him -- so I wanted to avoid that reaction as best as I could. The mixing and mastering was done with this in mind, above all else.

I finished it today, 19 August 2020, in the early afternoon or so, and I was so relieved and happy that it was done. It felt cathartic. This was the kind of stuff that I used to merely dream of doing when I took part in the 2014 NGADM, back when I did Oceans Wide and did not know a thing about mixing and mastering: I did not dream of the musicality as I believed even back then that I had it in me already; I dreamed of the production. And now, I feel I've done it and far outdone myself. Listening to the master, I felt my own hair standing on end. I thought, yeah, this is good. This is going to be the final version of this piece.

I said I wanted audio submission number 200 to be one that was very close to my heart. And it was. Everything about this song has made me quite emotional, and even thinking about it puts me on an emotional roller-coaster.

I am grateful to have been blessed with the emotional strength to see this song through, because I have not been feeling strong at all. I have been feeling excited and nervous and sad, yes, but not strong.


Posted by Troisnyx - August 11th, 2020

Audio submission number 200 would have been a go regardless of what the outcome of the Newgrounds Audio Underdogs Contest (NGUAC) auditions were. I want to state for the record that I'm glad to have made it past the auditions.

I also want to announce that I am resigning from the NGUAC. These are the full details of why.

I am a Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch (NGADM) judge, and I was also a judge for the Art-Inspired Music (AIM) contest earlier this year, for which I wrote extensive commentary on every single admissible entry. In threads and Discord discussions related to these contests I mentioned that I vibe with a lot of tracks, owing to having listened to music across various different genres. So, for me, composition and production are not enough.

I look for authenticity of emotion.

A lot of this involves having the emotional literacy to convey the message that we are trying to convey in our songs, to positively and pleasantly catch listeners off guard, to make them feel, to make them question, "Oh, hello, what is this?". It is an emotional literacy that had been encouraged in me by stellar composer friends and judges in past years, and by some industry figures as well, some of whom have had the opportunity to listen to my music as hosted on Newgrounds. It is experimentation, the willingness to dream, that makes new genres and has us take them far. Some experiences are going to be a little more left field than others, and that's fair enough -- but even still, I want to hear the actual soul of the composer.

If this is going to be stymied in me for the next point that I am going to raise, then I would be a hypocrite for modifying my composition structure and what I'm looking for to suit certain tastes. In my judging for the AIM and the NGADM I would be looking for that which is missing from a lot of compositions -- whereas I myself would not be practising what I preach. I cannot be put in that position. It is fundamentally morally wrong to me.

The next point, of course, is the definition of "industry standard," a thing sought for in composers of my bracket. Now what is that?

By the overwhelming benevolence of one of my fellow composer friends, I happen to be acquainted with Akash Thakkar and his course on game design and networking in the video game music industry. (Evidently, due to ongoing circumstances, I can't actually apply most of it, but I am still learning a lot.) The closest entry point for anyone even going left field with their work would be to compare it with something that it somewhat sounds like -- I've had my lyrically layered songs compared to the soundtrack of Nier: Automata before. If there's a place for that, there's a place for anything -- it's a matter of selling it well.

Now, my understanding of "industry standard" is something with some degree of safety but a great degree of freshness, experimentation and pleasantly catching others off guard -- the kind done by Field Music and Coldplay and Aimee Mann. The kind that goes on to win Brits and BAFTAs. Imagine that for a few moments -- the mere exercise of dreaming it feels beautiful to me.

Ahead of time, when I submitted my audition piece to the Round 1 thread, I knew it was going to polarise. Some were not going to like the child's voice, even though I deliberately went for Frelia out of Ar tonelico II with that one. Some were not going to like the distortion in some of the chorus vocals. And others were going to be absolutely floored by the fact that the song is more than eight minutes long. So it came as no surprise that the judges' scores were polarised on my own song; I had long expected it and I have no complaints about this.

What I do have consternation over, is that there are people whose tracks are imaginative enough to actually qualify for the NGADM -- which is meant to be a step up above the NGUAC, by the way -- who have not qualified to Round 2 *of the NGUAC* because they were given some inexplicably dismal scores by a couple of the judges, ostensibly out of this concept of an "industry standard" that they're after.

Industry professionals have told me time and time again that my stuff deserves to go far even if I currently do not have the right to take it further than here. I have no doubt that if they listened to some of the tracks that were excluded, they would say the same. There is a part of me that is screaming in my gut, telling me to actually listen to the affirmations and believe -- affirmations that I am indeed fortunate to have had -- and it's only fair that I extend that same affirmation to the people who had excellent tracks who were ultimately excluded.

The results came out at about 3:-something a.m. BST; my beloved Seán was occasionally checking the audio forum on my behalf while I was asleep. After seeing what I did, I couldn't sleep. I got out of bed, freshened up, and immediately set to work on audio submission number 200 -- what would have been my NGUAC knockout round entry. I started at about 6:30 a.m. my time, and it is now 9:08. I've not touched the keyboard for a good hour and a half, and I can safely call half the structure of the piece finished. So, actually finishing the piece on time is not the issue. If constrained to do this within two weeks, notwithstanding any emergencies that may crop up, I do not doubt for a moment that I'd be able to finish it on time.

It'd be a damn shame to let it go to waste, so I am planning to see this piece through to the end. It will be my audio submission number 200.

And it'll hopefully be the first in a series of tracks whose subject matter is close to my heart.

I am at peace with this decision, and I'd certainly be grateful if someone who didn't make it past the auditions could take my place. Part of the Hamlet soliloquy from Shakespeare is apt for this situation, I think--

This above all- to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

I hope to update you about the piece in progress soon. Until next time.


Posted by Troisnyx - August 8th, 2020

It has recently occurred to me that my next audio submission on Newgrounds will be my personal number 200.

I don't know what it is — and I keep wondering what it might be. To those of you anticipating it, I share your anticipation, and when that track is out, I shall be writing about it in great detail in a newspost, most likely.


Posted by Troisnyx - July 13th, 2020

So, a few of you will have noticed that a certain piece called Libera Me ~ version définitive was posted by me and a few other users, whom I shall not name because it appears that some awkwardness has ensued. In fact, it had been posted twice, and I've taken the liberty to unpublish it both times.

I think I want to clear the air on what it was meant to be, and what happened.

In early-ish 2013, on the Bandcamp page that I currently do not use -- and have not used for years on end -- I released a single called Terre des Hommes Libres, featuring three songs. They were

  1. Terre des Hommes Libres,
  2. Asperges Me, and
  3. a track never released on Newgrounds, called Libera Me.

When circumstances dictated that I could only do stuff nonprofit, I switched my entire Bandcamp discography to downloadable only for free. Prior to that, I received a small token of support for the single in question from a longtime fan of mine on NG. Back when I released it, I was a student, broke and in need of a replacement computer -- any kind would do -- and I was desperate. Notwithstanding that throughout my university years, I had immense fears for my life and traumatic episodes about the place where I grew up and I didn't know what to even do about it all -- no work was being posted that I could sign up for, places I applied to wouldn't take me, and the only option I saw was to try and fund-raise with my own music, however badly produced it was. This led to me releasing these three tracks onto Bandcamp. Of course, fundraising has been a moot point for the last six and a half years.

Which leads me to Libera Me, or rather, my own setting of the words of Libera Me.

Wikipedia puts it straight to the point: Libera Me is a Roman Catholic responsory sung as a prayer for the dead, during a few different services.

The track that I released on Bandcamp was meant to be my own setting of the prayer, the music of which had come to me very strongly in 2013. 

Fast-forward a few years later and I had learnt that my production skills were wanting, to say the least. It was my hope to do a "definitive" version of sorts, gathering together the users whom I knew could sing this together with me, and who could feel they would be able to pull this off at some point, in good conscience. Not all of them had been confirmed, but I'd managed to get together four friends — let’s call them A, B, C, and D. B was not credited as they don't have a Newgrounds account, but they often sang together with A, who was one of the already credited friends on NG. Of course, for me to consider this a "definitive version," I would have to remake the whole file from scratch, with my current orchestration and production skills. I wanted to do it once I knew how to mix. Of course, my mixing skills only finally got decent mid-last year, and I simply wasn't able to pull it off in the preceding years.

But before I could sit down and do this, the unexpected happened.

Roughly a week and a half ago, one of the contributors I had named in the making of this new version of Libera Me, C, went and published a track that had little, if at all, to do with my setting of the prayer, which was what this track was intended to be all along. It was instead a sort of mashup of vocals and guitar with a song about the Easter Rising in Ireland called The Blood Stained Bandage, which I myself wouldn't do.

All of the other friends who had confirmed their participation in the reworking of my own setting of Libera Me were credited on the left sidebar, myself included. Even though we hadn't contributed anything to this piece that suddenly popped up. It was just this one contributor, as far as I'm aware.

I don't know if it was out of misunderstanding or what -- I feel I can only give the benefit of the doubt -- and I found out several hours after it was published, since for me, it was published in the small hours of the morning, when I was fast asleep. I also discovered that a post tagging me regarding this piece appeared on my personal Facebook page. The kicker was when I found out that the post had for its text, "We did it."

...We, meaning the rest of us, didn't do anything!

I knew for a fact that A, B, and D had all signed up to sing this prayer for the dead with me. They certainly did not sign up for this, and would be furious if they found themselves part of something they hadn’t signed up for!

I also want to briefly talk about the sentiments I have behind The Blood Stained Bandage.

Now I am engaged to Seán (@IrishChieftain), who in addition to being a British citizen, is also Irish both by descent and citizenship. As far as his views on Ireland go, he is a Republican — and very much on the side of peace. Rebel songs are known well to him, and I occasionally hear them being played — particularly those of the Wolfe Tones. Seán is not very distant from what goes on in Ireland; in fact, he keeps abreast of Irish news, among other things.

My beloved knows that while I have borrowed and understood a lot of Celtic culture, I struggle to find belonging in this world, and this applies to wherever I find myself. With my ongoing situation weighing me down, if I sing about anything overtly political, it’ll be about things that I can relate to the most: racism, xenophobia, pilgrimage, the crippling depression that we suffer as a result of how our world is being run... Once upon a time I was much more open to singing certain political songs within the context of national pride; I am now extremely sparing with the sort of songs evoking national pride that I lend my voice or my musical ability to.

C had told me that this Republican sentiment is very dear to him; fair enough. Libera Me is meant to be a universal song that transcends boundaries, and not limited to one nation alone!

Bearing all this in mind, I took the executive decision and unpublished it with moderators' tools, since something like this ought to have involved the contribution of all users named in the project, which it didn't. Then, it got published once more, and then I took it down again in the same manner as before.

The friend in question and I had a good talk, we caught up after many years of not having spoken with each other. I told him what the project was intended to be, in case he didn't get the intention behind it beforehand. I don't know if he has understood it, and I don't know if he's heard my 2013 version of Libera Me.

Anyway -- it has not been published since, and the file that he had inserted into the project has been glitching since I unpublished it, making it completely invisible and inaudible to him and to myself (and likely to all involved). I couldn't remove the file either, as the project page was giving me the option to preview, but not to delete the file in question, and whenever I attempted to preview it, it remained perpetually in a loading state. So I deleted the project altogether.

I've not been in a good place mentally and I've not been well physically these last couple weeks, and that day when this happened, it really hurt me, as I had dreams for that piece -- but I need to make something clear:

*There was no hurt intended from this sequence of events.* I'm aware of this, and I cannot stress this enough.

As of a few hours ago, I am remaking it from scratch; it will take me quite a while and we may not see hide or hair of this until several months down the line perhaps, but I know I will nail this.

Whether I get others to sing this with me, I do not know. I hope to. Let's wait and see.

Attention @sleepfacingwest.