Yesterday, in the mid-afternoon, I released a new song called At the Ends of the Earth. I want to talk a bit about this song, as is the tradition I keep here on NG when I talk about songs that are particularly close to my heart.
I mentioned the game in dev hell, Song of the Firefly, in the description of the song above, and while I wait in hope for the day that it comes to life -- which might be a long time from now -- I want to talk about the feelings behind this.
At the Ends of the Earth was meant as many things.
- It is music that provides the story setting for something. In the case of Song of the Firefly, I hope (and I write this with trepidation) that it tells the story / provides the setting well.
- It is intended as both title screen music and end-level music, or something to the effect of Somnus out of Final Fantasy XV. You know how in video games, you always get a chill when something you hear very early in the game makes a resurgence in the endgame, and when it comes back in the endgame, it may be the same thing, but it takes a much darker turn due to the setting for which that same song is played?
- It is a mourning song. A dirge, perhaps, a lament for many things.
When @ShockblastDeluxe suggested we do a "four producers, one sample" in the vein of Andrew Huang, I wondered if there wasn't something I could let four of us bring back to life. I dug through my audio submissions and found the teaser to At the Ends of the Earth. While the others were planning to distort and remix it and make something new, I took this opportunity to bring this song to life at last. But the only lyrics I had were "day, and night, and day, and night, and" on a loop.
I sat down to writing lyrics on several occasions; I even took the opportunity to do that while I was outdoors and had some time to myself. This song needed to be something that hit hard and hit home, and I picked the thing that hit hard and hit home that I should have mustered lyrics for a long time ago: the love of my fiancé, Seán.
So, in addition to what is seen at face value (which, to my recollection, is literally the premise for Song of the Firefly), it has a second, 'hidden' meaning of sorts. And that hidden meaning is to do with Seán pulling me back from the brink on multiple occasions, calling on me to trust and hope for the future with the same kind of trust that burns within his heart, knowing what is filling both his heart and mine with so much pain.
My voice wavered. My heart broke. I played the harp the best I'd ever played thus far -- and I do not consider myself a good harpist. But everything I did, I did with all the sorrow within me, and then some.
Many people gave me prompts on mixing, including @etelik and a number of other NG peeps, as well as a couple people from The Mixer's Alliance (a Discord server geared towards mixing, and aimed primarily at chorus battle groups on YouTube and the like).
I was fortunate, and am grateful, to have been given the help from both @JessieYun and @siteml with regards to the piano. Both of them, in their own capacity, took the MIDI of my piano and turned my soundfont-Steinway into a nice, pedalled Bösendorfer.
A while back I did the cover art for this, with the hopes that it would also become the soundtrack album for SOTF; it is now the cover art for all SOTF-related or -intended tracks.
In the months to come, I hope to be able to get some visuals. I have an idea for a live-action music video for At the Ends of the Earth -- I just hope that it is feasible, and that we can take the necessary precautions for any risks that will inevitably present themselves while filming. If this idea is feasible, I will post the progress.
Anyway: I feel that with this song, I've bared my soul. Maybe not as much as I would like, but some have told me that it is different from my past works. Unexpected, even. I still want the courage to bare my soul even more with my music.
For now, however, I hope you all enjoy this song. Thank you for taking the time to read, and to listen.