This is the second in a planned series of 3 posts about music projects I’m currently working on or planning for the near(ish) future. To find out more about my Marius von Raum origin album, click here. Today I’m talking about the album I’m currently recording, The Wassailant.
What is it?
It’s…a Christmas album. Yeah, I know.
Christmas music? Really?
I hear you! Cards on the table – I’m not a big fan of most Christmas music that gets played on the radio every year. (Grinch voice: It’s joyful AND triumphant!) Because it’s not a canon that changes or grows very much year on year, and because it gets played *absolutely everywhere, all the time* I find it very repetitive and kind of cloying. It can make the run-up to the holidays feel rote and tedious, which is the opposite of the excitement and wonder it’s often trying to convey.
BUT this means that when I do hear genuinely cool Christmas music, it really resonates with me. And that’s what I’m trying to do – make an album of Christmas songs that I’d like to think I might actually listen to and enjoy if I discovered it on Spotify or whatever one year. No Mechanisms connections or narrative, just fun, folky songs with a loose Winter/Christmas theme, some by me, some traditional.
Fine. You’re on thin ice, Young. Weird title, by the way.
Yep! One of the things I want to do is to represent old traditions as well as current ones. The album’s going to treat pagan Yuletide beliefs as well as possibly more familiar Christian ideas. If you haven’t heard of it, wassailing was/is a feudal custom of visiting your lord at Yuletide and demanding food and (particularly) drink in exchange for a song. It sounds pretty innocuous, but you really wouldn’t want to refuse a crowd of rowdy wassailers! Hence the title, The Wassailant (the proper name for a person who wassails is a wassailer, but this seems more fun).
When’s it coming out?
December 2020! It’ll be digital only, for now at least.
It’s an …odd choice for a first solo album, I know. If lockdown hadn’t happened this year, I’d have done Byron von Raum first, but that has a much bigger scope than I can manage on my own in a home studio, and this idea was ready to go in the meantime.
I’ve been working on it properly since March and recording it at home during lockdown (a very slow process when there’s only me!) I’d say it’s about 50% finished at the moment. I’m genuinely excited; I’ve never worked on a project like this alone before and it’s challenging in a really satisfying way. A few of the songs have been kicking around in my brain for some time now, and it’ll be good to let them out into the world!
Can I listen to some of it?
Nearer the time, I’m going to put a “sampler” track on Soundcloud with samples from every song so people can get a mini-preview of the album. That’s not quite ready yet!
In the meantime, here’s an early version of one of the songs, “The Wind and the Rain.” I previously posted a very rough scratch recording I did on my phone – this re-recorded version isn’t done done (I still have to mix it properly and so on, which I’m only going to do once all the recording for the album is finished) but hopefully you’ll enjoy it!
The next post is going to be about goblins. You’ve been warned.