Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

SpecMusicMuse Review: Midnight Syndicate – Carnival Arcane

Midnight Syndicate outdo themselves with Carnical Arcane – one of, if not the best music CD they’ve yet produced. A concept CD centered around a carnival where the magic is real and bad things tend to happen, it even comes complete with sound effects and voices to increase the forboding atmosphere as the music plays.

Not every song, however, is macabre and spine-tingling. “Dr. Atmore’s Elixirs of Good Humor and Fortification,” for example, sounded like it would fit well in a Final Fantasy VI remake, possibly involving something to do with Kefka or maybe the Mage Tower. Also, of the 25 songs on the CD, many are very short (there’s even one that’s only 36 seconds). But overall, the CD is a nice variety of “wonders both fantastic and macabre” and will keep you listening from start to finish.

Once again, Midnight Syndicate delivers.

Best to listen to while reading: anything in the Horror or Dark Fantasy genres–specifically something involving carnivals or clowns….

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October 1, 2011 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SpecMusicMuse: Interview w/Lawrence C. Connolly

Lawrence C. ConnollyI once had the pleasure of sharing a panel with Lawrence C. Connolly at MARcon in 2010. He is definitely someone who knows writing, and later having this chance to interview him was an honor.

1.  What is the Veins cycle about?

It’s about making bad choices . . . and then struggling to make them right. It’s about the scars that industry has left upon the land and the sacrifices that our species may need to make in order to heal those wounds. It’s about a young man named Axle who one night finds himself running for his life through an abandoned surface mine. It’s about the spirits of the earth deciding to take back what is theirs.

The cycle is composed of three books, each taking place within a span of eight hours. Veins (2008) opens about 10:00 on a Sunday night in August. Vipers (2010) opens around 6:00 the following morning. Vores (scheduled for 2012) runs from 2:00 that afternoon to 10:00 that night. Thus, together, the books chronicle a single 24 hour day – a period of time that loops back on itself like a tail-eating snake.


2. I noticed you did a bit of research on the Iroquois for these books.

Actually, the research centered on an Iroquoian language that was once wide spread in western Pennsylvania. Part of Veins is told from the point of view of a woman who heard the language as a child. Now, as an old woman, pieces of that language are coming back to her, first in her dreams, then in waking reveries that may be manifestations of a failing mind or visions from the spirit realm. She tries explaining what she sees using that ancient language, but we soon sense that the visions are from a place beyond language . . . beyond legend. This impression is compounded in Vipers, when similar visions elicit completely different interpretations. It’s all part of a central mystery that will come to a head in the final book.

3. How did you come up with the idea of doing a soundtrack?

I knew that FE Books was interested in branching into other media, and, when they picked up Veins, I asked them if they’d be interested in having my band put together a CD of music inspired by the book. I sent them a demo – a five-minute track called “Axle Rising” – and they must have liked what they heard, because a short time later I had a contract to produce the CD, which I did over the summer of 2008.

The tracks are mostly instrumentals, with a couple of spoken word performances featuring stories from my collection Visions (also from FE Books).

I play all the guitars on the CD, and each track features at least one riff played with a sonic pick – a device that creates long, sustained notes. The result is a variety of sounds that are not instantly recognizable as those of a guitar. Take the CD’s first cut, for example. That flute that kicks in about half way through isn’t a flute. It’s a guitar. Or listen to “Downhill Run.” That Theremin in the coda is a guitar as well.

The only other instruments  on the CD are bass-and-drums, with a few vocal chants and keyboard thrown in on “Axle Rising.”

Overall, we were going for a basic, handmade rock sound, as opposed to something that gave the impression it was keyed in using a digital program.

Likewise, the sound-design elements – footsteps on pavement, revving engines, squealing tires – were all recorded live. Nothing was computer generated or taken from stock.

On the track titled “68 Fastback,” we were going to overlay the music with roars from a Mustang engine until we found a Dodge Viper that revved in the key of A.  So we used those sounds instead, took that Viper out to an abandoned construction site and recorded the revs and burnouts there.  It was a blast.

I’m hoping the disk sells well enough for FE to green light a follow up disk. We’ll see. In the meantime, any readers interested in supporting such endeavors might give a listen at iTunes or pick up the CD directly from FE Books (see the links below).

4. Has music ever helped with your writing or in coming up with ideas, and have storylines ever inspired songs?

My writing mix consists mainly of new-age jazz, techno, and club music – with heavy emphasis on the German band Tangerine Dream.

Other than the tracks on Veins: the Soundtrack (which are instrumentals, not songs), I  can’t say that I’ve ever had a storyline inspire a song. Nevertheless, I do have a new story out in the anthology Darkness On The Edge (PS Publishing), which features fiction inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen. My story was inspired by “Murder Incorporated.”

5. What else is coming down the pipeline that you want your readers to know about?

Earlier this year, Ash-Tree Press released my horror collection This Way To Egress at World Horror in Brighton. Next year, FE Books plans to release another collection titled Voices, which will contain some of my favorite stories from the last 30 years, a half dozen new stories, and about 10,000 words of memoir about living and working in the horror genre.

After that comes Vores, the final book in the VEINS CYCLE.

I also have a new “Daughters of Prime” novelette that I’m working on for F&SF . . . and a full-length novel version of that series that I really hope to have finished soon.

6. Where online can people find you at and, just as important, where can they buy your stuff?

They can find me at:
http://www.lawrencecconnolly.com

They can buy my stuff wherever good books are sold, but it’s always nice to order direct from the publishers or from small independent booksellers. To that end, I recommend shopping at the following:

VEINS, VIPERS, VISIONS
http://books.fantasistent.com/VEINS: the SOUNDTRACK (CD)
http://books.fantasistent.com/
http://ax.itunes.apple.com/us/artist/lawrence-c-connolly/id353094854

THIS WAY TO EGRESS:
http://store.realmsoffantasybooks.com/thwaytoeglac.html
http://www.ash-tree.bc.ca/atp146Egress.htm

March 25, 2011 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review: Point Valid w/Catherine Asaro–Diamond Star

Diamond Star is a music CD based off the novel by the same title written by Catherine Asaro. I usually don’t care for Pop/Rock (I’m a Metalhead through and through), but from time to time I run across songs and even singers/bands in that genre that does appeal to me. Point valid is one of those bands. That their CD is based off an SF book and features the very songs that the main character, Del, sings in the story, is a much added bonus.

My personal favorites are “Carnelians” and “Carnelians Finale” because of the emotional power in the lyrics, and if any two songs on the CD could be redone as Metal songs, those two could. But all the songs have a relevancy to them befitting modern day while they can also be timeless.

But the thing I liked most about the Diamond Star CD is its realness. The songs sound exactly like how you would hear them at a concert without all the technology that’s used today to enhance sounds and voices with. It’s almost raw, and the songs are much better for it. And Asaro’s vocals go perfectly with the Point Valid’s vocals and music.

Definitely a must get, especially with a certain book.

Best to listen to while reading: Diamond Star by Catherine Asaro. Duh.

October 30, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dead Matter DVD Set

Special edition The Dead Matter DVD set including two bonus Midnight Syndicate CDs available at all HOT TOPIC stores nationwide on July 30th.   New The Dead Matter trailer released.

May 26, 2010 (Cleveland, OH) Midnight Syndicate Films has announced plans to release a special edition of The Dead Matter DVD that will include two bonus CDs by gothic Halloween music artists Midnight Syndicate.  It will be available at all Hot Topic stores nationwide on July 30th.  The specially-priced set will include The Dead Matter DVD, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD byMidnight Syndicate, and a new Midnight Syndicate 13th Anniversary greatest hits CD entitled Halloween Music Collection.   Midnight Syndicate Films has also released a new official trailer for The Dead Matter movie which can be viewed at the film’s revamped website, www.TheDeadMatter.com and YouTube.

The Dead Matter: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD contains the score composed by the film’s director, Edward Douglas of Midnight Syndicate, as well as several limited-edition remixes of Midnight Syndicate songs and other music that appears in the film from bands like Lazy Lane, HipNostic, and Eternal Legacy.   Midnight Syndicate’s Halloween Music Collection CD features over 60 minutes of songs hand-picked by Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka to celebrate the band’s first 13 years.   Both new CDs will also be available at Halloween retailers nationwide in August.


About The Dead Matter movie:
A guilt-ridden young woman desperate to contact her deceased brother discovers a powerful ancient relic that controls the dead.  Her dark obsession drags her into the tangled world of two warring vampire lords (Andrew Divoff of LostWishmaster and Tom Saviniof Friday the 13thDawn of the Dead) each with his own sinister plans for the artifact and a vampire hunter (Jason Carter of Babylon5) who will stop at nothing to destroy it.
This chilling gothic dark fantasy co-produced by Robert Kurtzman (creator of From Dusk Till Dawn, KNB FX) features a haunting score by Halloween musicians Midnight Syndicate.  It’s a mix of classic horror themes with modern twists and a touch of dark humor that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

About Midnight Syndicate:
Midnight Syndicate has been creating instrumental Halloween music and gothic horror fantasy soundtrack CDs for the past thirteen years.   The group’s music has become a staple of the Halloween season worldwide as well as a favorite in the haunted house, amusement park, role-playing game, and gothic music industries.   From Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights and Hugh Hefner’s Halloween parties to Monday Night Football, X-Box games, the classic Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, and Barbara Walters specials, their CDs are designed to take listeners on a journey into the darkest corners of their imagination.

Trailer:


May 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment