Subsquare. I make sounds that sometimes turn into music.

Voidform is out!

7th of December, 2016

So this is it, Voidform is out in stores today! I hope you’ll give it a listen, possibly even buy it if you like it. Here’s where you can get it:

bc_0_lg Download, listen or buy CD
Google Play Download or listen
it_5_lg Download or listen
mz_0_lg Listen
am_5_lg Listen
sp_10_lg Listen
Listen

EP cover art reveal, and some thoughts

26th of November, 2016

Update: Listen to clips from the EP NOW!

I’ve been so lucky to have cover art for my new EP “Voidform” from the exceptionally talented beeple, check it out:

voidform_cover_second_draft_smaller

Doesn’t that just look utterly amazing?! Every time I look at it I get chills. Thanks Mike, I owe you one — bigtime.

I’m currently spending the last few days tinkering with the last few bits and bobs on the tracks for the EP (in fact, they go to mastering in two days so at that point I need to be done for sure — hard deadlines: they work).

As the tracks have evolved, they have certainly changed quite a bit, especially the ones featuring vocals by Limbic Void and Hunz. I must say it’s been a delight to work with actual songwriters on these tracks. It’s amazing how much creative energy can be sparked by just listening to someone’s take on what you’ve made, and if it’s one thing I’m sure of after the process on this album it’s that I’m going to do more collaborations in the future. It’s been insanely fun and rewarding.

With regards to the style of the tracks I’m genuinely clueless about what people’s reactions are going to be. For the people who follow what I do, especially the ones that started listening to my stuff after “Catzilla” came out, I’ll say this: there’s no dubstep on this album. There’s bass — for sure — and drums, and distorted things, and high energy stuff as well. Don’t worry about that.

But, there’s also vocals, and actual songwriting, and melodies (poppy ones, even), and I’ve used the same process that I did with my previous EP “Hit The Grave Running”, which is stupidly simple: Do I like it?

I dunno, it’s a little unnerving to release music, especially to people with preconceived notions or set expectations. I hope you will all like what I’m putting out, but we’ll know on December 7th I guess. ;)

PS: if you follow me on Twitter, I’ll start posting previews and sneak peaks of the tracks on the album next week.

Throwing my hat over the wall

18th of October, 2016

One of the difficult things about being creative is knowing when to stop; knowing when something is good enough to be shared with others. Usually, I have a fairly good sense about this, but it’s always challenging. Look: I’m not saying this is an actual problem in the same sense that serious things in our society are, but hey, it is what it is. :)

One of the strategies I’ve used in the past is to simply remove options, forcefully and deliberately. Like when I decided to go all-in on switching to Reaper as my only DAW, or long ago when I decided that pirating music software was both stupid and counter-intuitive. When I released my first EP “Hit the grave running” almost three years ago, I just did a quick calculation of how much time I would need to finish it if I stuck to a good schedule and then announced the date.

So that’s what I’m doing now as well. December 7th 2016, my next EP will be released. It’s a Wednesday, which a cursory bit of research tells me is a good day to release new (indie) music, and it’s a couple of weeks before Christmas, so it won’t drown in the jingle bells madness or in the post-Christmas music dead-zone.

teaser_dec_7th

The title, the album art (OH MY GOD THE ALBUM ART IS AMAZING!), track list, SoundCloud clips and teasers and all of that jazz will follow soon enough. But for now, if you’d like to keep track of what I’m up to, the best way is to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Yes, I know: “Oh yeah right, more social spam!” you’re thinking, but I’m not that bad really.

Working on my second EP

31st of August, 2016

So yeah, it’s been a while, but I’ve actually struggled with inspiration for a long time. I’ve been making tracks for demoscene prods (and I’ve been really happy with them, and the demos too), but as far as trying to compile an EP that has a cohesive feel to it, it’s been difficult.

I went back and listened to “Hit The Grave Running” a few months back and I felt really proud about what I’d been able to put out (especially knowing that three of the tracks were written from scratch in a short period of time too), but I also had this “artist remorse” because there are definitely things on there which I know I would have done better if I had sat down to make an EP now.

So that’s what I’ll do. I have quietly been working on three-four entirely new tracks that really go well together. Some of them are co-ops with some super cool people, and not all of them are done, but it’s going forward for sure. What does it sound like? It sounds like me, I guess. :) It’s a combination of slow and fast songs, high energy pretty much all over, vocals and instrumentals and some experimentation. If you’ve enjoyed things I’ve made in the past you’ll most likely enjoy this as well.

Just like last time I’ll announce a release date as a means to throw my hat over the wall and force myself to finish (yeah, that’s what I did with “Hit The Grave Running” – I just picked my birthday as the release date because fuck it, why not?), but I’m not entirely ready to pick a date yet. But it’ll be soon.

I hope you’ll stick around and help me spread the word when the EP nears completion and release. Rest assured I’ll keep you all updated with snippets and teasers on my Soundcloud and of course I’ll announce the release date loudly when I’ve decided on one.

As a final teaser: I’m super happy to be working with the insanely talented Prowler on the cover art for the EP!

Alright, thanks for your time, peace out! :)

Remix out today: Limbic Void – Castaway

24th of May, 2016

I was approached by Limbic Void to do a remix for their new EP “Lapdogs”, and after listening to the fantastic EP, I picked the song “Castaway” to remix (I could pick whichever track I wanted, which was super inspiring). If you compare it to the original you’ll hear that I kept a lot of the original pop song structure, but reworked the song entirely to give it more drive (and bass, naturally). I hope you like it!

State of the demoscene: 1991 – 2014

14th of June, 2015

I know. It’s been a while. I’m sorry. But – I’ve now compiled numbers from 2013 and 2014 and added them to the stats. “But, Y U NO 2015?!” I hear you ask — because 2015 isn’t done yet, and since I’ve only dealt with full year data sets earlier, I see no reason to change that now. In other words, you’ll have to wait for the 2015-numbers until 2015 is over.

Anyhoo, without further whatever, here are the updated charts, with some accompanying observations..

Demoparties / events
One way to take the pulse of the scene is to look at the amount of demoscene events happening each year. This chart shows the number of registered parties (with releases!) from 1984 to 2014 – 30 years of demo parties! TL;DR: after hitting the lowest point ever in 2010 (63 parties), it seems to have stabilized around roughly 72-75 parties. There appears to be an ever so slight correlation between the amount of parties and amount of releases, but it’s impossible to say for sure (or even which way it would correlate).

sotd_2014_demoparties

Active demo groups
Another way to look at the activity level is to see how many groups are associated with productions / releases in any given year. Here is a graph showingthe amount of active groups from 1978 to 2014. TL;DR: the number of groups is on a slow but steady decline, which has been going on more or less uninterrupted since the high point in 1996 (1071 groups), in 2014 there were 549.

sotd_2014_active_groups

Total demoscene production output, all platforms
Alright, now we get to the meat of it. This is the go-to chart for people interested in the overall state of the creative output of the scene. TL;DR: the scene is still alive, chugging along at the same pulse as it’s had for the last four years or so. Building on my hypothesis of the previous few years, I can now with high certainty conclude that it has plateaued (with a slight increase in the last two years). Both 2013 and 2014 had the exact same amount of prods: 909.

sotd_2014_total_prods

Platforms

Let’s break these down into the individual platforms used to compile the overall number. TL;DR: for the last few years there seems to be an amusing correlation between C64 and Windows prods. When the one goes up, the other goes down, and vice versa. Could it be that the most active C64 people are closet Windows demo makers or the other way around? :) Also: from 2012 to 2013 we can observe good growth in the popularity of the web platform (jumping from 23 in 2012 up to 112 in 2013), which then took a bit of a dive in 2014 (down to 85). It’s interesting to see that the web briefly overtook Amiga as a demo platform in 2013.

sotd_2014_prods_by_platform
Let’s remove Windows, the dominant platform, and see what’s going on underneath the surface of the other platforms. I’ve limited this graph to the last decade (2004 – 2014) for clarity. TL;DR: Amiga is back, in a big way! If this trend continues, the Amiga might, for the first time in history, overtake the C64 as the second most popular demoscene platform (after Windows). Note: this data is from Pouet.net – it does not include other sources which might have more detailed C64 release data, so don’t go all flameparty on me, okay?

sotd_2014_prods_no_win

Categories
Alright, so let’s dive further down into what kind of productions are being made and not just on which platforms they are released. TL;DR: 4k intros still in decline (24% down over the last four years), 64k intros (10% up and down over the same period) have stabilized, and demos are seeing a slow but steady increase (25% up from 2011 to 2014).

sotd_2014_prods_by_category

Conclusions
Overall, demoscene output has indeed stabilized, which is nice. The large decline we’ve seen starting at the beginning of this decade has stopped. Differentiation seems to flourish in the platforms, but not in the type of productions (as in: there’s a consistent creative output, mostly of demos, but people appear to be moving between platforms). There does not appear to be any significant increase in overall activity (as in: not a lot of new people are joining the scene and making things though there are some exceptions), and if the demoscene is to survive / thrive once more, this needs to change.

My hope is that the new possibilites in the web platforms will serve as a new jumping-on point for fresh talent. We see it already, with sites like Shadertoy being really popular, so the question is: should those types of things be included in the scene rather than the scene expecting people to “graduate” to stand-alone demos? I leave that question with you, the reader.

If you are looking for some cool prods to watch, I would recommend you visit curio.scene.org. Special thanks to Gargaj for helping me with extracting data from Pouet.net, of which these statistics are based.

If you’d like to have a chat about this or anything else you think I’ll find interesting, then by all means, hit me up on Twitter: @gloom303

 

My EP is out today!

23rd of January, 2014

BandCamp: http://music.subsquare.com/album/hit-the-grave-running
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hit-the-grave-running-ep/id805678341
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/album/4MD2bPVCP2SBy3mo3sg7a2
Google Music: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Subsquare_Hit_the_Grave_Running?id=B55jmupjny3awzbhhs7xsrkvgn4
Amazon MP3: http://www.amazon.com/Hit-Grave-Running-Subsquare/dp/B00I1EXQ12/
Rdio: http://rd.io/x/QWdpbSJiSIY/