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Author Archives: paulms

About paulms

My name is Paul Shapera, a musician working under the name Mocha Lab. I make albums, theater shows, videos, dance pieces, commercials and move around a lot.

The Bonus Act

New Albion Brewing Company beer

So as most of you know, sometime in the late fall i will release all the New Albion operas in physical CD form, including a combined box set.

This box set will include an extra Act outside the existing operas. It could be an extended track like New Albion 7, it could be different track about different bits of New Albion lore, but honestly, i really like the idea of a song cycle.

What makes this tricky is i canNOT go to London to record singers. Financially i cannot do it. I could get Lauren to record as she has the exact same mic i do, but i’d need to pay her (i’m personally a stickler for this. They MUST be paid)  which is difficult but not impossible. It would only be a few songs IF i decide to use another singer. It’s just… another singer sounds SO much better than just me. Anyone wanna send Lauren 100 pounds and note asking her to do it? Cause then problem is solved.

I am leaning towards… i’d like to go back in time. I’m leaning towards the generation beFORE the Steampunk Opera. But i COULD choose after. But i’ll probably choose before. It’d be fun to take the music genre back in time. It’d be fun to go right before the steampunk genre. (it’d be pretty steampunk but a different angle).

I am leaning towards it featuring either one of the red haired lineage (however the only characters i’d want to discuss are either the dwarf or his… great great grandson who spends years trying to gain control of the rusty sand drug. Hell i’d LOVE to feature the newest albino red haired girl but the trouble is either her or her dad are WAY after the Steampunk era. So any stories featuring them would be stuff i’d write as extras. it wouldn’t be this song cycle.)

Or Jasper. While he was actually alive. I could do an extra song cycle that takes place some years before the steampunk opera which features Jasper.

The last possibility would be an ancestor of Annabelle. We already know she has some great grandmother (could be great great or great great great) named Libby who was also a bit mad scientisty. I wouldn’t do it on Libby, i already cover Libby well enough in one of the extra stories, but… hmm…. no. No. Never mind. No McAlistairs.

Jasper vs. on of the red haired lineage.

I had MEANT, while writing the SO that if i ever actually DID make a trilogy, to have one of the red haired lineage be a voiced character in the final opera. I also HAD the red haired lad as a 1 song voiced character in the original map of the Dieslepunk Opera, but it was better story telling and sense for Constance to meet Jackie right after the bust rather than run to the red haired lad’s apartment. In both cases, it was best to not include them. As cool conceptually it seemed upon wishful thinking, the practicality of telling the actual stories in the DO and AO meant it would be WAY too forced shoehorning them in. And there is a coolness in them only being these background bits throughout the entire New Albion chain of songs.

I ramble. So, Jasper vs. one of the Red Haired Gangster lineage. (could be Jasper’s mom or dad… they could…. AH! STOP! STOP! I could do this all day.) I’m pretty set on pre SO i think.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Act 2 Of An Atompunk Opera: Disco Voodoopunks

Once again, welcome to Act 2 of An Atompunk Opera, out now! Check it out! Buy it now! Help a singer eat!

The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera Paul Shapera Act 2 Two

Okay folks, first of all,  thank you all so much for listening and buying, etc. This is Act 2 out of 4. I have waited SO LONG to finally get to this point, where all the pieces are finally set up and we can begin playing.

I hope you’re all enjoying it (obviously as it would kinda really suck for me if you’re not). I sit alone in a far off land, release this thing act by act into the computer world, watch the hits and listens and sales and wonder if it’s going down the way i designed it to. We’ll talk in depth in two more weeks. For now let me just thank all of you who are along for the ride. I love you all. Stay with me a little longer, cause after this is where shit gets interesting.

I would like to just point out that of course the singers are:

Lauren Osborn, KILLING it, and i mean just drop dead WAILing it out of the park as Rachael (and Adrian.)
Kayleigh McKnight as The Mascot 3000 (who we’ll get to in greater depth soon enough, but seriously, don’t you just want to drip that voice over an ice cream sundae?)
and of course the astonishing Oliver Marsh as Connor. (DAMN when that boy hits those high notes i get bloody chills)

How about these covers by Sarah de Buck? I LOVE these things. I want to eat them. Literally eat them.

That guitar you hear? That is courtesy of Matthew Broyles, especially i would like to point out, on the song The Lovers. He rockabillied the BEJEEZUS out of that tune. I swear, i wanted to release it without vocals, just the guitar.

Without these people, this opera would basically suck. They give it life, they make it fly. My undying, bottomless thanks to them.

All right then, tomorrow back to fun atompunky stuff while we wait for next week’s episode to appear.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The 2nd Act of An Atompunk Opera Is Out Now!

All right kids, strap yourselves in. The VPs are here. Immanentizing that eschaton in 3, 2, 1…. Disco.

(Purchase here!)

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Slenderman, A Dark Opera

Slenderman, A Dark Opera

So i was washing dishes this afternoon and had this thought….

Instead of starting on another epic series (quite yet) what if my next “opera” was a one shot, a dark Slenderman Opera.

I know it’s… but hear me out. I though it was ridiculous too, i thought it was a funny idea, but since then i’ve spent a whole bunch of the afternoon walking around in a daze more and more considering it more and more seriously. A dark, messed up opera around the Slenderman meme. And i don’t mean some cheeky, ironic, wink wink, chuckle take on it. I mean a completely serious dark opera meant to mess with your head and blow your friggin’ mind. It would mean coming up with some really weird shit, no problem, some really tragic situations, no problem, some heart wrenching human angle, no problem, and some really out there fucked up, disturbing twists and turns…. no PROBlem.

Musically… hmmmmm……. obviously it would have a lot of horror elements (but alas, for those of you would have been asking for me to do a prog metal piece…. metal isn’t really my thing. I have nothing but respect for the genre and the EXCELLENT musicians who make it, but it’s not my thing, so no, this wouldn’t be a metal opera)… it would be a new challenge. I just listened to the 2012 London Sweeney Todd Cast album last night, undoubtedly why this idea struck me today, so think of it as my Sweeney Todd project.

I’m just saying… i’m not serious about this… i just… it’s just something i thought of washing dishes… but…. i’m kind of REALLY intrigued. Like, REALLY intrigued. I’m starting to very seriously consider this idea. Not even starting, despite myself i find myself… well, REALLY considering the idea.

Oh yeah, and 2nd Act of Atompunk almost here! WHoo!

 

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The German Horror Hotel

This is not a movie, this is a real place.

Before we get started, let me just say that after i finish this last mix i believe i am finally done mixing the damn thing. At the very least i am certainly TIRED AS F*** of mixing it. I shall do one last listen through tonight, and then hopefully that is it. Mixed, done, uploaded. And of course we are very close to the release of Act 2. So, yay!

This is Propeller Island City Lodge in Berlin, where there are 31 different rooms you can sleep in based on which nightmare you wish to have.

 

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

The Propeller Island City Lodge  german horror hotel

 

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

North Korean Architects’ Design Visions Of The Future

These are designs made in 2014, although it’s astonishing how atompunk they are. Possibly because, let’s be honest, North Korea is living in 60 and 70s level technology. The sophisticated urbanites, that is.  Created by architects from Paekdusan Construction and Architectural Research Institute, the two organisations which design and build most of the government-issued projects in the country. These visions were curated by Nick Bonner, the proprietor of Beijing-based Koryo Tours — the group responsible for some of the most incredible Instagram photos taken behind the DPRK curtain.

“For the project — which was four years in the making — the architects were asked to create proposals for what tourism might someday look like in North Korea. It’s an interesting proposition to consider since the idea of visitors freely entering the state is a completely foreign concept to residents at the moment. While some ideas are simply wacky, it’s also fascinating to see how many elements of urban design that are commonplace in Western world are presented as “utopian” visions for the future. The desire to live in and engage with the natural environment is probably the most prominent theme.

Even though the real-world prevalence of bunker-like Soviet-era structures in North Korea don’t necessarily infer a design-centric culture, architecture itself holds a prized role in the society. In 1991 Kim Jong-Il wrote a book entitled On Architecture where he described the ideal architectural style for his people: “There cannot and should not be a modern form of architecture that is devoid of national characteristics. Architecture that has been created to reflect the people’s requirements in a new age, in keeping with the modern aesthetic feelings and modern civilised life is architecture that embodies modernity, namely, modern architecture.” While that particular statement doesn’t really make any sense, it’s clear that the Dear Leader did envision himself as some kind of master planner, with a specific aesthetic vision for North Korean urban design.”

north korea future design

north korea future design

north korea future design

north korea future design

north korea future design

north korea future design

north korea future design

north korea future design

north korea future design

north korea future design

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Gloriously Unrealistic Atompunk Mega City

Wow, it turns out that waiting a week in between Act releases is actually torturous for me as well as you. I WANT YOU TO SEE WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.

But alas, wait we must. So in the meantime here’s a bit of fun and wonder inspired by and often blatantly and shamelessly taking from Dark Roasted Blend’s Retro-Future: Glorious Urbanism.

Nowdays, especially in the West, the idea of the megacity has lost its luster. The urban hell and environmental nightmare that goes along with it has been discarded in favor of more sustainable visions of future population clumps. But during much of the 20th city, retro future vision of wondrous mega cities abounded.

A quick note here as to the size of New Albion. I have made a point of never really saying just how big or small it is. We do know that it is a city state, as are most cities in the region of the continent it is on, but its size will remain undisclosed. Eventually artists will come along and portray New Albion (some even have) and i leave such visions open to interpretation.

“See that gleaming Metropolis on the horizon? – these majestic towers were something to aspire to, to dream about, to shape your life accordingly in an effort to reach it, and finally attain it as the ultimate reward… Such ideas were popular during the infant days of futurism in the 1920s, then in fantastic literature on both sides of the Atlantic during the Golden Age of Wonder in the 1930s, until finally, these grandiose visions fizzled out sometime in the 1980s together with the general decline of futurism.”

 

 

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Many visions of the inevitable megacity saw it with wonder and optimism. It would be a place where every science miracle of the future would be contained, the edges of what the 20th century human mind could dream.

 

However, there were others who say a darker, gothic vision, like architectural draftsman Hugh Ferriss. “Through his moody chiaroscuro renderings of skyscrapers, he virtually invented the image of Gotham visitors came to the city to see and residents identified with so fondly. As Michael Mallow puts it: “By the mid-twenties, renderings by Ferriss had become almost de rigeur for successful competition projects; countless skyscrapers waited their turn to be bathed in the dark monumentality emanating from his drafting table. In these works a blasé department store appears as a giant lording over its block. Stodgy hotels cease to be stodgy hotels and become looming silhouettes emerging from the urban haze like shipwrecks. Ferriss went to grand new lengths in suppressing detail for mood, and clients loved it.””

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future cityhugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Ferriss wasn’t alone. Artists such as William Robinson Leigh were coming out with these megacity visions as early as 1908, which would become enormously inspiring to both modernists and futurists.

william robinson leigh Atompunk megacity retro future city

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

william robinson leigh Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

hugh ferris Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

King Champ Gillette’s 1894 proposal:

King Champ Gillette Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

European modernists like Charles-Edouard “Le Corbusier” Jeanneret and Ludwig Hilberseimer were revolutionaries, fascinated with large-scale schemes that would wipe away the old order and comprehensively reorganize cities for personal mobility via the automobile. The selling points were speed, efficiency, cleanliness and progress, a message that played especially well in America. A 1924 proposal:

Ludwig Hilberseimer, Hochhausstadt, 1924 Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

And let’s add a modern take on the theme from Ryan Bliss:

Ryan Bliss Atompunk megacity retro future city

But of course, it wasn’t just the West dreaming big. Especially in the atompunk era following WWII, the Soviets dreamed big of a glorious future full of megacities.

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

 

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

Soviet megacity Atompunk megacity retro future city

 

Yes, for a few shining decades the megacity of the future looked glorious, instead of the soul sucking, over populated, environmentally disastrous hell hole it would actually have been. The mega city encapsulates much of modernism in one fell swoop, with all its theoretically glory and realistic idiocy.

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Atompunk megacity retro future city

Atompunk megacity retro future city

r5

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

What Should I Make Next?

Atompunk

Hi all.

Let me begin by thanking each and every one of you who are listening to, liking (and buying, bless your souls!) An Atompunk Opera. My deepest, deepest thanks. And trust me, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Acts 3 and 4 are where the payoff happens. Keep riding along and trust me, i won’t let you down on this one.

I have two questions:

1. What should i do as my next “opera”? I am taking suggestions. The only rule i’d point out, please don’t recommend an existing book or story. Writing the story is half the fun (and i couldn’t possibly afford the rights to an existing work anyway). This whole thing came about because i said “steampunk opera” as a throwaway thing. Those two words, not meant in any seriousness sparked the 3 albums (and one day i hope, world famous live show).

I do not plan to stop writing epics like this. These operas have taught me an enormous amount. ENORmous. Now i wish to take what i have learned and apply it to a new epic. Since you fine folks are the very people i’m looking to enthrall, i was curious to throw out the question. I haven’t considered it too much (it’s taken a LOT of work, a year of intense effort, just to get the Atompunk Opera done. Almost done. It’s still not perfectly mixed in the later Acts. Every night i listen to the entire thing and hope this will be the night where i don’t have a page of notes. The notes are getting shorter and shorter, but dammit, each night i still have them.) I have a strange idea, but it’s not based around plot, it’s just a musical concept. But i’m not going mention anything, i’m curious what you folks might throw out.

2. As you may know, when i release a physical CD box set in the late fall, i was thinking of including one last Act, an act not in any of the operas. Now, this is not necessarily a good idea. If i do NOT include a last act, then i could release a physical CD set MUCH sooner. I don’t have to write another set of songs. This would be smarter. But let’s pretend for a minute that i’m an idiot (i am) and i actually make anther short song cycle. What time period would you like me to revisit? Between steampunk and dieselpunk? Before atompunk? (i know it’s hard to say about atompunk since you have barely scratched the surface and barely know anything yet. You’ll know much more after Act 2.)

Once again i’m curious. I’m considering that adding more is not a good idea. People who really want a physical CD set shouldn’t have to wait so long, but i’m gonna throw out the idea anyway. Hell, maybe i’ll make a single long song, like New Albion 7. Maybe i’ll just move on to the next “in between epics” project (a series of stories set around the Tarot. It’s a short story album in the Fairy Tale vein) and just release a physical set asap, but i just want to throw out the question. And to be clear, answering question 1 is more important.

 

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Welcome To Act 1 Of An Atompunk Opera

It is wisest to promote the new release of the 1st Act of An Atompunk Opera another day, so i am doing so, but after the link we’ll talk a hair.

If you haven’t heard, the 1st Act of An Atompunk Opera, The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness is here! Listen to it! Buy it! Keep me and the singers alive! Every Tuesday another act will be released.

Okay. Now that that’s out of the way, i hope you are enjoying the first act.  There are a few things i was very specifically attempting to do with it.

First of all, since this is the final piece of a trilogy, the 1st act is designed as a play on numerous parallels and inversions of parallels to A Steampunk Opera. Should you be noticing any of them (and there’s a list of parallels and inversions) i assure you, they’re all quite intentional. I do not do this with the other acts, only this one, but i really wanted to begin the Trilogy closing by riffing and inverting the Trilogy opener.

This opera differs from the first two in that the entire opera carries a much, much greater emphasis on an unfolding plot. I’m not saying there’s no plot unfolding in the other two, i’m just saying that was really a major, prime even, consideration in the AO from the get go. Thus the 1st Act only goes so far and likes to dangle a lot of threads. Oh, it’ll pay off, don’t you worry.

So welcome to the ride. We’ve got a LONG way to go and the next installment is lots of high energy, so thanks for trying out my ride, i promise, i spent a year making my entire life’s mission that by the time this opera is all over, you will have said “Holy fuck” a number of times. Well, the holy fucking is coming, so stay tuned and thank you all for caring and supporting this trilogy. I love you all. We will discuss the future a little later, but rest assured, it’s on its way.

The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera Paul Shapera

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Act 1 Of An Atompunk Opera Is Out Now!

Okay kids, here it is. Act 1 of An Atompunk Opera!

The remaining Acts (4 in total) will be released each Tues from here on in.

A few things:

1. Please bear with it. Think of this as a weekely series and this first episode is of course where we set up the pieces. A single act is only 20 something minutes and you may hate me when it suddenly ends. But i’m very curious to try out this format and curious what you think of it in the long run.

2. Don’t forget, your purchase will go straight to paying the singers, those delicious voices you hear who make the opera sound awesome and not like crap. They are literally what brings this thing to life. The poor dears need fed, BY ALL THAT’S HOLY PLEASE FEED THEM.

3. Posting links and tweets and talking about this online is how we have gotten here. It is THE reason there is now 3 of these instead of just 1. Thank you all for that. Please keep it up.

4. I love you all. I hope you enjoy.

The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera Paul Shapera

 
17 Comments

Posted by on July 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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