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Stefan Paris and The Dieslepunk Opera Cover

I may be jumping the gun a bit, but i believe i have found the artist who will not only design the cover for the Dieslepunk Opera (due out late May if you’re waiting), but will likely design all 3 covers for the steampunk opera and atompunk opera as well.

I love his work, we’ve talked and all seems set. So i’d like to introduce you to his stuff and show why i’m a fan.

Iconic. Eye catching. Straight to the point. Uses simple imagery to get across a period and feel. Iconic. You can visit his deviant art page here.

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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DRH Character Background 3: Jacqueline O’Brien

Jacqueline O’Brien is the sister of John O’Brien and the aunt of Constance.

She and her brother were raised in a blue collar working class home, but Jackie turned out polar opposite from her brother. She was wild, artistic, free thinking and free spirited and a social butterfly who grew into a attraction point for various artistic and esoteric cliques across New Albion.

In junior high Jackie’s first sexual awakenings were all with other girls, but for the most part those girls all graduated to boys soon after. Jackie assumed this was going to happen to her and in early high school tried dating boys whose company she honestly enjoyed and found interesting. However she could just not muster up any sexual attraction to them, not like she had for girls, and midway through high school finally gave up and accepted her lesbianism.

Jackie blossomed in college although not necessarily as a conscientious student. She had a range of interests and studied feverishly the fringe subjects she was interested in and barely touched or showed up at the required (or “mainstream”) ones. Socially she exploded. The Voodoopunks were in full swing in that time and a vooodoo subculture based around crazy, fringe religious beliefs, wild drug fueled parties where rituals were performed to call forth and be possessed by the dead was practically made for her. She was a major player in the Voodoounk scene.

Jackie’s social nature was a hunger for diverse and wildly entertaining viewpoints. In fact Jackie was fast gaining the reputation as the one who knew everyone. If there was one person who had their hands in every colorful group you could think of, from painters to musicians, radical scholars to circus performers to Voodoopunks, it was Jackie.

Her parties would be legendary, but this is still to come. First came Dorothy.

Jackie met Dorothy in her mid 20s. They were both voodoopunks, both interested in art and when Jackie ran into Dorothy yet again at a lodge meeting for gothic Rosicrucians she knew she was smitten. The two of them fell in love quickly and utterly. Jackie did sometimes wish their courtship had been slower so every little agonizing detail of the emotional and physical seduction could have been enjoyed even more fully, but the fact is they were made for each other and they both knew it, so they fell in love fast and hard.

For the next decade they not only shined as a couple, but were a bright light in the New Albion fringe scene. Dorothy came from an immensely wealthy family and had inherited a large, lavish house. They would throw the most amazing parties with the absolute most interesting people. Their parties were where different spheres of art, culture and esotericism would collide, meet and trade ideas.

They were both extremely active in the voodoopunks, both in the rituals and in the anarchic political arm. Jackie was always a bit more involved than Dorothy, who to be honest didn’t care about the political end at all, but who was none the less enthralled by the scene and the rituals.

When the riots came, when the crackdown came, when the purges came, it was Dorothy they came for.

Jackie’s loss of Dorothy will be explored in greater detail in Act 3 of the Dieselpunk Opera so we won’t dwell on it here, but it should be stated that after Dorothy’s arrest and execution Jackie gained a dark side. To be clear, she was still, as always, an amazingly generous person, open and eager for new and intriguing ideas and people, but there was a dark tinge to her now. Her heart had been broken. Her dislike for the establishment turned to cold, dark hatred and anyone associated with it she could felt only disdain for at best if not full out vile hatred.

Times were now different. Everyone of interest kept their heads down as New Albion shifted into a very different type of social landscape. The Voodoopunks went underground, literally. An entire Background should probably be written about the Voodoopunks so we won’t get into them here, but Jacqueline remained highly involved. Now that the group was hunted, those left became more militant and hard core, and this suited Jacqueline just fine. When the revolution began many Voodoopunks became active as rebels, Jackie amongst them.

She inherited Dorothy’s house and fortune. Dorothy had left everything to Jackie in an utterly airtight will, so Jackie maintained the house and used her wealth and position as the person who knew everyone to keep various groups funded, running, and in touch with each other. While some Voodopunks lived in the tunnels underneath New Albion and other rebels formed bands or took over streets and neighborhoods or instigated acts of revolutionary violence, Jackie led a double life. She continued to live in the wealthiest district of New Albion and maintain a superficial appearance in regular society. She was vastly more valuable with a hand in all worlds and as a source of much needed money then if she had run off to live underground.

She and her brother John were never close. Not as children and as adults they barely spoke, not out of spite but out of simple disinterest. However when John’s wife was killed by the rebel bomb he showed up at his sister’s mansion with Constance. He proceeded to fall apart and disappeared mysteriously soon after.

Jackie then found herself with a very troubled teenage girl to raise.

Jackie was not really cut out to raise an angry, troubled teenage girl like a parent, but she was cut out to be a source of love and comfort. She did not provide discipline nor did she constrict Constance’s movements which might have been wise as Constance was out of control, but she did provide Constance with a source of unconditional love and was there for her at key times and circumstances, always without judgement. I could give some really touching examples, but this is done a little in Act 2 so i don’t want to ruin it.

Eventually Constance goes her own way (and changes her name to Inanna, for reasons not appropriate to discuss here) and Jackie’s involvement with the Voodoopunks and the rebels begins to reach an interesting fruition.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Listen To The Dieselpunk Radio Hour Act 1 Demo

Here is the demo for the 1st act of The Dieselpunk Opera.

Dieselpunk, for those of you unfamiliar, is a fantastical take on the aesthetics from the period of WWI to WWII.

As it follows chronologically after Steampunk so does this opera follow New Albion after the end of the Steampunk Opera.

There are two characters singing (3 of you include a very brief recording of a girl): The Announcer and John O’Brien. It being a demo, the composer is singing all the parts but you should be able to figure out which part is which fairly easily.

Since this is a demo it will only be online for 5 days. After this i will take it down. It’s not meant for general consumption.

This is the first of 3 Acts.

(Edit: It’s just past 5 days but i have received several emails asking very nicely that i please leave this up for just a little longer. While i will take it down eventually, why on earth would i want to refuse kind people who actually want to listen to my music? As for those of you who actually liked it enough to buy it, knowing it;s not the final version, i love you want to marry you all.)

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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DRH Character Background 2: Constance O’Brien

It may well be asked how Constance found her most unusual vocation. Hoping to not reveal anything that would serve as spoilers to the second Act, we shall attempt to answer this never the less.

Constance comes from a blue collar background. Her father John O’Brien was hard working and her mother was a dutiful housewife and mother as befitted their social and economic rung. As a child, what Constance wanted to be most of all was an actress. She wanted to be part of the New Albion theater scene and perform plays in the great theaters throughout the city. As she grew however, she became very disillusioned with the theatrical possibilities under the current government. There was so much censorship of the arts that the types of plays and roles available were endlessly cliche and unimaginative. She longed for the days of the old style of theater, the Decadent Theater as it was referred to now.

Constance was a precocious youngster and still technically a child when the civil war broke out. She and her other school friends learned that if you wanted to get around in war time, you needed to be quick and savvy. At any given time there were barricades, police blockades, street fighting, and forbidden neighborhoods and streets to contend with, not to mention the areas of actual full on warfare  Kids looking for adventure, mischief or simply to get around unhindered had to be especially fast and sly and these traits Constance learned and excelled at.

Once, while roaming through an area with some friends they had been warned not to go through, Constance came upon a girl who clearly seemed to be danger from three men whose body language suggested very, very bad things which were then only on the periphery of Constance’s understanding. While her friends fled Constance used rocks to divert and hurt the men. The terrified girl ended up saved. The girl was named Isis, from a neighborhood and social sphere far outside of the Constance’s familiarity, but was deeply grateful to say the least.

Naturally Constance loved her parents very much although as she approached adolescence she found them more and more uptight and boring. Her Aunt Jaqueline was the opposite: exciting, exotic, with wild ideas and endless flair but Constance saw very little of her. Until the bomb.

Constance’s mother was killed one day by a rebel bomb. It was a great blow to Constance and seemed to break her father, who she had always seen as a rock of strength and dependability. Her father soon became quite withdrawn.

He and Constance moved in with Aunt Jacqueline, which was a comfort and further shaped her teenage years. Aunt Jacqueline’s free spirited manner and off the cuff insights and ideas were thrilling to the girl.

Then her father disappeared.

Constance’s last memory of her Daddy is late at night, when he came into her room after being out drinking and sat at her bedside and rambled to her. Although more or less incoherent, it seemed final, like he knew he was going to die, and sure enough soon afterwards he disappeared and was eventually declared dead.

Now that she was living with her Aunt Jacqueline, Constance began high school in a new district. The high school was in a rather upper class neighborhood and Constance, a blue collar girl, would have found herself lost if not for two things:

1. On her first day of school, bewildered and with the taunts and scrutiny of some of some of the more shark like students zeroing in on her as a  tasty target for ridicule, low and behold Constance experienced what she could only attribute to karma or practically divine serendipity. Isis, the girl she had saved some time before was a student there and enormously high on the social ladder. Like a fairy godsister, Isis swooped in to protect and eventually befriend Constance, teaching her the ins and outs of etiquette in this new world. They became best friends.

2. Constance had always loved acting and was able to step from the role of daring, wild, street wise working class girl, to a new identity as savvy, sly, quick witted and graceful upper class girl born for high society with the instincts of a talented actress. Isis and Constance even changed her last name to something more suitable: Constance Inanna.

The last crucial piece of her teenage years that directly affects how she came to be the woman we meet as Act 2 begins is due to the influence of Aunt Jacqueline’s circle of friends and acquaintances  From these Constance learned a wide range of very unique and interesting things her other school peers would never in a million years be exposed to.

Thus,  by the time Constance graduated high school and entered society she was able to step into the world of New Albion’s high class soirees.

Every weekend, going back to as long as anyone can remember, there is an upper class soiree. It may seem unusual that such a thing may continue unimpeaded even into city wide civil war, but the fact is the soirees had long ago adopted an importance far more crucial to the city’s operations then might appear on the surface. It is at the soirees that the most important business deals are sealed, the most crucial networking accomplished, the myriad of interpersonal subtleties that eventually effect all aspects of commerce happen. It is here that the fashion decisions that will sway the industry are born and die, new directions in art and music gain sponsorship and restaurants and their chefs’ careers are made and lost. They have always been vastly more then a weekly Saturday night party.

Nowadays of course they can occur in strange places and with greater elements of danger. Bombs and sudden fighting are not predictable and cannot always be avoided, even for the wealthy and favored. They do the best they can.

As to Constance’s profession: without revealing it, it must be stressed, no one does exactly what she does. She is the first to ever adopt this particular career in the history of New Albion. And she did not adopt it so much as…

Towards the very end of high school, Isis’ parents’ marriage crumbled. It finally slid to the thing that most high society women fear, sometimes more than death: divorce.

In current high society, to say that divorce laws favor the husband is a wild understatement. To say that the upper class wife only has rights as long as she is indeed a wife and upon becoming single has virtually none other than the law still protects her from murder and assault is vastly more accurate.

A high society woman whose husband decides to divorce her is utterly at his mercy. She has no rights to money, children, social standing, home, or livelihood. Women have watched as other women they have known their entire lives are divorced and suddenly lose everything, are cast aside penniless, with no security blanket, no protected visitation rights, and sometimes no skills to earn income in other economic strata  It is a harshly sobering lesson to witness and many of New Albion’s most elite women will develop instantaneous chills and perspiration at the very mention of the “d” word.

Constance watched as this occurred to Isis’ mother, a women who had practically raised her for the last 4 years, as Aunt Jacqueline would often disappear with her strange crowd for reasons never quite revealed, although there was at times almost a religious air about the whole thing.

The afternoon Isis’ mother sobbed on Constance’s shoulder, betrayed and thrown aside without mercy or a second thought, reduced from a woman Constance thought of as a powerful surrogate mother to a fragile person sad, scared and defeated, well, this made an impression.

And that is how Constance found her vocation in life.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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DRH Character Background 1: John O’Brien

John O’Brien is a blue collar working man, pretty patriotic as is general among his friends and social sphere, and works hard to provide for his wife and daughter. Or did.  Before the rebel bomb that killed his beloved wife.

John has a sister Jacqueline and daughter Constance who we shall deal with in later backgrounds. Some of Jacqueline’s background overlaps with her brother John’s of course.

Their parents back in the day were both Voodoopunks, a popular and rather wild subculture of their parents’ generation which combined raucous parties with voodoo religion and not only had its own music and style but combined religious aspects with a sort of political anarchy. However, it crashed, burnt, was outlawed and thus disappeared (supposedly) after the riots that destroyed part of the city and led to the police crackdown that changed New Albion into a more martial police state.

It was John and Jacqueline’s dad who was the raucous Voodoopunk. Their mother was interested in it more in the way a conservatively raised youth will be immensely attracted to a forbidden, thrilling subculture and lover within it, but who is always destined to grow out of it and back into a more calm and secure place in society.

She fell madly in love with John’s father who was a true hellion in his youth. However the riots and resulting government crackdown brought an end to their wild days and it was their mother who was well suited to building them a place in society to hunker down, raise children and keep their heads low and out of trouble. Their father followed suit as best he could and there is no question he was devoted to his family.

Their parents’ deaths when John and Jacqueline were hitting their adolescences was tragic, but for more details on that, Jacqueline is really the one to ask, so we’ll wait until it is her turn to share her background to address this.

John was not only the older sibling but the one who took after his mother, and so took on the responsibility of caring for his much artsier sister. He would have described her as annoyingly flaky and they were not particularly close until their parents’ death which forced them to bond to a greater degree.

John got them through their adolescence and made sure Jacqueline finished school. As they grew into adults her wilder and wilder thoughts, ideas and free spiritedness irritated him more and more. As the one who had to go to work each day and bang out the money for them to live and for her to go to school, he obviously cherished a strong work ethic and practicality and saw Jacqueline and her friends’ yammerings and circular philosophies as the navel gazing idiocy of pampered younglings who don’t know what it’s like to have to step up and fend for themselves.

It’s a classic dichotomy and was fueled by John’s deep missing of his mother and Jacqlueline’s utter failure to replace her and fill the hole. John was very lonely and he simply couldn’t relate to Jacqueline, which made him sad. However his drive to take care of them did not allow for sadness and depression, so it would be channeled into anger and the drive to keep going.

It would also be channeled into drink. John was a hardy drinker, as were the mates he worked with. It was part of their working culture and how they as men learned to deal with their sadness and other emotions which might otherwise bring them down.

By the time John and Jacqueline had grown and drifted apart John was lonely in a way his mates and bar culture couldn’t fill. Thus when Vivian entered his life he was ready to be a devoted family man, as he had always been anyway.

John and Vivian loved each other. Vivian was a bit looser and artisier, a little like Jacqueline, but just enough to complete him and not enough to annoy his world view. John and Vivian loved each other truly and deeply and they loved their daughter Constance.

Like most good men of his social sphere he was disgusted by the rebels causing trouble all over New Albion and upsetting law and order, putting good honest citizens in danger for their idiotic attempts at whatever crazy coup they were attempting.

Vivian is killed one day by a rebel bomb and John utterly falls apart.

His grief is unmanageable. His rage unbearable. He shows up at his sister’s place with Constance and they move in. Jacqueline helps with Constance who is in her early teens. John’s drinking soars and he stays out longer and longer.

Soon John gets The Offer and his life changes. As the scene opens in The Dieselpunk Radio Hour Act 1, Song 3, it is a few years after The Offer.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Not Slacking On The Blog, Just Composing

I know my posts have been a bit scattered recently, but honestly, among other things i\ve been working like a demon on The Dieslepunk Opera.

I am ONE song away from completing Act 1, although i still need to write lyrics for New Albion 5 (and the not yet started song) and of course i intend to fix the end of the Dieselpunk Overture. Thanks for the help of commenters on that one. I don’t necessarily change every single thing that someone finds a bit off (everyone’s got different tastes), but if i had a question mark in my head going in anyway then it’s a no brainer.

I have a lot of other commitments coming up so i’ve been barreling ahead with Act 1 in hopes that i can finish as much of it as possible before all these other things kick in.

When i finish Act 1, with scratch vocals of course, i will post it temporarily. I’m currently thinking of posting it for 3 days and then talking it down. Those interested can give it a listen, but since the vocals will not be final, except for the John O’Brien character who i will just go ahead and sing myself the Act can’t be made available permanently. However, since i really like it and would like to share it, i think posting it for a brief time is acceptable.

Gd knows when i’ll start Act 2. My current plan is to have Lauren Osborn sing the lead character of the 2nd Act. I will need to pay her upfront for it, as she deserves pay. I’ll need time and a lot of luck to assemble such funds however. I’ll cast another woman to sing Act 3, but let’s not worry about Act 3 right now.

So there. That’s why the blog skips more days in between posts than i normally like. An hour to write a blog vs. an extra precious hour in my busy day to continue working on Act 1… gotta work on Act 1.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Dieselpunk Radio Hour Overture

In one of my more stupid moves, i am actually going to post the overture to the Dieselpunk opera.

It may not be finished. I may decide in a month i was an idiot and seriously dislike some aspect of it. Please accept this as a… work in progress. Beta version.  Test run. Trial version. You get the picture. The tiny voice bits are only scratch tracks and will be replaced.

It is not the steampunk overture. This is not steampunk. This is dieselpunk. We have all new tales to tell of a new time in the same place. But before we begin our tales, an overture.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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