Jeff Buser - Rise and Fall of Alexander
Rise and Fall of Alexander is a concept album based on the life of Alexander the Great.
In February 2010, I decided for a number of reasons to release the album
as two CDs. If you care why, there's a lengthy explanation after the song
lists. Disc 1 shipped on 6/16/2011, Disc 2 will be out sometime in 2013.
The working title at one time was "Legacy of Alexander",
but in October 2010, I decided I didn't really like it.
I may yet do a sequel to
Legacy of Alexander, Part I
from the album
but this album turned out to be less about Alexander's
legacy, and more of a biographical drama, hence the name change.
= Principal recording complete
Disc 1 - Rise of Alexander
Disc 2 - Fall of Alexander
All music and lyrics by Jeff Buser
All instrumental performances and vocals by Jeff Buser except:
The part of Olympias on
sung by Tanya Rice.
Produced and engineered by Jeff Buser.
Copyright © 2008 - 2010 Jeff Buser.
All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, public performance and broadcasting are prohibited by Federal law and are subject to criminal prosecution.
OK, so why two CDs?
Running time is way over 75 minutes, the maximum length of a standard CD.
I was agonizing over what to cut when I realized two CDs would be perfect.
The first half of the story is a rising curve, culminating with Alexander's final
defeat of Darius at the Battle of Gaugamela. It's a predominantly happy story
with a few challenges and setbacks that make the climax satisfying (plus a little
bit of a cliffhanger). The second half is a downward spiral, pretty much one
big bummer with a few high points to relieve the tension. I had previously set
some musical and lyrical direction for the album based on a subconscious
understanding of that balance, but the 2-CD idea really crystallized it for me.
For starters, the artwork can incorporate the classical Greek comedy & tragedy
masks on the first and second discs respsectively. There's a certain yin yang
aspect to it as well, a symbol I've always found personally compelling.
I had already decided to flaunt my classic rock influences in the songs
about Alexander's youth (after Edie and Jim independently pointed out that
"Bucephalus" already sounded retro) because I think it helps establish the
setting and the progression of his life. Song about Alexander age 15 sounds
like something Jeff would have listened to at age 15. Song about Alexander
age 21 sounds like something Jeff would have listened to at age 21. You
get the idea. Sure, I could have made the songs about Alexander's teens
sound like the 1940s, his twenties sound like the 1950s and his thirties
sound like the 1960s to give the subliminal impression that he is maturing,
but, um, no. Anyway, I'm getting a bit off topic from the 2 CD explanation.
The point is, Disc 1 has that subtle retro touch and a lighter lyrical
flavor, while Disc 2 can be one big, dark slab of grim, unrelenting metal.
All that gives a sense of symmetry to the total work, which I think is
quite appropriate for a subject who studied logic and philosophy with
Aristotle and greatly admired Egyptian culture (which itself had a great
fascination with symmetry). Which brought me to a decision about how
to release two CDs. One package, a la Pink Floyd's "The Wall", or two
separate, linked CDs a la System of a Down's "Mesmerize/Hypnotize"?
That decision was completely pragmatic. First, two single jewel cases
are cheaper than one double CD case. Second, the songs on Disc 1
are done. The songs for Disc 2 aren't. No need to keep the fans waiting.
And finally, if you're the sort of person who only likes happy endings
(or unhappy ones), you only need to buy the disc that fits your mood.
The following unpaid endorsements are provided for the curious.
Legacy of Alexander, Part II
is being recorded direct to digital on a MacBook Pro
using an Edirol UA-1000 audio interface and Logic Studio recording software.
Other gear: Audio-Technica mics, Yamaha DX-11 keyboard
(which I now mostly use as a controller to play software synths
and samplers), O'Hagan Model 22 and Ibanez Blazer electric
guitars, a Washburn D25S/N acoustic, my infamous hot pink
Fender Mustang bass, Ernie Ball strings, Dunlop Straplocks,
Dunlop Tortex picks and GHS Fast-Fret string cleaner.