All About ASPECTS

Aspects by Anna Shelley

This is a different EP for me. I didn’t want to make a full album of 8-12 songs, only to really be in love with a few tracks. At only 4 songs, I wanted to make sure that each song was my absolute favourite.

I wanted to push my own boundaries, going beyond simply feeling good or sharing an expression. I wanted to combine the darkness within with the peace that comes from accepting it, embracing it, and willfully stepping further into it. I wanted to explore the richness of the macabre. I wanted to sink down deep into the weird. I wanted to walk alongside the dark. I wanted to become all of this and more.

During the preparation for recording, I step into the void. I do nothing. I feel everything. Angst, frustration, awkwardness, trauma, cosmic connection, the stories of the lands, the parallels with other worlds, the inability to fit in here, the sense that I will always be that lone wolf walking between worlds, and finally – the knowing that comes with accepting that this is so fking perfect, relishing in it, and fully walking in this world as that lone dark wolf that I am.

If you are reading this, then I know that you relate to some of this, or all of it, or maybe even more of this than I can fathom. In which case, I bow down to you. You are BEYOND.

Want to know a bit about each song?

Before we went into lockdown (well, really half lockdown here in Aus – we had many freedoms, and they have recently opened up further) I was writing a book. I’m still kind of writing it, but in all honesty, when lockdown began, I put down the pen, and the music poured out of me.

The first track is called Weatherless, and this is the basis for my next book (if I finish it – covid music is still coming through).

Weatherless is a dry barren grey land. It is rocky and the only trees around are dead. Pale grey branches are scattered across the land. It is bleak. And if you really open your eyes, it is dead fking beautiful.

Liminal is the next song, and this is the strange world in which I create music, or books, or anything.

It’s that pause between breaths. It’s that break between thoughts. It’s looking over the valleys from the top of the hill, and your breath is taken so far away you can’t speak or even think to take a photo. It’s the splitting of the consciousness as you walk away from the physical and step into the metaphysical. It’s the vibration of your soul as it touches you from the astral plane. It is that wordless and formless aspect of self.

Corridor of Skulls is up next, and goes back to this book (maybe a shorter story?) I am writing.

In this Weatherless land, which is parallel to my own every day life, I walk around and see the ground littered with skulls – human and animal. Brittle femurs stick out of the ground. An ageless ribcage upended next to a leafless grey tree. These bleak thoughts and visions run through my mind as a walk down a sunny street. It is so bizarre. And also, when I embrace it, it is oh so beautiful.

Something M is the final track on ASPECTS, and it is quite different to what I usually share.I am a flute player by trade, and my potential for piano virtuosity ended after a few lessons when I was 3 years old. I already knew the notes. I just wanted to put my feet on the pedals because I wasn’t allowed to at home (too noisy!). Something M features my minimalist rhythmic way of thinking, with additional rhythms and melodies weaving their way in and out.

Ever listen to a song and tap your own drum solo or sing in harmony? That’s me, with about 1000 other layers. Something M is that something that takes your own a journey filled with side-journeys. It’s cinematic in style, and reminds me a little of the Game of Thrones or Westworld soundtracks, with a side of Philip Glass.

Putting it all together…

I recorded about 6 or 7 songs in the first 2 weeks of lockdown, but ended up scrapping a few because they either weren’t working, or they were good, but second best. Once I had worked out the songs, I needed to create the cover.

In my mind, I had what I see as the Weatherless land. I knew I had to go out and take some photos nearby where I knew I would get The Perfect Landscape. But of course, whenever I try to force something into The Perfect Idea, it all falls to pieces. Suddenly bushwalking was no longer allowed, and where I had in mind was in the middle of a bushwalk. This walk was only a 20 minute drive from my house, but I didn’t want to be someone who tries to find loopholes in the rules, only for the government to create tougher rules. So I sucked it up and browsed through some old photos.

I found a few beach photos from last summer that did the trick. The sand dunes on the cover are from a beach not far from here, and the lighting just happened to be perfect on the day. It was a long summer sunset, with that perfect golden glow on the dunes, but with dramatic grey clouds up above.

Of course, I can’t use Photoshop without utilising about 500 of it’s bazillion possibilities, so I added some stars that I think I took from my backyard. If you look closely, you’ll see the Orion constellation in there. He’ll look upside down to my northern hemisphere friends. There are also several other layers in the sky to create texture.

ASPECTS album cover

The CD

Even though ASPECTS is EP length, I wanted to create a CD for it as a work of art in its own right. I love records and CDs and their album covers. It’s a complete package! Vinyl isn’t a feasible option for me at the moment, but I do hope to make a few vinyl records at some point.

If you have been following me for a while, you’ll probably know I am big into a minimal waste lifestyle. I am that person who emails companies when we’ve received junk mail in the letter box, that has a clear No Junk Mail sign, and explain to them why I can’t compost their glossy piece of landfill, and should not have to be responsible for their waste of resources. I will email the same company over and over until they quit sending me rubbish.

So of course, ASPECTS most definitely does not come in a jewel case. Why do they call it a jewel case? It’s plastic and it scratches and breaks and it is rubbish. So ASPECTS comes in a gatefold sleeve made of 100% post-consumer waste. And of course, it is recyclable and compostable. The CD isn’t though. No one has invented Earth-friendly CDs (vinyl is another story, albeit cost prohibitive).

ASPECTS CD and journal

The Journal

For most of my recent albums, I’ve created a matching journal. Some have been lined, some blank, some hardcover, some softcover. I am big on journaling. I write all my ideas on life, I map out most of my tunes in there, I commune with the universe and channel other beings. I started creating journals simply because I’ve always had a journal, so it’s just something I need. And I like my album covers, so if I like them, maybe other people do too? Maybe other people also like to listen to music and write or draw or whatever?

So I love to create beautiful journals for me to write beautiful things in. And I like to share them with an album release!

The ASPECTS journal is paperback, with saddle stitching so it’s stronger for stuffing into bags and throwing around. (I used to work for a music publisher, and one day the boss told me off for ordering the wrong binding on her notebooks. She specified it had to be saddle stitching so it wouldn’t fall apart when she threw it across the room in fits of anger.)

The ASPECTS journal is blank, A5 size, and at 64 pages is slim enough to not weigh you down when you need to write at the beach, and has just enough pages to keep you going until my next release 😉

Release date is the solstice, which also happens to be a new moon.

Being the winter solstice down here, a new moon feels very fitting. It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s bleak. It’s precious. It’s beautiful. All ASPECTS of the cosmos are visible when there is no light from the moon.

Have a listen to the first song, and order ASPECTS here.

https://youtu.be/Qc_VDE6WxvM

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