September 15, 2017:
"Oceanarium" will be released on November 15, 2017.



The music on "Oceanarium" is entirely instrumental, densely orchestrated, and has a wide variety of instruments, including cello, trumpet, bass clarinet, flute, saxophone, hammered dulcimer, banjo, mandolin, violin, oboe, and trombone, in addition to the usual keyboards, guitars, bass, and drums.  Although many musical styles are included, the end result probably fits nicely under the label "symphonic prog."

"Oceanarium" is the second album in a planned three-level seven-album series.  The first album "Heliotians" was released in 2014, and the third album "Lunarians" will hopefully be released in 2018.  Those two albums had/will have hand-painted artwork and hand-written lyrics and/or notes for each of the roughly 300 copies (each containing a vinyl LP and CD). "Oceanarium," on the other hand, will be released as a regular 80-minute CD and double vinyl album. "Oceanarium" is on the middle tier of the three-tiered seven-album series and contains ideas found in the two albums beneath it (the previously mentioned "Heliotians" and "Lunarians"), but unlike those two albums, it is densely and carefully orchestrated and is entirely instrumental.
 
Here are the 8 tracks that will be on "Oceanarium":

1. "A Numbered Rat, a High Ledge, and a Maze of Horizons" [11:32]
2. "Drifting Inner Skyline Space" [8:28]
3. "The Blunt Sun and the Hardened Moon" [15:25]
4. "Finding a Valley in a Gray Area on a Map" [3:24]
5. "Finding a Shipwreck in a Valley in an Ocean" [6:20]
6. "Tropical Detective Squadron" [14:10]
7. "Marooned and Torn Asunder" [8:06]
8. "Water to Glass / The Ultimate Solution" [12:31]

Musicians:
Dave Berggren- electric guitar (6), compositional contributions (6)
Dan Britton: keyboards, guitars, other instruments (1-8)
Neil Brown-trumpet (8)
Steve Churchill-oboe (1, 7)
Brett d'Anon- bass, guitars (1-8)
Brian Falkowski- saxophone (3), flute (4, 5), clarinet (8)
Patrick Gaffney- compositional contributions (1, 6)
Denis Malloy- bass clarinet (1, 2, 3, 8)
Corey Sansolo- trombone (1)
Natalie Spehar- cello (2, 4, 5, 8)
Zack Stachowski- violin (4, 5)
Christopher West- compositional contributions (6, 7)
Cover art: Alex Bennett

Samples of the first few minutes of each of the 8 tracks will be released over the next few weeks.  We'll go in reverse order, starting with the final track "Water to Glass / The Ultimate Solution":


And the penultimate track "Marooned and Torn Asunder":



"Tropical Detective Squadron":



"Finding a Shipwreck in a Valley in an Ocean":



"Finding a Valley in a Gray Area on a Map"



"The Blunt Sun and the Hardened Moon"



"Drifting Inner Skyline Space"



"A Numbered Rat, a High Ledge, and a Maze of Horizons"




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November 2014:
More copies of "Heliotians"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsMzFrF88HU

160 more numbered copies of this album have been made, in addition to the first 205 (365 total).

Like the first 205 copies, these 160 copies each have a vinyl LP, a CD, hand-painted artwork, and some handwritten notes. 

But unlike the first 205, they aren't autographed, and they don't have handwritten lyrics.

Since the first 205 sold well enough, the plan for a three-tiered heptalogy (seven albums) will probably happen.  To celebrate the ostensible viability the three-tiered heptalogy (3 levels of 7 albums), each of these 160 copies will be sold for $37, a jaw-dropping reduction in price from the first 205, which were sold (on CDBaby at least) for $38.

Many of the musical ideas on "Heliotians" should appear under different titles and in different arrangements on the next Deluge Grander album "Oceanarium," which should be released on regular CD and vinyl LP formats (no expensive handmade artwork), hopefully by the end of 2015.

There's a good chance that "Heliotians," "Oceanarium," and the five other yet-to-be-released albums in the heptalogy (the old plan for which can be found below on this very page) will eventually  also be released in a budget-priced set of 7CDs or 10LPs, but that would probably be at least 5 years from now.





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January 2014:

Here are the music and all 205 covers for "Heliotians":



Deluge Grander Myspace Page

Deluge Grander Facebook Page



Heliotians (2014)

1. Ulterior (14:00)
2. Saruned (5:00)
3. Reverse Solarity (21:30)


The release date for Deluge Grander's third album "Heliotians" is February 5, 2014.  205 numbered copies of this album have been made.  Each copy has a 180-gram vinyl LP, a CD, hand-painted artwork, hand-written lyrics, and is signed by all the musicians who played or sang on it.  It was recorded and mastered mostly on analog tape, using mostly analog instruments.  There are no plans for releasing this album in any other physical format, though some of the musical ideas might appear in different arrangements on future Deluge Grander albums.

On this recording, Deluge Grander is:
Christopher West: Bass, Flute, Vocals, Ressikan Flute
Cliff Phelps: Guitar, Vocals
Dan Britton: Fender Rhodes, Multivox, Univox, Vox, Mellotron (Thanks, Jim Rezek!), Hammered Dulcimer, Acoustic Guitars
Megan Wheatley: Vocals
Natalie Spehar: Cello
Patrick Gaffney: Drums

Although the music on the album is hopefully interesting and enjoyable, if people talk about this album at all, they'll probably talk most about the packaging.  People might be surprised, confused, or even angry about it, so here are answers to some Questions You Might Have (QYMHs):

Why not also release it on a regular CD in a jewel case and sell them for $12-15?
A perfectly reasonable question.  A release like this does indeed fail to satisfy someone who just wants a regular CD.  I myself actually prefer regular CDs to expensive collectible vinyl LPs and electronic files.  But as music is heard on the Internet more often, I think if you're going to release music in a physical format, maybe you should try to make that physical format as artistic and interesting as you can.  This is one way to do that.  Many people also like to have music on vinyl records, the containers of which are big enough to allow sizable, tangible artwork.  Since roughly 2,000 people thought previous Deluge Grander albums were worth paying about $5-15 for in CD or electronic form, I'm hoping that maybe 100-200 will be willing to pay $38 for this handmade version, and that the rest will be content with the downloadable versions (Itunes, Bandcamp, etc.) and freely distributed video that contains all the music.  Additionally, this release is the first of a planned seven-album series, the upper tiers of which will likely be released in less expensive CD formats, containing new pieces with some of the music on this release.  I'm not sure if the whole series will actually be finished as planned; that depends mostly on how well things go with "Heliotians."

Did you really write all the lyrics out 205 times? And do 205 different paintings on the covers?  Are you insane?
Yes, yes, and maybe.

Why sell vinyl LPs and CDs in the same package?
Each vinyl LP costs roughly $2 and each CD about $1 to manufacture.  If a copy of "Heliotians" were sold with only one format, it would probably be sold for about $36 rather than $38. (The main reason the album is expensive is the cover.)  There probably are some people who only want the vinyl LP and some who only want the CD, but they can rest assured that they wouldn't have saved much money if their unwanted disc weren't included.

How was the music recorded?
We recorded about 88 percent of the album ("Ulterior" and "Reverse Solarity") onto analog tape, using mostly analog instruments.  Mixing it onto tape proved difficult, so we ashamedly reverted back to the digital realm (in 24-bit, 96-kHz files) for mixing, but the temptation to do additional recording once we had the digital files was resisted.  We actually had the resulting mixes mastered by a professional (Andrew Mitchell of Audio Bay Mastering) especially for the vinyl release, and another mastered version for CD.

How did you get the CDs in the LP jackets?
I made 205 special cardboard inserts with slots that hold the CDs.  They're not beautiful, but they get the job done:

(the yellow thing is the CD (hand-numbered); the cardboard square is inserted into the left side of the gatefold)

How should the sleeves be handled and stored?  Might the paint fall off?
Many things were done to improve the durability of the artwork.  Although the covers were handled by many people during the lyric transcriptions, group signing sessions, and while being moved around, as of January 2014 (more than a year after the sleeve creation process began), about 70 percent of them show no sign of deterioration.  Another 15 percent show some minor chipping along the spines, and another 15 percent (mostly the ones that were painted first) have some noticeable problems, again mostly along the spines.  These partially damaged albums will be the last ones to go on sale.  Paintings are not meant to be bent, so some spine damage is almost inevitable, and hopefully it won't be regarded as a major flaw.  Each album will come with a high-quality 6-millimeter polyethylene sleeve which should protect it.

Do you have anything to say about the actual music?
Why, yes!  The first track "Ulterior" was initially intended to be very atmospheric and almost ambient, but the band being what it is, we added a few more intense parts in the middle.  There is a three-ascending-chords motif throughout the piece, and of course a big slow coda at the end.  This one features cello, flute (including a Ressikan flute), and hammered dulcimer prominently. "Saruned" was based on an improvisation from almost 10 years ago.  "Reverse Solarity" is notable for maintaining a steady beat through most of the 21 minutes (drummer Patrick Gaffney gets credit for recording the whole thing in one go on the second attempt), and there are some good chord sequences, guitar solos, real mellotron (Thanks, Jim Rezek!), and yet another big slow coda at the end with some great vocals.

And what about the lyrics?
The lyrics are about the Earth being a hollow spherical shell, with a small sun floating in the middle of the core, and lands and oceans on the other side of the approximately 20-mile deep crust. This interior side of the Earth can be reached by digging through the crust ("Ulterior") or flying through the small holes at the North and South Poles ("Reverse Solarity"). The sleeves are paintings of a view of this inner sun viewed from the surface of the inner crust.

Dan Britton, Deluge Grander, January 2014

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NEWS (as of July, 2010): So what is Deluge Grander up to nowadays?  Well, we are working on new material, and our plan is to record and release some albums a little differently than how we did the first two.

We're going to try and go into an *analog* recording studio for the next album, probably to be entitled "Heliotians."
This will necessitate executing the compositions very well as a group, and we'll only be able to make a few edits and overdubs.  Some believe it may also yield a more natural sound.

So far, the material for this album is still epic and grandiose, but we're going to try to keep the album's mood more consistently atmospheric: it should be an album you can take a nice nap to.  There might also be plenty of room for voices, but that's still uncertain for the time being.

In keeping with the analog vibe, we're thinking about releasing it on vinyl, perhaps in a very limited edition of 100-200 copies, maybe with handmade artwork for each one.  Insanity!  We would probably also make a CD of it, but I'd like to keep the handcrafted cottage-industry spirit with the CD release as well, so maybe deluxe packaging and limited editions in the digital domain, too.

"Why limit your audience like that?" you ask?

Well, the very tentative plan at this point is to release a series of FOUR limited edition albums, then combine the material on them, probably rewriting and re-arranging everything in the process, and release TWO regular CDs.  Then, as the piece de resistance, release ONE other album that contains only the best material from all six of these releases, probably re-arranged and re-recorded yet again, and maybe release that as a free or very inexpensive download.  The insanity never ends!

So it would be a three-tiered pyramid of seven releases.


Heliotians would be spacy and atmospheric, and you could take a nap to it.
Lunarians would be more "classical," intricate, and pastoral.
Creek would lean towards jazz, country, and alternative rock. 
Din would be experimental, complex, and dissonant.

Then Oceanarium (notice how the title combines "HeliOTIANs" with "LunARIANs," sort of) would combine the first two.
And Cretin ("Creek" + "Din" = "Cretin") would combine the second two.  At that second tier, we'd probably not worry about making the releases describe-able with one or two words.

And Creationarium would combine "Oceanarium" with "Cretin" and presumably have the very best material of all.

Clever, eh?

It will of course be a lot of work to actually execute this little scheme.  I could even see it taking 10 years.  And, as you might imagine, doing all these limited edition releases in the bottom tier would necessitate some costly product, roughly $30-50 apiece, and there may only be seven or eight people worldwide willing to pay that amount....so it might not happen.  But hey, those are some nifty titular gimmicks, aren't they?

We'll try out Heliotians and see how it goes. 

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(artwork by Kezia Terracciano)

The Form of the Good (2009)

1. Before the Common Era (5:22)
2. The Tree Factory (14:08)
3. Common Era Caveman (6:26)
4. Aggrandizement (19:12)
5. The Form of the Good (8:41)




Before the Common Era:
The shortest piece in Deluge Grander history!  Probably also the quietest one, even with the big climax in the middle.  This one uses some samples of chanting recorded by Brett's uncle Frank at an old cabin in rural Saskatchewan several years ago.  Compared to most of our songs, it's pretty minimalist, and not exactly the most intense way to open an album, but it's intended to create an atmosphere for what comes next.


The Tree Factory:
This one was built around two drum rhythms Patrick came up with (one in 10 and a half, and the other in 21) and a very conventional Supertramp-styled electric piano pattern I used to call "San Jose 83" for some reason.  The symphonic intro and conventional ending were added on quickly after it occurred to us to combine those three ideas, and Dave's melodies during the middle part of the song really added a lot.  We might have gone overboard with sound effects in a few places, but that made the song sound like what might happen in a factory, so there you go.  The rather normal-sounding ending makes up for all the noise earlier in the song.


Common Era Caveman:
Mostly just a 2-chord sequence, but there's a tight bassline/melody that ties the electric piano, bass guitar, and drums together, with a lot of fun stuff added on top.  Patrick had to put in a very intense and precise performance to get the drums right for this one.


Aggrandizement:
As the centerpiece of the album, a lot of work went into this.  Parts for cello, trombone, trumpet, flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, and violin were written out and recorded as best I could.  Plus the regular old drums, guitars, bass, and keyboards.  This track represents the album as a whole, starting out atmospheric, then getting a bit more intense, followed by a conventional classical sounding section (composed around 1996 by the way) a noodly meandering middle section, and then a steady buildup towards the big release with fierce bass playing and drum work. 


The Form of the Good:

Rather than end the album darkly, this closes on a more positive vibe. The first half is quiet and dark, but all of a sudden, at around 4:30, a majestic sequence is played 11 times, followed by a reprise of the first song.

Although there's only singing on the first song (and that singing isn't really in English), there is a general "concept" to the album in the artwork, song titles, and the music itself.



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(artwork by Thomas Cole)

August in the Urals (2006)

1. Inaugural Bash (26:57)
2. August in the Urals (15:52)
3. Abandoned Mansion Afternoon (12:14)
4. A Squirrel (8:45)
5. The Solitude of Miranda (7:18)





Inaugural Bash:

This is a 7-part collection of ideas that, in spite of their diversity, hold together well as an extended piece.  The first 4 sections were originally intended to be the bulk of the piece, but new sections were added on while those original 4 were being worked on. 





August in the Urals:

Another extended piece, this one is basically in four parts, though there are a lot of sections that get reprised in alternate forms throughout.  The main theme, stated in the beginning on acoustic guitar, at around 3:00, and again at the end as a coda, is made of a simple melody and chord sequence, as well as Brett's distinctive bassline.  In fact, the bass is one of the most important elements of this track.



Abandoned Mansion Afternoon:

Although it's 12 minutes long, there aren't a whole lot of changes to this piece, which in some way incorporates both ambient and jazz music.  (The working title for it was "Hancock/Schulze").  Although the rhythms rarely deviate from a steady 5/4 rhythm, the track ebbs and recedes several times.  There are also a large number of snippets of some obscure albums thrown in for seconds at a time in many spots.  (But here we are four years later, and I don't think anyone's noticed them.)  This track could probably benefit from a re-recording...maybe someday!


A Squirrel:

This instrumental goes from baroque to jazz-funk and finally incorporates both approaches at the end.  Other than the analog synthesizer, there were no additional overdubs to this one.  This one and "Abandoned Mansion Afternoon" were the first two pieces Deluge Grander worked on.


The Solitude of Miranda:

Although this was the final track recorded for the album, I actually composed most of it on a cheap $90 acoustic guitar in 2001 in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The middle piano section was added in just before we started working on it as a group.