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Save Santa’s Home: The Book

Save Santa's Home

Recently I joined the team working on Save Santa’s Home, a climate change project. Through the power of an original story serving as a conversation starter, Save Santa’s Home aims to redirect the climate change discussion from one of anger and hopelessness to one of activism and hope.

In December, a crowdfunding campaign will launch promoting the Save Santa’s Home story book and related perks in conjunction with a few public demonstrations in Washington DC and elsewhere across the country.

The book was written by Sean Presant and Andrew Slack, illustrated by Ayan Saha, with typesetting and layout by yours truly! Not only will I be doing the design and layout of the book, I’m also working with Sean and Andrew on creating a video version of their story book!

The video will feature the book’s illustrations (I’ll work in some animation to bring a little life to the still pages) with a dramatic audio reading of the original story. The video will also feature original holiday music written by Christian Caldeira and myself, and performed by our band, The Caulden Road!

But we’ll dig into the video and music more in future posts, for now …

Layout and Typesetting

Sean and Andrew ran into a readability/accessibility issue with their original designs. Text was being placed directly on the illustrations and was being obscured by various elements within the illustration (such as snow or bright highlights washing out white text). So they brought me on to redesign the entire book from the ground up, rethinking text layout and font choices on each page.

Below are a few examples of the original design they brought to me vs my new designs.

Most pages, like above, required me to paint over some objects to make sure the text was as readable as possible. I also re-framed most of the illustrations to taste, and to create a bit more room for the text.

Other pages required me to paint over backgrounds, but retain important objects in the foreground (like Santa’s sack of toys in the example below), and those pages took a bit more time.

Finally, some pages I felt required larger changes to the layout, like the back cover below.

Save Santa's Home - New Design

Overall I’m very happy with the way the new designs look. The readability/accessibility of the new layout and typesetting trumps the original design, and, in addition to that making it easier for children to read, it also helps the entire production look more professional.

As mentioned above, you’ll be able to get your hands on a copy of the book via a crowdfunding campaign next month, with the video to follow in a couple weeks. I’ll post additional updates, but if you want to get involved now, sign up for the Save Santa’s Home newsletter on the website (which I also made, heh).

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“Faultlines” Single Out Now!

“Faultlines” Lyric Video

My first new solo release in over nine years, “Faultlines”, is now out everywhere music is streamed or sold.

Download/listen to “Faultlines” on…

You can also purchase the single directly from this website in hi-res FLAC or lossy MP3.

I wrote “Faultlines” a little over four years ago, along with a few other demos, and then set it aside. Most of my music time and energy back then was invested in my band The Caulden Road. But over the years I kept humming this song to myself and decided this summer to finally get a small band together and record it. I’m happy I did as the resulting studio sessions surpassed the demo and turned out better than I could’ve imagined. I hope to work on a few more of those solo demos over the next few months, so stay tuned!

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“Shortwave, Pt. 1” Single Out Now!

The Caulden Road - Shortwave Pt 1

My band’s new single, “Shortwave, Pt. 1”, is now out everywhere music is streamed or sold. And a limited run of 7″ transparent vinyl singles are also available!

Listen to “Shortwave, Pt. 1” now on…

You can also purchase the single directly from this website, on a limited edition transparent 7″ vinyl single, in hi-res FLAC, or lossy MP3.

The single is backed with an unplugged version of “All I Am” (the studio version can be found on Reflexion)

This release is the second of seven new singles The Caulden Road is working on over the next year. If you’d like to help support these new releases, you can find our Patreon page here. Patreon supporters get behind the scenes updates from in the studio, early releases, and more goodies depending on their support tier.

Finally, I made lyric videos for “Shortwave, Pt. 1” which you can watch below.

Yay new music!

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“Erase This” Single Out Now!

The Caulden Road - Erase This Cassette

My band’s new single, “Erase This”, is now out everywhere music is streamed or sold. And a limited run of cassette singles are also available!

Listen to “Erase This” now on…

You can also purchase the single directly from this website, on cassette single, in hi-res FLAC, or lossy MP3.

The single is backed with a spoken word poetry track titled “If You Have Somewhere to Burn Them…” featuring actress Grace Gordon. You can read more about this piece here.

This release is the first of seven new singles The Caulden Road is working on over the next year. If you’d like to help support these new releases, you can find our Patreon page here. Patreon supporters get behind the scenes updates from in the studio, early releases, and more goodies depending on their support tier.

Finally, I made lyric videos for both “Erase This” and “If You Have Somewhere to Burn Them…”, which you can watch below.

Yay new music!

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In the Studio: Burning Things with Grace Gordon

Over the last few weeks The Caulden Road has been working on a new audio project with actress Grace Gordon. It’s a song/spoken word piece called “If You Have Somewhere to Burn Them…

The song will be the b-side on our next single, “Erase This”, scheduled for release in the new year.

“If You Have Somewhere to Burn Them…” began as a poem I wrote many years ago, and was the inspiration for the “Erase This” lyrics. I contacted Grace about working together on the spoken word aspect of the project after hearing her performance on the sci-fi podcast Satellite and seeing her in the indie short film Alone with Company.

I wrote the backing music track and laid down a rough sketch, then sent that composition over to Grace. She then gave me seven different performances of the poem… one happy, one somber, one almost whispered, etc. I then comped those seven takes into one master performance.

I color-coded Grace’s different takes to make editing easier, which inadvertently made a wonderful Pride flag in Cubase.
Putting the final touches on a rough mix.

Once I had the basic song developed, I sent the entire multitrack project over to Christian Caldeira (my producer and Caulden Road bandmate). He added a few layers of guitar, replaced my programmed synth bass with a real bass, and engineered the final mix.

Christian Caldeira on guitar
Christian Caldeira on guitar.

Christian’s been using a lot more guitar pedals and other outboard gear in our sessions lately, relying more on capturing the right sound from the beginning and less on tinkering with plugins later.

The Caulden Road stomp boxes

This project is definitely the most experimental thing The Caulden Road has taken on so far, but I hope we tackle more stuff like this in the future. Pop rock songs are fun, but so is spoken word poetry!

I can’t wait to share our new songs with you in 2019! Until then, if you’d like more of these behind the scenes updates, you can support The Caulden Road over on our new Patreon page and get exclusive updates about the music we’re working on as we work on it!