Astounding Stories, Vol. 1

Astounding Stories cover art showing a beetle, a salamander, a violin, a castle, and me screaming and running away from attacking giant beetles...

Astounding Stories, Vol.1 is inspired by stories from the 1930s magazine Astounding Stories of Super-Science.  This project grew out of a series of Twitch streams where I read stories from the first two issues and improvised soundtrack themes on the fly.   Bits of these themes were taken back into the studio and the fully produced result is part sci-fi audiobook, part soundtrack, and part electronic prog rock.

I’ve always been part classical (my training) and part rock / electro (my essence).   My rock half grew up listening to concept records like Alan Parsons’ “Tales of Mystery and Imagination,” Marillion’s “Grendel,” and Rick Wakeman’s “Journey to the Centre of the Earth.”   Each taking established literary works and riffing on them through music.  Of course, my style is quite different, but the concept is very much down the same road.

My classical half wanted to approach it like a soundtrack, where the instruments themselves often become characters  – evoking the emotion of the story versus simply accompanying it…   It was great fun to score very soundtrack-y elements like a chase scene, a murder scene, a love scene, etc. and put them into the song.   Even without a visual, I think the idea/emotion behind these scenes still comes through in the music.

To that soup, I added in occasional bits of narration to orient the listener and some sound effects help to bring each story to life – and before I knew it, I had stumbled across something that I had never heard before…   A bite-sized ‘sound-story’ …  A 30 minute adventure comic for the mind.

I know it’s trite to say your project is ‘unique,’ but you’ll be hard pressed to find another one like this…

Adventure Awaits!  🙂

xox

-keys

Available November 1st, 2020
Stream or Download Your Copy at:

NOTE:   If you were subscribed to or otherwise connected to my Twitch channel at anytime during 2018-2019, you should have already received your FREE Download coupon (must be redeemed using the shiny red button above or at Bandcamp!).
If you have not yet received yours, please message me on Twitch or Discord.

Want to hear Samples ??


Side A (w/ narration and effects):

  1.  the cave of horror (6:47)
  2. Mad Music (9:09)
  3. Phantoms of Reality (6:18)
  4. the Beetle Horde (9:48)

Side B (instrumental versions):

  1.  the cave of horror (6:44)
  2. Mad Music (9:41)
  3. Phantoms of Reality (6:18)
  4. the Beetle Horde (9:15)

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More About the Stories

the Cave of Horror cover showing a menacing lizard

Something has been eating tourists in Mammoth Cave…!
Only Dr. Bird and Agent Carnes can solve the mystery.

****************

the Cave of Horror was inspired by the story written by Sterner St. Paul Meek
published in Astounding Stories of Super-Science, January 1930.

You can read the story in its’ entirety online
through Project Gutenberg at:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/41481

Mad Music cover showing a violin

When the skyscraper Colossus suddenly collapses,
suspicion falls on an eccentric violin player.

****************

Mad Music was inspired by the story written by Anthony Pelcher
published in Astounding Stories of Super-Science, February 1930.

You can read the story in its’ entirety online
through Project Gutenberg at:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/28617

Phantoms of Reality image showing an ornate castle.

Revolution is brewing in the Fourth Dimension.
Help King Alexandre retake the throne!

****************

Phantoms of Reality was inspired by the story written by Ray Cummings
published in Astounding Stories of Super-Science, January 1930.

You can read the story in its’ entirety online
through Project Gutenberg at:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/41481

the Beetle Horde cover showing a green and yellow beetle

A swarm of prehistoric beetles is on the attack!!!
Can it be stopped before all life is eaten??

****************

the Beetle Horde was inspired by the story written by Victor Rousseau
published in Astounding Stories of Super-Science, January 1930.

You can read the story in its’ entirety online
through Project Gutenberg at:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/41481

Astounding Stories of Super Science!!

(text from the January 1930, inaugural issue introduction)

What are “astounding” stories?

Well, if you lived in Europe in 1490, and someone told you the earth was round and moved around the sun—that would have been an “astounding” story.

Or if you lived in 1840, and were told that some day men a thousand miles apart would be able to talk to each other through a little wire—or without any wire at all—that would have been another.

Or if, in 1900, they predicted ocean-crossing airplanes and submarines, world-girdling Zeppelins, sixty-story buildings, radio, metal that can be made to resist gravity and float in the air—these would have been other “astounding” stories.

To-day, time has gone by, and all these things are commonplace. That is the only real difference between the astounding and the commonplace—Time.

To-morrow, more astounding things are going to happen. Your children—or their children—are going to take a trip to the moon. They will be able to render themselves invisible—a problem that has already been partly solved. They will be able to disintegrate their bodies in New York and reintegrate them in China—and in a matter of seconds.

Astounding? Indeed, yes.

Impossible? Well—television would have been impossible, almost unthinkable, ten years ago.

Now you will see the kind of magazine that it is our pleasure to offer you beginning with this, the first number of Astounding Stories.

It is a magazine whose stories will anticipate the super-scientific achievements of To-morrow—whose stories will not only be strictly accurate in their science but will be vividly, dramatically and thrillingly told….

–  W.M. Clayton, Editor

————————————————————–

While it has changed hands and names many times, today this publication is still going strong under the name Analog Science Fiction and Fact.
You should check them out – they are still as awesome as ever!

In early 2019, I began wanted to try an experiment live on Twitch.    I began reading stories from the magazine “Astounding Stories of Super Science” – specifically the first two issues from 1930.    The experiment was to try to compose some music / soundscape / background for the stories while simultaneously having to read them – in character (if possible) – and all off the cuff, without ever looking at the stories ahead of time so I had no prep at all for either music or narration.  (Leading to both happy awesome moments and hysterical crash and burns…)    It was great fun and got better each time.   To my great surprise, there were people who would show up every day to listen to the stories!

For those that want to see the origin stories (in this case, literally)…     All Twelve of these stories are still up on Twitch as video collections.

Fun and Games

What can I say…?   I’m also learning Unity so I can more effectively compose for games…  and, I just can’t help myself…  😉
I love adding layers/challenges to a project…

So – based off the Space Shooter tutorial with some wickedly difficult additions – I created a ‘Beetle Horde’ flying shooter game that’s somewhere between Space Invaders and Centipede…     If you score over 10,000 and post a screenshot on social media and tag me, I’ll send you a free download code for the album!

Special Thanks:

It is no exaggeration to say that this project would or could have ever happened without support and/or inspiration from:   @nxastral, @TofuHunden, @Echo_Locations, @CubicKeys, @NebulantRecording, @IoannisPane, @DanielRobertsPiano, @wilwolferine, @Thorinbur, @davidetwitchaccount, @katmatwo, @Schnaff, @classysax, @its__Rick, @ThranMaru, @Dadik2580, @Fixy82, @Dragon_skiller, @VeganSpaceman, @xx_djpera_xx, @FMLcrispylara, @Egglyberts, @BotondKuti, @NewZealandKiwi, @NijeriArt, @Schackisen, @WAXWANEMusic, @ortoPilot, and a very special thanks to @RandomPhraseGenerator .    I can’t thank you all enough – this has meant far more to me personally than I’d ever be able to express.

This was mastered by Rachel Field at Resonant Mastering, Seattle, WA.   Thank you for your patience and skill on this project!

and, of course, never ending gratitude to Laura for her unyielding support and love.    My Sun and Moon.