Artwork

Blog, DIY Album, Musicians' Diary

Hard-copy is not dead & about music visual identity


This unique piece of Artwork travels to Ireland as a reward for contributions to our Crowdfund campaign. Yann has been a few time to Ireland, but I haven’t so far… I’m hoping this painting is opening the road for me, it’s still a dream to go and visit some of the incredible megalithic sites as well as sites linked with Celtic Irish Culture. Performing there would obviously be a bonus 🙂 Let’s send this wish out into the winds!

Music is a classic performed by The Bothy Band in 1976/77 and released in 1996. Full version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aWl_qdUK1o

 

And this one is on its way to the South of France…

ines bras

 

We are still only realizing how slowly incorporating my artwork into the project has become part of it, part of its identity, and has considerably impacted too the way we now envision projects. With the small audience we have, we probably wouldn’t have been able to reach the goal on the Crowdfunding campaign. The artwork is what has generated interest, it made it easy to post regular visual up-dates whereas posting music studio ones could feel a bit of the same.

When we went to local record labels with the project last year, I could sometimes hear something like “is it a book or is it a music album?” “how can we promote it if we’re not sure what it is?” “if it’s a book with just the lyrics, then it might just be a booklet, not a book.”

 

Once again, we are shown that what is hard to understand in the beginning is what makes us stand out and makes us different, and thus helps getting our project been noticed. In a way, the strong visual identity we’ve developed over the years balances the fact that the language we use can sometimes be an obstacle to dive in into our music.

Now that we started to get fantastic and lovely feedback from people receiving the first orders, we also can feel how the visual impact the way they perceive the music afterwards – so far in a very positive way.

Photo Joelle

Every music style is different, but in our case, we can confirm that we get to earn some money from hard copies sales while we barely make any sales on digital-only editions. We even had already a couple of people that ordered first the digital edition (that still includes the book in pdf) and re-ordered the hard-copy, and that was just the first week!

Is there any conclusion? While we hear very often that digital is the future, we can see exceptions all the time, and personaly it’s not what we’ve been noticing (since 2012, we’ve released 3 hard-copies and 2 digital only). Is there any rule? And who makes up the rules? As artists, we are creative people, and being creative is also something we can apply to the way we connect with our particular audience. We still have a lot to learn on that field, but the last months of conceiving and releasing Inês project has certainly been very inspiring in that field.

To be followed!

– Simone.

Blog, Musicians' Diary

Postage & Plans


Very exciting days for Astrakan Project team – since Monday we’ve been processing rawards for contributions to the crowfound campaign and pre-orders, and it’s such a delight to see our music heading towards so many places : France of course, UK, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Australia, Turkey, Qatar ! Preparing the packages makes us feel like travelling already!

Walking packages...
Walking packages…

Biggest challenge was to pack safely the artwork on canvases, but it’s all done, and all these beauties are on their way to their new home.

Next on our schedule is an interview in Rennes for radio bleu Armorique in Breton, and then head to the Balkans and Northern Greece from where we’ll be processing orders, scheduling promo for when we’re back as well as booking gigs for upcoming months. (Any suggestion of places we could perform at? astrakanproject@gmail.com !).

Blog, Crowdfounding Inês

Small artwork / petites illustrations


(this page relates to our crowdfunding campaign rening right now for our music and book project Inês. Please have first a look at the general campaign!) / (cette page concerne la campagne de financement participatif de notre projet de livre/album Inês. Merci de consulter d’abord la page en français du financement participatif pour y comprendre quelque chose!)

(français plus bas) For a contribution of 90€ you get to choose any of the following art-work pieces. They’re all on watercolor paper (professional quality), and will need to be framed. They all include collage and a mixture of techniques and materials, sizes are different, check each for details. When contributing on indiegogo, please add the title of the piece you choose, or we’ll get back to you.

Pour une contribution de 90€ à notre projet, vous recevrez une illustration originale ayant servi à la réalisation du livre. Toutes les pièces sont uniques, sur papier aquarelle de qualité professionnelle, sans encadrement, et incluent beaucoup de collage parmis les techniques utilisées. Référez-vous à chaque pièce pour les dimensions. Lors de votre contribution sur indiegogo (en anglais), indiquez nous le titre que vous choisissez, sinon nous reviendrons vers vous.

  • 1. The boat – Le bâteau

Ar Maured o kuitaat Iberia / The Moors driven away from the Peninsula. Artwork for the concept album Inês (medieval love story between Pedro King of Portugal and Inês de Castro)

For song n°1 The triumph of King Alfonso. 30.5*23 cm approx 12*9 inches.

Pour le titre n°1 Le retour victorieux du Roi Alfonso. 30.5*9 cm.

  • 2. Water Spirit 1 / Sylphe 1 (already chosen / déjà choisie)

Water Spirit 1 full

For song n°5 Gwerz Inês, 32*24 cm approx 12.59*9.44 inches

Pour le titre n°5 Gwerz Inês, 32*24 cm.

 

 

  • 3. Water Spirit 2 / Sylphe 2

Water Spirit 2 full

For song n°5 Gwerz Inês, 32*24 cm approx 12.59*9.44 inches

Pour le titre n°5 Gwerz Inês, 32*24 cm.

 

 

  • 4. Water Spirit 3 / Sylphe 3

Water Spirit 3 face.JPG

For song n°5 Gwerz Inês, 25*18 cm approx 9.84*7.08 inches

Pour le titre n°5 Gwerz Inês, 25*18 cm.

  • 5. The swans / Les Cygnes

    Swans full

For song n°3 The Hunt, 32*24 cm approx 12.59*9.44 inches

Pour le titre n°3 La Chasse, 32*24 cm

 

 

  • 6. The Knight / Le Chevalier

    Knight full

For song n°4 Inês Trial 30.5*23 cm approx 12*9 inches.

Pour le titre n°4 Le Jugement d’Inês 30.5*9 cm.

 

 

to Indiegogo campaign now! 

 

For this reward we will also include / dans cette récompense il y a également :

+ Hand numbered copy of the Album/book freshly arrived from the factory / un exemplaire numéroté du libre/album à sa sortie

 1 cover artwork repro A5 size on 300g/m² light cardboard / une reproduction de la couverture en format A5 sur carton léger 300g/m2

+  4 Postcards set (artwork repros from Simone’s artwork used for album covers A6 size) / la série de 4 cartes postales des couvertures des albums d’Astrakan Project 

 Full album download ( It will come with the lyrics+translations in french and english on a nice PdF)  / le téléchargement de l’album (avec l’intégralité des traduction en anglais et français en format PdF)

Blog, Crowdfounding Inês

9 paintings for 9 songs


(this page relates to our crowdfunding campaign rening right now for our music and book project Inês. Please have first a look at the general campaign!) / (cette page concerne la campagne de financement participatif de notre projet de livre/album Inês. Merci de consulter d’abord la page en français du financement participatif pour y comprendre quelque chose!)

For this perk of 180€ you will be able to choose from 9 main compositions on canvas, size is 40*50 cm minimum (approx 15.74*19.68 inch), or bigger, corresponding to the 9 songs of the album, pictures will be posted as they are ready, though they still might be work in progress at the end of the campaign. (please keep in mind that all this is a creative process, what is planed can change, inspiration is someone you don’t control easily!). In any case, we’ll come back individually to each of you, and it will be possible to change your mind even after the campaign if you like one of the paintings best 🙂

  1. Alfonso return (opening song of the album, will feature the King, and a castle with a blue village, musicians)
  2. Inês and Pedro
    2 full 1
    Pedro & Inês – song n°2 An Emgav – on canvas 50*40

    2 full sag

  3. Inês dress (for the song “The hunt and the prophecy”, will feature Inês in monastery Santa Clara, before Pedro’s departure, with scenes from the prophecy on her dress) – this canvas is already reserved by someone!
  4. The Judgment (king and knights around the table with little couple couple of Pedro & Inês symbolically in the middle of the table)
  5. Gwerz Inês
    5 full 1.jpg
    Inês ha merch’ed Mondego – Inês and the water spirits – song n°5 Gwerz Inês – on canvas 50*40

    5 full sag

  6. Gwerz Pedro (most likely a tortured portrait of Pedro)
  7. The secret wedding (Pedro and Inês’ ghost above the knights meeting room and the scribe)
  8. The revenge (most likely some castles with a banquet scene. )
  9. The Coronation (will feature Inês on her throne, with scenes from the story around her, and Pedro’s hands coronating her)

Back to indiegogo campaign here

In any case, feel free to reach out for more info!

 

Back to indiegogo campaign here

 

 

Blog, Crowdfounding Inês

Canvasses from previous projects


(this page relates to our crowdfunding campaign rening right now for our music and book project Inês. Please have first a look at the general campaign!) / (cette page concerne la campagne de financement participatif de notre projet de livre/album Inês. Merci de consulter d’abord la page en français du financement participatif pour y comprendre quelque chose!)

For this reward you can choose from 3 portraits used for 3 albums/projects :

1 Hathor

She was the face of first Astrakan album in 2012, canvas on cardboard with plenty of collage elements and textures. 35*60 cm.

 

 

2 Thetis 

Painted for Within the Circle cover in Istanbul in 2013, 35*35 cm on canvas (about 13.77*13.77 inches). Mixed media with a lot of collage and acrylic paint. Thetis is greek Goddess/water spirit. It’s ready to hang and won’t need any extra framing (sides are also painted) – but you still can if you want 🙂

3 Innana

She was painted during sunny greek winter 2015 for a flemish song cover we did. Because of the song’s theme, babel tower is represented on the body of this mesopotamian Goddess. Size 30*40cm (about 11.81*15.74 inches), on canvas. She’s ready to hang and will need no extra framing as sides are painted.

 

This reward goes to a 350€ contribution on our Indiegogo campaign and will come with : 

+ album/book freshly arrived from the factory, hand numbered
+ your name in the book
+ full digital edition
+ 1 postcard on tour
+ A5 size Inês artwork repro on cardboard
+ 1 of 4 A6 postcards repros

Release expected time is beginning of August.

If you opt for this perk, scroll down on indiegogo until you find it, and pick up the title of the painting you wish for on the pop up window.

Blog, DIY Album, Musicians' Diary

9 months or 4 years? + album Inês big up-date


Dear all,

It has been considerable long time without any up-date from us. Probably because sometimes our progress is so slow that we even barely seem to notice any.

For B album, I remember we started on the 1st of January 2014 on the very first drafts (though we had some ideas of compositions already, or had been working on them for live performances). Anyway, on the 1st of October 2014 we collected the promo samples freshly pressed from the factory. In the meantime we had recorded all the tracks, developed new sounds, new arrangements, done concerts in France, Belgium, and set up our 2 first UK tours, also set up all the legal side, made the artwork for the booklet, edited countless teasers and music videos. That’s 9 months sharp full time into music.

For Project Inês album we must have got the idea around july 2014. Actually while working on the lyrics for Gwerz Inês. The story was so deep that we couldn’t choose a proper angle until we thought we would leave most of it for next album.

Mid 2015 we were already doing some progress on the lyrics/music, and had many ideas about the concept. Broad lines, but most of it was there. At the end of summer 2015 the finances we had asside had gone, and we had to come back to Brittany full time where Yann has been mostly working full time as a teacher. We’ve done the best use we could of holidays for gigs/tours until 2017.

Ar Maured o kuitaat Iberia / The Moors driven away from the Peninsula. Artwork for the concept album Inês (medieval love story between Pedro King of Portugal and Inês de Castro)
Ar Maured o kuitaat Iberia / The Moors driven away from the Peninsula.

We’ve had many ideas for Inês Project. Many. Many musical directions that didn’t work, mostly because we realised it wouldn’t be doable for the 2 of us to set up the ambitious sounds we had in mind at first.

So we did what we always do: one step at the time, we do what is doable. We do with the limited time/money/means we have. We make the most of it, and try to go around limitations, turn them into challenges. Most of the time.

At least we try. When we look back we realise that maybe, we also lost a lot of time by not being focused enough in what matters : creating music. Sometimes we get bitter, anxious, and only see the limitations. They are challenging limitations. Not travelling much is a major source of sadness for sure. Everytime you leave the music for something else, you need to get back into the mood. As quickly as possible! But there’s no other way than to do with what is, right?

Almost 4 years later… that’s starting to be painful, at a certain time, we need to switch to something else too. So, to give you an clear up-date at where we are at…

  • Lyrics are mostly all written, there might be a need for some changes as we go threw the vocals recording.
  • We have all of the tracks structures, sounds, ambiances with minor changes that will occur once vocals will be in place.
  • Most of instruments played by Yann are finalised (guitars, drums, ud and violin).
  • We have a clearer idea about the guests and what they’re doing on which track.
  • We have a clear frame for our crowdfunding campaign (we’ll be using Indiegogo), time frame, money goals, rewards, etc…
  • I have a structure for most of the artwork for every song.

What’s still to be done:

  • Record all the vocals.
  • Get our guests’ tracks to add to the mix.
  • Create most of the artwork – and there’s a lot to be created. Confession time: I need to have to music before I actually can paint. Probably that’s a limiting belief as well!
  • Edit all the graphics for the booklet with all the lyrics + notes.
  • Finalise the mix/master.
  • Translate all the lyrics in French/English.
  • Set up and launch the crowdfunding campaign. That’s a huge part! Includes a lot of promo, editing some videos too, printing some artwork for rewards too. And for that… we need the artwork !
  • All the legal side of the project – taxes – authorisations – etc…

Put that way, we can’ say there hasn’t been any progress ! Wish us luck and plenty of energy.

A galon / with heart,

– Simone.