New Album ‘Opus 1880’ on PledgeMusic

My third solo album is already happening!

It’s called ‘Opus 1880’ and it’s a double CD conceptual album – a dramatic sci-fi love story, expressed in more than 100 minutes of colourful progressive rock, based on the guitar style you’re already familiar with from my previous albums ‘9 Stories’ (2014) and ‘Aspects’ (2015), garnished with some classic old prog, acoustic ballads, modern metal riffs, and wide rande of interesting instruments. This time the album will also have tracks with vocals and few awesome guest appearances.

I made a video especially for you, where I explain everything in details, so make sure you visit this link and support my new album ‘Opus 1880’.

Alexandra Zerner’s “Aspects” (2015) – Behind the Scenes

Once upon a time, the solo musicians and the bands have been releasing a new album almost every year. These were good times, ages of nice and intelligent music for intelligent people, played for real. But those days are long gone now. Today, the darkness is creeping all over the Earth, sneaking up into the tiniest holes of every single media, troubling the good people and comforting the bad ones.
In thess times of terror, I stood for the sake of the good music, in the name of the ones, who built the Empire of the Guitar!
I released a second solo album just one year after my debut one!
And this album, I called “Aspects”!


My first album “9 Stories” was а conceptual one, although it may not sound like such, but anyway – all the pieces in there were inspired by books and movies, having something in common in their plots. If you have read/seen them, you will notice, that every single one of them describes the relationship (of any kind) between older, wiser man, and younger girl… I will leave the rest to your imagination.
Due to my passion to enigmatic works, symbolism, and occultism, also being a devoted progressive metal/rock listener and fan (besides being a player as well), it came naturally to put my efforts in composing a more conceptual album, or at least – more noticeable conceptual.

The first question I am receiving, everytime I speak about my second album is “What aspects?” Well, the answer couldn’t be short, because I need to put on the table certain terms, along with clarifications, so they could serve as a background for further explanations. So, basically, we’re talking about astrological aspects (detailed explanation here). I used this as a base, because the concept of the album is, again, relationships between people; in this particular case – me and other people. Everyone you meet falls in some basic category according to astrology, and this category (zodiac sign) forms a specific aspect with your own zodiac sign. This aspect produce an environment of the relationship, which can also be categorised to certain degree, so when summarising all of these experiences as objectively as possible, you could describe and even predict this environment, therefore the relationship itself. This is what I did, composing every one of these seven aspect-pieces – I did my best to paint in a musical form how I felt in all these personal environments, connected them all in a quasi-scientific order, and put them into the bigger picture.

When you’re listening to the album (the video below), at certain point you will notice repeating motifs, patterns and reprises – these were made, considering the specifics of the already mentioned relationship environments, that came up to be similar between the different aspects, and the zodiac signs Elements as well (more on the topic here). You will also see, that the pieces are 9, but I mentioned only 7 aspects – I used two more basic astrological events for an intro and outro track of the album, as they still have their important roles in the whole piece – the Ascendant is considered to indicate the direction of the individual’s path in life and the soul’s intention, while the Descendant indicates our perception of others, notably in our intimate relationships, thus these both, put that way in the whole picture, form this specific journey from “me” to “you/us”.

Being a some sort of esoteric and occult geek, I decided to present this work of mine in the style of the medieval mysticism, so I used the old latin names of the aspects, put some alchemy symbols in there, and used a big amount of symbolism in the main drawing, which I scratched with a pen on a piece of paper, then I gave it to Sofia Zasheva (check her other works here), who did miracles and created great artwork. In this matter, she also did the artwork for my first album – “9 Stories” (both albums can be purchased here).

In a purely musical sense, this album is more prog, more metal, and maybe a bit darker than “9 Stories”, and this time not every instrument part was recorded by me – the bass parts were played by Simon Slavcheff, who is (besides being a great bass player) and my sound engineering mentor – he helped me a lot with the mastering of the album. There is also a guest musician appearance from the Land of the Rising Sun – Japan, where the amazing Keiko Kumagai does her keyboard sorcery with her well known japanese progressive rock band Ars Nova. Keiko was so kind to accept my invitation to contribute to my album and she did a great keyboard solo on my track Quadratum.

Speaking of the technical side, this time I used 8-string guitar for the whole album – my Jackson JS32-8Q, which I customised by replacing the bridge humbucker with Seymour Duncan Pegasus, put a Kahler 2218 stud mount tremolo on the guitar, also now it has my custom, designed by me, Moon Phase Inlays, special thanks to Univox Guitars Bulgaria. I recorded all the electric guitar parts with this guitar, plugged into my tube preamp from Engl Amps – the E530 (with a Boss GT-8 plugged into the FX loop), and then the preamp goes directly into the sound device, without an amp. I used D’addario EXL120-8 strings and Jim Dunlop Jazz III 2.0 guitar picks. Almost all of the gear, I use, I got it with the great help of Nikki Savov from MusicWorld.bg.

Well, I hope I enlightened you good enough about my ways and reasons to do my album this way, so the rest is up to your ears and brains. Enjoy and buy it if you like it!

Memoirs of a Geisha – Guitar Playthrough Video

A lot of people told me, that “Memoirs of a Geisha” is their favourite track from my debut solo album “9 Stories”, so I decided to do a playthrough video of it. Recently, a friend of mine gave me a beautiful chinese black dress with dragons on it, and when I saw it, I thought that this dress would fit perfectly to the concept of the video of “Memoirs of a Geisha”. So I put it on, put some delicate makeup and started shooting… I hope you will like the result.

Enjoy, subscribe and share! 🙂

P.S. In my “WeeklyckZ” videos, I did several tutorials about licks, taken from this track, so if you’re interested, check them below the video.


 

 

WeeklyckZ #30

This is a tapping lick from my composition “Memoirs Of A Geisha” – the exact lick is at 2:52.
Enjoy, subscribe and share! 🙂

WeeklyckZ #25

Here’s another lick, taken from my debut album’s track, in this particular case – “For Esmé – With Love And Squalor”. In this video I am showing a 7-string minor arpeggio, played in 5/4 time signature on 16th notes, using hybrid picking technique. Keep in mind, that the guitar in the track is tuned whole step down.

Enjoy, subscribe and share! 🙂

Brothers (Yngwie Malmsteen) – cover by Alexandra Zerner

I didn’t do any covers recently, because I’ve got a lot of work, also I am writing material for my second album, but this track by Yngwie Malmsteen (one of my favourite guitar players) doesn’t stop rushing in my mind since this masterpiece “The Seventh Sign” was released back in 1994. These were still tough years here, in Bulgaria, because the country was freshly freed from the communistic regime, and the only way to learn playing something, was rewinding the casette over and over again, until you get to hear the exact phrase. You can be sure it is very hard task to do, especially when it comes to such guitar heroes like Yngwie. Nevertheless, I finally made up my mind to sit down and learn this piece good enough, so I would be able to make a good cover of it. I recorded my own, a little bit rearranged backing track, partly (but not only) because the key is Am, but Yngwie tunes his guitar half step down, so it actually sounds in G#m… However, I don’t like transposing music to a key, different than the original, because it kills the music in some degree, also me, being a synesthete, changing the key changes the colours, that I am “hearing”, hence it feels uncomfortable. And because my guitar is in standart tuning, I had to play it in G#m, as you will see in the video below.
Another interesting thing is, that this is also the first track, that I am recording with my upgraded 8-string Jackson JS32-8Q – I put a Seymour Duncan Pegasus and a Kahler 2218 Stud Mount tremolo on it. I used and my brand new tube preamp ENGL E530, with my Boss GT-8, plugged in the FX loop of the unit. Keep in mind, that the preamp is plugged directly into the sound device, no cabinets or simulations. I am writing this, because there are no demos for this preamp, plugged direcly like that, so most of the people, who are interested in getting this unit, can’t decide whether they like it or not. Well, enough talking! Here’s the video, so enjoy, subscribe and share all around! 🙂

WeeklyckZ #17

Here’s another lick from a track from my debut solo album “9 Stories”, which is a 7th chord arpeggio lick, taken from “Léon”, so enjoy, subscribe and share!

WeeklyckZ #14

This week I decided to show you a little part from my track “Memoirs Of A Geisha” (you can get the whole album by clicking here), which is a double harmonic minor lick in F#m. I plan to make and other lick videos, featuring solos from my album, so subscribe to my channel and feel free to share! 🙂