Looking Back, Looking Forward

The recently released Eventide EP marks Subtle Inversion’s first new music in almost 10 years, although Gavin is quick to point out that the majority of the EP’s five tracks are not entirely new. Drawing mostly from haunting songs written throughout the 1990s, Eventide does offer up new recordings of this material – alongside one entirely fresh instrumental composition – with an emphasis on bringing consistency and focus to the project’s sound.

The material on its predecessor, 2010’s Kaleidoscope, was essentially split, with songs falling into one of two general categories: those with more traditional pop/rock instrumentation (“Undone” or the title track) and those that were mostly or purely electronic in nature (“Disconnect” and “Binary”). This was no accident, as trying to force songs in one category to sit neatly and effectively in the other proved to be a bit of an impasse during the arrangement stage.

“I wrote songs like Undone and Days to feature guitar and acoustic drums, and every time I tried to pull them into a more electronic vein, it felt like the heart or core of the song just disappeared.” Gavin explains. “The same goes for tracks like Binary and Want, but in reverse. Trying to add real drums and take out all the electronics felt less effective – like those songs didn’t work as well that way. It’s entirely possible that this was simply a case of my limited experience with recording and producing this type of music coming into play, but there definitely came a point where I gave up experimenting and decided to let each song be what it seemed to want to be, regardless of whether that was more electronic or more acoustic in nature.”

Perhaps a lot of why this genre-crossing didn’t prove to be as problematic for its audience as one might think has to do with the way in which vocaloid singers have been used in the past. A quick search of YouTube will reveal a library of recordings that range from the sugariest of pop to straight out metalcore. This did prove a bit problematic for Gavin, however, when it came to imagining a successor to Kaleidoscope, as it most likely would have meant leaning more heavily in one direction or the other.

“I did have one idea for a follow-up – and it’s something that may happen somewhere down the road – but it would have been exclusively electronic. The theme or story really demanded that, and I kept going back and forth about whether I wanted to take things in that direction in the long term. I have a lot of pop and rock material that I wanted to get out there, and where I first thought of doing that through my Project: Archives series, I honestly felt that a lot of the songs deserved a more traditional and official release.”

“That’s when the idea of bringing these unreleased songs under the umbrella of Subtle Inversion started to make an unexpected amount of sense. Instead of looking at the project as being a vocaloid feature first and foremost I began to think of it as more of an outlet for my writing in general, where I could use another singer like Luka or Avanna when, how, and where I wanted, but where the appeal of the entire thing wasn’t resting solely on that.” 

In the back-and-forth swing that creative decisions often take, Gavin originally recorded his own backing vocals for Eventide, but decided that calling on Avanna to handle that role was ultimately the best choice. “It kept one foot planted firmly on the soil from which this was all born, and I genuinely like having the sonic diversity. Who knows – you may even see Avanna or Luka taking on a lead again in the future.”

Eventide is currently available through Subtle Inversion’s Official Bandcamp page, and will also be available through the Telesmatic Entertainment Limited website as well as other media providers very soon.

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