Sunday, December 1, 2013

Minimalism rocks : The Maschinenmensch

After over two months of silence, it is really about time for something new from Willma Poppen. The long pause has been caused by internal turmoil in the house of alionmind and by the fact that I used most of my creative energy to finish the, long overdue, alionsonny album "Continuity".

Style / Sound
I believe that with "Machine Man" once again I gave the Willma Poppen project a little more "seriousness". After some veteran Willma Poppen listeners already complained, that "Strangers to Ourselves" was be too gloomy and "overly sophisticated", also "Maschinenmensch" is not just another happy, funny and fluffy pop song. I actually announced very early - since the release of "Heroes of the Popp-Culture" -  that I want to lead the Willma Poppen sound at least partly in a more serious and progressive direction. Let's be honest: Always only major chord progressions with cheerful and funny melodies? This would be but very boring in the long run and a after the second album of this type also the toughest Popper would absolutely bored by the sound. So it will be now and then something more serious and that's also nice ;)

The idea
The reason why this track is a bit unusual for Willma Poppen is, that I applied a quite different strategy this time. The original approach for this song was rather minimalism than complexity. You could easily hear it: Since Willma "grew up" (the end of the community project), the tracks became more and more playful and complex. And that happened to such an extent that not just a few listeners complained already about too much "fiddling". Well, always 4-on-the-floor beat, gated supersaws with funny simple arpeggios is very boring in the long run. But with "Maschinenmensch" I had, at least initially, a very simple idea and didn't want to create unnecessary complexity. The fact that I broke out of that minimalistic approach at least regarding to the effects... well, the leopard can't change its spots.. However, I could preserve a lot of minimalism by using just one synthesizer for everything but the drums. "Maschinenmensch" was all the way completed in record time in its current version. In only two studio sessions - both of considerable length - all was soldered together .

This is now the ninth title of traditionally 13 for "Willma in Wunderland". Slowly we come closer to a new album. One thing is clear: This album is a pretty colorful piñata. From almost grotesque "Über-Popp " aka " Funfair Techno" to almost commercial titles such as "Strangers to Ourselves" to the minimalism of "Maschinenmensch": All included. For the next track of Willma Poppen I promise that it will be funny and happy again... or not ;) . So, and now have fun with "Maschinenmensch"!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Strangers to Ourselves feat. Donnie Ozone - Willma grows up?

Willma grows up?
No idea if this is true. At least that was what an early listener of "Stranger to Ourselves" said about the track. The song was in fact already showcased the day before yesterday evening on Soundcloud and Facebook. Unfortunately, that listener could not explain in detail why Willma, in his opinion, grows up. I guess that he simply liked the song more than the previous releases. And "Strangers to Ourselves" actually differs in some aspects from all previous releases.

It is the first time that a human voice can be heard more than just fractions of a second in a Willma Poppen production. It has frequently been suggested by listeners to publish Willma Poppen productions with vocals, or at least spoken word. And several times, especially during the phase of community project, we tried it a few times. However, the attempts were regularly discarded during the early development state. And I personally didn't see any reason so far to produce music with vocals for any of my projects, partly for the following reasons:
  1. There is really enough music with vocals available. I know some of the listeners Willma Poppen project, who seem to be allergic against any form of vocal performance in music. They are happy about each and every instrumental piece. I also do not like to listen to music with vocals on some days . Especially when, for example, blogging . ;)
  2. I understand the aversion, mentioned in 1. pretty much, if I hear the often unbearable whining or intercourse noise, called singing these days, which finds particular application in electronic dance music. And let's not talk about the lyrics. Let's put it that way: The topic is very limited and not particularly demanding. This is nothing that I want to produce!
  3. Oh yes, there is also electronic dance music with quite sophisticated lyrics. But now listen to the previous Willma Poppen productions and think about whether lyrics with a deeper meaning would fit to it. I imagine just how someone sings, for example, socially critical lyrics, to, for example, the sound of "Heroes of the Popp-Culture". Inconceivable! And what kind of lyrics would fit the colorful and happy sound of the previous productions? Correct -> see 2. ;)
  4. Of cause there were singers who wanted to do collaborations. However, they mostly showed the sonic and lyrical preferences, described under 3. So a collaboration did never come to pass. At others the quality of the vocal performances was in no way suitable for a wider audience than the one that fits into a phone booth. Just as an example: A sound recording of a painful whining, most probably recorded using a cell phone, with "lyrics" constantly repeating "baby i want your uh uh!", does not motivate me to produce a piece of music with the performer.
This time, as I said, actually there is a human voice, namely by Donnie Ozone, present in the new song. It is "only" spoken words, but these have a deeper meaning.

Until recently, the use of minor chords and gloomy sound elements was largely prevented by the well known happy party image of the Willma Poppen project. Yes, "Strangers to Ourselves" is in some places ;) cheerful and lively too, but a lot "deeper" than the previous releases. Of cause it is "danceable". If I WOULD call "Strangers to Ourselves" a Psytrance track (where I personally locate it), I could be sure to turn all fans of this genre hostile against me... oops...

Single Release
This is the first Willma Poppen track, which will be released on iTunes , Amazon, eMusic , Routenote as a MP3 single upfront to the album release. The track will of course also be released on the upcoming album "Willma in Wunderland" in a revised version . The "insiders" are now wondering whether I have broken with my practice of "pre-release" and "final release" . Yes, exceptionally. However, I 've spent enough time, producing the track, to start this experiment. Yepp, it's an experiment :)

The History
As I already mentioned on Facebook, there is a little story behind the making of "Strangers to Ourselves": I recently became an avid fan of the BBC TV series "Doctor Who". No, I still have no TV. It is also available on DVD. And during that time I enjoyed listening to Psytrance while working on 3D projects. When I worked on new ideas for my music projects again, both things were somehow mutually influencing my work: I got the idea to produce something like Psytrance in my very personal style... as always. As "subject" of the song I had chosen the series "Doctor Who". So I wanted a track that was stylistically inspired by psytrance and I wanted it to be somehow "Doctor Who themed". I succeeded, in my opinion, quite well. I almost had arranged everything and wanted to start doing the detail work, when I noticed that "there's something missing". What was it? I just didn't get it! So i stopped working at the track for a few days. Then I listened to the track again. And BOOM! There it was! "Usually, vocals would be kicking in here...". A bold idea... indeed ;). So I went to CCMixter, a site which had already provided me with vocal material for the one or the other experiment of my other projects. A search for "acapella dance" gave gruelsome result of the kind mentioned above. I was about to abandon my plan and tried a search for "acapella" without "dance". The result: Tons of Rap! When I was about to completely give up, I found "Donnie Ozone - Strangers to Ourselves". It was a professionally recorded spoken word sample, not long, but the spoken text hit me like a bolt of lightning. IF something would fit a "Doctor Who themed" track, then this spoken text. Who is Doctor Who(phun intended)? A superhuman being, virtually immortal. If he dies, he simply regenerates a new body. AND despite his superhuman nature, he learns about who he really is only during his travels and adventures. If you now listen to the lyrics of "Strangers to Ourselves"... fits excellent. The sample was under the Creative Commons license "Attribution" and not "Non-Commercial", so it is enough that I specifically mention the author and then it  is allowed to use it even for commercial productions. Perfect !

Did I forget anything? For sure! But now you look at this monster of text... Oh, yes you have just read it ;). Yes, this song means a lot to me personally. I think it's just great. Is that bad? Ok, now that's enough. MUSIC!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Come with me to the Heavens Meadow!

WHAT? Hey, don't worry, I'm still not completely insane... well ... hmm, supposedly the madman recognizes his insanity as the last ;). The avid AlionLive viewers will most likely know the secret behind the unusual title of this work already. For those who have, however, missed part 3 of the bike ride to Mölln and Ratzeburg, I can easily explain it all. On that bike trip I spent the first night at the Ratzeburg Lake, at a place which, for whatever reason, is called Himmelswiese (heavens meadow). As you can see in the video, the evening atmosphere in this place was truly heavenly. And while I sat there and enjoyed the red and purple sunset over the lake with a tasty beer, I had the first ideas for this musical work . So easy ....

Even though I have been warned that the productions for the Willma Poppen project are becoming more and more "weird", and that I risk to lose the "primordial" Willma Poppen audience completely, I do not really believe that. Well, it is completely clear to me, that some of those, who understood the original project approach as eternal and the only true Willma Poppen sound, now say goodbye. But you all hopefully know what I think of restrictions to my creative freedom. And the Reggae fans of the alionsonny project can sing a loud song about how I react to attempts to confine me in genre boundaries. Correct: With MORE crazy experiments :) . So "Himmelswiese", is by far not the weirdest experiment of Willma, but quite close. I have even more played around with a little bit unusual chord progressions and used my rudimentary knowledge in music theory. WHAAAT? You do not know that I cannot even read and write music notes (and I do not want too)? Well, that's the way it goes.. :D.

So we now have 7 of the traditional 13 tracks for album ready! And this means that we have over 50% of the tracks finnished and the next one is already almost done. It is the long-awaited colaboration with Donnie Ozone. This track means a lot to me personally and, therefore, I invested and still invest a gigantic time quota into it. When you get to hear it during the next days, you'll know why. "Strangers to ourselves" , as it is titled, will be the first somg published on alionmind records, which will be released as a single, upfront to the album release to buy. This means: You do not have to wait for the album release to buy it. This is a little "experiment" . I love experiments! :D

So, before the Internet bursts to pieces because of all the text, here is "Himmelswiese":

Monday, July 8, 2013

Funfair Techno? Here you go! New song!

Recently I was promoting one of the current Willma Poppen works in an unspecified forum again. One of the comments gave me a hearty fit of laughter. The comment was: "Thanks a lot! Now I can't get the funfair Techno out of my head again!". Funfair Techno? I did not encounter that term yet. Instantly in my mind's eye pictures popped up from my youth, when we were hanging around at funfairs. He probably thought about that music, which boomed into the ears, while a fast ride turned the stomach upside down. This music, which is more or less simple fun and is constantly interrupted by announcements of employees of the ride such as "aaand .... now we go backwards!". A Google search on "funfair techno" (German: Kirmestechno), contrary to my expectations, provided quite a lot of hits, including Youtube videos. So I watched them and what did this tell me about funfair Techno? The spectrum ranged from a simple but very catchy cover version of the title "Sounds like a melody" by Alphaville from 1984 to the music of a guy called David Guetta. This David Guetta, of whom I hear from time to time, he would be something like the current God of Techno music, produces (according to the subjective opinion of some) also funfair Techno. By the way I do not get the  hype about Mr. Guetta. Nothing about what he produces is kinda special ... of course only according to my subjective opinion ;) What is the result of my research concerning funfair Techno? This is not so easy to describe. First I would see this term as a synonym for Popp-Techno. The point of the so-called funfair Techno is fun. This kind of music is created to have fun. The artistic approach and ambitions are more or less set aside. Supersaws, Hooversounds, everything sent through Gaters, are core components of funfair Techno. Simple melodies and arpeggios should also not be missed.

Does the above read like a 200 percent description of the Willma Poppen sound? Yeah, it does! I admit to have always been a lover of funfair Techno. I loved the music at funfairs and for parties on the beach there is just simply nothing hotter than gated Supersaws, 4-on-the-floor beat and the Wooop-Woop-bass on the breaks between the kicks. Staccatto snare buildups should also not be missing of course. Funfair techno was sort of the idea behind the original Willma Poppen sound. And so it is no surprise that I did not, as obviously expected by the critic, react negatively, but congratulated him on his brilliant grasp. It's always nice when others try to annoy you and it nicely... fails :). And it's even better when something like this actually also provides a new idea and inspiration.

Last Thursday evening a girlfriend of mine (polygamy rulez!) visited me and I was at work. And even though she has no intention of ever going to produce music herself, she wanted to know this evening, how I produce a song Willma Poppen track. She is, incidentally, an ardent fan Willma Poppen. After some "Ooooh please!" I said ok and showed her how to tinker a simple four-on-the-floor beat, how to use the bass, etc. The most important thing here was created as a by-product. It was a gigantic supersaw synth sound with a matching gater pattern. And since not much time passed since the funfair Techno comment, there was just one thought blazing through my head: FUNFAIR TECHNO! If there was a thing in the universe one can call the essence of funfair Techno in just one sound, it was precisely that supersaw and after I had created an appropriate chord progression, the decision was made: Now THIS is the definition of funfair Techno! My mission was clear: This song will make it clear once and for all times what the term funfair Techno stands for. And so the present song which is aptly named "Karussell" was produced for the upcomming album "Willma im Wunderland" (only 7 songs to complete). I hope Stefan, that's the name of the forum commentator, heard this song AND reads this blog entry. Can you see Stefan, how things go sometimes? Some things are better left unsaid, otherwise weird things happen ;) But now, after SO many words, have fun at the fairground with "Karussell"! AAATENTION, WE ARE GOING FORWARD AGAIN! ;)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stretching the limits with "RaumZeit". New song!

I'm getting easily further with the production of the songs for the second Willma Poppen album. I'm not quite sure if I get the remaining 8 songs done until my birthday on July 19th, but the album will most probably still be released in 2013. I do not exclusively produce sound material for this project, but also for Cimelium and alionsonny project.

The title of this blog entry fits quite well. The new song "RaumZeit" is actually stretching the limits. Ok, this is actually the case since at latest the second half of "Heroes of the Popp-Culture". Since I have taken over the project completely (at the latest), I try with each new song release, to test new boundaries, to set new benchmarks for the structure of the Willma Poppen sound. With "RaumZeit", I have, in my opinion, "pushed the pedal to the metal". I have learned some new tricks and a few cherished (now partly also hated) habits have been thrown overboard.

With "RaumZeit", which title is not coincidentally similar to the previous track "RaumReise" I "married" some proven concepts of the early days of the Willma Poppen project with the new, experimental style. "RaumZeit" is Willma Poppen's final goodbye to the concept of being just another pleasing pop act, and a fearless plunge into incomparability. From now applies: Nothing sounds like Willma Poppen and Willma Poppen sounds like no one else. It's not about complacency. Here is 100% individuality and originality. Willma Poppen is thus, contrary to the original idea, on the warpath with customs and the mainstream. But things are still danceable and funny and of course insane. Well, and after so much pathos and promise, here is the new song. Fasten your seatbelts, as we go on a pretty turbulent journey.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

We have a Willma Poppen Homepage again!

Well, actually there has been one all the time. But those who visited it maybe recognized the following two facts: First, the site has not been updated for ages and second, maybe your virus scanner gave an alert that there was "something fishy" on the site. Yes, some "smart asses" managed it to somehow manipulate the site via a little vulnerability in the sites code which runs all alionmind sites, aka alionCMS. A code update to fix that vulnerability was long scheduled for a general code update and "unifying" of the alionCMS. This update has happened right now, and so we have a secure Willma Poppen Homepage again.

And here it is, under the old well known address: The new Willma Poppen Homepage!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Song "RaumReise"!

With this fourth song on the album "Willma in Wonderland," the songs for a third of the album are finished. There is still a lot to do, but since I already have quite a few more titles in various stages of completion, I see it all calmly. The newest song is a consistent pursue on the path that I had in mind for the Willma Poppen project after the release of "Heroes of the Popp-Culture": From simple, pleasing Pop(p)-Techno to a kind of "Progressive-Popp-Techno. More experiments and above all fun!

"RaumReise" is in many ways a little different from the previous releases: It is much faster than most previous songs. This is, why this track has not the traditional five minutes play time. For a song like this 3 minutes 48 seconds are absolutely sufficient. The drums are quite spartanic with only a bass drum and a snare sample. The bass is booming throughout the whole track on a single note. This is neither caused by laziness nor lack of ideas, but simply by the fact that I found it quite adequate. Always something new! And new does not always mean "more". This song is an experiment in the direction of minimalism. And if you're thinking, the whole thing has been easy to produce because of that, you're wrong: The restriction of means of expression that I had jokingly imposed upon me for that title brought with it some creative hurdles. One thing is clear: I will research further in that field ;). Oh yes: For the professionals or ear-trained other folks with sequencer knowledge which may hear that some arpeggiators seem mistimed I have to say that I set the arpeggiators with intent "off-beat" to obtain an "organic flow". In addition, the one or the other funny rhythmic effect materializes out of that ;)

Ok, now you should have all the necessary and unnecessary information. Have fun with "RaumReise"!

Friday, March 29, 2013

"Willma im Wunderland" - New song & more...

I proudly present: A monster! A cute monster, but still a monster. Actually this was meant to become a track for the album "Madeira" by the "Cimelium" project, but after a time a majestic, calm and folk-ish typical Cimelium production morphed into that cute buttshaking... "thing". First I planned to release it still as a Cimelium track for "Curral das Freiras" (a little village in Madeira), but then yesterday a good friend visited me and told me about the consequencies this would possibly provoke. I had pictures of the folks from "Curral das Freiras" in my head suddenly where they chase me equipped with pitchforks and torches to take revenge for that song ;). Such thoughts finally convinced me, that it would not a great idea.

And at all: The "thing" contained meanwhile typical elements of the Willma Poppen sound and so a transformation was just the right way to go. I exchanged the rather soft kick drums for some "inna di face" kicks, the snare and some other sounds got sharpened to deadly razor blades and the typical "Cimelium" ethereal mud was cleaned up. Viola! We have a new Willma Poppen track!

Now the "thing" sounded THAT weird, that it was anything but easy to find a name for the monster baby. First I actually really thought to call it "thing" or so. But then there were those flutes, which reminded me all the time of gnomes, elven... you know all that little stuff ;) on my mind. Somehow then I stumbled across that errie looking drawing on the Web, which was inspired by "Alice in Wonderland". You see the drawing embedded above. Somehow I thought, that this would be a great cover art for the second Willma Poppen album. You know: Willma loves it weird and grotesque! Out of a small idea became a big one: "Willma im Wunderland" (Willma in Wonderland), a great title for the new track and ALSO for the second Willma Poppen album. The picture will become the cover art and all tracks on the album get German names. Why? Because it is funny :)

Ok, and that is REALLY enough text. Have fun with the new hit of the Willma Poppen project:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Willma's hymn for Madeira!

If you followed my news on Facebook during the past days, you know that I am working at this track since quite a time. After the alionsonny project released a Reggae track, titled Madeira quite a time ago, it was just a matter of time until the Willma Poppen project releases a song for Madeira too. This has now happened.

The track consequently follows it's (by me) destined path of evolution from Popp techno to what I call "Progressive Popp Techno". If you thought "Yeah, this year starts well", when listening to "Apocalypso", you will find this to be confirmed by the new track. It is so far the most complicated/complex track by Willma Poppen, what answers the question why in the end it took so long to finnish the track. So you will hear that this track is very rich in variety. This is, because while working at the track, I had many images and situations from Madeira on my mind and wanted to tell the story about them using this sonf.

So be prepared for a very interesting musical trip with Willma Poppen to the most beautiful island in the world:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

...and the winners are...

I proudly present the winners of a free download of the album "Heroes of the Popp-Culture". At the end some more people signed up and so it was a real draw. Let's make it short. The winners who took part via Facebook are:
  • Dachdecker Hansa
  • Jojo Wolter
  • Rene Hartmann
You will get a Facebook message containing the download link today.
The winners who took part via mail are:
  • Jan T.
  • Frank Walter
You will get your download link via mail today.
Please make sure you download your album soon, because my webspace isn't unlimited and I like to keep things in order ;)

Monday, January 21, 2013

We popp on!

Ok, that somewhat failed completely. What? Well, the sweepstakes where you were/are able to win one of free downloads of the album "Heroes of the Popp-Culture"... which should normally have ended yesterday with the announcement of the winners. So, what went wrong? For all your sleepyheads, who do not read my latest news on Facebook, Twitter, the Blogs etc., here's a summary: 2 weeks ago a otherwise great event, namely a massive hardware donation, turned into a kind of a desaster. After the installation of a new SSD and 8 GB additional RAM, my former system disk was no longer recognized by the system. The following repair and data recovery sessions kept me from getting ANYTHING done... amongst those things was the promotion for the Willma Poppen sweepstakes. And EXACTLY this is the problem now: Due to my unwanted abstinence from working, too few people got to know about that mega event. And currently there is such a little number of participants, that it doesn't make sense to draw the winners now. So I decided to delay the end of the sweepstakes to the 30th of January, to give more people a chance to participate. So, if you did not sign up yet, you still have 2 ways to win:

1.Like the Facebook page of Willma Poppen.
2.Wrtite a comment, which song you like most from the album.
3. Participate in this Facebook Event.

Write a mail with the subject "We popp on!" to and write in the mail, which song of the album you like most.

WHAT? You still have not pre-listened the album? Then simply do it on Soundcloud.

The album is also on Spotify. So you can stream it there too.

And now good luck to all once again!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Now we are poppin'! Willma Poppen gives away 5 free downloads of the album "Heroes of the Popp-Culture"!

Sorry, the year started somewhat lazy, and some of you asked, when it would be possible to win a copy of the album after I announced that while doing the Cimelium album sweepstakes. Now is the time! If you took part in the Cimelium sweepstakes, you'll know how it works. But because many of the Willma Poppen fans cannot stand Cimelium, I better describe it once more.

Ok: Five persons have the chance to win a free download of the first album by the Willma Poppen project, "Heroes of the Popp-Culture". You are on Facebook? Then everything is really simple: Just "like" the official Willma Poppen fanpage on Facebook, write at the Willma Poppen wall, which song you like most on the album and you are on your way. Alternatively you can just participate in this Facebook Event. A like of the fanpage  would still be extremely nice.

You have no Facebook? I don't ask why. Are THEY after you? ;) Jokes aside: Just write a mail to with the subject "sweepstakes" and in the mail please write which song of the album you like most. That's it!

You didn't have the chance to pre-listen the album in full? One possibility is Spotify (better sound quality than on Soundcloud). I actually wanted to embed a Spotify player here, but it didn't work in Firefox. So just click this link.

But of cause you can still also listen to it on Soundcloud (ATTENTION: Bad sound quality because of the crappy Soundcloud encoding):

The winners will be drawn and notified on January 20th 2013. Much luck to all participants!