Feb 222014

100 days ago, it was predicted, based on signs and portents, that today, Feb 22nd 2014 would be the long-foretold day of Ragnarok.  And while we haven’t heard any trumpets sound, cocks crow or hounds howl, it seems an appropriate day to share fresh progress toward our long-awaited Sundown…

First, a fun thing to share:

Sassafrass’s composer Ada Palmer has just started writing articles for Tor.com, and has written a special Ragnarok-themed article to celebrate the 22nd. Those familiar with our music will recognize many of its thoughts and themes:


Meanwhile, production on the CD and DVD is proceeding nicely.

Our video director is close to a final cut of the DVD footage, and expects the digital video to be finished in March. After that it will need to have menus, navigation and packaging design, but it is certainly on schedule for our projected June completion date. I have seen a few clips from the edited footage myself and they are very powerful, with the multiple cameras providing a great range of close-ups and full-stage shots.

Audio recording is also in high gear. Polishing and finalizing the tracks after we record them is a slow process, so we have not completed any polished tracks since Longer in Stories than Stone which we shared in October, but we have now recorded the vast majority of the audio, with only a few smaller sections left to record. For the present, we’re deep in the sound editing gruntwork, and working slowly and methodically to make sure the tracks come out sounding their best. The largest and most complicated piece, Sundown, is in the very final phase of post-production, just undergoing final sound balancing to make sure every lyric track is clear and crisp. Many of the other songs are much farther from completion, but I’ve recently gotten to hear the raw recordings for Gift of Life, Here’s to Valhalla and the new five-part version of Hearthfire, and I am frankly blown away by how much clearer and richer they sound than any of our past albums. In particular, our new techniques are letting the different simultaneous lyric lines be much clearer, so you can finally actually hear all the words in all the separate parts in the big five and six line pieces. The exponential increase in effort and cost for these recordings is 110% worth-it!

In addition to the main CD and DVD, work is also proceeding nicely on the songbooks, posters and a few other details that have not yet been announced, so we hope to have more exciting news in the next months. Meanwhile we hope you’ll sit back and enjoy this beautiful Ragnarok day. And keep your axe and helmet close at hand for the occasion, just in case a certain unusually-sized puppy comes out to play today…

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