Sunday, September 29, 2013

...and another free album: "The Alion Archives"!

I know that soon the "Don't give everything away for free"-folks will show up and tell me, that I am too generous ;). But in my opinion the recordings in this package are not suitable for a commercial release. And before the stuff rotts on the hard drive, while not just a few people ask where you can download the old stuff, I prefer to give it away for free. It may be of interest for the "make money from everything"-folks to know, that there were listeners who, when I released the other two free albums, advised me not to do it, as the quality of the old crackers would be bad advertising. You see, so everyone has their own opinion on what is sellable and what is not.

So, after I already made "Excursions in Time & Space" a free album and put the commercial (in my opinion) not usable tracks of the (no longer available) albums "This is not really Reggae" and "Early Experiments in Dub" on the free album "Free", I now compiled another 13 old tracks for another free album, titled "The Alion Archives". And this time, you get some, as some would say, legendary pieces of alionsonny history. This blog is really long because I want to tell you a little something about each featured song. After the big break with my "everything free, donate what you want"-strategy in 2009 and the decline of some things disappeared completely from the Web, not just a few people would be happy to get their hands on again. Well, clever ones, who downloaded the whole stuff when it was still online. And so requests for certain songs didn't stop coming in. And every time I asked myself, how I would get this sorted. For a few songs the decision was simple: I did not have the original sources and the existing MP3 file was encoded in less than 192 kbps, which made a commercial release on the usual sales portals impossible. In other cases  certain plugins for my audio software did no longer work, resulting in that a revamp would have been very complicated. The rest of the songs, from my point of view, would have required a major revamp, which I do not think is advisable because of costs and benefits. And that is good for you because now you get, just before the release of the new commercial album "Continuity", a little gift again. Following, I would like to tell you more or less about each song :

01. Fiesta (first published March 18. 2006 )
This is my first and only version of the famous "Lalabella"- or "Ghetto People" riddim . This Riddim is my favorite riddim, right after the "Ali Baba" riddim. The version on this album was actually scheduled for one of the infamous "Dubwars" on However, this did never happen due to the decline of this community. Really a pitty. I would certainly have won again ;).

02. Midnight Summer Dream Dub (first published January 20. 2006)
This is a reggae cover version of my favorite song of the rock band "The Stranglers". It was produced during just one night. The idea was actually to transform ANY song by ANY rock band into a dub reggae version. And since I had the melody of "Midnight Summer Dream" in my head since a New Year's party anyway still, it was clear which song it would be.

03. Language of My Reality feat. Colin Mutchler (first published March 18. 2006 )
Actually, I was just looking for drum samples ... yes , at that time my collection of free samples was not really large. And so one day I was once again on the hunt. An online friend recommended me CCMixter. Why that? Because after some browsing , I noticed that I was at the completely wrong place for collecting drum samples. I was looking for one-shot drum samples, but here I found mostly more or less complete tracks and acapellas for remixing. This was a community for remixers. But while I was there, I looked at what I could find. From the beginning I found the Acapellas very interesting. The possibilities to do voice recordings inside my flat were even more unsuitable than today and I found it a good idea to use something like vocals, at least a rap as an element of a new song. And so I stumbled across the Acapellas by Colin Mutchler, which were superb in both, recording quality and the very appealing topics. After a first contact I have also noted that Colin is a really nice person. Once more a " Dubwar" was on it's way, and the chosen riddim was the Skylarking Riddim. So I created a suitable version of that riddim and Colin's Acapella fit  excellent. I don't know whether the aforementioned "Dubwar" ever took place, and if so, what position the song reached... well, who cares? ;).

04. Ali Baba's Psychedelic Breakfast (first published: December 31. 2005 )
A long, long time ago on a long gone website ( with a unique community consisting of more or less crazy Reggae musicians, dubbers and reggae lovers, there was a beautiful tradition: Since the assembled musicians had a certain tendency to verbally go for eachothers throat the ritual of the so-called "Dubwars" came to life. A well-known Riddim was chosen and until a set date all participants could produce versions of  that riddim and showcase it on Then the winner was determined in a democratic vote. At my suggestion my favorite riddim, the Ali Baba Riddim, was selected for the Dubwar at the end of 2005. And it would have been a shame for me if my version would not have won. And I won, despite the fact that I could produce the version on New Years Eve 2005 just shortly before the deadline, due to a severe flu.

05. Alion Smoke Signal (first published:  July 14. 2006)
There is actually no particular story behind this. I found the original "Baffling Smoke Signal" by Lee Scratch Perry always funny and I had the idea to craft an instrumental cover version of it for quite a long time already . The choice of ​​an accordion as main instrument had to do with my, at the time, very strong tendency to anger the reggae purists. ;) And so it was done .

06. Heart Attack (first published: July 09.2006 )
As for the 5th title there is only to say that I always liked the original "My heart is gone" by John Holt and because of this wanted to release an instrumental version. Said and done ...

07. Dinner Time for the Cats (first published: May 31. 2007)
Mid 2007, the open verbal war between me and those who wanted "their reggae" free from any alien influence was at the absolute peak. This was due also to the fact of the decay of the community, the process of the creation of the alternative plattform and my choice of side. This created some well-deserved hostilities against me. Skilled by the previous Dubwars, and learning the versioning of classic riddims, I directly strove for provocation with the release of "Dinner Time for the Cats". Daring to version the classic Sleng Teng riddim in my own (perceived by the purists as blasphemy) style was actually reason enough for an outrage. However, it was a much greater provocation to do that version using the melody of a well-known children's song. The response was accordingly: FYAH ! ;)

08. Babylon DC feat. Ital Roots Players (first published: May 16. 2006)
The Ital Roots Players and me, during times of and, were connected via a kind of "love-hate" relationship. At least the two Ital Roots Players, as well as I did, enjoyed excessive flame wars in the forums. How surprising it must have been for the "bystanders", who always perceived our flame wars as some kind of a total war, that I accepted the offer of the Ital Roots Players to use their Acapella "Babylon DC" in a song. Countless versions using this Acapella were published back then. However, mine was most likely the one which most surprised the audience.

09. Everyday Choices feat. Colin Mutchler (first published: May 15. 2006)
After the unexpected success of "Language of My Reality ", it was no question that I would produce another song with an acapella by Colin. This time I decided to use a genuine own riddim creation instead of a version of a classic riddim.

10. A Banquet At Elvenwood Castle (first published : 18.08.2005 )
Some Versionists really loved my first songs in which I joined a "Dungeons & Dragons" theme with reggae-ish music very much, such as "The Knights of Dubwood Castle" from the album "Xperimental Reggae WorX". The idea behind this, very early, production was to make it more suitable for a movie soundtrack. Whether this was successful, everyone should judge for him/herself ;) .

11. On the Rocks feat. Scott Durfinger (first published : March 11. 2005)
At the height of my experimental phase I encountered a young rock guitarist who presented quite high quality recordings of his art in the forum of SoundClick (not to be confused with SoundCloud ...did not even exist back then). I asked him, if I could use one of his solo recordings for remixing just for fun. He agreed and now I could try to mix rock guitar with reggae. If I succeeded doing this? Well ... judge for yourself

12. Astral Travel (first published:  July 11. 2010)
There is not much to say about this: I was in search for public domain video material on and stumbled across a spoken meditation instruction. I had just finished an instrumental track... and something was missing. A little bit of work and this is the result.

13. Everyday Choices feat. Colin Mutchler - Alternate Version (Previously unreleased)
This is an alternative version of "Everyday Choices". I can not say anything specific about the origin. The thing was somehow always somewhere on the hard drive and was always ignored until a girlfriend found it and said that this version is better than the other one. Hmm, I do not even think that this is a final version. But, hey, it's free ;).

Ok, I hope I did not forget anything. And finally: You can download the album from my website, FOLLOWING THIS LINK. There simply click on "FREE DOWNLOAD". The album is available in RAR format. Actually, everyone should know how to unzip something, for example using the free software 7-Zip. ENJOY!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The sound of the islands: "Ganja in the Jar"!

... and you thought I was joking when I announced on Facebook that I would marry the good old Sleng Teng riddim with THE popular song of Irish folk, "Whiskey in the Jar". Well, those of you who hear alionsonny not just since yesterday, will actually recall some Irish folk / Reggae experiments I did in the past. To the newer listeners, they are probably unknown because none of the tracks is on any album currently available . This will change very soon, as I plan to release another free album with ancient song releases.

But back to "Ganja in the Jar" . When I additionally also announced that this piece of music would include the Christian song "Lord of the Dance" as a "secondary melody", some of the folks thought, this would not be possible. Well, I have truly accomplished already by far more complicated style blends. Both "Whiskey in the Jar", and "Lord of the Dance" are not composed in any exotic time signatures. There are truly difficult candidates in the (Irish) folk music for Reggae interpretations. The difficulty in Reggae interpretations of Irish folk music is, that Reggae is played in 4/4-time. Irish folk often uses quite "exotic" signatures . The only flavor of Irish folk songs which are in 4/4-time I know of are Reels. Jigs, for example, are in 6/8, Slides in 12/8. Besides there are plenty of other time signatures such as 3/4 and extremly funny ones like the Slip Jig in 9/8. In the end it is of course all just mathematics. With a little work one can "convert" any signature to a 4/4. However, it is not done with just pure mathematics. Both, Irish Folk and Reggae is very emotional music. A simple mathematical transformation would be like Kraftwerk performing the "Moldau" by Smetana... well... that would be interesting ;). Another not to be underestimated, factor in making Reggae versions of Irish folk tunes is the emphasized offbeat in Reggae. A melody, which fits well to a 4/4 Rock song, can sound extremely different on a offbeat emphasized Reggae rythm. Finally I would say that a healthy mix of mathematics and feeling always leads to the goal.

As mentioned, I have already "married" Irish Folk to Reggae a couple of times in the past. I even messed before with the well-known Sleng Teng riddim. In 2007 I published "Dinner Time for the Cats", a Sleng Teng riddim version with the melody of the famous nursery rhyme "Three Blind Mice". Somehow many well-known tunes fit with he Sleng Teng Riddim... well, at least if you mangle it properly. On that cold, gray September morning, I had not really planned to produce music . The plan was actually working on the long overdue videos. And so I announced it on Facebook: Dear people ! No music today. Now I'm working at the videos. I do not remember exactly how I got the idea to do a new version of Sleng Teng, but somehow I was suddenly in the middle of the production of a new track. After some time I had a standard Sleng Teng, but with more "punch" and some (still) small modifications. As so often, I sat down at the keyboard and just improvised along. I have no idea how exactly the melody of "Whiskey in the Jar" sneaked into my mind. I have not heard that song in ages, but it fit quite well. As I noted before, there were some who, after I announced on Facebook, that I would make a Sleng Teng version of "Whiskey in the Jar", thought that now I would finally become permanently insane. They had no idea, what was about to come ;). After "Whiskey in the Jar" fit perfectly, I improvised a bit further and found that the old melody of "Lord of the Dance" also, maybe even better, worked with my version of the riddim. At least one Facebook friend stated that this would NEVER fit . "Well, Sonny, you've already done a lot of crazy stuff, but a Reggae version of 'Whiskey in the Jar' ... and then also a Christian hymn as a second melody? That doesn't work!". Doesn't work? Works! you can hear... ;). Do I need to explain the song title ?

In the case of this song, I am a lot more sure that the final album version will sound a lot different than the, now available pre-release version, than for any other song destined for the "Continuity" album. Meanwhile, I have heard some details, I would like to change somehow. At the beginning of the song, the harmonica resonates far too long. I'm not sure if the bass and snare drum should sound that much "in the face" or rather a bit softer. On one side the track has a hell of a punch, but somehow it seems a bit too much for my taste. Maybe I will make two versions: The "In the face version" and the "laid back version". We will see...

Almost there
This is now track 12 of 13 for the album "Continuity". Almost there! And the long announced track number 13, "Brain Forest - Chapter III" is almost finished. This means that I will soon start  transforming all 13 tracks into the final album versions. In this step, I will also ensure that the whole album sounds coherent in itself. This will take some time, but I guess that it can be done in one to two weeks.

Ok, that was a lot of text again . But if I write less, some complain I could tell some more . So now: MUSIC !

Monday, September 9, 2013

It is done! " AlionLive - Bikeride Hamburg Mölln Ratzeburg " is complete!

Yeah, the fifth and final part of the video series is now available for viewing. What awaits you? Of course, we catch up where we left off last time, just before Ratzeburg on the western side of the lake. Then we ride to the center of Ratzeburg, where, to my disappointment, I saw historic buildings than I expected. Maybe it was simply due to the roaring heat of the day, that I overlooked something. This heat "inspired" me then to pay the cathedral a visit. You know : In this old stone buildings, it is always nicely cold. Here is a little message to my atheist and agnostic friends : NO, the reason that I'm filming churches , is not that I am a religious guy, but that I like old and interesting buildings. And churches are (unfortunately) usually the only well-preserved historic buildings. After I left the cathedral, and the burning sun hit my skull directly, I had even less desire than before to wander the city streets sweating with a camera and a well-filled backpack filming. So I went slowly on the way home. Just before I left Ratzeburg, I enjoyed a quite price intensive, but delicious, ice cream. After refilling the beverage stocks (no AlionLive without beer), I appear on screen for the first time after about 14 minutes. I think that's a record! It never took that long in an AlionLive video, until I appeared live on the screen. The spoken message then falls quite short, because the location, where it was recorded, was a very unpleasant one: A lawn between a McDonalds and a gas station. Next on the way home was an annoying "How to get across the canal"-game, which forced me to a rather long detour. So it is no wonder that at the end even arson fantasies took shape inside my wrinkled skull. Nevertheless, I managed as planned, to reach the home base around 21:00 o clock and tooke the long awaited bath. Of the latter event. there are no video recordings because of minors and aesthetic reasons.

After excessive cutting work, the video is crisp 30 minutes short. It is suitable for the extended coffee break ;). Yeah, I was actually made aware of the fact- that so many view my videos in the work break. We live in funny times ;). This time I played around with a new video coding
  1. to reduce the upload time (processing by Youtube also)
  2. to optimize the image quality , especially at very fast camera moves
  3. To minimize conflicts with the Youtube encoder (you know the enemy ;))
So, if you should notice a change in video quality negative or positive, please inform me about it. More than two eyes are always good. Personally, I think the improvements are achieved. At least I have reduced the size of the video file by about 50%.

The soundtrack this time is by alionsonny and Cimelium. All songs are destined for the upcoming albums of both projects. In case of Cimelium it is the Album "Madeira". I start the video with rather calm tracks of this album, because I wanted to place the very "churchy" sound of "Nossa Senhora do Monte" during the visit to the Cathedral of Ratzeburg. After that, I had a hard time to create a somewhat reasonable transition to the "alionsonny part" by using "Cais do Sardinha". However, this is only approximately achieved. A transition from the Cimelium sound to the brand new alionsonny track "Pirates of Madeira" is very difficult because of the characteristics of the track. Still, I wanted to showcase "Pirates of Madeira" urgently in this video. And after all the "organ tooting", I also thought it would be quite appropriate to put the pedal to the metal just a little bit ;).

Here is the complete soundtrack :
  1. Cimelium - Ribeiro Frio
  2. Cimelium - Nossa Senhora do Monte
  3. Cimelium - Parque do Lido 6:30 am
  4. Cimelium - Cais do Sardinha
  5. alionsonny - Pirates of Madeira
  6. alionsonny - Flight of the Butterfly
  7. alionsonny - The Storm
So, after all the words, here's the video !

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New song " Pirates of Madeira"!

Oh, that's complicated to explain ... or not? Well, let's sinply get started:  I guess quite a few of you will think " Oh no, not the island again", when they see the term "Madeira" in the song title, or maybe "will that EVER end?". "No!" is the correct answer to the latter question. However, it doesn't matter very much, how a song is titled. What matters is the sound.

And especially our beloved "genre fascists" will once more break out in weeping , gnash their teeth or will break out in open contempt for my person. I already know that from absolutely sufficient experience. Should I do it? Should I say the song "Pirates of Madeira" has just a minimal similarity or even IS some kind of REGGAE? Should I? No, I do not want to be responsible for deaths. And precisely for this reason, you, dear reader, dear listener, should  follow my example and refrain from a more thorough discussion of the subject of genre localization of this musical piece, if possible . Since "there is no blessing in this" , as a very wise old lady often used to say . And do not think you would escape the judgment of the genre fascists if you simply choose a different genre to locate this musical piece. Well, for example the techno fans (Goa / Trance) will not threaten you with "Fire & Brimstone" because of the genre blasphemy, but you will not make yourself popular either.

With this kind of a piece of music it is like with so many typical foods of different regions : Do not ask what's in it as long as it tastes ;). The song has, during it's extremely long development from a simple loop to the now available prerelease version, undergone some rather turbulent conversions . If you, like a friend of mine , are of the opinion, that this song would have suited the Willma Poppen project more than the alionsonny project, then I can tell you, for the general amusement, that the song was at least once temporarily destined for each of my 3 major projects. Fact is: The song started as a typical alionsonny song idea. One of those "bouncy, funny reggae-ish" thingies, which make the Reggae purists freak out. Then the song transformed so much into the direction of pop techno, that I had to call it a 100% Willma Poppen Project track. In between, albeit in questionable mental constitution on my part, the song was once also a candidate for Cimeliums "Madeira" album.

That the song then still developed to what it is today, is due to the fact, that I once again enjoyed a delicious Madeira wine 3-4 nights ago. And while doing that, I watched the video of the day on the Santa Maria de Colombo in 2011, aswell as the video from 2012. I constantly had this accordion melody and the next day it was clear to me that:
  1. I would like to dedicate a song to the Santa Maria de Colombo and the crew.
  2. why not this one?
Said and done ! And so I worked the last 3 days almost non-stop to get done what you can listen to now . By the way, is the track 11 of 13 for the new alionsonny album "Continuity". The next song is already pretty much ready for pre release. Especially my "old time fans" will love to read what it will be: Chapter 3 of the the popular "BrainForest" series! Continuity ;)

And now have fun with the Pirates of Madeira!