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Welcome to the home of Supralightning Music!

Supralightning is a music project that began back in 2008. The goal was to create guitar-based instrumental music of a wide variety. The project has produced music ranging from rock and heavy metal, to soft, relaxing, and melodic tracks. All of the music has been created in a home studio, with the occasional guest artist appearance. Influences include Metallica, Uaematsu, Satriani, and Annihilator.


The Hyperion Story

Music holds a place in my life that is hard to describe. I believe that most would agree that listening to something enjoyable is bliss in its power and simplicity. Music can make you want to move. It can inspire you to strive to reach your potential. It is beautiful to close your eyes and let your mind shut out everything except the sound. Through some of the toughest moments and trials of my life, when nothing was going right, there was always an escape. I could lock out the world and lose myself in songs that could utterly change the way I felt with ease.

It goes without saying, that the impact of music is a powerful thing.

About fifteen years ago, I picked up a guitar for the first time. I can tell you, that from that exact moment, the song and album before you now were destined to be the result... It set in motion events that, over years and years, took a natural course toward music creation. I began to play my guitar, and of course the first thing I tried was learning my favorite songs. This was frustrating, and fun, and really eye-opening in that you quickly learn there is a ten-mile canyon separating a beginner from a real musician.

In fact, for the first few years, the guitar was just a fancy toy. I could noodle around, but I definitely did not take anything about it seriously. One day something changed all that, which was my introduction to Metal. Of all the ways that you can play a guitar, metal might be the most insane. All I mean is that if the original musicians who constructed the modern guitar and engineered its design saw someone thrashing about the strings in a brutal, death-slaying fashion, they could be horrified. And I might be inclined to agree, except that I learned how wide in scope metal really was.

Sure, I listened to Metallica a lot, and Megadeth. But I loved hearing power metal, like Stratovarius, and Hammerfall. I couldn't get enough of Annihilator, and Iron Maiden. But through it all, I noticed a trend. Sooner or later, just about every metal band, would churn out an instrumental song. These could be 2 minutes, 8 minutes, or anywhere in between. There were no rules, except for one: You had better capture the audience's attention. When you remove the vocals.... the instruments, chords, melodies, and rhythms take center stage. I always thought that this was metal at its best. It had raw energy, it had musicianship, it had screaming guitar solos, and epic chord progressions. Technical skill was at every turn on a proper metal instrumental.

So I found the ultimate-guitar forums, and rigged a way to plug my guitar into my PC's sound card. I figured, this is my moment. I am going to record metal instrumental music! There was only one problem........

The result was TERRIBLE.

When I say terrible, I mean the guitar playing, the composing itself, the recording quality, the drums, all of it.

I will never forget the first comment I received on that instrumental. In fact, I just googled it and it is still there:
"Needs a hell of a lot more variety than this."
-September 4, 2008.

This was a defining moment for me. To put your work up for critique and review, so anyone can build you up or crush your spirit, takes courage. You develop thick skin pretty quick, because more than anything you want to believe in yourself and your abilities. So when my efforts were dismissed in mere seconds, I got mad. Not mad at the person who left the comment, or the world, or anything else, but mad that I could have done better. This comment, instead of causing me to throw up my hands, lit a fire inside me so hot that I went on a rampage of seeking to improve.

Within a year, I had recorded over 20 tracks. Some were good, some were bad, some were forgetful, and some were memorable. Over the course though, there was progress. There was improvement. Part of the reason that I leave videos from 8 or 9 years ago up on my channel is that I like to see the story. If someone wants to try their hand at recording, I want them to see what kind of improvement they can expect if they don't give up. It is not just about playing the guitar, but it’s also about learning how to train your ear. When your ear sharpens, your ability to make small adjustments to increase the quality of a track begins to shine.

At this point in my life, I was young and hopeful. I was single, employed but only part-time, and dedicated beyond anything else to working on music. I knew I had a passion for it, but I wanted more.

The very next year, I uprooted my life and moved across the country to reboot my life. In November of 2010, I released two debut albums on the same day, "Genesis III", and "Halcyon". The first being the Metal Instrumental album, and the second being the Melodic and Downtempo Rock Instrumental album. I was not sure what I honestly expected. In some ways, I was sure things would take off, that I would catch my big break, and things would be a runaway success. Looking back, I can honestly say that I did achieve success beyond what I should have expected. I did not make millions of dollars or achieve financial independence, but I was able to sell several hundred copies of my albums. I was approached by multiple individuals, who purchased the rights to use some of my songs in film and commercial projects.

I had to feel ecstatic, and I think I would have enjoyed it more, if I had really stepped back and simply allowed myself to. Think about it... In a span of two years, I went from having forum goers tell me how awful my music really was on the grand scale, to being paid cold hard cash by companies that wanted to use my music to help sell their products. In terms of doing a one-eighty, this was about the best result I ever could have imagined!

At the time though, it still just was not enough. I was not done yet. I KNEW that I could still do better. And this moment, in 2010, is when the Hyperion project was born.

I enjoyed making Genesis III. In fact, my personal favorite work at the time was on that album, entitled "The Price of Freedom". This track caused me to work so hard, I actually got fired from my job while making it. Of all the types of music I had tried my hand at, metal seemed to be the genre that connected me more with others, and certainly the one that I had the most fun writing and producing.

I came up with an idea. I would write a better album. A newer album. A more polished album. Something that sounded cohesive from start to finish. But to do this I needed a benchmark. Something to measure against in terms of quality. And that is when I set my sights on Metallica.

Metallica is a commercial juggernaut, a household name, and a controversy all wrapped up in one neat package. When I say that, I mean no disrespect, because to earn all those titles, success must predicate them. And my benchmark was born, from Metallica's second and third albums, "Ride the Lightning", and "Master of Puppets". I believe these represented the band's purest and best work, from a technical metal standpoint. What they accomplished spurred the entire genre to improve, and really brought Metallica the success they deserved.

These two albums form the blueprint that I used when creating the Hyperion album. Longer, more technical songs. Second track title-tracks, and strong album openers and closers. Hyperion was much different from any other project, in that everything was composed from start to finish first, before ever even picking up a guitar to play a note. This was done on purpose to bring cohesion, but I had never tried to write music in that fashion exclusively. It would lead to tricky issues in the recording process, not the least of which was the 7 year production time.

My life once I began this project really took off. I had several different jobs, though I was able to catch a massive break and I was swept into a new opportunity for a new career. This flourished, and along with success came my wife and soulmate! Also a puppy, a house, some of the great things that somewhere along the line you decide in your head are musts, even though you could technically live on ramen noodles and your friend's couch. Through it all, music began to take small steps back. A month here without playing. Two months without recording. Six months without thinking about the album. 3 years with no progress. My worst nightmare from a musical standpoint had been realized. I no longer needed music to succeed to advance my life, so there was no longer a burning desire to improve and record.

Somewhere between these years, with half of the album recorded, and the other half shelved indefinitely, I came to accept that my music days were at an end. I figured someday, somehow, I might return to the album, or I might not. I wanted to finish my project, deep down, but my motivations began to change. I did not want to finish it for success, or accolade. I did not want to finish it to sell copies of the album, or to get on the radio. I wanted to finish it for me. I wanted to finish it because I want to make sure that I do not regret the path I walk in life. I spent so many years devoting my every free hour to working on music, that its become intertwined in the tale of my life. For it to depart over the years, felt wrong, and caused guilt for me when I pondered why I had let it slip away.

Finally, last year, in 2016, I decided to take a stand. Even writing this, and even though it was so recently, I honestly cannot say what came over me. I picked up my guitar, hooked up my gear, and just began to play. For going well over four years without recording, one thing was immediately apparent.

I was not TERRIBLE, but I was so rusty.

My fingers tensed within ten to fifteen minutes of playing. Aches and pains I had not felt in years shot up and down my wrists all the way to fingertips. But I could not help but smile. Because a joy I had gone so long without, was finally back. It was so much fun, and it felt so great to just play. I immediately decided I had to record something, I just did not know where to start.

I have a tendency to record sequels and follow ups. Sometimes I name them directly, in the case of "Terminate" I & II, and sometimes I have spiritual successors with differing names, like "Adrenaline" & "Arc Flash". I went to some of my earliest recordings, and found a track called "The Anthem". This song was a curious tune, that somehow got tens of thousands of views back in my first couple years on YouTube. I released a sequel, "The Anthem II", a few months later which never took off to the same level. But I figured it was a great starting point. It was a simple track, with an easy melody, and I decided by recording something similar, I could find my groove again.

I went on to record "The Anthem III", my first recorded song in 4 years, and uploaded it to YouTube. Comments exploded, as years and years of subscribers saw me actually get off my butt and do something musically. It felt unbelievable. Truth be told, the song came out just ok. The mix is lousy, the composition is not terribly exciting, and the pacing is super slow. But near the end, when the lead guitar finally fires up for a solo, I knew that I was back. The instruments converge for one melodic blast, and I admit I love listening to the track just to hear the final minute.

From there, I went on to record a few new tracks, and some experimental videos that really went nowhere. But effort by effort, I saw a pattern emerge that I had not seen in a half decade. I was improving..

There was no way I would have been able to pick up where I left off after 4 years without recording. I really needed to take some time to get back into the swing of the things. That time turned out to be about 3 months. I got my recordings back to a level I determined I was happy with, and then I set my targets on finishing the project I had started in 2010. One by one, the tracks were completed. My wife knows that I have been like a ghost over the last few months. Between working 50 hours a week at a day job, and finding another 30 hours a week to work on music, it’s enough to occupy basically every waking hour. But she knows my history; she knows what makes me who I am as a human being. This is something that I need to do, and even though it may put a pause on being the right kind of husband for a short time, I will never be able to thank her enough for supporting me, and telling me to keep going even when she needed me the most.

A brief break over the holidays culminated in a final sprint to complete the project. In March, I began recording the last of the two remaining tracks, "Avarice & Exile". This track is the album opener, and the final track to be recorded, "Hyperion", is the title track. I left these two for last, because I wanted the first two songs on the album to embody everything that I had ever learned about recording, and piecing together a quality instrumental. Not to mention the fact that the title track is 8 and a half minutes, easily the longest track on the entire album. I recorded Avarice & Exile in moderation, working a few hours here and there over several weeks to completion. I actually impressed myself with how I was moderating the process, because I typically just obsess over a song and hammer it into submission nonstop until it is finished. Giving up sleep, food, nourishment, etc, in the process.

That definitely happened last week, when I decided to finally tackle "Hyperion". Once the ball got rolling I couldn't stop it. I actually took four straight days off work to devote to finishing the album. Though I didn't sleep much the first two days, I got a lot of work done. By the third day, I actually broke out in a horrible fever and a cold sweat. I was a complete mess, sick, and struggling to stay warm because I had tortured my body so much just to finish the song faster.

Looking back, it was a dangerous reminder of how quickly I can deteriorate when I misjudge what my body needs. Mentally, finishing this song was an absolute war, and I am pleased to say that I made it through, but not before being scarred.

I will always cherish the experiences that my life has brought me through music. Seeing positive feedback and comments appear daily on my videos, gives me joy in knowing that somewhere, someone on this Earth is enjoying the power of music that I helped create. It is humbling, and I honestly believe my best legacy that I can leave right now, for it may help people for years and years to come. I am thankful for that beyond what I can express.

With that, comes other news. I do not know exactly which road my future brings. My life has come along so far in the past few years, that I am excited to meet the daily challenges head on to see what will happen next. As tremendous as music has been, it was always fostered by the desire to improve, and to reach higher levels of quality time after time. I say to you today, that I am not sure when I may return to music. For me to record and produce more, I would want to be able to exceed what I have accomplished with the "Hyperion" album. At present, I do not know that I am capable of finding the needed time and energy to accomplish this. If this album took 7 years, how many would it take to craft another? Would it take 10 or more? I do not have the answer easily in sight.

This is not to say that music has a melancholy end for me, or for this channel. If anything, I believe that someone aspiring to follow in my footsteps can see my path, read my advice, and carry the torch in their own musical projects. I will always be here to offer guidance, advice, and to celebrate that we all are capable of pursuing the dreams we want to reach for. The truth is, I do know that if I return to music, I have a plan and an idea to realize for a future project. But at present, March of 2017, my greatest musical accomplishment, is now out there for the world to see. I do not fear judgment, and I do not fear what may come, because I know the road that I walked to realize the project. I know the sacrifices that I made along the way, and I am proud to say, that I have no regrets in bringing this project into the world.

Thank you for reading, for listening, for commenting, for sharing, and for enjoying.

-Rob (Supralightning)

(c) 2017 Supralightning