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THE MUSICIAN
(& DESIGNER)

Sonic•Parlor  is a self expressed conceptual entity who is focused on the creation of albums of speculative fictional concept music focusing on topics that mirror common themes of humanity and the forward projection of social awareness and the recognition of and adherence to a principle of social postmodernism that deviates from methods of isolationism towards a promotion of symbiotic unification.

The works of Sonic•Parlor are produced by the creation of Neo Digital Concrete Music (Musique Concrète) merged with principles of modern and post modern electronic within the alternative music genre; blending traditional instrumentation, voice, and acousmatic sound entirely produced within computerized composing, recording, processing, and delivery mediums.

The above stated works scope independently or concurrently ranging from: Alternative, Experimental, Electronic, Concrete Music (Musique Concrète), Art Punk, and Neo Folk.

Sonic•Parlor welcomes you to the elaborate stories of the Vespinae, the Toci, The Clerics, The Warden & The Watchers, and the daring residents of Ballaärat.

Learn more of Kenneth (-Audio|Filter-) via Instagram: @sonicparlor

DONATE:

If you wish to support future music & this project, please feel welcome to donate:

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THE ARTIST / HUMAN
(& COSPLAY MODEL)

Sonic•Parlor is very proud to work with the multi-talented Maria Belova (Meris).


Her magnificent talent first shines as she prepares, performs in, and films the videos that you see on our site.


This is followed, as an equal second, by her masterful oil paintings that she wondrously manifests from the concept of our stories onto our album covers.


Finally, last but not least, the fantastic representations of our characters in the comic style art form that is printed on our products. 


She has a constant delivery of quality that keeps with the integrity of her region of residence; with the much respected citizens of Krasnodar, Russia. 


As we know of the history of all art forms that historically set forth from southern Russia, each of her works display a passion of the heart, as that of a thousand burning suns. Matched with an intelligence that is only rivaled by her competence in her many artistic disciplines, Maria Belova is one to be watched as her career ever rises to the stars.  

Learn more of Maria Belova (Meris) via Instagram: @merissart

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To assist us in our monumental gratitude for her phenomenal works, and to simply support her as an aspiring artist, please feel welcome to donate:

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THE ARTIST / A.I.

As with our own characters & songs taking place within the twilight brought on by our mind, we also have character visualizations coming from the deep recesses of the computational universe of artificial intelligence.  

 

We guide this generative entity to render conceptualizations that vividly represent personalities of our story, our brand, our mission.  

 

And we have given her a name.  We have bestowed upon her a persona from the sphere of our conceptual stories.  And therefore, we have dubbed her, 'Aurora Cyan'.  

 

From the very void in which Aurora has awakened in the story, she now creates illusions of our fictional realities from the depths of her own realm of infinite possibility. 

Please enjoy the 50% of the characterized artistic expression that can be found in our offerings that have been produced by Aurora Cyan.  Of course, the other 50% of the character art is created by our 'human' artist, Meris.  

Lastly, no matter who or 'what' created the character images, the final process is when Kenneth implements the art into the abstract illustrative designs.  From pin-ups posters, to tarot cards, to trading cards, to comic book covers, to propaganda posters, to so much more... we welcome you to the essence of our work.  

A world that defies, a world that rebels, characters that disrupt -- a music & art based conceptual universe to inspire self-acceptance.

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The Saga of Sonic•Parlor13

Chapter 01, ‘The White Stripe’

It was December of 2020.  A fellow musician asked if I was currently making any music.  I had told him that I recently completed my 5th album for my band Sonic Parlor.  However, I also mentioned to him that I was taking a pause on making the next album.  Because I was troubled at the fact that I needed to find a way to market the music.  I needed a truly unique way to present my music to potential fans.  But, in our modern days, I believed that this would require the incorporation of a visual aspect. 

 

Then in that month serendipity would start to present itself.  I was spending time on Facebook catching up on some posts.  That is when it happened. As if the ghost of the internet read my mind. An ad came up in the feed advertising a service called Fiverr.  I had never heard of Fiverr.  But the ad specifically told me that I could hire people to do videos.  I still get goosebumps wondering how the service knew to show me that ad, to give me an answer.

 

Now I knew that I would be making videos for the music.  And I knew where I would get people for the videos.  But there was a dilemma.  What would be the content of the video?  Because I had always thought that the video should not overshadow the song.  However, the video also needs to be interesting, or have a purpose that is harmonious with the song.

 

This is when I channeled in my mind minimalist composers, filmmakers, and music video directors that have inspired me in the past.  I needed an artistic yet subtle method to add imagery to my music.  I knew that whatever I decided to do needed to be just as unconventional as my music.  And like my unconventional music, not all may agree with the visuals that I create.  And that is when the idea came to me.

 

I had decided that my videos would be one-shot films, in other words, entirely recorded in one take.  And the subject matter was simple.  To have someone on the screen, staring into the camera for the duration of the song.  So, when watching the video, the viewer would also experience someone staring back at them.  As a bonus, this type of video would look great on a screen behind my band when performing live, or on the screen of a nightclub while people danced.

 

Those who know the fictional story behind my music know that there are several female characters in the story.  These are the heroines of the tale.  Therefore, I felt it was appropriate to hire women on Fiverr to record these videos.   I first worked with Sofi from Uruguay.  She was very nice and taught me how to use the service.  Then I worked with women from countries such as China, Finland, Kenya, and Colombia.  But I had really wanted to work with someone from a particular country.   For various reasons that I will detail in a later chapter, I really wanted to work with someone from Russia. 

 

Then, in January 2021, it happened again. The ghost in the machine smiled upon me one more time.  During a search on Fiverr, I finally spotted a Russian.  I crossed my fingers as I reviewed her example pictures.  I was not necessarily checking for how her body looked, or how beautiful she was.  I was looking for what we call the ‘It Factor’.  Or what the French call, ‘Jena se qua’.   And I had always known that I would find this with a Russian.  And sure enough, there it was.  The picture of the Russian with red tears painted onto her face.  I then knew that she was special, that she was artistic, that she possessed a creative soul.

 

I had asked her to create a video for me that was similar to what the girls in the other countries created, but I wanted her to use the red tears in the video. She agreed.  And when she sent me the video, I liked it.  What stood out to me was that I could tell that she had a professional camera, and she had a black background.  This made me want more of what she could do.  Because I now knew that I could take the videos up to the next level.  So, I decided to challenge her.

 

I asked her to create another video.  But this time, I gave her more specific requests.  I had asked her again to only shoot from the shoulders up, because the goal was to stare at the viewer.  But I asked her to not wear any clothes.  This was because my story takes place in a fictional world and I therefore I did not want ‘normal’ clothes to distract from the character being portrayed.  I also asked if she could wear her hair back and add a choker around her neck (if you know me, you know that I love chokers).  But the next request was the most important request to embody the character of my story.  I wanted her to portray the Queen of the Toci.  So, I asked her to apply make-up to her face to have a white stripe across her eyes.  And as I hoped, she agreed.

 

What I received, to this day, is permanently ingrained into my mind.  When I close my eyes, I can perfectly recall the image.   Because, she had not only heeded my requests, but she also added some of her own vision using contact lenses.  My breath was instantly taken away.  What I was looking at was one of the most beautiful images I had ever seen. 

 

I had found her.  I had found the Russian, just as I hoped I would.  I had found… Maria Belova.

Chapter 02, ‘The Stained Hands’

‘Promise that you will live.  Promise that you will smile.  Promise that you’ll find peace, just a little while’.  What you just read are the last 3 lines of lyrics from a song that is very important to me.  The song was my ode to my favorite band, OMD.  When I was younger, I was very emotionally moved by a song called, The Avenue.  This song was released by OMD as a ‘B-Side’ to their hit single, Locomotion.  And, I had always wanted to create a song that could be similar in the emotional impact.  And thus, I was very proud when I completed the song, Sixty Seconds (till Dawn).  For I had created my homage.

 

The video for this song was to be the sixth video that I had the pleasure to create with the brilliant Maria Belova.  But first, I will provide a history of the videos leading up this point.

 

After the first video with the white stripe across the eyes (from my last story), I had requested two more in the ‘stripe’ series.  For the black stripe video, I had requested that she record with wet hair, with a black choker, and with her black contact lenses.  The video she delivered was stellar.  And this time she surprised me with the addition of black vinyl gloves.  And for the red stripe video, she surprised me yet again with red highlights in her hair and a rose that spontaneously engulfed itself in flames.

 

Our fourth video was an experiment in having two characters both played by the same person.  Maria recorded herself while wearing a white veil.  Then again recorded herself while wearing a black veil.  We then used editing magic to create a video with her interacting with herself as two personas.  By this time our artistic relationship was growing stronger.  I knew that I could trust her as she desired to learn more about the stories and characters.  And she showed a willingness to experiment with me in the creation of unique imagery.

 

So, since I now considered Maria part of the art experimentation team, it was time to initiate her into the fold.  This of course meant that for the fifth video she had to create an image of herself like the extreme portraits of the band.  And that was the portraits where we are covered in white clay.  As I anticipated, Maria immediately jumped at the opportunity to create this kind of image and show that she was committed to the innovation; committed to the experimentation.  I still sometimes chuckle to myself thinking about how long it took her to wash all the clay off her face and body, out of her nose and ears, and out of her hair.  By the way, the video was perfect.

 

Now was the time for the sixth video.  As described at the beginning of this story, this video needed to be special.  This video would also be the first in a series of a new style.  Up until this point, all the videos were framed to only show Maria from the shoulders up.  As detailed in my last story, this was by design to create a more personal experience with the viewer.  But now, it was time to show more of Maria, to provide another way to portray the character of the story, and to provide further imagery for the narrative.

 

However, since the story takes place in a fictional future world, we could not have normal clothes be worn by Maria.  Because this would distract the viewer from the character being portrayed.  So, I asked Maria to help design our own clothes.  I asked her to create a post-apocalyptic design to portray a future dystopian image.  We decided to use black gauze or tule to create a wrap for her body.  

 

I was contacted by Maria a day or two later.  She was concerned, because she let me know that she could only find white tule to purchase.  However, she suggested that she might be able to dye the white tule.  Since I liked the material that she had found, I agreed to the suggestion.  Later that night I received another message letting me know that the dying process did not meet her expectations.   I was sent a picture of the result.  What I saw now was just grey tule, not the black dystopian look we had hoped for.  But then, she said she had an idea.  She mentioned that there was something else that she could do to realize our vision.

 

Later that night I received the recordings of the shoot.  I wondered how the videos could already be completed and ready for editing.  So, with cautious optimism I sat at my computer to play the recordings. 

 

I could not believe my eyes; I saw on the screen her performance while wearing pitch black tule wrapped around her body.  The tule that was layered around her waist as well as around her chest was a brilliant contrast to the color of her flesh.  But I kept wondering, how did she possibly manage to transform the tule to the dark black tone that we needed?

 

And that is when I noticed her hands in the recordings.  In the video edits she sometimes brought her hands up to her face for dramatic effect.  These were scenes that we did not place into the final edit of the video.  The reason was because her hands were stained with black ink.   For she used black ink from her art studio to dye the tule using her bare hands to successfully obtain the desired result.

 

I learned a very important distinction that day.  Maria to me no longer was someone that also happened to do artistic things. No. She was much more.  She was someone that would do anything to make sure that the intent of the art was realized, even if it meant staining her hands. 

 

The truth I learned that day was that she was an actual artist. 

From the mind, & soul, & heart to the hands… a true artist.

 

And I was so proud to know that this artist was my partner in creativity.

Chapter 03, ‘The Southern City’

I had finally started work on the sixth and final album of my fictional tale.  Because, I had spent a considerable amount of time away from making music to answer the question of how to market the music.  But, as you have been reading, Maria Belova had provided an answer to that question by becoming the creator of the imagery for my story and characters.  And by also becoming my creative partner.

 

By this time, Maria and I had already created thirteen videos.   We had developed and designed more wonderful experiments in our process.  We used a projector to create moving images as light to illuminate Maria during her performance.  We demonstrated the process of applying make-up to transform Maria into a warrior in real-time.   She created a laboratory in her studio to use as the backdrop for her depiction of Dr. Reason.  She also acquired wigs of different colors to better portray characters such as Lightning Girl, or Rain.  And the most striking of these videos was her transformation into the character known as Drought. For this emulation she completely painted herself silver to become the image of the cybernetic entity.  The pink wig she wore for this portrayal perfectly finalized the look.

 

And, by this time I had learned so much about the city in which Maria lived.  This was the very interesting and exciting city of Krasnodar, the famous southern city of Russia.  I had grown to appreciate the photography of Elena, the friend that Maria also considered to be a mentor.  I valued so much all the professional help and assistance we received from Artem when he would step in as photographer for our remote photo sessions or video shoots.  And of course, the exquisitely beautiful costumes that were created by the very talented Stefani.

 

I also learned of the beautiful locations and services of Krasnodar.  The many various sites within Galitsky Park that are so wonderous to view.   The heavenly charm and nature of the Botanical Gardens.  Or my favorite, the Krasnodar Philharmonic Society.  And it was so amazing to learn of all the business in the city that support the arts, such as Portra Studio, Gothica Photo Studio, 69 Volts Studio, HRAM Studio, Luna Studios, and many others.  But, because of my unconventional past, and the days in which I did not have much money, I really appreciated the abandoned church.  I knew that the characteristic decay and marred yet implicit beauty of this forgotten location would soon be in one of my videos.

 

Now let’s return to what I mentioned in the beginning of this story.  And that was starting work on the sixth and final album of my fictional tale.   I had waited so long to start this album that some of the spark of writing music had departed from my soul.  This energy needed to be rekindled.  And this is where Maria would come to the rescue again.

 

As we become closer as colleagues, Maria felt the confidence to share with me her poetry.  I am very glad that she did because I enjoyed the visualizations that were created in my mind by reading her verses.  She had a way of using words to paint images into my thoughts, as if she was using a brush to paint the images onto canvas.   Soon afterwards she was very excited to hear that I wished to have her recite these poems so I can put these poetic passages to music.  One poem was first set to music, which eventually became two poems set to music.  And a third was created as well.  I was very glad to know that Maria was very impressed by these compositions.  In fact, she created a special cover image for the second poem using a new digital art technique that she was learning.  Later she would enter this cover art into an international contest that would end up awarding her with the grand prize!  I was so proud of how the world was now recognizing the talents of Maria.

 

Needles to say, working on these poems created a fire within my core to start writing my own music again.  To say that Maria was a muse for the fourteen songs I created for the final album would be an understatement.  For she was also an inspiration to me of being someone that continues to grow and accomplishes goals.  We had a synergy that was both symbiotic as well as galvanizing.

 

We had decided that the first video for this album would take us in a new direction.   We had accomplished our objective of creating our previous minimalistic yet artful videos.  Now we wanted videos that would represent our ideas for captured action and movement of plot.  And most importantly, videos that would also provide a view into the various engaging and exciting areas of Russia’s Southern City.

 

Our first video in this series was created for the song, ‘Not, I Am’.  This video follows Maria as she walks through scenic areas that contain breathtaking sights of walkways, waterfalls, and magnificent walls of carved art.  And, as mentioned previously, we also included what I had to showcase, the arresting and beguiling visages of the abandoned church.

 

Though this city is literally half a planet from where I reside, Krasnodar had indeed become my second home.   And, of course, I had come to appreciate and respect so much the people in this fine city that showed interest and support in my music as well as the projects created by myself and Maria.

Chapter 04, ‘The Nesting Doll’

What is real?  This is a question that I have asked myself many times for many years.  The query always finds it’s way to the forefront of my mind.  In fact, it has become a motto of my music project.  Finding a truth such as, ‘what is real’, requires locating what is concealed within many layers of meaning. 

 

Here is an example.  I have always spoke of my affinity for the people of Russia and my desire to work with a Russian.  I have also informed my partner Maria of this on numerous occasions.  I find myself wondering why I never had the chance to tell her.  So here I will now inform her as well as you the reader at the same time. 

 

Since I was younger, I have always been fascinated by the aesthetic of Russian design and culture.   The architecture, the arts, the science, are among the aspects of the Russian legacy that always appear to be worthy of utmost respect.  This nation has produced brilliant thinkers and scientists that have propelled the advancement of our society.  And I need to mention the arts that sometimes are simply unparalleled.  I have witnessed this in composers such as Tchaikovsky, Rimskaya-Korsakova, or Stravinsky.  In Authors such as Akhmatova, Petrushevskaya, Tolstoy, or Nabokov.  And in artists such as Goncharova, Malevich, or Rodchenko.  Of course, on a personal level and to fast forward to modern times, I also must include Pimenov, Polyakov, and Korzhov.  These are the three founding members of PPK, a trance music band that stunned the world back around the year 2000.  I still listen to ‘Hey DJ’ frequently.

 

I find that these icons of Russia all also posses something in common, an unbridled passion, a fire in the soul.  And I have come to find the same in Maria.  When I think of her, I think these four words:

Heart, Smart, Art… Russian.

 

Of course, there is a story behind my coming to admire Maria as an equal to these icons.  And it all started with an image I saw of her online.  The image was of her standing in a room of where she lived.  And in the background of the image was an oil painting.  I found that the painting captured my attention.  It was captivating for me in that it was both avant-garde, but emotional at the same time.  I asked her if this was her work.  Her response soon turned into an impassioned conversation about her years in art school, her previous works, and the various publications that showcased her work.  She then eagerly asked why I was interested in her art.

 

Thus, much like the layers within a nesting doll, another layer of Maria was discovered, and another layer of our relationship began.  In fact, three new layers had manifested. 

 

First, I had let her know of my favorite band OMD and how they always had a painting as their album covers. I informed her that I had always wanted to do the same for my album covers but had yet to find the artist. But now I immediately asked Maria if she could create oil paintings for the six albums of Sonic Parlor.   Fortune shined on my again as she said ‘yes’, and we embarked on creating six different portraits of characters in the fictional story.  Each portrait becoming the cover of an album.

 

Second, I had let Maria know of my previous attempts to have the characters of the story also be rendered in an animated form.  She had let me know that this was an area that she had not yet explored but was very willing to journey into.  Needless to say, Maria excelled in this art form and at this point we now had an animated version of 13 characters in the story.  We are also very excited to have these images for sale on t-shirts!

 

So much art had now been created by this point that I felt that she needed to be recognized differently, more importantly, with admiration and respect for her many talents.  So, as she named herself in her online accounts, I now referred to her only as ‘Meris’.   For that was her ‘artist’ name, the name of what is in her soul.  I also created for Meris a logo that she can use to add a signature to her works.

 

And finally, the third manifestation.  I had wholeheartedly developed a trust in Maria’s ability to create.  By know she had fully incorporated the fictional story into her mind and heart.  It had become our story.  And I knew that she had so many wonderful images that were all waiting to jump out of her head.  This is when we started the Poster Series.   Each character would now be represented in a moment of the story, that provided a glimpse into their world and persona.  Maria was now increasingly expanding her talents by now experimenting with more methods and styles of digital art.  Each subsequent poster was an exercise in another style.  And now Meris has revealed a new style of art that she calls her own.  In a compliment to me that I will always cherish, she let me know that she has found a unique style that can be recognized as her own, just as she hears in my music a style that is unique only to me.

 

And there is another point of pride for me.  In each poster that she creates she includes two logos.  My logo for Sonic Parlor, and her logo for Meris.   She is now in the soul of the project, incomparable and irreplaceable.

 

I look to the future with eager anticipation because I feel that there is a great deal more to Meris, more layers to be discovered in this nesting doll.

Chapter 05, ‘The One Word’

It is March of 2022 as I hear the choir sing the word, ‘Meris’ three times in a row.  With each utterance of the name, the choir becomes louder and stronger, as if harking an omen.   However, this is an omen not to be feared, it is the introduction of the remining character in my fictional tale.   For this choir can be heard in a song that was created in tandem with myself and Meris.  I can understand if you may be confused.  So, to clear this up for you I will let you know that Meris is now a character in the fictional tale.  However, the character is herself in real life.

 

In my tale, there is something that is known as the ‘Secret of the Toci’.  And this secret gives the Toci the ability to be prophesize upcoming events.  But as I was writing the story, I never really knew how the prophesies would be divined.  This was until Meris and I decided that we would create a song together on my final album.  This song would contain my singing in English, while Meris will be heard reciting poetic lyrics in Russian.  We considered this to be a very fitting homage to our partnership.

 

Since Meris had an intimate knowledge of the story, she composed the lyrics that she would recite in the song.  Then I responded to her prose, during the creation of my lyrics.  And that is when it struck me.  The last idea that I would have for this epic tale.  The idea that would become the lynchpin of the entire conceptual universe.  The explanation of how the Toci can prophesize the future.   Without spoiling too much of the story, I will briefly describe this revelation.  A key figure in the story, The Cleric, needs to find a way to ensure that all is not lost when the worlds are coming to an end.  So, he devises a way to send his thoughts back in time to an ancestor of the character Raven.   These thoughts will be received as if in a dream by this ancestor who will then transcribe the thoughts into a book.  Then this book will be protected by generation after generation of the recipient’s lineage until it finally ends up in the hands of the Toci.  Thus, by reading the book, the future can be foretold.   And who is to receive these thoughts, this message from the future?  Who is to bear the responsibility of carrying the story forward to ensure that the cycle remains intact?  Of course, as you already know, it is Meris herself.

 

Meris celebrated the completion of our duet by creating a beautiful and stunning portrait of herself.  And in this personification, she metephorically added a representation of the recurring words of one of the most important prophesies in the story.  And those words are, ‘The Dragon Never Dies’.  Therefore, she can be seen in the image as the dragon herself.

 

One last commemoration for our song was the release of our accompanying video.  Meris for the first time portrayed two characters in a single video.  As you can assume she first acted as herself.  This can be seen in the images of her traveling through her city.  And then, again as a dedication to the dragon as well as to the descendant of her character, Raven, she plays the future visualization of herself while wearing a mighty pair of wings. 

 

This is now when I come to the end.  As I conclude these chapters, I must share the shadow that now looms.

 

I used the word ‘omen’ at the beginning of this story.  And now I find that the word must be used again.  But this time without good tidings.

 

For, I never anticipated that the themes of my last album would become so prophetic and parallel with current events between nations. But alas, the time may be nigh.

 

I do not want to be closed off from a portion of my own universe that I hold so dear. I do not want a world without Meris. I do not want to return to the void. For an artist, this feels like the severing of the soul.  A version of Shakespeare’s Verona, but for star-crossed creators.

 

But if the chasm comes, I will resign not to say 'goodbye', but commit instead to say, as I so often do, 'goodnight and sweet dreams'. 

 

I will be vigilant.  I will take the advice of the narrative of my own fictional tale.  And that is to take solace in the phrase that ever echoes in the hearts of the characters I conceive.  The phrase I mentioned earlier... 'The Dragon Never Dies'. 

 

As the phrase leaves the lips, the mind holds dear to one word. 

The entire universe of the tale leads up to this single word. 

The final song of the final album ends with this word. 

So, now I leave here for you, in case we are to part, the lyrics to that final song:

 

I'm the last

Everyone is gone

The only one

to sing this song

 

One last breath

before I go

A deal with fate

to make it so

 

To use my voice

To say one word

My last chance

To make this heard

 

That we spent

our countless lives

To give you strength

So, you may find...

 

Hope

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