The joys, sorrows and decision fatigue of branding an album

I'm incredibly excited for how close I am to releasing my debut album, SalaamAxé. The joys are that it's happening at all, that even after all the times I've played the tracks for people to get feedback I still enjoy the music and am proud of how it sounds, and that I'm finally getting very happy with most of the cover/back/disc designs.

The sorrows are that I still have some lingering decisions on a few last branding questions and release details. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that the tracks have been done and mastered for over a year. It's mostly been branding questions that have stood between this music and the public all that time. I'm converging on the last choices, but I'm also starting to succumb to decision fatigue and am perhaps losing perspective. My hyper-perfectionist and attention-to-detail sides aren't helping get this done quickly, either. I'm grateful to be trying to Do It Right(tm), but I'm also trying not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Therefore, I'm turning to my friends and colleagues for a final blast of outside support to get the album off to the printer and out into the world! Depending on your interests, there are 3 different surveys you can take (with embedded images where appropriate) to give your perspective on the final decisions. None of the forms have any required fields - leave as much or as little feedback as you wish. If you leave your contact info we can stay in touch, I can ask follow-up questions about your answers, etc.

Front cover

Google form about the front cover (images embedded)
Slideshow of draft front covers

Back cover / disc / metadata

Google form about the back cover, disc, and metadata (images embedded)
Slideshow of draft back covers and images to print on the disc


Google form about genres
Genre? How could you tell if you haven't even heard the tracks?! Good question. :) I'm working on getting the 30-60 second sample tracks up somewhere, either directly on this site, a YouTube playlist, something. Stay tuned. :)



Multi-instrumentalist: oud, saz, Brazilian percussion (maracatú, other rhythms from Pernambuco, various forms of samba), body music, bass, Middle Eastern percussion, and more. 10 years studying North Indian classical music on the oud and voice interwoven with 15 years studying Brazilian music and dance (including 5 trips to Brazil for a total of 1 year of training) have given Derek a unique approach to music, rhythm, dance accompaniment, improvisation, movement, teaching, and life.

Derek is available for performances, dance collaborations, recording sessions, teaching, licensing, live accompaniment (films, plays, classes, etc), acting, and many other creative possibilities. He is also a certified practitioner and instructor of BREEMA (a bodywork method bringing body and mind together in harmony) and incorporates embodied mindfulness into his teaching and playing.