Arrangements 1: Journey to the Sun/ Album Documentary

The Challenge

Write 45 minutes of music in 7 weeks

This idea ultimately came from researching the works of Kevin Penkin.

Kevin Penkin has written for games, visual novels, and t.v. broadcasted Japanese animation. I believe people hire him to write as himself (which is fantastic) and I absolutely adore his work, What has impressed me and awed me is seeing his career blossom. I can’t, and won’t, try to pinpoint which project catapulted his career, but one of his accolades is creating the music for a Japanese anime called Norn9 in 4 weeks.

90 minutes of music.

My goal was to replicate that feat, but the oncoming train that is work and the precedence of finishing current obligations made a replica of the journey impossible.

So, I have taken into account my current life parameters and come up with a way to create a set amount of music that would be expected following Kevin’s timeline and output.

First thing is first:

  • I am assuming that Kevin basically went ALL IN in these 4 weeks. A lot of prior prep before sitting down and seriously curating melodies, harmonies, etc. I have done this.

  • Since it is a month, I decided to assume that Kevin spent, at the most, 15 hours a day writing. It’s a lot and extensive, but I could see someone putting up with it if it’s only going to be for a month.

  • I do not believe Kevin literally say at his computer and wrote for 15 hours straight. I believe that he had:

    including breaks, eating, clearing his head, listening, breaking away from work to re-inspire,

    about 15 hours to get SOMETHING onto his canvas before he crashed to rest in preparation for the next day.

  • I believe that Kevin’s success in this task came from having a strong team backing him up. I will be working with an extremely talented mixing/mastering engineer by the name of James C Hoffman to help streamline the process. He works with Materia Collective and has a puppy. ‘Nuff said.

  • I believe that Kevin Penkin did not include time spent recording live musicians and the mixing/mastering process, so I am not including that, either.

Album Logistics

So, here’s the math.

Penkin Parameters

15 hours a day x 28 days (4 weeks) = 420 (h)ours

420 (h) / 90 (minutes of music) = 4.6

(one minute of FINISHED music every 4.6 hours)

Jasmine Jarameters

My parameters are a little weird, because I work in the evenings Mon - Friday (excluding Wednesday and Thursday off), but work a split schedule on Saturday and Sunday.

Long story short, I can only work 5 days out of the week. On one of those days, I lose an hour of work. Essentially, my hours are -

6, 6, 6, 6, 5 or 29 hours a week

29 x 7 (weeks, working 5 of 7 days each week) = 203 (h)

203 (h) / 4.6 (hours it took for Kevin to produce 1 minute of music) =

45 minutes

This is going to be HARD.

The silver lining - I get to take a trip with a college friend of mine to Japan and take 7 - 11 days off (writing AND working) to rest and re-couperate.

I’m slightly terrified.

I’m largely exposing my work load and opening myself up to scrutiny, but I think letting someone in on the process can also be freaking fantastic.

If I make something good, that is.

Which I will, because [lies]there is no pressure[lies] and I’m writing for me,


fans self

The pressure is on!

One thing to note:

  • I don’t have an anime budget, so I am pretending I am working for a company that is on a shoe-string fiscal pay out. They have enough to pay me fairly, but not enough for me to pull out all the stops (i.e. hire an orchestra, live musicians).

  • I have personally taken a hit, financially, for the greater good of a soundtrack. Since this is self-funded challenge taking place soon after a self-imposed investment into a soundtrack, I am going to be a bit more lenient. I still plan to invest in J2tS, but it won’t be at the rate of my last two projects (Ciel Fledge/Gigabuster).

  • Personal note: Don’t beat yourself up, Jasmine. You tend to compare the quality of your work to others (which is necessary), but this is NOT going to sound exactly the same as someone creating an anime score on a studio budget. If you had the resources, you’d make it happen.

Now, for those interested in what the album/story is going to be about, read below!


I mentioned in my very first post that my natural artistic penchant is for the pen. I don’t consider myself a story teller, but I really enjoy writing stories. I almost entered into a writing competition once when I was young, but I stopped writing due to a disliking for my work.

Thankfully, I was constantly inspired through anime.

Like many kids born in the early 90s, I grew up on Toonami, which catapulted me into the world of anime. Although my anime-show watching days have tapered off, I still take time out to watch animated shows (Love, Sex, and Robots), and animated movies (Your Name, Colorful, Paprika, Jin-Roh, Metropolis), because I love the medium.

One anime I did take time out to watch was Serei No Moribito. The anime captivated me because:

  • The main character was a strong female lead.

  • and the music was baller (mother f’in Kenji Kawai).

This anime lead me to create the story that I plan to use as my inspiration for this challenge.

No one is hiring me to write for their animation (YET!), and I need a focal point. I decided to use a story I had been chewing on since back in university



Kaej, second prince of the Mountain Kingdom, has nearly completed his apprenticeship - a rigorous internship that one must finish before being ordained as a castle scholar. The last rite, the final step for novices eager to join the prestigous Scholars of the Mountain Kingdom, is actually the easiest part of the process - go out into the community and write about an undiscovered piece of history. The default idea for many scholars is to interview a native of the Kingdom. Their story will be written down into the tomes and will become an extension of the Kingdom’s complex historical tapestry, thus weaving the novice into the ordinances of the Mountain Scholars.

Kaej is ambitious and decides that he wants to find more than a story. He wants to unhinge a narrative that will shake the pillars of the Mountain Kingdom to its core.

Surprisingly enough, he does, and it’s about someone in the royal family.

Main Characters

  • Unbar (Prince//King)

  • Norim (King’s Guard Squire//Exile)

  • Kaej ( ——//Second Born)

  • Kuma II (——//First Born)

  • Kuma I (Mountain King // Late King)

  • Buan (Head Scholar//Head Scholar)

  • Aizu (Princess//Queen)

  • Tay (Servant//Hostess)

  • Jare (Squire//Host)

  • Roi (King’s Guard//Drunk, Pariah)

  • Yulesad (King’s Confidant, Guard//Confidant to Aizu)

The story, were it in written form, would take place in the present and the past. I denoted each character’s position in life with // (past // present).

If had to describe this story, it would be a dramatic mystery. Kaej is a main character, but he isn’t the main character. My hope was, as you read the story, you’d care more about the mysterious hidden figure and Kaej’s ability to access more information about said person.


I have decided that I will give bits of information about the subject. Aside from the synopsis and the main characters involved in the story, I am going to see if people can get a semblance of the story through the emotions evoked and obscure track titles.

I’m eager to see what people may make of it!