tiistai 23. lokakuuta 2012

Burning the Midnight Oil

We're pretty glad to announce, that the recordings of our 4th album are over! Last Friday Suvi sang the final tunes and melodies. Mixing and mastering will take place next month.

But I guess it's decent to rewind a little bit and tell about the vocal session. A couple of weeks before the session at D-Studio we decided that Suvi can sing her parts wherever it suits her best. She lives in Jyväskylä and knows lots of music posse there, so it was a natural decision to record there. Avoid travelling, take your time and give your best shot in a familiar studio - that's the recipe for Suvi's great outcome.

So, Suvi entered SN-Audio Productions studio to nail down chilling moments with her long-time co-worker Sami Niittykoski. As Suvi is a heartworking musician, a professional singer and a work-a-holic, the recording day stretched as long as 11 hours! If you can record all the stuff in a single day, why bother come again next day...

Suvi summed the session this way: "All in all, everything went smoothly and I left the building with a good feeling. It was nice and fun to work with Sami. Lots of renovation dust everywhere, but it didn't disturb me."

A couple of pictures from Jyväskylä and a medley video from D-Studio, enjoy!

Horns up,
- Hannu

Getting ready for the action.

Greetings from the abyss.
All you need is a solid background singer...
The one and only meal break for 11 hours: Sol, tuna and cottage cheese.
Tullamore Dew: because I'm worth it (mission accomplished)!

torstai 18. lokakuuta 2012

Mandolin Madness and Growling Tom (10.-14.10.)

As soon as the guitar parts were on tape, Ville, our artistic leader, took the wheel and steered the studio session into eerie and bizarre direction. The following days were full of exceptional instruments, ideas, voices, growls and other weird shit. First, he decided to replace all guitars with mandolin. Luckily, we managed to restore most of the guitar parts. After this mandolin madness, Ville began to "produce" Andy's growling and turned him into what some people call "Tom Waits of Finland". This resulted in strange brawling and growling which amazed even Andy himself. Then Ville wanted to sing a couple of songs instead of Suvi. It sounded... interesting. Thank metal gods that we shall mix the album in November, so we can erase some of Ville's vocal delivery.

Besides all this fuss and disorder, Andy did great job with the vocals. He's a world class growler and even better and diverse than on earlier albums. Spine-chilling and scary moments ahead! Ville added some fuel to the fire with his backing vocals. Impressive job, I must say.

Ville's weapon of choice: Mandolin.

Fuck Angry Birds... Here's Angry Andy!

Hannu (on left): "Sing well." Tuukka: "That's right."

On Saturday, the 13th day of recording, Hannu and our friend Matt Massmurder decided to join the dynamic vocal duo in order to end the session properly (boozing). Some strange but important instruments were recorded (soldier helmet, tambourine etc.). A couple of songs needed a good old fashioned mob singing. No problem, the Buzzsaw quartet did the job willingly and mercilessly.

WWII helmet is made for beating. Just like a bass guitar.

After the hard day of labour it was time to cook some decent supper and sip a couple of drinks. Hannu and Matti wanted to show their respect to Tom Waits of Finland and Laughing Lenny of Suvela and prepared Osso Bucco with Risotto Milanese. Delicious, once again!

Eat all this and you'll look like Hannu.

Antti the Photobomber.

The Last Supper: Osso Bucco and Risotto Milanese.

On Sunday, there were only some hangover to suffer and some editing to do. The studio session at D-Studio was about to end. During two weeks everything went pretty smoothly and it was great to record awesome songs with no rush. If you have to burn the midnight oil all the time in studio, the result will be mediocre at best. This time, no hassle at all, thanks to good preparing, sadistic rehearsing and good engineering by Jarno Hänninen and Markus Salo.

But, we're not there yet! Suvi will record her parts in Jyväskylä this Friday and after that all instruments and vocals are on tape. We shall return to D-Studio in late November to mix the album. In the meantime, we have lots to do with album layout, promo photo shoots and negotiating about the album release. Next week, we shall play a gig in Helsinki (Bar Loose 26.10.) and perform a couple on new songs. Stay tuned! Noumena Blog will be updated every once and a while.

- Hannu

tiistai 9. lokakuuta 2012

The Days of Epic Guitars 5.-9.10.

So, after Ilkka ja Hannu had finished their drum n´ bass recordings it was time for dynamic guitar duo of Ville and Tuukka to start their own quest in the land of music. On Friday Hannu laid down the last of the bass lines and we started to record the rhythm guitars. For the rhythm guitar sound we used the following setup: Mesa Boogie Single Rectifier head with ESP Eclipse and Peavey 6505+ head with Gibson Les Paul Studio both through ENGL Vintage cabinet. This package gave us a nice warm, but crunchy sound. Tuukka gave his best shot to start plowing through the field of rhythmic guitaring and in the end of the day we had done guitars for two songs.

Stuba delivering a harsh pickslide. Ville approves.

On Saturday we continued the work on the rhythm guitars with our weekend engineer Markus Salo and with a relative ease we managed to do all the guitar parts. I must say that the rhythm sound is exactly what we hoped for. At this point Tuukka and Ville would like to thank our friend and new guitar tech Matti Vaaja for superb job on the fine tuning of our guitars. Usually we’ve had some major issues in the studio with the guitar intonation, but this time it has been a pleasure to play the riffs and lead melodies because the tone is so much better and for the same reason the working process has been somewhat swift. Thanks Matti!

Ville wreaking havoc with ESP.

Andy found something funny in Internet. Maybe a new Grandma joke.

On Sunday Tuukka started work on what was to be a day of acoustic mayhem. Acoustic parts are essential to Noumena songs and the next album will be no exception on this regard. Actually there might be a bit more acoustic stuff on the album than before, but not very dramatically. And at this point I must thank Hannu Unnbom for lending his Breedlove AD25/SR Plus acoustic guitar. Again, the recording of acoustic guitars can be a pain in the ass, but this time it was less painfull. With a quality guitar like this there was no need to worry about the tone of the guitar. It was only matter of the player himself to deliver the right notes on tape. We actually used more acoustic guitar on the songs due to the fact that we had a proper guitar on our hands and it sounded great. Well, the playing itself was a fullday job as usual, but after a days hard work I had done all the acoustic parts on the album except one song which will be done by Ville later on. I’m really happy how the acoustic parts came out so I hope you also will enjoy them in time.

Our talented guitarists full of spirit and virtue.

On monday we started on the lead guitars with Jarno back as the engineer. On lead guitar sound we used the Peavey 6505+ head with the ESP and Gibson guitars. I started on the leads first to make sure I get my stuff on tape in time before I head back to Joensuu on Tuesday afternoon. The recording went quite smoothly though when you are in the studio you always hope to be just a little bit better player than you actually are. Anyway, I’m pleased how the leads were played and how it sounded. On Tuesday we continued on the leads with myself playing just a few harmonies on the leads and Ville playing the rest of his parts. It’s hard to compare the guitar stuff we’ve done here to the earlier songs we’ve done, but I can say there will be some trademark Noumena guitaring on the next album and on the whole the songs are starting to sound somewhat great at this point of the recordings.

The most important moment of studio day ahead: eating. Hunter's bread it is.

Hannu knows how to grease guitar heroes to play even better...

I will be heading back to Joensuu and will leave the other gang to finish the job. Expectations are growing high on this album as the work here progresses and I’m sure no fan of Noumena will be disappointed when they get their hands on this album. The wait has surely not been in vain.

- Tuukka

perjantai 5. lokakuuta 2012

Bassismus über alles!

The bringer of brown noise has been silenced, for now. This means that all the bass lines for the songs are "on tape". Playing and recording went more or less as easily as I predicted.

On Thursday morning there was still some drumming to do. Sometimes slower songs are more difficult to accomplish, but Ilkka did it well. I "helped" him with an acoustic guitar. This athmospheric yet esoteric song was the last one for Ilkka to play, so at 11.00 o'clock his responsibilities were fulfilled.

Then it was time to spread the gospel of bassismus! Growling ja thundering undertones is a key element in metal music - in fact the bass is the essential instrument in pop and rock music in general. Majority of guitarists won't admit this, but it's the truth.

The body of my bass sound rests on the instrument itself and Ibanez Phathed effect pedal. Studio engineer Jarno added a couple of more pedals and at the end of the chain there was a 6x10 Warwick bass cabinet. Goddamn, it sounded good! When talking about bass sounds, it's important to have enough overdrive and distortion. The playing went quite smoothly - thanks to frantic rehearsing. Of course there was room for improvising as well. Together with Jarno we arranged and composed some nice harmonics and bass riffs.

In the evening we drove to Helsinki to fetch the guitars from Matti's maintenance workshop and Tuukka from Pasila train station. At the studio we sipped a couple of beers and some Ardbeg. The amusement was provided by Ilkka with old classic Finnish comedies from the 80's.

This morning I played clean bass parts and that was it! I have done my duties (at least with the bass guitar.)

Tuukka and Jarno sought decent guitar sounds. After that Stuba recorded rhythm guitars for two songs. Ilkka decided to drive back to Ostrobothnia. Tomorrow there's going to be lots of palm-muted riffs, pick scratches and open chords. The artistic director Ville will arrive at D-studio and take the charge of everything.

To sum the past two days shortly: good times!

- Hannu
Ilkka showing a proper style to Jarno, the apprentice.

Jarno wanted to play drums, too.
Tools for the trade.
Familiar amps.
Tuukka is thrilled by the guitar sound.

Guitars got flue :(

Operation Zombaiaa, Day 5

-What the hell was that? Did you see it? Can you still hear it breathing? 

-I think I saw something horrible moving behind the corner. It looked almost... almost like a human, but it definitely wasn't one. We need to get the fuck out of here, fast.

-The passage behind us is blocked, that is the only way out. See that pile over there? I think it left something behind. Could you go closer and check it out?

-It seems to be only a Handful of Dust, nothing more. Do I really need to put my ass on the line here? I'd rather stay here and wait until it's gone for sure.

-Of course you can sit here and Play Dead for all night, but I for one wouldn't like to Sleep here unless absolutely necessary. We'll be Dead and Buried soon anyway, no matter what. Do you want to spend your final moments here looking back at your miserable life, waiting for them to come and rip your guts out?

-No fucking way. I want to get home, drink some wine, Let It Run Red until I pass out and forget everything about this damn operation.

-Then let's move forward. Try to be quiet, Only the Silent Survive.

-This passage looks empty, I think the thing's already gone. Follow me.

-Did you hear that, I think it's The Storm pounding outside! We must be near the exit.

-Yes I heard, wait, what is that? Oh my, oh my jesus fucking christ, did you see that! Can you hear it, can you feel it! It's some sort of a figure moving fast back and forth, it's penetrating into my mind, it's... I can't help it, it's like all Mysteries of Motion, in one entity, in one character.

-I can't fucking see it, it must be something Beyond Perception. But I can definitely feel its presence. I‘ll try to help you, but I don’t know how!

-Go on, damn it! It's grabbing my throat. I can't breathe, it’s bringing me to Season of Suffocation… This will be my death, this will be my Sundown, go forward, try to find the exit, don't let the Operation fail...

torstai 4. lokakuuta 2012

Recipe for the N-beat

What happens when you close drummer Ilkka, Mapexes and überführer Jarno in a small room for three days? Well, you'll get grooving beats, fast fills and solid performance! Ilkka has delivered some true N-beat which suits extremely well our new material. Ranging from blast beat to brush jazz, new songs are full of great variety of beats and styles. Ilkka is, of course, very pleased: "Bloody great stuff, innit!"

Mapex by night a.k.a. the tools of the N-beat.

Everything has gone smoothly, which is nice. We are right on the schedule, and Hannu will begin spreading some low-end bassism on Thursday. As time runs towards weekend, Tuukka and Ville are sharpening their shredding nails for the guitar recordings. Stay tuned!

A delicacy for the studio epicureans: Traditional Finnish mincemeat-macarone-box.

 Here's a clip of Ilkka's solid drumming:

Stay tuned!

- Hannu and Ilkka

sunnuntai 30. syyskuuta 2012

Calm before storm

The final rehearsal weekend before the studio session is over. The songs sound good, groove well, make your head bang and send the chills down the spine. Again, we grinded some details, but mostly just played tracks through to achieve confidence for the studio.

This is how the world looks like from a drum-point-of-view.

Ville's tapping drill.

We are going to nail down eight songs at D-Studio under the iron command of Jarno Hänninen. We are familiar with the place as we recorded a couple of songs there in the end of 2010. Its a high-quality facility with cozy sofas and a decent kitchen. Old saying goes, that armies march on their stomachs. Noumena members definitely play well only with a marvellous supper waiting after a hard day. This is why we appreciate good cooking conditions.

So, trooper Ilkka and lots of gear, guns and ammunition are already at the front in order to launch an infernal drum attack tomorrow morning. Operation Zombaiaa aka Noumena's recording session 2012 is ready roll.

- Hannu