Boom! A Studio Update On The Second Sylvium Album

It all started with a joke…

After Antal recorded the piano parts for the demo of ‘Breaking’ (working title) that would be the sixth track on ‘Waiting For The Noise’, someone made the comment about constantly hearing a saxophone solo in his head at the end of the song. Surprisingly, Antal took up the challenge and recorded an example of what it would possibly sound like using a sax from a sample library.

Initially met with cautious enthusiam, as we weren’t sure if this would fit in with our overall sound ( as a band and the sound of the upcoming album), it began to grow on us. This sax solo became such an integral part of the song, we couldn’t unhear it anymore. We decided we wanted to keep this on the record, as it just added the right vibe that we were looking for in that particular track.

Antal recalled that one of his ex co-worker had a son who was very good at playing saxophone, although he was just thirteen years of age. After having sent over a demo version of the song to him, Antal asked if it was something he could see himself playing for our new album. There was an immediate enthusiastic response and made a quick recording over the weekend of himself playing along with the demo. We thought that it sounded just awesome and made plans to go to the studio and record the part.

The sax parts were recorded at Jeff’s Recording, a studio of a friend of Antal’s located in Didam. It was decided that the parts would be winged, allowing a lot of improvisation for the player. Given the jazz background the player was coming from, it was decided to focus more on emotive playing rather than simply technical. Antal would be giving pointers here and there as to the vibe that we were looking for. Despite his young age, our sax player was quick to pick up suggestions that would get on his takes would incorporate those immediately into his next takes.
All in all, we took about 15 takes of different solo variations that Antal took home for further processing.

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This was a totally new thing for us to try as well as a completely new experience for Antal. We’re glad we went through with this idea, as it gave the track that extra vibe of melancholy and tension that it required.

With the drums, sax and vocal recordings behind us now, it was up to the rest of us to fill in the blanks, or fill up the noise, so to speak.

Using an early mix of the drum and vocal recordings as a guideline as well as the demos that we had already recorded as a reference, Antal started to record his synth parts over the holiday season. Although he had already thought up basic parts for the demo recordings and the album preview live show we did in November, recording for the album would be a whole new ballgame. On the previous album, Antal had joined the band just a week prior to the final recording deadline. Although all the of the music had been written, Antal wrote and performed a solo ( on Ominous). This time however, he would be able to integrate his own playing style, sound and vision on the Sylvium sound.

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Antal’s exclusive use of soft synth instruments that he controls live with MIDI controllers allows him a great deal of flexibility both live and recording with the band. Not only does it allow him to simply add new plugins or sample libraries on the fly if required, but he can use the exact same sounds when playing live.

Working on his parts from his home studio, Antal set about fleshing out the scenes and finding the right sounds and melodies for the songs on this album. One of the themes that was constantly in the back of his mind during the whole process was that of “Noise”, both in the sense of white noise static and just plain weird noises. In his own words: “I tried to give each track just a touch of this “noise”. Between Gijs’ Taurus pedals and my synth parts, I think we succeeded pretty well.” Another highlight Antal pointed out was the piano parts, which sway from bombastic in one song to minimalist and fragile in the next, setting the mood for each song.

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