EXCLUSIVE IN-STUDIO REPORT FROM SIGH’S MIRAI KAWASHIMA, PART III: ON THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF USING REAL ORCHESTRAL INSTRUMENTS
When Sigh mainman Mirai Kawashima offered to do a series of blogs from the studio where the band is recording their new album, Scenes from Hell, it was an opportunity too cool for us to pass up. Below find Mirai’s third entry; you can find his first one here and his second one here. More will follow in coming days and weeks. Enjoy!
First of all, our apologies to people who were looking forward to the sequel to Dr. Mikannibal’s recording rules for the serious studio report this time. She’s still working on the vocals, naked as usual.
Well, the biggest difference between the recording of Scenes from Hell and the previous albums is definitely the use of orchestral instruments. There were a few of “real” trumpet parts on Hangman’s Hymn, too; however, this time they fill the album from the beginning to the end.
Obviously the real instruments sound way more powerful, vivid and emotional than MIDI or synthesizers. But handling them isn’t easy at all.
I had to go over the 6-inch thick book on orchestration which cost me more than $200 to check with the register and character of each instrument. Writing the scores was even worse. You have to deal with C-cref, which I’m not familiar with at all, for the viola part. You have to write the notes two semitones higher than actual sound for the trumpets. You don’t have to care about the lowest or highest note for MIDI, you can use the violin sound in contrabass register if you want, but when dealing with the real instruments, you need the knowledge. I almost went insane when writing hundreds of pages of scores with these difficulties.
But I’m 100% sure that these struggles meant a lot. So far, trumpet, trombone, flute, oboe, clarinet and bass clarinet are mostly recorded, and they sound brilliant, even better than I expected. The trombone parts were done by Pál Zoltán from mighty Sear Bliss.
What is important is that all the participants understand what we’re aiming for, I suppose. I always ask them for their opinions on the scoring. Trumpet players know much more about trumpet than I do. Thus, the results should be far better than just hiring the studio musicians or an orchestra who have never heard any heavy metal stuff at all. We’d like to thank everybody who helped us with the recording.
Very soon we’ll start recording the string quartet parts. The album will be full of roaring brass and eerie woodwinds and strings. This is going to be a pure musical description of hell. I myself cannot wait for the album to be done!
OK, I promise, the next entry will be about Dr. Mikannibal’s third rule, don’t masturbate during the recording.
Sigh’s new album, Scenes from Hell, will be out later this year on The End Records.