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Everything posted by Fugazi

  1. I'm late with the updates, here's one from James Shearman. It's worth reading while listening to the song. https://www.facebook.com/JamesShearmanConductor/posts/pfbid034pRQQAEZLwYwG4ZRE6QENsCZTVMAWS7qdSX2oRH7wuza1a6377VvhJRw2saYughrl 'Perfume Of The Timeless' Orchestral Arrangement Breakdown. Some of you may recall in part one of this post that I talked about how my initial reactions to a demo of the song are important, it’s on the first few listening’s of the song that my instincts come into play and I spot where I think the important musical highlights are. For me, out of all the Yesterwynde tracks, Perfume Of The Timeless was the song that was more traditionally ‘Nightwish’. Musically speaking (and from a personal view point), the chorus is the highlight and it’s where the orchestra really start to 'take off’, but let’s start with the the song’s epic introduction. After the first few bars of drums, the strings enter straight away with a very ‘Holopaininen string riff’. All the violins and violas play in unison and the cellos play the same part an octave lower. We then have a low brass swell (cimbasso, contrabass trombone and bass trombone plus two tenor trombones an octave higher) added to the 4th bar of the string riff 0.33 which leads into the first choir entry. We’re then off again with the string riff but this time Troy’s pipes join the strings, the low brass play the long low bass notes but this time the french horns enter with a chord swell at 0.47, leading up to the second choir entry. Then we’re off again with the string and Pipes riff, but on this occasion we add a second set of string parts on top of the string and pipe riff. Basically, we record the strings playing one set of parts in the arrangement (the original string riff) and then record the strings again playing something different over the top of the string riff. Tuomas often has two distinct sets of string parts in his demos, but more often than not I make the two different string parts work with just one string ensemble, I edit and re-voice everything so that everything is playable with just one string ensemble, but on POTT we really needed both the string riff plus the slow moving ascending string parts which build in intensity to the breathy choir ‘ahhs’ at 1.30. So in addition to the two sets of strings playing the riff with Troy, this section also builds with our low brass, followed by horns at 1.06, followed by woodwind, percussion and finally trumpets at 1.30. I use a simple but effective gesture for the brass throughout POTT, where they make extreme dynamic swells over a bar or two. They start very, very softly and quickly become very loud. This is quite straight forward for the low brass over a couple of bars of music at a time, but for the trumpets it’s more difficult as I have them play in the highest register of the instrument, and so supporting the very high notes from the very, very soft volume means they can often ‘split/crack’ the note. I won’t go into the technique of brass playing to explain why this is so treacherous for the trumpets, but fortunately, for all the Yesterwynde tracks we had great players in Mike Lovett and Jason Evans who make it sound so easy! This type of brass orchestration with dramatic swells up and down is quite ‘filmic’ (think Inception by Hans Zimmer), and helps give the orchestra a more contemporary sound because we associate the sound with contemporary movie scores. At 1.32 the breathy choir ‘Ahhs’ enter and they are accompanied with a simple four note string phrase played by the cellos and contrabasses that starts at 1.38. Moving onto the next significant part of the song’s introduction at 2.09, we had to create another orchestral build leading up to the first verse. This starts with just the contrabasses and cellos, then adding the violas followed by the second violins.This leads up to 2.24 where the strings do the classic Nightwish thing of doubling the electric guitar riff, all the strings play this, initially in octaves then in three octaves, this gives a nice build. The woodwinds here play a similar figure to the choir, but they are playing up in a higher octave. The low brass continue with low swells, then after a couple of bars; at 2.32 the horns join, playing sustained harmony, finally the trumpets are added at 2.37. So you can see already that things are always building slowly, If the whole orchestra came in at the start together, there would be nowhere left for me to go, nothing to help build over these intro sections which are effective but relatively simple sections of music, so creating textures that increase in size and volume around the string riffs, helps create excitement. We use these simple but effective ideas throughout POTT. For the first verse at 2.39 we have just the strings playing four part string chords, quite gently, leaving plenty of space for Floor’s vocals to shine. At 3.09 we get to the 'pre-chorus’. This is the section of a song that functions as a ‘build’ to the chorus. Musically, it’s usually stronger than a verse but not quite as strong as the chorus, it’s there to help shift the momentum of a song and lead us to the main event. Here we have the two sets of strings again, we first recorded the strings playing high string chords, we then had all the violins record the moving part that is more prevalent (some refer to this as the ‘Phantom Of The Opera part!). So just the strings have been playing through the verse and pre-chours, which means that when we reach the first chorus at 3.38 the brass finally enter and we have instant impact! The Chorus for POTT has a catchy rhythm. Tuomas original had two distinct sets of string parts on his demo, a full string orchestra was playing the melody with short ‘chugging’ chords and then another full string orchestra was playing sustained chords. But in this instance the two playing together would have canceled out each other. So I decided to take his original idea (the chugging/moving strings and the sustain), but write for one set of string parts and then use the brass. Basically when the strings play the rhythmic melody part at 3.40, the brass play sustained parts behind the strings, and then at 3.47 when the strings play the sustained parts, the trombones and french horns play rhythmic parts. So there is always a section of the orchestra that's moving whilst another section of the orchestra sustain behind it, this idea alternates between the two throughout the chorus. By doing this, not only is there greater clarity in the ideas, but the colour changes of the orchestra add interest. At 3.56 we’re back to Tuomas’s string riff, this is the same orchestration as at 2.24. At 4.11 we hit the second verse, and again we just have fairly gentle four part string chords, but this time there is a bit more movement within these parts, they are never just ‘padding’, they do contain lines that double Floor’s vocal such as at 4.26. Also, the band 'up the energy’ on this verse, bass guitar, lead guitars and drums are playing with more momentum, I have to take this into account. All the idea’s in the verse’s were in Tuomas’s original demo, everything worked well so my job on the verse’s was just to refine. When I look at an arrangement on paper, there should be an arch, sections of very little orchestra followed by fuller sections, and both these lighter followed by fuller sections should also increase in size throughout the arrangement leading to 'full on' orchestra and choir towards the end of the song. As we get to the second pre-chorus, we have the two string ideas again, very high sustained strings which help the orchestra to ‘open up’ and the more prevalent moving part on the violins with our ‘Phantom’ part again. We reach the second chorus at 4.56. Here I use the same ideas as the first chorus, but I add to this chorus, change the register that the strings play in and generally ‘up the energy’. The strings play rhythmic parts that double the melody, whilst the brass sustain and then again they switch; with the strings sustaining whilst the brass play a rhythmic part 5.06. But, this time I place the strings higher in register to add energy and excitement. Also I add the trumpets to this chorus, they are up high, adding a brilliance to the overall sound of the orchestra, the trombones and trumpets play high chord’s that swell 4.58. We are very lucky in London to have world class orchestral players that can switch from different playing styles with ease, here the brass are creating a tight, bright ‘pop/rock’ sound. Also in part one of this post I talked about putting the orchestra in the right space sonically within the song, on these chorus’s there is a lot going on in the band parts, so I keep the orchestra up very high in register, above the guitars, drums, and vocals, which is how pretty much everything I give to orchestra is heard above the guitars, drums, bass and vocals. On to the the Guitar riff at 5.43. This is pure Tuomas, the Nightwish sound where the bass and lead guitar riff is doubled with the strings. All the strings play this riff except the contrabasses. At 5.50 the french horns play a dissonant chord with a rhythm. At 5.59 the contrabasses join the string riff, but we move the violins to playing a high string ‘stabbing’ rhythmic part, which the woodwinds (Piccolo, flute, oboe, 2 clarinets and bassoon join at 6.06, (this idea and colour is very 'Stravinsky - Rite Of Spring’). At 6.14 I add muted trumpets to the woodwind rhythmic ’stab’s’ part and the violins return to the rest of the strings playing the guitar riff. I also add low brass swells here so the entire orchestra is playing but there are only three ideas going at once, and one of those ideas is doubling the guitar riff, so there’s still clarity even with an entire symphony orchestra, choir and rock band playing together. As we reach the final chorus I employ everything from the previous chorus, but everyone is marked up dynamically (they are playing ff - fortissimo (very loud) this adds extra energy as much as volume. I also change the voicing in the brass so that they are playing even higher in register, I also add some flutes to the trumpet parts, but playing very high, just adding a little higher frequency to the trumpets. Finally we reach the ending of the song and at 7.03 we start with a solo harp accompanying Troy’s beautiful, plaintive vocal. Then at 7.34 we have a simple part for the cellos and contrabasses followed by the rest of the strings at 8.03. The strings here are ‘muted’, this is a lovely, gentle sound that feels right for the ending of this song, the strings are able to leave with just a whisper of a sound. So there we are, I hope you’ll enjoy reading this post on your next listen to Perfume of The Timeless.
  2. Fugazi


    While in The Exorcism I was captivated by the percussion work, this one is more a Timo Somers showcase. Next single will be the Simone Simons collaboration, 'Dopamine'. Looking forward to it, as the version I have listened to (Patreon version) is bare-bones with very few arrangements. That's so awesome, both groups on a single night! I really hope I can make it to the Montreal show, and I look forward to VIP packages to be announced!
  3. I agree, they certainly know how to warm up an audience! Clementine Delaunay has great stage presence and tons of energy.
  4. Another new interview with Tuomas on Rock Antenne YouTube channel. The guy has listened to the new album already. It looks like the interview covers some of the same ground as the Sweden Rock article. Some highlights: "The Day Of..." is synth heavy with an 80's vibe. The song is about controlling people with fear, with an optimistic message hidden beneath. The album requires time to absorb but it will be rewarding. The album booklet includes many old-time photos with band members added-in.
  5. Welcome to the forums, Colin the Toffee! You might be our oldest NW fan, but who knows for sure? 😁 It's great that you kept up with the band for so long, many of the Tarja era fans have given up when Anette took over, and not all have returned when Floor joined the band. As far as I know, a server crash in 2015 or thereabouts took care of the Islanders website and forum and they never really recovered from that hurdle. This was the story for many of the early Nightwish forums.
  6. Awesome! The article seems to be behind a paywall, how did you manage to access it? Anyway, I suppose that 'The Day of...' won't be anything like 'You Will Never Be Our God' (Xandria) but it's funny that we get two metal songs somewhat inspired by the same book in the last year. Tongan guest vocalists? Hopefully they used due diligence and hired authentic Tongans and not con artists. 🤔
  7. Part 3: Floor speaks about recording her vocals from home. She mentions that on some songs from the new album she sings faster and also lower than ever before. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk2qcpv0pPc
  8. Fugazi

    Simone Simons

    This is totally different from the previous single! Very straightforward song, nothing experimental here. Can't help but think that this song comes from a very personal place for Simone, given the rumours of divorce. From Nuclear Blast: SIMONE SIMONS & ARJEN LUCASSEN comment: “The video was filmed in just one take to keep it as pure and raw as possible. We opted to keep it in black and white so as not to distract from the song or the performance. In Love We Rust is quite different from our first single Aeterna, which shows how diverse this album is. This is one of our favourite songs. We hope you love this as much as we do.” Lyrics written by Simone Simons and Lori Linstruth Music written by Arjen Lucassen Koen Herfst – drums Rob van der Loo – bass Arjen Lucassen – guitars and keyboards Video directed, filmed & edited by Patric Ullaeus (www.rEvolver.se) LYRICS : Hold my heart, it’s turning cold Steady me if I lose control I’m torn between the now and then Oh I never thought this love would end Promises we soon forget Angry words we still regret Every day is a brand new war But I couldn’t say what we’re fighting for In love we rust, we turn to dust In love we lie, we don’t ask why In love we rust, illusions crushed In love we hide, in love we die Memories so bittersweet Souls entwined, yet incomplete Holding on to a love outgrown Oh it hurts too much to let it go Building walls with words unsaid Hiding from the truth we dread We once believed we had it all Now there’s nothing left but for us to fall I’m turning cold, I lose control We’ll soon forget, but still regret We once believed we had it all There’s nothing left, we’re bound to fall
  9. Hmm this seems like a new strategy, exclusive NW vinyls at Walmart and Best Buy?! What's the world coming to? 😁
  10. Part 2 is live. Troy speaks about how this album feels like the third part of a trilogy -- which raises the question, what next? Will the 11th album really be thematically different from the previous three, a sort of new era? Possibly not even Tuomas knows at this stage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB-Vd00vv8k
  11. Super interesting post by James Shearman about arranging orchestra and choirs for Nightwish. https://www.facebook.com/JamesShearmanConductor/posts/pfbid024gmCqxuyQVKwGYFiXZSA4NecNdQ69TyAfjrBx5x4jdRM7mjaHscxbpHq9ajJHyLal The original idea of this post was to give the listener a talk through the orchestral and choral elements that Tuomas and I created for ‘Perfume Of The Timeless’. However, as I sat down to write the post I realised that it needed an introduction; ‘How are the orchestral and choral arrangements created for a Nightwish song? ‘Perfume Of The Timeless’ was actually the final orchestra/choir arrangement I wrote for ‘Yesterwynde'. My process is usually the same before I start on a single note of any arrangement and ‘POTT' was no exception. Firstly I Listen to the demo recording of the song, not over and over at this stage, just a few times to note my reaction to it on an emotional level. So just as a general example; on the first listen I might think; “I love that 2nd half of the chorus, that’s the sweet spot of the song, that’s the peak musical moment for me”, or “that second verse needs more going on in the orchestra, a bigger build“, etc etc. I’m not thinking about the orchestration specifically at this stage, I’m just thinking about the song, how it feels, where the musical sweet spots are for me. It’s really important to remember these initial reactions to the song. I would then just live with the song in my subconscious for a couple of days before speaking with Tuomas. Tuomas makes his own demo recordings for all his new songs. He uses (from memory)a Korg keyboard with a build-in sequencer and he records all the parts himself, one by one until he has all the parts that will eventually be fine-tuned and replaced by the Nightwish band, and his orchestra and choir parts are ready for me to ‘do my thing’ with. All his different parts of the composition are then recorded into a digital recording system called protools, these are then delivered to my assistant Martin Higgins. Martin then has the extremely labour intensive job of transcribing Tuomas’s parts, note by note into a computer music notation system called Sibelius. Martin then sends these Sibelius files to me. So at this stage I have a very basic musical score with all of Tuomas’s parts of the song notated in front of me. The Nightwish band parts are there just for my reference, so I can understand harmonically what’s going on in the song, and more importantly so I can see exactly what the bass guitar is doing, where the lead guitar riff sits in the track etc etc, I’m able to see quickly where I need to stay out of the way of the Band parts. Tuomas is super efficient. He was always very prepared and organised for our orchestration meetings. He knows his own music inside out (not all composers do strangely enough). For each meeting we would discuss just one song and these meetings would always follow the same pattern. 1. Tuomas would talk me through what the song was about, its meaning, its story (he’s always telling a story with music and lyrics). 2. He would then talk through each section of the song in detail, discussing his demo recording of the orchestral and choral parts, what he liked about them, what he didn’t like and what he would like me to add to, improve on, or merely polish. He would ask for my thoughts and opinions on all these points and I would offer my ideas. 3. Finally he would talk through the dynamic shape of the song, eg, how big or small the orchestra and choir should be at certain points in the song. He would ask me to make a certain section of the orchestral arrangement bigger; “could you add some brass and woodwinds to this here please James” or “this should be full-on orchestra here“, “no woodwinds here please, I really like it with just the strings I have”, etc etc. My favourite comment was something along the lines of “this should be the most massiveness of all massiveness James!” Tuomas likes intimate orchestration, you’ll have already heard many Nightwish songs accompanied with just a small chamber string orchestra, but he loves ‘EPIC!’ So do I, but actually there is a lot of skill in creating a good, polished ‘epic’ sound where each section of the orchestra can be heard clearly and with purpose. I am balancing the sound of big forces, a full symphony orchestra of 80 people of more and a choir of 50 singers all playing together, but doing different things. I’m having to get the right weight on the different parts, eg; enough String players on a melody that has to soar over a big French Horn line whilst the Trumpets and low Brass are doing something else and whilst the Woodwinds and Percussion are also doing completely independent things against all this. Of course the epic orchestral and choral sound is historically an important element of the Nightwish sound that began with Tuomas and the amazing Pip Williams. Pip created brilliant orchestral and choral epic sounds on all past albums, it was skilful, original and each element of the orchestra had space to breathe, his orchestration had a sheen and brilliance to it. I conducted the orchestra and choir for all those past albums and it sounded magnificent live in the studio. That sound had to be continued for ‘Yesterwynde’ of course, but after discussing this with Tuomas we decided to try and do it in a slightly more contemporary way. I had lots of new ideas for this approach and I’ll talk specifically about this on ‘POTT’ in a part two post. A major consideration when adding a full symphony orchestra and choir to a rock track is ‘where is all this sound going to fit within the Nightwish band parts?’ If you imagine three different sound frequencies to work in; low, mid and high, the low and mid frequencies are already full with the bass guitar, kick drum, snare and toms, guitars, keyboards and then vocal in the mid to high. So I have to place the orchestra and choir parts in the right frequency ranges so that you the listener can actually hear what they are playing. I achieve this mainly by keeping the low end of the orchestra away from the bass guitar and often having the strings play just above the guitars. There are always exceptions to this such as when the bass guitar is just pulsing (not moving around too much) and we want a heavy and dramatic low sustained brass gesture down there, but generally when both the orchestra and choir are in, they’re up quite high which gives a nice brilliance to the overall sound of the track and the guitars, bass and drums are not muddied with orchestral contrabasses, low brass etc. My job is to solely focus on the orchestral and choir elements, to take what Tuomas has created for the orchestra to the next level, to maximise its effect, make it as exciting, moving, impactful and beautiful as I can, and to make it technically ‘playable’ for real musicians and singers. Within each song I’m sometimes required to create new ideas for the orchestra, not riffs, but bigger symphonic textures. As an example; Tuomas’s might have string parts that I would eventually turn into a full orchestra moment, adding brass, woodwinds and percussion. Other-times I might be required to do very little, maybe just re- voice some strings and polish what Tuomas has already created in his demo. How I decide to do what and when is largely down to experience, my instinct and of course after discussion with Tuomas. The great thing about working with Tuomas is that he is a both a perfect collaborator and gentleman. There is no ego, he is only interested in creating the best possible music that he can. He is an artist. He would always ask for my ideas and listen to my opinions. He is straight forward and he knows what he wants but at the same time is always happy to try new things. Equally, as an arranger I cannot allow any of my ego to seep into things. I have my own ‘sound’ and personality as an arranger, but I’m always aware that I’m there to serve the composition. I am also a composer of my own music and so I have an understanding and appreciation of both roles. Most importantly, when arranging a song; the vocal is king! (Nightwish have a powerhouse of a ‘Queen’ vocal in Floor, her vocals are superb. She has an incredible range that she knows technically how to use). As an arranger I’m there to support the vocal, to weave the orchestra and choir around the vocal, never disturbing the listener with too much going on. I’m there to highlight and punctuate musical phases for added impact, to add a little more interest or colour here and there and to be sympathetic to the song’s story. After I’d completed an arrangement I was able to give Tuomas a decent demo recording of the orchestra and choir parts using all the technology we have at our disposal today. That way he was able to hear a demo of just the orchestra and choir parts for each song and asses things. I would only ever send him my demo if I was really happy with it, he constantly refines his compositions and I also do the same in my work. I would then wait for Tuomas’s reaction to what I’d sent him. Most of the time Tuomas was very happy with what I’d done, sometimes he would ask for some tweaks to things. So after his feedback I would make any tweaks and re-send him my demo, and we would then move on to the next song. We worked like this for around four months. During this period Tuomas was also rehearsing his new songs with the band, Emppu, Floor, Troy, Kai and Jukka all bringing their own brilliant musicianship to the parts Tuomas had originally written for them (these guy’s can really play!). Once the orchestra and choir arrangements were all signed-off by Tuomas and I, my notated scores would then be sent to the music copyist and music Librarian for the project; Tom Kilworth - who’s job it was to print and tape together multiple copies of the scores and parts for over 100 musicians and singers for each arrangement (needless to say he gets through A LOT of paper and ink carriages!). That time scale for ‘Yesterwynde’ was a luxury for me, I’m use to having a month (max) to complete orchestrations for a 80 minute movie score. Eventually I finished the final arrangement for ‘Yesterwynde’ (Perfume Of The Timeless) a week or so before the recording sessions. So I then had a week to get organised for the recording sessions at Abbey Road Studio Two. So that’s the process of ‘how the orchestra and choir arrangements were created for ‘Yesterwynde’. Hope this post was interesting to some of you Nightwish fans. On to a ‘listener's guide to the orchestra and choir on ‘POTT’ in part two next week.
  12. These are good picks. We know that Yesterwynde (the song) is short at 2:43 minutes, so it's probably more like an introduction to the album. Hiraeth has no orchestra, so perhaps not single material. An Ocean Of Strange Islands is 9:26 so possibly too long for a single, but then we just had 8-minute Perfume Of The Timeless. So my guesses would be between 'The Day Of...' and 'The Antikythera Mechanism'... but yeah, just going on a hunch! As for when the next single(s) will be released, I would guess one in July and the other in September just as the album is released. I think there are 3 videos, so I can see them releasing 3 singles and possibly lyrical videos for the rest of the songs as they did for Human Nature.
  13. After South America with Marko in March 2024, and the Rock Meets Classic tour in Germany in April, Tarja did a solo Mexican tour in May, and is now back in Europe for the Summer festivals. Contrary to what was mentioned before, Marko will join her for at least some of the gigs, including the Metalfest show in Czech Republic.
  14. Troy's personal website has shut down in the last few months. It hadn't been updated in years. I guess his social presence currently is on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/troydonockleyofficial http://web.archive.org/web/20240000000000*/http://www.troydonockley.co.uk/
  15. Yesterday in Eindhoven, acoustic Our Decades In The Sun: https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/floor-jansen/2024/klokgebouw-eindhoven-netherlands-356d18f.html
  16. Marko has also announced he will be part of Raskasta Joulua again this December. Also joining are Tonny Kakko and Elize Ryd.
  17. I don't think there are that many interviews with the mastering tech from Finnvox Studios. Mika covers lots of ground, from his beginnings in music, to starting work with Nightwish in 1997, to the current album and addressing the concerns of some fans about the peculiar mix on POTT. (Spoiler: he doesn't give a fart!)
  18. Take-home message: NEEDS MOAR MARKO. 🤣
  19. Here's a POTT reaction by an old NW fan biased towards the Once-era and who admits to preferring Anette over Floor -- heresy 😉. Patrick Musilek - POTT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwk-MiJZWds
  20. Fugazi


    This is an old interview (2023) with Marko Heubaum, but I think it has some nice insight about the break-up of the old line-up and formation of the new band (during the pandemic). Also I enjoyed his thoughts on the state of the world and how it informs his song-writing, he seems like a very reasonable person. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lfQA9hxA60
  21. It's the return of the Making Of documentaries! There was no such thing during the Human Nature cycle, but Nighwish just posted the first of a number of short weekly videos about the making of Yesterwynde. Here Tuomas talks about the inspiration behind 'Perfume Of The Timeless'. We can briefly see Floor and the rest of the band reheasing but I'm not sure if it's contemporary or archival material, since Floor didn't take part in the 2023 summer camp. It also could be footage from her home studio, it's too short to tell. Quick links: Part 1 (Tuomas) - Part 2 (Troy) - Part 3 (Floor) -
  22. Fugazi

    Within Temptation

    From the Worlds Collide tour, The Reckoning featuring Amy Lee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koj0GRhs284 I think their voices sound great together, unfortunately we can't hear Amy Lee all that well in this recording.
  23. https://www.facebook.com/JamesShearmanConductor
  24. Fugazi


    Neat, I wonder if they might have new material by then? 👀
  25. https://www.facebook.com/troydonockleyofficial/posts/pfbid02ikYsGkEpvitufKKyL7YatcVag2Xf1PZrMEkfG6fgVoPRecqY9uUVjjcZ1BjWNGH3l
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