Greg Rapaport - Releases

Azrael Block - 2003 - Listen here

Metal Observer
The Prog-Nose (.pdf)
Electric Basement (.pdf)
Quintessence (.pdf)
Sea of Tranquility
Guitar Mania (pdf)
Ragazzi Music
Guitar Lords
Progressive Ears
The Guitarists

Azrael Block is my third venture into instrumental fusion and probably my most ambitious. Twelve songs and 75 minutes long this recording was the most challenging and time consuming to make so far. I concentrated on trying to take the production to the next level and to incorporate new sounds and textures. I also concentrated on giving each song its own identity and making sure it was unique and cool. The biggest criteria I had for the tune was that it had to be able to pull its own weight without solos.

Production Notes:
This recording was done at my project studio Splinterhead Recording. I went for a new approach this time around. I took a lot of different production elements that were new to me and tried to employ them as best as I could in the context of this project.

Taking the drums for instance, I changed my approach to them thanks to Simon Phillips and his production work on Derek Sherinian's projects. He uses an open airy type sound which I really like. He really spreads the drums across the stereo field and uses nice gating and reverb effects. So the drums sound big and you can really hear the actual tone of each drum. I did my best to emulate what he did I think I got somewhat close.

The guitars also got a bit of an overhaul. This time around I used less gain and tried to create a more toneful sound all the way around. I also panned the solo effects either to the right or left of the source. That helped clear things up and bring out more of the dry sound without sacrificing the effect. I also wanted to incorporate many different soloing tones throughout each tune and throughout the disk itself.

The bass remained unchanged for the most part. I just tried to make it sound clear and aggressive. I did throw a wah effect on it for one of the tunes which was kinda wacky, but other than that just a bit of reverb and that's it.

The one thing that did change as far as instrumentation goes is the use of the Yamaha RS-7000 sequencer. I had a lot of fun with this thing. Basically it's a 16 track hardware sequencer with a built in 1028 voice synth. It's got 63 drum kits and loads of percussion instruments. It is also tweakable beyond belief. It has real time manipulation of the different voices through filters and effects and it's all automated so it records and plays back the real time changes. I slaved it to my Roland midi controller and synced it with the 1680 and R-70 and proceeded to have a blast. I mainly used the RS-7000 as a support instrument. It can be very easy to get carried away with a new piece of equipment so I kept my enthusiasm in check. After all I'm trying to be a guitar player, not a techno guy.

The keyboards shared duties with the RS-7000. Essentially when I couldn't get the sound I was looking for with the Yamaha I'd go for the Korg.

©2001-2020 Greg Rapaport/Splinterhead Productions Inc.