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Homunculus - 2006

Homunculus is my fourth instrumental effort. I utilized some new production skills I gained over the past two years to hopefully create a clearer more punchy recording. I also focused on creating a lot of depth and cool textures to have the listener hear something new each time they listen to it. I tried to maintain a decent level of technicality in my playing without sounding like a robot. If I went for it and kind pushed it a bit too far I'd generally keep the take. I feel that its important to keep the spontaneity instead of going over it 100 times and losing the vibe. In other words no "ProTooling" was done on this recording
:-).

The idea behind this album is that each song represents a facet of one's personality. I personified each song through graphic representation and style and composition. Each song is its own character that lives in one's mind and that character has its own paradoxes that I also express through the music. I prescribe to my previous principle that each song has to pull its own weight without any solos and if it didn't... well into the scrap heap it went.

Production Notes:
This recording was done at my project studio Splinterhead Recording and will more than likely be my last recording using my Roland VS-1680 as I'm in the process of upgrading my studio. Most of the instrumentation remains unchanged. I used my Carvin DC-747c seven string for all electric guitar parts. My Carvin LB75p 5 string bass was used for all bass parts. And I played my Ovation Celebrity acoustic for any necessary acoustic guitar parts. My Yamaha RS-7000 synth/sequencer was used for most of the synthesizer parts and some sound effects. I also used Acid to create sound effect beds that I flew into my RS as well. The only real new piece of equipment that I used is a guitar synth and that I pretty much kept that to a minimum. I recorded one solo with it and doubled a few others. My drums were all programmed in real time using my trusty R-70 rhythm composer. No drum loops were used.

Drums
I tried to maintain a certain spaciousness in the drums and tried to give them a punchy live sound. I mixed them wide and applied gated reverb in varying amounts around the kit. A bit of compression on the snare to tame it and a bit of overall room reverb on the two track mix down to put it all in the same space.

Guitars
The rhythm guitars were recorded direct using my POD 2.0 and my Carvin Tone Navigator. The effects were courtesy of my VS-1680. The solo guitars were recorded using either my POD or Behringer VAmp Pro. The Behringer, when tweaked, provided a nice base to work off of. It's a nice piece of gear and a major bang for the buck. Don't attempt to use it in a live situation though, not so happening. Any acoustic guitar parts were done direct and I applied some eq to round them out a bit. Bass guitar was also done direct. Eq and preamp algorithms were applied as well as compression and sometimes light chorus to the bass to spice it up a bit. I really tried to mix up the guitar sounds to suit each song. Some of the tracks have a more vintage vibe while some others are much more modern. I also mixed up the clean solo sound a bit as well. Going from a fat warm sound to a bell like chorus sound again to suit the song. The only real difference in the dirty solo sound is whether I used the neck or bridge pickup.

Synthesizers
My RS-7000 was my main piece of gear as far as synths go. I either used my keyboard or my guitar to input any midi info to trigger the synth. Any effects like reverb and delay etc on the synth tracks were all born from the RS-7000 as well. This time around I also used Acid to put together long sound effects beds that would be either to complex to create in RS or just be way to big file-wise.

Overall
The mix down this time around was particularly tough. The tracks are pretty dense and I had to really focus on creating space for everything without making it sound one dimensional and flat. I used a lot of subtractive eq to really hone each instrument and applied very little effects overall. The only send/return effects I used were delay, chorus, and reverb. For inserts I only really focused on multiband compression, broadband compression and parametric/graphic eq's. I really tried to let the raw tone do most of the work for me. As far as mastering I used Izotope's mastering suite which really provided a nice environment to try some new things.

 

 
Greg Rapaport: Homunculus
 
Reviews:
Metal Storm
Live4Metal (.pdf)
Metal Rules
Metal Perspective (.pdf)
Prognosis
Adrenaline Fanzine
Metal Haven
Metal For Life
Song List/Description
The Sojourner (Confined):
The perpetual gypsy. The Sojourner is constantly on the move. Never quite fitting in anywhere because she looks a little bit "different". If you notice she is the only one without the symbol that all the others possess. Her paradox is that she is imprisoned by her own appearance.
The Brawler (Affliction):
Here is the badass of the group. Just plain mean with no ulterior motives. This is the guy at the bar who drinks enough to become belligerent but still able to keep it together mentally and physically. While not as threatening as he used to be due to the loss of his hand he becomes a threat in his vehicle. He finds extraordinary joy in seeking unsuspecting motorists to plow into. He obviously is angry and feels like he has constantly gotten the short end of the stick. Abused both mentally and physically throughout his childhood all he lives for is the misery of others.
The Corruptor (Righteous):
This guy is the proverbial "bad seed" of society. He looks for ways to lie, cheat, steal and corrupt others. He feels that he as been let down, fallen through the cracks. Because of this he has instilled himself with a sense of entitlement. He is also a bit of a Robin Hood, frequently sharing his spoils with others that are as downtrodden. This helps alleviate his guilt. There is a certain greasy hard funk factor that contrasts with a clean jazzy section that helps illustrate this paradox. The aggressive parts of the tune, represent the environment in which this guy lives.
The Scapegoat (Revenge):
This is the character that represents the punished. The song initially has him wandering, feeding off his self pity. Truly a well of sorrow he is either shunned or abused by others. As the song progresses he finally comes into his own, slowly but surely. Deciding his life is worth more then he thinks he starts down his path of redemption and revenge.
The Alchemist (Infernal):
He portrays himself as an innocent man trying to do good by curing the sick. But in reality he is only looking out for himself. Motivated by greed he tries to manipulate metal hoping to create gold out of lead. By exploiting his patients through guilt and brainwashing he is able to fund his experiments hoping to raise his station in life.
The Assassin (Guilt):
An aging thrill junky. The Assassin needs the rush of killing to maintain status quo. The intro of the song sets up the kill with footsteps a heartbeat and then the rush ensues. Guilt is finally catching up to this character when she thinks of her newborn but she quickly swallows it and again goes out for her fix.
The Swindler (Loss):
Constantly making up for his own inadequacies this guy gets off on subversion and deceit. He is always scheming but is never satisfied with how much he gets and is always looking for that elusive "big score." That is until he gets caught, which he does at the end of the song.
The Mystic (Antipathy):
The mystic is pretty much a paradox in that while he has been taught to believe in balance and harmony he truly houses a hostility towards himself and the human race. He has become a victim of his own occult experimentation transforming himself into something not quite "natural". The beginning of the song pretty much sets the stage of his ritual while the more aggressive part represents the ritual itself. The aftermath is expressed in the outro.
The Jester (Despair):
This the typical "funnyman". He is able to hide his wretchedness through humor. Over time he has developed quite a mean streak and frequently peppers his self deprecating humor with subliminal japes aimed at his unsuspecting audience. He has no problem making you laugh just as long as he gets to laugh a bit as well.
The Priest (Depraved):
The epitome of all that is good and pure while on the inside this simply is not the case. By calling his flock to church and through using the word of God he is able to get close to his vice. Morally bankrupt he glides above suspicion by preaching about fairness, love and truth. In reality he is emotionally scarred and takes out the frustration of his duality on the innocent.
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