I'm really happy and proud to finally release my latest CD - The Observer. This was quite the lengthy process - it took me out of the self made "Movements" and into the realm of musical collaborations, new instrumentation (classical strings) and live percussion recording. It all started with a collection of musical notes based on my observations from the every day to my travels back to Sweden and India. I have been inspired by the amazing musicians in India – hearing Zakir Hussain on the tabla, I wondered "can I incorporate this magnificent and exquisitely expressive instrument into my blend of rock n' roll". It wasn’t easy - and most tabla players considered me a mad man “distorted guitars and tabla is a no no ..."! But I do believe that the energy and the expressive nature of the instrument works wonderfully with my blend of rock. The trickiest part with a tabla in a rock band is the problem with finding space for the amazing intricacies the instrument produces and Tripp Dudley sure got what I was attempting to do; he knew where it fit in and understood my bizarre request to add tabla sections into an already jam packed sound. Joe Renaud (drums) and Lorenzo Wolff (bass) just kept the rhythm section perfect with everything that was going on around it – both of these guys made it possible to create this type of a rhythm section.
My inspiration for this album is based on observations in my life. I take images or memories and try to score that to music in some way. I hear a sound track to life – I constantly listen to music while on the road – walking, driving, flying, what ever your selected vehicle of movement is- and I am always trying to figure out how to take this simple experience and create a musical landscape. It makes life a bit more exciting I guess – sort of like taking a new route to work – break the routine.
My compositions usually start with a simple guitar line and evolve from there. I had never ever composed for classical instruments, so on this album it was a first and most definitely a learning experience. I am really happy about how the cello and violin melodies blend in with the guitar lines. Sean Hagerty’s calm demeanor on violin and Raymond Sicam’s rockstar attitude on the cello were the perfect mix. Some slight adjustment to the score were necessary, as I discovered one can’t simply translate guitar parts to cello/violin parts as the fingering is different. But finally it all came together really smoothly.
It has been a long road: from composing (started in 2010) to mastering (completed in January 2013) and to finally releasing this disc (May 7th, 2013) - but I’m really proud and grateful for all the hard work from everyone involved in the making of this album. Special thanks to my awesome band again, Joe (drums), Lorenzo (bass), Tripp (tabla), Raymond (cello), and Sean (violin). Amazing drum recording by Tom and Alex at Spaceman Sound (Greenpoint, NY) - incredible string recording session with Rocky Gallo at Virtue & Vice (Greenpoint, NY) - Rocky also mixed the whole album. Adrian Morgan (Timeless Mastering) put the finishing touches on the CD - thank you for all the great work....
And post-CD, a big thank you to Kiran Chandra for the amazing art work created for the album cover. Thank you to Agata Drobik and Ramona for help and moral support with getting the website, posters and postcards ready on time!
Pontus H.W. Gunve: All Guitars, synth programming
Tripp Dudley : Tabla and Darbuka
Sean Hagerty : Violin
Joe Renaud : Drums
Raymond Sicam III: Cello
Lorenzo Wolff: Bass
Drums recorded at SpaceMan Studios (Greenpoint, NY).
Guitars, Bass, Tabla, Percussion recorded Casa de'la Gunve (my apartment in Greenpoint).
Cello and Violin recorded at Virtue and Vice (Greenpoint, NY)
Mixed by Anthony "Rocky" Gallo (Virtue and Vice) in December 2012 Mastered by Adrian Morgan (Timeless Mastering) January 2013