Friday, April 30, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Not the look we'd expect but nonetheless nice to see a company finally giving Chris a signature model.
All the info at http://www.deanguitars.com/impellitteri_signature.php
In the beginning there was nothing... And then there was light!
The Dawn Of Time
Fifteen billion years later George Bellas presents to you an epic collection of instrumental songs inspired by the universe, how it was created, and from where and what it came from.
The material on this album is a stylistically diverse collection of shorter 3-5 minute songs with a total running time of 80 minutes. Some of the songs are in a complex progressive style, and others are in a more traditional neoclassical style. An extreme amount of attention went towards obtaining the highest quality sound for each instrument. The guitar, bass, drums and keyboards all sound clear, open, dynamic and very organic. And once again, Marco Minnemann recorded some absolutely phenomenal drum performances.
"The Dawn Of Time" will be released July 16, 2010 on Lion Music.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
After literally years of association with DiMarzio, Yngwie quit towards the tale end of 2009. Only now after weeks of speculation has his new pickup partner been introduced - enter Seymour Duncan. Anyone wanna bet this is about the $$$?
SEYMOUR DUNCAN PRESS RELEASE
When Yngwie J. Malmsteen set out on a quest to bring his tone to a higher level, he turned to Seymour Duncan. The result of hundreds of hours of intense tone pursuit is the YJM Fury: only available from Seymour Duncan.
Hum-canceling single-coil-sized pickup based on our original Stack® pickup design. Recommended for rock, neo-classical, shred, hard rock, power metal, and heavy metal.
The bridge pickup is aggressive and handles Yngwie's hard-hitting chordal onslaught. The neck pickup balances Yngwie's fluid left hand technique with his broad mix of right hand pick attack for a tone that's sweet and fluid, but with great articulation and responsiveness to dynamics.
The YJM series includes a dedicated bridge pickup and a separate neck/middle pickup. Pickups can be purchased individually, in a three-pickup set, or in a pre-wired pickguard ready to drop into your Strat guitar with an 11-screw hole "USA" pattern. The loaded pickguard includes a "no lube" volume potentiometer that meets Yngwie's demands for a very fast and responsive pot.
The YJM Fury will directly retrofit most single-coil equipped guitars. Though originally designed for a Fender® Strat with a scalloped maple fingerboard, the YJM Fury will work well with any bolt-on guitar that utilizes traditional single-coil-size Strat pickups. The YJM Fury is the same pickup that Fender installs in their YJM Strat guitars.
Available in off-white, white or black.
Friday, January 08, 2010
Artension / Ring Of Fire pianist and keyboard player Vitalij Kuprij joined the Trans Siberian Orchestra, visit the official site http://www.trans-siberian.com/ to read recent news and to see the concerts date so you can see Vitalij on stage in your city.
Vitalij will be in tour for the next months and he is very excited to be part of this great musical experience... he will wait for you to see during concerts!
For more info and concerts dates please check out: www.trans-siberian.com
A new VK solo album is expected sometime in 2010 on Lion Music.
Mistheria working on new solo album
Italian keyboard virtuoso Mistheria (Bruce Dickinson, Angel Of Eden) is working on material for a new solo album with guest spots rumored to include Roger Staffelbach, Emir Hot and George Bellas plus vocals from John West (Artension, ex Royal Hunt), Titta Tanni (Astra). More news on this coming soon.
Promising a return to more neo-classical waters (along with the usual progressive offerings) George Bellas is set to release his new solo album "The Dawn Of Time" within the next few months on Lion Music (release date tbc).
Combining elements of Romanticism and Futurism with mind boggling drum performances by Marco Minnemann, and guitar, bass and keys performed by George Bellas, "The Dawn Of Time" is an album brimming with exceptional musicianship and ultra unique writing.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Michael Troy Interview
24th February 2008
Hi Michael, many thanks for agreeing to this interview. You are the first keyboardist to be interviewed at www.baroqueandroll.com so may I congratulate you on this first of all.
MT: Thanks so much. I appreciate it.
You have recently gone from relative obscurity to grabbing the prestigious keyboard slot on the last leg of Yngwie Malmsteen's "Unleash The Fury" world tour. How did you get the gig with "the maestro"?
MT: Lol...I was in the "right place, at the right time".
The Malmsteen gig must be the most coveted slot for a keyboardist of your style, how was it playing the classic keyboard lines of Jen Johansson, Mats Olausson and Derek Sherinian?
MT: One of the most rewarding, exhilarating experiences of my life. A dream come true for me.
Was it daunting to step into the shoes of these legends as it where?
MT: Oh sure! I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. I was still playing with Star Wars figures when Jens was making his mark in Rising Force with Yngwie and of Yngwie's past keyboard players, he was my biggest influence. Not in regards to soloing style, but more the Toe-to-Toe duels and the general vibe of that whole thing. Mats influenced me too later on in his really tight and consistent accompaniment style.
Where you quite familiar with a lot of the Yngwie keyboard parts prior to getting the gig?
MT: I've been really into Yngwie's music since I was about 17, so yeah. Very familiar with the parts and also the role keyboards play in his music.
Did you get much rehearsal prior to the gigs and when and how did these take place?
MT: We had 4 days of rehearsal. We went over the assigned songs he had me learn and then Maestro focus's on anything he wants to change or that isn't quite right. What I mean by that is, I'd been playing a good bit of his songs for a long time but always as a variation for solo piano. I'd tend to play too far in the bass register with the left hand and a bit too high in the treble with the right. He likes it when you stay toward the middle and "fill it up" as he says. I have to say also, that it's really quite amazing to watch him direct a band and to be directed by him. He really has a gift for it and I couldn't imagine it any other way. He's a consummate band leader, no doubt about it.
Where you allowed to put your own inflections or is Yngwie pretty strict in what he expects from his keyboardist?
MT: As far as playing the accompaniment keyboard parts, yeah, it's pretty scripted but not uncomfortably so. He allowed me to do my own improvised synth solos during songs Far Beyond the Sun and Rising Force.
What material did you play? Where there any unexpected tracks?
MT: Some of the songs we did were:
Cracking the Whip
Far Beyond the Sun
Gates of Babylon
Baroque & Roll
Crown of Thorns
Trilogy Suite into Red house
You Dont Remember, I'll Never Forget
I'll See the Light Tonight
Yngwie is full of surprises and may change the set list at any time so you've got to be ready. He really keeps you on your toes.
How was it trading solos with Yngwie on tracks like Far Beyond The Sun and Rising Force?
MT: In a word, MAGICAL...I remember thinking..."is this really happening" lol...
What keyboard did you use for the gigs and what sort of sounds do you employ?
MT: I use ONLY Korg Triton Classic 76 key keyboards and Korg Triton Studio 88 key keyboard models. As far as sounds themselves go, whatever sounds (often called "Patches") Yngwie used in the recording is what I strive to get the closest to unless directed to do otherwise. All of my patches are combinations of different sounds (also called voices) so there is a certain amount of keyboard “pre-production" before a show.
What were the most demanding tracks for you as a keyboardist and what provided the most pleasure?
MT: The most demanding...well, It's all demanding, so you can never let your guard down and I always push myself to play my very best. As far as favourites...oh man, where do I start lol...I love it all so much, my favourite instrumentals we performed were Adagio/Far Beyond The Sun, Paraphrase, Baroque & Roll, Trilogy Suite. My favourite "vocal" songs we did were: Rising Force, Crown of Thorns and Cherokee Warrior.
What were your personal highlights from the dates in South America?
MT: There are soooo many...just a few were getting to travel (which I love by the way) to South America and seeing how warm and friendly everyone was down there. Yngwie's South and Central American fans are awesome. There was even a guy that flew ALL the way from Scotland to attend Yngwie's final show of the tour in Mexico City!! And of course every aspect of playing for/with the Maestro and the rest of the band. I have to say also how great Yngwie and everyone in the band were as well as Yngwie's Tour Manager and Manager. All very friendly and professional, just such a wonderful experience all the way around.
Do you know if Yngwie will be using you on any future tours or his next album yet?
MT: It's possible...Im keeping my fingers crossed ;)
So lets go back, what made you take up the keyboard and who were your early influences?
MT: Well, I don't really know what made me start...I was just drawn to it. Earliest influences...Yngwie of course, Jon Lord of Deep Purple, and Jens (Johansson). I was also influenced by the heaviness of bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Dio
How have these influences shaped your playing to where you are today as a player?
MT: Well, Yngwie is by far my biggest influence not only musically but also personally in his determination and perseverance. Had it not been for that positive influence, I definitely wouldn't be the player I am today. Heavy metal influenced me too of course as did the playing of Jon Lord, Jens and others. I'm basically a concoction of all my influences.
When did you realise you had a talent for the keyboards?
MT: I think I was about 12...by the way, I've never had a formal lesson and play entirely by ear.
What sort of bands have you played in prior to getting the slot with Yngwie?
MT: Cover bands of all kinds...I also played solo piano in lounges for several years in Las Vegas during my 20's.
Is music your main job or do you have to work a day job as many musicians do these days to keep the dream alive?
MT: I have played "for a living" already as my sole source of income during the time period when I was doing the solo piano gig thing.. right now I'm juggling a "day job" and Sessioning.
Have any classical works influenced you as a player, if so who/what and why?
MT: The funny thing is, most of my "classical" influence comes from Yngwie's classical influences since that is mostly what I listened to for many years. I am enjoying J.S. Bach "Greatest Hits" cd very much right now though in the past I've listened to mostly Liszt, Paganini (the caprices) and Beethoven. I really like strong melodies, pedal tones, diminished chords, and LOVE octaves.
Do you have any tips for aspiring keyboardists wanting to play in the metal/neo-classical genre?
MT: Well, the road to your goals can be very different for everyone and I don't believe there is any one "right" way...follow your instincts and remember, it isn't just about knowing a million licks and playing fast but playing with your ears and your heart also.
Anything else you would like to tell the readers of Baroque & Roll?
MT: Thanks so very much. Please stop by my NEW website at michaeltroykeyboardist.com and say hello!
Michael, many thanks for your time.
MT: Thank you Andy. It was my pleasure!
JOE STUMP - VIRTUOSTIC VENDETTA COMING ON APRIL 17 ON LION MUSIC
Joe Stump is one of the most intense and over the top guitarists on the planet. His maniacal guitar driven releases are amazing displays of power and jaw dropping technical command. He was named by Guitar One Magazine as one of the ten fastest shredders of all time and by Guitarist as one of the top 20 shredders of all time. The American guitar hero returns with his most diverse and complete solo effort to date with “Virtuostic Vendetta”. Not only a killer shred record but also a great all around guitar driven release, blending neo-classical speed metal, European influenced shred and old school hard rock into a great combination of playing and tracks that will appeal to a wide range of guitar enthusiasts and metal fans worldwide . Great melodies, killer riffs and from the heart emotionally drenched playing are combined with all the insane shredding you’d expect making this the most exciting record of Joe’s career. Proclaimed by many music experts as the ultimate guitar monster you’ll hear why words like Godlike, shred master, brilliant and many more have been used to describe the Shredlord’s unparalleled playing style.
More details on the album coming very soon.
IMPELLITTERI TO UNLEASH "WICKED MAIDEN" IN FEBRUARY
February 25th 2009 sees the Japanese release of the new Impellitteri album "Wicked Maiden". The new album marks the return of Rob Rock on vocals. The official press release reads...
Wicked Maiden re-unites Impellitteri with long time lead vocalist and writing collaborator Rob Rock. The lead guitarist and vocalist have created 5 great metal records to date. Impellitteri have built a strong fan base throughout the world selling over 1 million records; “Not bad for a band that is virtually ignored by the mainstream”. The group has released numerous records, performed amazing live shows, and worked with some of the greatest producers and industry people in metal.
Chris Impellitteri is heralded as one of the world’s greatest guitar shredders. He has won the Best Rock Guitarist Award for his guitar soloing. He has been branded one of the fastest guitarist’s in the world, (Officially voted 2nd fastest guitarist in the world by “Guitar One” magazine; and “Guitar World” magazine recently listed Chris Impellitteri within their top 50 fastest guitarists of all time). In addition to the fast crazy guitar soloing, Chris Impellitteri places a strong emphasis on melody, harmony, and creating catchy inspiring guitar riffs. He is a well rounded musician who enjoys playing all styles of music, from metal to classical.
Rob Rock is one of the most exciting and energetic singers in heavy metal. Rock can sing virtually any style of music. His vocal range has often been compared to legendary metal singers Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), and Rob Halford (Judas Priest). Rob Rock possesses a unique ability to scream in the stratosphere, all the while singing in a very melodic overtone. His Vibrato and use of Harmonies has created a signature vocal style. Lastly, Rock has an innate ability to write lyrics that have depth and meaning. He is definitely an original lyricist.
Bassist James Pulli is known for his Driving Bass lines reminiscent of Black Sabbaths Geezer Butler. He creates a strong foundation for the band with his signature style. His bass is deep, punchy, and supports the crazy guitar lines and drumming insanity of Impellitteri. In fact, it is Pulli’s Bass line’s that hold the rhythm section together.
Brandon Wild is one of the heaviest, fastest, and exciting drummers living in a pro tools generation. His hard hitting antics coupled with the ability to groove allow Impellitteri to convey feeling within their metal madness. Brandon hits hard, has machine like feet, and keeps the band in time like a computer generated metronome.
The new Record: “Wicked Maiden” Wicked Maiden is Impellitteri’s metal masterpiece. The band challenged the boundaries of conventional metal by utilizing music theory, technique, innovation, technology, and creative story telling. The result is an intense guitar driven metal album that will satisfy the appetite of any true metal fan. Wicked Maiden features memorable guitar riffs, fast shredding guitar solos, amazing screaming vocals, exciting lyrical content, and a mean heavy rhythm section.
The Record took 3 years to complete from the writing stage through the mixing and mastering stage. Engineer and co-producer Greg Reely worked tirelessly to create a sonic freight train.
The record was recorded at the following recording studios:
Village Recorders in Santa Monica CA;
Impellitteri Studios in Thousand Oaks CA;
Redroom Audio in Orlando Florida,
Mixed at the Green Jacket in Vancouver Canada.
The record was mastered by legendary engineer George Marino in New York City.
Impellitteri welcome all new fans and friends to their first official MySpace Page !!
LATEST NEWS AND YEAR END ROUND UP
The last few months have seen no action from Baroque & Roll, the reason? I have been too busy in my private life to give it the attention it really deserves, plus to be honest not a great deal has actually happened except...
YNGWIE'S PERPETUAL FLAME
What should have been the years highlight has turned out to be one of the year's biggest disappointments for me. The main problem? A lack of killer material, too much rehashing of old stuff and most of all Tim Owen's on vocals. To these ears Owens isn't the man for the Malmsteen sound that many fans hold dear to their hearts. The mix is also not as strong as it could be and ultimately the album has very little staying power. A let down.
ALEX BEYRODT'S VOODOO CIRCLE
Known for his work in Silent Force, German guitarist Alex Beyrodt has a smoking new band in Voodoo Circle, set firmly in the classic Rising Force / Rainbow mold, this is the type of album Yngwie should be releasing - first and foremost GREAT songs, great melodies, nice variation and excellent guitar work. Check it out.
CONCERTO MOON - RISE FROM THE ASHES
The Japanese neo-classicalists saw their new album released, unfortunately its somewhat of a mixed bag and doesn't build upon the excellent work on their previous album "After The Double Cross". Good guitar work as ever from Norifumi Shima, but the songs aren't as good as before.
ULI JON ROTH - UNDER A DARK SKY
The early pioneer of the neo-classical style delivered an album of great guitar work, but uneasy vocal lines (despite the prostigious talents of Mark Boals and Liv Vandall singing)... but then do we really buy Uli album's for the vocals?
2009 - WHAT TO EXPECT?
Well early on we get the new album from Impellitteri which should hopefully be killer given the wait for it. George Bellas is releasing a progressive (with a little neo-classical in) epic entitled "Step Into The Future" in January on Lion Music, the album is actually 1 track clocking in a whopping 76 minutes! The new Joe Stump album "Virtuostic Vendetta" should see release in the first quarter of 2009 (again on Lion Music), having been given an early hearing I can tell you folks this is arguably Joe's best work to date. Time Requiem mainman and keyboard whiz Richard Andersson may well return in 2009 with a new album, having taken some time out to help his son launch his own music career we hope that we do get some new music from the mainman soon. Ark Storm may well serve up another slice of first class Japanese neo-cassical metal despite numerous tour dates in Japan, no word is in if work has begun on album number 4.
ROB ROCK OFFICIALLY BACK IN IMPELLITTERI - NEW ALBUM "GOOD & EVIL" ON THE WAY
Chris Impellitteri has just posted the following at his official website.
First, I want to thank Guitar World magazine for including Impellitteri in their 50 Fastest Guitarist of All Time article. That was really nice of them to include me. I am definitely guilty of playing hyper-speed all too often.
However, many people tell me I am the guitarist who probably started the craze of hyper-speed shred with the Impellitteri Black EP-- (oops-- HA! ) SHRED ON !!
Now on to our new record titled "Good and Evil". The new music is being mixed in Vancouver with Greg Reely (Devil Driver, Fear Factory, etc..) . I can say that this is by far the most amazing recording I have been involved with. It is filled with amazing riffs, fast shredding solos, screaming vocals, and of course a brutal rhythm section.
The goal of this record was to make a historic album that will rival Van Halen 1, Ozzy's Blizzard of OZ, Pantera - Cowboys from Hell, Yngwie's Rising force, Metallica's Master of puppets, and even new artists like Children of Bodom and Avenged Sevenfold. And so, Impellitteri "Good and Evil" is my attempt to rival the best. Hopefully, we have done our job well !! It was not easy.
And now for all of the patient fans --- ROB ROCK is officially back in the band.
Rob Rock is officially back in the band!! The king of scream and melody is once again fronting Impellitteri.
Our fans have eagerly anticipated Rocks return since he left to pursue a solo career in 2000, so to their delight we are officially announcing the return of Rock. I am personally excited at Rob's contribution on this record, he is singing like a madman, filled with rage and beautiful melody. It should please all of the metal heads around the globe.
Oh, and Impellitteri will be creating their first official My Space Page shortly.
Press Release : DEAN CASCIONE – NEOCLASSICAL SHRED GUITARIST "GUITAR CHOP SHOP" RELEASED
At the forefront of technology and an innovative force in today's Shred Guitar Scene, Dean Cascione presents his debut instrumental album Guitar Chop Shop. Dean is an American Guitarist who has studied under 6th top shredder in the world (Voted by: Guitar One Magazine) Joe Stump; and collaborated with world renowned Guitar Virtuoso George Bellas on the cd. Dean is also an Instructor at Shred Academy and Randy Ciak's High-Tech Guitar Site where he reaches out and mentors aspiring guitarist throughout the globe.
In Guitar Chop Shop, Dean digs deep into the neo-scallops and mixes melodic hooks with killer fret board assault that even the most demanding shred enthusiasts will enjoy. From fierce pedal tones to multi-note sweep arpeggios, Guitar Chop Shop is packed with plenty of new shred that’s not overcooked. In writing all the songs for Guitar Chop Shop, the main idea was to write Neoclassical genre songs that incorporate a balanced mix of shred and cool melodic hooks that can be taken away with you.
Joe Stump has described Deans abilities as: "Dean is quite a talented individual & quite an accomplished player and composer as well. He has a real nice command over the instrument and mixes his killing technique with a great musical sense and wonderfully crafted guitar tones!!".
Dean Cascione composed every guitar piece one note at a time and performed all of the guitar passages. His tone has been described as organic sounding and natural. Dean recruited drummer extraordinaire Guillaume Sylvain to perform all the drum parts. Guillaume's pounding performance's are nothing short of amazing and Dean believes his approach gives GCS a hard edge. Jay Menard and Randy Ciak wrote & performed all the orchestration which truly enhances the guitar passages keeping the listener focused on the revolving melodies .Tenor, Gabriel Langelier (Of Canadian Powermetal Band Icewind) collaborated with Dean and is featured on the bonus track Brother which showcases Gab's, evil yet soaring angelic voice. It was Gabs voice which granted "Brother" life. George Bellas has described the music of Guitar Chop Shop as "Very enjoyable to listen to , The song Sunrazor spoke to my soul". Out of the gate, Guitar Chop Shop is packed with plenty of new shred that's not overcooked.
CONCEPT & INSPIRATION
The concept and inspiration behind Guitar Chop Shop was to create technical songs, neoclassical in nature that contained simple melodies, in which each tune could capture and appeal to a wider audience. Expect Dean's influences to be heard, as well as new melodic technical fret board prowess to emerge.
02. Molto Veloce
04. Guitar Chop Shop
06. The Monk
09. Brother Feat Gabriel Langelier
Running Time 27:46
Dean Cascione : All Guitars
Guillaume Sylvain: Drums
Jay Menard|Randy Ciak: Orchestration
Gabriel Langelier: Vocals
Composition: Dean Cascione
Production: Dean Cascione & Jay Menard
Mixed | Master: George Bellas & Jay Menard
Artwork | Design by Dean Cascione & Weiye Yin
Drums & Keys Recorded at Pilgrim Studios (Canada)
Guitars Recorded at Dead Horse Hill Studios (USA)
Mastered at George Bellas Studios (USA)
Published by Dean Cascione 2008
New Interview with Michael Troy
Baroque & Roll caught up with Yngwie's newest keyboardist for an indepth conversation, check it out here.
George Bellas new solo album "Planetary Alignment" released 15th February on Lion Music
One of the most prolific and innovative composers of our time, world renowned Guitarist and Composer George Bellas presents his latest instrumental album "Planetary Alignment". This album is so uniquely crafted that most listeners will find many composition elements they have never heard before. The style of the album is extremely modern and very progressive, it does not contain any neoclassical songs that George Bellas is also reputable for, but the album stays completely within the progressive realm.
As usually the case on George Bellas releases, George composed everything one note at a time and performed all of the instruments, plus had Drummer extraordinaire Marco Minneman perform the drum parts. Marco's drum performance's are nothing short of awe inspiring. The time signatures and rhythms contained on the album are extremely complex which Marco brought to life with his organic and immaculate drumming style. Leading guitar virtuoso George Bellas is back with his most modernly progressive solo album to date - expect the unexpected.
The concept and inspiration behind Planetary Alignment was the science of astrophysics. Each song was based on a particular subject ranging from the smallest matter known to man, to the largest and distant most objects in the universe. The goal was to compose ultra-modern music using scales, chords and rhythms not heard too often in music. The main interval the songs are all based on is the Tritone, with the root tone as middle C. It is quite a mystery where inspiration comes from when one is creating music, and it seems to only all come together when one is well practiced, emotions are stirring and the planets are aligned.
CHORDS - Bitonal, Tritonal, Quartal, Quintal, Secondal, Pyramid Chord, Scriabin's Mystic Chord, Vienesse Trichords, Mother Chord, Grandmother Chord, Split Note Chords, Chord of the Minor23rd and more.
RHYTHM - Odd Meters, Polyrhythms, Polymeters, Pyramid Rhythms, Fibonacci Number Series Meters, Contracting and Expanding Meters and more.
SCALES - Numerous (no name) scales from Nicolas Slominski's Thesaurus, Scale of A. Therepin, Verdi's Enigmatic, Wholetone, HalfWhole, Pentatonics, Melodic Minor Modes, Harmonic Major and many more.
Planetary Alignment was initiated using only rhythmic motives, and then later on scale choices were determined while composing the melodic and harmonic content. Most of the musical elements appearing on this album have never been used on previous George Bellas albums and offer a very fresh, ultra-modern sound.
Most all of the compositions revolve around a Middle C root while employing various tritone based elements. The production on the album was kept dry and natural sounding, with effects used quite sparingly.
Expect the unexpected and enjoy listening to what may be the most progressive release by George Bellas.
GEORGE BELLAS DISCUSSES THE TRACKS
Color By Numbers
This song was the start of creating numerous rhythmic motives and then adding notes (color) to the motives. This method was then used for the entire album.
This song contains many improvised guitar solos and has some nice dynamic contrast between the various sections.
GUITARS USED: Stratocaster
Encoded In Light
This song's concept was inspired by the idea of photons and what type of information can presently, and may in the future, be sent through this fastest known particle to man. We are currently using light to transmit sights and sounds, but perhaps in the future an entire DNA strand.
GUITARS USED: Stratocaster
This song's concept was inspired by the smallest bits of matter known to mankind. Everything we know of in the universe contains these essential, tiny building blocks of matter. What is keeping it all together, and why isn't it all flying apart like the large objects in the universe?
GUITARS USED: Stratocaster, Baritone Guitar
New Worlds Discovered
This song's concept was inspired by the thought of discovering new worlds inhabited by intellegent beings. The fact that there are billions of other galaxies which harbor their own countless planets makes it seem that if we are the only ones in the universe that there is a lot of wasted space out there. Thanks to Carl Sagan.
GUITARS USED: Flying V
This song's concept was inspired by the idea that our known universe is one of many that are differentiated by unique actions we all choose to make. These implications are supported by factual astronomical observations.
Is there another you?
GUITARS USED: 7-String & Stratocaster
This song's concept was inspired by the fact that Scientists are finding evidence of extraterrestrial presence in higher dimensions all around us even overlapping our immediate environment overlapping the Physical Universe. The idea is that our real being exists in a higher dimension and interacts with the visible one we know of.
GUITARS USED: Flying V
This song's concept was inspired by the amount of energy that is required to escape an object's gravitational force. The amount of velocity required to leave Earth is much less than one would need to escape the force of much larger objects, and ultimately no velocity that can escape a black hole.
GUITARS USED: Les Paul
This song's inspiration is drawn from the particles that carry the gravitational force. Gravitons are supposedly massless particles, which would travel only at the speed of light. When these particles were intercepted, and re-exchanged, gravity would be the intended result. A Graviton is a Boson particle and is theorized to interact with Quarks and Leptons.
GUITARS USED: Flying V
If several planets are orbiting the sun at known speeds and current positions, how many years will it be before those planets are perfectly aligned and what effects will it have? Will the magnetic and gravitational forces be so strong as to create floods, earthquakes and other catastrophes? The next planetary alignment is expected to occur in the year 2438.
GUITARS USED: Flying V
This song's concept was inspired by the mathematical symmetry relating to bosons and femions. AKA an attempt of a Unified Field Theory using acceleration in place of gravity.
Force = Mass multiplied by Acceleration (F=MA).
GUITARS USED: Stratocaster
01. Color By Numbers
02. Encoded In Light
03. Subatomic Particles
04. New Worlds Discovered
05. Parallel Universe
06. Overlapping Dimensions
07. Escape Velocity
09. Planetary Alignment
Running Time 61:05
George Bellas - Guitars, Bass & Keys
Marco Minneman - Drums
Composed by George Bellas
Produced by George Bellas
Mixed and Mastered by George Bellas
Artwork and Design by George Bellas
Recorded at Bellas Music Studio
Published by Bellas Tune Factory, BMI
George Bellas Interview
30th November 2007
George Bellas is one of the worlds most acclaimed virtuoso guitarists. Constantly pushing the boundaries of what constitutes neo-classical guitar his new band Palace Terrace with their debut album "Flying Through Infinity" bring another element to the genre with this exciting and musically rich offering. We tracked down George to discuss the album in depth.
George, many thanks for agreeing to this interview.Its great to finally hear some new music from you, its been quite a wait! In the 4 year gap since "Venomous Fingers" you've formed your debut vocal band project Palace Terrace in your own vision. When did the seeds of Palace Terrace start and how long has the project taken from conception to completion on your end?
Palace Terrace was formed shortly after releasing my last instrumental album "Venomous Fingers". I had the music composed and arranged for "Flying Through Infinity" within a year after my previous solo release. Once I had the whole album together I had thought about what I wanted to do and envisioned turning it into a massive vocal oriented album. At that point it was time to find a singer. There were several choices I considered, but there was only one that I thought could truly fit the bill, and that was vocalist Jonathan Marshall. It was an early Sunday morning that I put the call into Jonathan and presented to him my ideas. When initially speaking with Jonathan I explained to him that I had this album and concept for Flying Through Infinity ready to go just waiting for vocals to be added. I asked him if he would be interested and he replied very enthusiastically "yes". It was then that the core of Palace Terrace was born. I then sent Jonathan the complete album and we began working on the lyric and vocal arrangements. Over the next couple of years we recorded and fine tuned every single vocal part. The actual vocal production took a while longer than I had originally anticipated due to each other's schedules and refining parts, but the end product came out very satisfactory to me. When Jonathan and I were recording there was great chemistry between us and we clicked seamlessly capturing some real magic in the process.Having had the chance to absorb the music over the last few weeks I can say its a truly magnificent body of work. Extremely advanced in composition, harmonisation and structure. I will admit it took me a number of listens to get a hold on what the album is about, and it was then the album took on a life with a vibe that is quite unique and I am totally hooked! How did the basic track structure form and how did you take those from what we hear today on the album?
The writing process for "Flying Through Infinity" primarily used 3 methods. One method began by composing rhythmic motives and building melodic and harmonic structures on top of them. Method two would begin with a melodic motive and then harmonically brought to life with choices based on each melodic tone. The third method used harmonic progressions as the basis for developing improvisations, melodies and rhythms around. After the foundation of all the songs were formed I added the vocal and guitar improvisations as well as adding carefully composed vocal melodies, counterpoint and harmonies, all of which were composed on staff paper. I spent a grueling amount of time on the compositional process of the vocal lines and Jonathan's improvisations -- carefully reviewing, redoing and making sure that every single note worked perfectly. After all that was complete I reworked many of the vocal and instrumental arrangements. The entire production was indeed quite daunting, but I strive for perfection with a precise vision and need to make sure that every aspect of a project is the way it should be.
The album I believe is a concept story, can you tell the readers what this story in and how the lyrics work with the music.
I initially sent Jonathan the "Flying Through Infinity" concept along with the seeds to each individual song. We would then both contribute lyrics based on what we each thought the song's overall idea should project. For example, "The Tenth Dimension" is based on a higher dimensional plane that scientists and mathematicians have proven to exist. But to visit there... Is it real? What will we find? Will we find loved ones that no longer belong to our ever familiar three dimensional world? "No one is sure and no one really knows if it's for real..."
You have a superb vocalist in Jonathan Marshall. How did you hook up with Jonathan and what did he bring to the project?
I have known Jonathan for two decades and have worked with him early on. We have always wanted to do an album together and this was the perfect opportunity for it. He did a fantastic job and we sure had a lot of fun making the album.
You wrote all the music, performed all the guitars, bass, keyboards, orchestration, did the composition and arrangements not to mention production etc. This must of been quite exhausting, how did you manage to stay focused during this undertaking?
It was definitely an enormous amount of work that required an extremely disciplined focus on my part. I had a vision and needed to make sure that every aspect of the production came out the way I had originally conceived. I enjoyed the huge undertaking. It gives me a break from each task at hand and offers me a fresh look at each element. I wouldn't have done it any other way.
Sasha Horn's drum work is often quite complex, what were you looking for from Sasha and where did you find him?
Drummer Sasha Horn is an exceptional talent and a really great person to work with. I have only recently been introduced to Sasha from a student of mine. When I approached Sasha about working together I explained to him that I had all the drum parts composed for this massive album and now needed a live person. I am known to compose very complex odd-meters and intricate rhythms. As challenging as they may be Sasha does a great job at bringing them to life.
What struck me is that a number of these songs are predominantly led by the orchestra which creates a solid foundation to start with. Did you start with the orchestration of the tracks before moving onto other instruments?
I had most all of the orchestration completed before recording any vocals or guitar parts. After everything else was recorded I went back and elaborated even more on the orchestration. It is a lot of fun working with a large palette of sounds rather than just a typical rock band context.
What was your aim with how your guitar fitted into the bigger picture with this album?
I wanted my solos to sparsely weave in and out of the vocal lines and wanted my main solos to have enormous feeling in each and every note. It was first and foremost about passionate guitar playing, not just speed for speed's sake. I wanted every note to say something, to sing, cry, laugh and be angry when it was felt.
Your playing is the best I have ever heard it. Did the music call for you to extend your own abilities on the instrument and what was the biggest challenge you faced with this material?
Thank you very much! I am always striving to improve my craft by constantly studying, practicing and creating. The music on this album was really no different in my approach with the guitar other than leaving plenty of room for the vocals.
Your guitar sound is great - clear, smooth, focused with great clarity. What guitars/amps/fx did you use and what were you looking for in your tone this time around?
On the "Flying Through Infinity" album I used my longtime ever faithful Fender 1957 Stratocasters, Marshall JCM900 series amplifiers and a Tube Screamer. I use Dean Markley .010 - .046 gauge strings and no scalloped fretboards, although I do like scalloped boards but I have always used regular old fretboards. From my guitars and amps I then went into a Sure SM57 microphone --> Focusrite Red Series Mic Pre --> Apogee Rosetta 800 Converter and finally into an Apple computer via lightpipe on an RME PCI card. I monitor using Coleman Audio equipment and Mackie HR824 monitors.
The promotional material on the Lion Music website states that their is a number of highly complex time signatures such as 99/32, how do you go about writing in these time signatures let alone playing in them!?
That is correct. The first song on "Flying Through Infinity" has a section that uses a time signature of 99/32 time. The way I compose with these meters is in the same way I do for all my other music -- with staff paper and a pencil. After composing the parts I begin learning and counting parts on my guitar, which indeed can be quite challenging at first, but after much effort with counting it becomes very natural.
What do you think established George Bellas fans will get out of "Flying Through Infinity"?
Fans should enjoy the same style of writing they have grown to know me for (neoclassical and progressive), but the difference with this album is that it is vocal oriented. I have always written vocal scores and this is my first step in presenting them to the public.
How do you sum up the album now (since you completed it) and can we expect a follow up down the road at some point?
First and foremost it is a musical work, and no matter what the language barrier may be fans should hear and feel the deep emotions and intellectually stimulating aspects of the music. And yes I do plan on releasing more vocal oriented albums in the future.
I also see you have a new instrumental solo album due early 2008 entitled "Planetary Alignment", I will save my questions until I have heard it but what can George Bellas fans expect from this forthcoming release and how does it compare to your 3 previous solo albums?
My upcoming solo album entitled "Planetary Alignment" is the most modern and futuristic body of work I have ever released. There are so many compositional elements not found on any of my previous releases. Fans should really expect the unexpected. I really stretched my playing and writing abilities with this album. It is extremely progressive.
Anything else you would like to add to finish up?
I would like to thank all my fans around the world for listening to my music and all their feedback throughout the years. I already have an enormous amount of new music and look forward to many more years of releasing new albums for all to enjoy and hopefully connect with in some way.
George, many thanks for your participation.
Thank you Baroque and Roll for talking with me and also for bringing such a cool source of guitar oriented information to the fans.