Sándor Szabó

Performing artist, Composer, Music researcher

How the Sándor Szabó / Roland Heidrich guitar albums made

The recordings of the albums called On the path of Manes and The last sunbeams of the Golden Age were recorded in 2009-2012. In this period we met weekly. The main goal of the common improvisations and contemplations were to achieve a special conception of creating music which is not typical in the modern acoustic guitar music, by utilizing the hidden expressive possibilities of our guitars. This is our concept in creating music. The base of the method is the regular meeting with guitars in the hands, to know each other's response in any kind of musical situations and to develop the sensitivity of our responses. A further goal was bringing up the music from our soul to keep the inner logic and structure of the music. This is important to point out because we do not compose the music in the usual way; much rather we enter the source where the music can be found in its cleanest state and we bring it up via an intuitive channel. We believe that the music always existed and will exist there. Someone who feels at home in listening to improvised music will notice immediately that no known or trendy "improvisation system" can be heard in it. Not to mention that these pieces are not influenced by trendy guitar music. This is natural; after all these are real improvised pieces, not a collage of consciously collected music materials, but pieces waiting to come to life from the depth of our soul. In this process, we do not consciously use a tonal system or outer influences. No compromises supporting the ambitions of career, no trends to follow; because the way we have chosen is merely unconcerned with what happens in the outer world as improvisation. The chords come to life in the same intuitive process as the melodies. It was not necessary to plan or compose any parts of the music in advance. Instead, we prepared our beings to be able to be tuned on the intuitive channel and to explore the unknown and never-experienced domains of the music as one soul. We utilized the knowledge which gathered by our Manes and which is always available in the depth of our soul. We recorded most of our improvisations in my studio. Most of them were mixed in the following days.

The materials we recorded rested for a few years. Time to time I returned to the recordings and I tried to choose the strongest and most characteristic pieces to prepare them for one or two albums. By the summer of 2012, I managed to create a concentrated selection; however this new material would consume two albums. At that time, there was no record label willing to release this new material. Then, in the summer of 2014, Greydisc Records offered to release my unpublished recordings, I and Roland met again and we checked and selected the recordings very critically. Finally we selected 25 pieces all together and this material creates the two above mentioned albums.

The covers of the albums are created by my friend, the photo artist László Hutton. Our connection of work developed into a deep artistic friendship. We created an interesting working method: I make a disc for him to listen to the recordings, sometimes with and sometimes without titles to listen to the music. Then he showed me some possible cover designs, and usually the first version was the best and the final.

The technical background of the recording process is not typical. For my guitars, I used a matched pair of Microtech Gefell M930 microphones. For Roland's guitars, I used a matched pair of DPA 4011 TL microphones fitted on Jecklin discs. All the microphones are cardioids, so the sound sources in the small recording space remain separated in the stereo field. The microphones are located in the space to provide the actual stereo placement of the instruments in the final mix. All the guitars are recorded in stereo, because using only one microphone per instrument gives an unnatural soundscape. On my recordings, the guitars do not have a thin sound, as if located in one spot; they have an aura; a dimension, and this provides an almost physical reality and palpable presence in the stereo field. The mastering process is very simple: I put the sound sources into an artificial stereo space generated by a Bricasti M7 or a Quantec 2498 space simulator. No equalization or dynamic processing were utilized. If the microphones are properly selected and located in the recording sessions, there is no need for tonal shaping. In this method, the recorded information remains intact. Each sound source can be heard in every moment, can be analyzed for the ears in every moment, the listener can focus on every detail at all times. The result is a natural sounding and restful recording which perfectly serves the music and the listener as well.

Sándor Szabó

Vác, 1st February 2015.


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