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The Director's Cut: Sébastien Guérive - Omega Point

French composer, producer & sound engineer Sébastien Guérive breaks down the ideas and processes behind his new album 'Omega Point.'
Sébastien Guérive

Sébastien Guérive

French composer, producer & sound engineer Sébastien Guérive has released his new album Omega Point. The instrumental album was inspired by sci-fi soundtracks and flows like one. The LP from the Nantes artist is cinematic and epic, growing his discography from his early work at the start of the millennium build around samples and field recordings. He has since worked on projects for film, dance and theater.

Omega Point is here to immerse you in a new world that is at times tense and haunting like on “Nashira,” and other times calming, hopeful and beautiful like with “Minchir.”

To get a better idea of musical ideas behind the record, we asked Guérive to go through Omega Point, track-by-track. He goes into the various pieces of gear from his impressive studio, influences and some of the interesting quirks that went into creating this album.

Read and listen to the album as you go. Pick up a copy here.

1. Omega II

“Omega II” opens the album. This track revolves around electronic percussions. I chose the constraint not to use my drum machine, but instead to create rhythmic elements using only my analog synthesizer, namely my Prophet 6. Once the rhythmic loops were created, I worked on harmonies that I had fun changing the pitch live.

The foundation of this song was quite old and I hadn't finished it at the time, finding it not to my liking. When I listened to it again a year later, I felt like taking it up again, everything seemed much clearer and I knew where I wanted to go. It's important not to throw anything away in the moment and it's important to define your artistic direction to guide your creation.

2. Nashira

“Nashira” was built from voice samples including mine. These voices give the impression of a Björkian sound. The main synth that was used is a Buchla added to that some notes from my cello that I sampled beforehand. I also used samples from field recordings to extract organic textures.

What makes this piece unique is that it was built without using a metronomic grid to leave some breathing space and give a sense of suspended time.

3. Omega VIII

“Omega VIII” is a track that was already present in my live A/V set and was rearranged for the Omega Point album. It was born from a pad in a delay effect with infinite feedback. Through this track, we find samples of chorus time stretcher voices.

It is perhaps one of the darkest tracks of the album! I particularly appreciate its power and its spiritual side. This contrast pleases me a lot, and I will continue to develop these kinds of sounds in my next songs.

4. Bellatrix with Cédric Le Guillerm

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“Bellatrix” is the bridge track between my old more electro album and the new artistic direction I've taken for this album. It is more electro in its construction. I think it's the most accessible song, which is also why it's one of the two singles. It's a gateway to a more abstract world.

I wanted to add a real piano to give it a neoclassical direction as well. Strings were added to this piece in order to orchestrate this electro base and mix synthetic timbres with acoustic timbres, as I often like to do.

5. Adhara

“Adhara” comes from long improvisation with my different machines in a Blade Runner spirit. I ended up with 12 minutes of music, so I had to find a more condensed musical structure, along with Gregoire Vaillant who assisted me in producing this album.

We opted for something quite rhythmic, hence the presence of this kick, and we also wanted a strong melodic theme. In the intro there is a voice recording that was done in a stairwell that had an incredible reverb! “Adhara” is the track that I wrote the most versions before finding the right one.

6. Menkalinan with Laurent Hillairet

I invited Laurent Hillairet to record Harmonium, an instrument I already used on my first album 19 years ago that I particularly appreciate. It is also found on Nils Frahm's music. From this recording I extracted parts that compose the intro of the piece and then developed the second one. I relied on a writing technique called "fugue" or "canon" that we find in Johann Sebastian Bach’s music.

7. Minchir with Manuel Adnot

“Minchir” is a track where I invited the guitarist Manuel Adnot to collaborate. We are both seduced by the music of Sigur Rós and especially the album Liminal by Alex Somers and Jónsi. Manu created a musical universe with guitar loops that overlap and reverse at different speeds. I then edited all his improvisations in multiple guitar samples. Then came the composition of additional parts with synths, strings and the integration of a very interesting expressive tool: the Touché Expressive E. For “Minchir,” I wanted all the musical material to be in movement like an explosion of life. I also used a moving tempo, which may refer to Tempo Rubato in the classical field.

8. Zaurak with Laurent Hillairet

Laurent Hillairet is also present on this track with the Dreadbox Abyss synth -- a part that can make you think of saturated brass. From this sound material I started to build “Zaurak,” I imagined a path in space that would take us to a glass hole and a deformation of space-time. With Gregoire Vaillant, we symbolized it by this long and final crescendo, where the material seems to become abrasive. We relied on an incredible machine, the Lyra 8, to create this distortion. The structure of this piece is the most similar to that of a film soundtrack that I would like to compose one day.

9. Omega V

This is the closing track of the album. I like all my albums to end with a generic type of ending track. Its aim is to enable us to end the journey created by the album and accompany us gently towards a return to the so-called real world.

Built around a piano ritornello, we created with Grégoire Vaillant a string arrangement that represents a form of eternity and perpetual movement.

This type of writing can be found in Max Richter and also in the plastic artist Escher and his staircase. We also time-stretched the piano in a very intense way, which gave birth to this first sound full of strangeness which opens the piece. For me, it's a piece full of hope that gives a hint of a sequel!

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