Ad Ombra

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Interviews

"Romanian project Ad Ombra's debut album "Rites of Genesis" (equinox tremendum) offers a suite in 15 parts of Dramatic Orchestral art, rooted in the timeless fragrance of Classical music, adorned with Eastern lullabies, funeral dirges, monumental choirs and operatic female chants, theatrical soliloquies, industrial hues of a dark disturbing manner, all coagulated in order to depict the aesthetical testimonies of the project's mastermind, George D. Stanciulescu. A spiral of emotions, thoughts, opalescent visions, essential recurrences, for Creation's shrine that stands as a living mirror where everyone can reflect the(m)selves. For fans of Elend, Stoa, Sophia and Chaostar. 15 tracks, 42 minutes, 3 panel matt digipack."

01. Hello George, congratulations on your new album!

It is a special feeling be able to finally listen to such a refined music produced by someone from my own country. What do you think is the reason behind things moving as slowly as they do around here? It's fair to say that we do have enough bands/projects but the majority doesn't step up. We are a creative people, or do origins have nothing to do with it?

I salute you too, Doru, and thank you for the resonance.

I don't think the creativity of Romanian's ever was a problem, just as it isn't in any other national matrixes, meaning, a nation will always have its league of creators, inventors, of emerging individualities. In Romania, the problem I think resides in the difficulty of overcoming a complex, socially, economically and politically conditioned, one that doesn't inhibit the actual creative explosion but more likely, it's finalizing, the complete manifestation within itself. This is even more intense in the realm of music, as the interest towards anything that goes beyond "pop-culture" is minimal. You will often find that the sum of cliches that circulate on this subject will only work towards undermining any initiative, and this is something that actually hides the true menace.

02. Starting from your demo, "Smaragdine", which in my opinion sounds much elaborated, what attracts you to music made with the aid of computers? Perhaps it's the lack of the real and costly instruments or rather the complexity you can reach employing the help of computers? Or perhaps the computer is an instrument more complex than any other?

In an informational era like this one, there is no doubt that the presents of a PC is almost as vital as the oxygen... And so, the computer has an essential dominance in the realm of music as well, surpassing at times the "natural" sources. Admittedly, an orchestral music conceived within strict academic frameworks will probably never be perfectly simulated, but then again, this was never the idea behind Ad Ombra. What matters to me is the maximal capitalization of the aestheticism and of the emotions that I want to transmit, within my ever changing limits and within the current technical options.

03. The female voice, even if its not abundant, sounds excellent as tonality. It personally reminds me of Elend. Can you reveal the mystery of the female character behind Ad Ombra, if you allow me to formulate it this way? The other voices (male and "decorative"), do they belong to you?

The female voice belongs to Alexandra Damian, a 19 year old girl from Iasi. She joined my project in 2006, while I was in the course of recording my debut full length "Rites of Gensis"; and indeed, while her quantitative vocal presence is not very extended on this particular album, the quality is remarkable. Vocally, I have participated quite seldom, only on two songs; some of the "decorative" voices are from samples, just as the choral elements, for that matter. I am however planning to be more generous regarding the overall vocal performance spectrum, one that has already been improved, on the forthcoming Ad Ombra album.

04. I know that a while back you were looking for a label and as far as I know, you didn't find one easily. The problem is now solved and we are curious to hear some details. Have you signed for a few albums in advance? Have you thought of coming out with a music video, with a more abstract visual, perhaps? How can your Romanian fans purchase your CDs?

It's true, the difficulties in finding a label aren't, I don't think, foreign to any Romanian artist, especially an underground artist that wishes to expands the field of its receptors.

Rage in Eden (ex- War Office Propaganda) is a Polish label with a more and more consolidated prestige, a more than justified outcome for them, considering their quality, both as professionals and as people. We preferred (something that worked both ways) to work sequentially, based on mutual trust and respect, for every phase or Ad Ombra album, something that is more convenient as it eliminates the possibility of some absurd restrictions, the types of which you have mentioned above.

The idea of a music video has already been discussed, I have received some offers and when the time is right, this will probably materialize.

Unfortunately, the issue of distribution in Romania remains an enigma to me, especially as the genre adopted by Ad Ombra is evaluated by an extremely marginal niche, something that discourages the labels in creating potential contacts with us.

05. What is Ad Ombra's message?What fascinates and inspires you?

Ad Ombra's message is one which will reveal itself progressively, as my creative expression follows its path. The creation itself represents an explosion within the shadow, the sunset of living and the dawn of its new form, unobscured, detached from the creator but yet inclusive of him. The shadow reborns the constructed reality, just like the myth of Ana and of her encager, the shadow is the first flicker of creative essence in pursuit of spurting out.

The inspiration is not a problem, the emotional, experimental and cultural stimuli will always take us in whirlpools and cadences which fortunately have the chance to prove themselves, at times, to be fertile.

06. I searched for an Ad Ombra website but didn't find one. Is there one? Or perhaps you'd find one useless/redundant?

The problem of the website, just like the one of the music videos, is that it will only become important now, since the album was launched; naturally, there is a need of a support of this type as nobody can deny its importance.

07. A question that I personally think it's very important: What sort of music/artists do you listen to?

I am relatively open to any style that unfolds attributes of expressive force, authenticity and musical quality, starting from contemporary composers (Allan Pettersson, Kancheli, Gorecki, Part, Penderecki) and moving towards soundtracks (Preisner, Kilar, Karaindrou etc), towards the eclectic underground of symphonic rock (Goblin, Devil Doll), neoclassical/ethereal (Ophelia's Dream, Elend, Rosa Crvx, Triarii, Protagonist, Dark Sanctuary), darkwave/ industrial (Diary of Dreams , Das Ich, Retrosic) and even metal (Profanum, Forbidden Site, Anorexia Nervosa, Rakoth), plus a large number of other experimentalisms.

08. I want to ask you what kind of software, instruments you use? We have previously posed the same question to other artists. What is your view on Rason, Cubase or Sonar?

I use different software, music notation programs, sound libraries, keyboards, samples and so on. The entire necessary requisite in order to transpose my ideas... The ones mentioned by you are known to me, they are indeed professional on the sequencing level, on editing and sound manipulation. However, within the music of Ad Ombra, the emphasis falls on the dramatism of the full sound, romantic - orchestral by sorts, the industrial/darkwave/ambient elements being simply supplementary "entertainment".

09. Are you passionate about photography?Or have the photos on mySpace tricked me? Do you enjoy any other art, besides music?

Photography, just like painting, seduces me under the rapport of the profane, of the esthetic delight, of the careful observation on the playfulness of the shapes, of the metamorphosis and transgression of the real; I can not say that I dared to ever consider the camera more than a touristical or dilettante delight...

I am however a greedy literature devourer, something that I also practice from within, through "the royal path" of poetry. My first volume of poetry, published in 2006, "The Oratory of Temptations" (Ro.: "Oratoriul Ispitelor") received in 2006 an award from the National Festival "Mihai Eminescu". My second volume of poetry is to be published this year by the Junimea publishing house, in Iasi.

10. Could you, succinctly, describe the songs on the album? What emotions have you felt while creating them? Does the CD cover/folder hide a certain message?

The Ad Ombra music, under a formal rapport, unfolds a special technique, meaning, every song grows as a self-standing retinue/sequence, with an often abrupt flow, sprinkled with statistical eclectisms. I have often named this type of music "anomic sequence", in the sense of presenting a nonconformist freedom given to the spiraling of music and the richness of emotions, to the detriment of the standard "verse-chorus-verse" structure, which wouldn't work anyway with the alchemy Ad Ombra wants to construct.

What I can say is that any being of a special sensibility will find itself throughout, at least, some of the passages, because the principle of diversity in unity is one of the characteristics of Ad Ombra, thus insuring to the fluidity of the songs a cinematic and seductive epos.

The newly launched album, "Rites of Genesis (equinox tremendum)", unfolds 15 examples of such.

The design of the CD folder was conceived by a collaborator of mine, Luna, and it aimed to be in accord with what the music assumes: intensity, diversity, elegance and refinement.

11. What are your future plans, concerning music? Who is George outside Ad Ombra? In every day life...

The new Ad Ombra album is mostly recorded; there are a few more vocal passages and some mixing to be made, together with the final mastering. All I can say for now is that it will be something that has no precedent around here, in the way of the structure, musical intensity and even the production itself, which compared to the previous materials, has evolved to a superior level. It will host the presence of more vocal appearances, both male and female and it will also have a more accentuated symphonic - theatric rate and also a darker and more grandiose sound poetry.

Except music, my activities head towards the literary zone. As official formation, I am a psychology graduate, with an undergoing master in the philosophy of art; I also work as an assistant researcher at the National Institute of Inventions - Iasi branch, a satisfying intellectual and social vent.

Thank you for the interview, may the Ad Ombra mirror host you for an inner search!

January 2008, Interview by Lus, for Kogaionon.