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Ofeliadorme

“On the calm black water where the stars are sleeping White Ophelia floats like a great lily; Floats very slowly, lying in her long veils” (A. Rimbaud) Inspired by Rimbaud’s poem, Ophelie, Bologna-based trio Ofeliadorme live up to their name. Seductive, tender, immersive, and shrouded in a mystery befitting ancient prose, theirs is a crossroads between the serenity of Cocteau Twins, Portishead’s emotive darkness, and PJ Harvey’s shape shifting pop qualities. It’s ambient, New Wave, dreamy, stargazing electronica. One part foggy warmth, another stark desperation, the results are truly unique, and utterly compelling.

Already coveted in their Italian homeland, a country with a burgeoning electronic scene right now, the combination of Francesca Bono’s vocals and guitars, Michele Postpischl’s percussion, and Tato Izzia’s synths, low ends, and bewitching noises create an intense yet subtle sound. Far from an oxymoron, some might say it’s inescapable but somehow also meditative. A veritable opiate high that draws you in before refusing to let go.  Over the years the band released two LPs and numerous EPs, 7″ and singles, and has been touring in the UK, China, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium. Produced, mixed and recorded by genre-straddling UK legend Howie B (Bjork, Tricky, U2, Soul II Soul) and engineered by Joe Hirst (Four Tet, Jarvis Cocker, DJ Shadow), Ofeliadorme’s third full length offering, Secret Fires, contains all the hallmarks of his own HB Recordings, the imprint carrying the record. Impeccably realised and perfectly polished, it’s neither sanitised nor forced, and instead, like the poem itself, represents natural beauty. A rare thing indeed, in the troupe’s own words, ‘everyone is screaming and we don’t want to scream to be heard’. Ofeliadorme are:  Francesca Bono (vocals, guitars, synth) Michele Postpischl (drums) Tato Izzia (bass synth, synth, electronics)

Producers Notes from Howie B

I first came across Ofeliadorme in 2013 when they sent me a link to one of their songs called 'Paranoid Park’. I loved the song from bar one and felt it could go into another world. I offered to remix the track and that was the start of our musical road together. A few months later I signed them up to my label and started writing with them in their rehearsal room in Bologna.

My intention right from the start was to concentrate on performance, sound and melody. We spent two years writing and constructing the songs. For me it was important that they focused on projection by doing very little, to get rid of the flowers and get down to mother earth. That’s where they are coming from and I wanted that collective character to shine from their performance.

When I felt they could play the songs blindfolded we moved into the studio. ‘Giant Wafer’ Studios in Wales was where we recorded the eight songs over a period of five days. I chose that particular location as it was a residential studio in the middle of beautiful Wales, we would have no distractions apart from some sheep and cows and Frankie’s great cooking.

The recording process was very intense with no time to think, just time to perform. Eight songs in five days was a big task though we were all tooled up. I had my team with me. Joe Hirst is an engineer I have been working with for over ten years and Frankie Rainey my assistant for three years; we had our work cut out for us. The studio consisted of a control room, live room and two booths. We set up the band - Tato (bass, keyboards) was in the control room with his amps in one of the small booths; Michele (drums) was set up in the main Studio with his kick drum housed and the rest of his kit open; Francesca (vocals, guitars, keyboards) vocal mic was in the studio, pedals and keyboards in the control room and we moved her amps around the main studio and the booths depending on the sound I wanted.

I concentrated first on recording the groove - we had to build a pyramid with the groove as the base then the music then finally the melody.

We had two days recording drums to a click track then one day on bass and additional keyboards and finally two days on vocals and melody. The days were very long and at the beginning it seemed we didn’t have enough time to record the eight songs, but slowly the record was being built. Joe and I experimented with different ambiences which we could do quite easily as the studio was a gem. Very quickly we could make the guitars big just by mic placement and reamping (a technique we also used for vocals). I was very strict about the process, which meant a lot of sitting around for the band members who were not playing. In the end this created a great dynamic so that when it was time for Francesca to record her vocals she had the whole song to sing to. For her it was like a dream - with the band being builders of the pyramid too it all made sense.

Then it was time to mix. I spent three days with Joe at his studio cleaning and tidying up the performances so when I took the tracks to my studio to mix I had only to concentrate on the sound and the songs. I spent around three days on each mix and I was working totally in box using an UA Apollo Soundcard and monitoring through B&W Nautilus 800 (19 98). I have to say it was dream to mix as the sound was there, Joe had excelled in capturing their performance- it was a pure joy. I remember playing the mixes back to Joe and he had only one comment that the keyboard in `Visions ‘ should be panned slightly off center. I didn’t agree with him at first, then when I got the masters back from Frank at Carvery Cuts only then did I agree with him so at great expense I recalled the mix and followed the advice and Frank remastered the track. He must have thought why recall a track because I wanted to move the keyboard 15 degrees! It worked. Album finished.


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