Wulf's Webden

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Here is the final piece in my RPM2021 album and it has the shortest title I’ve ever used: Oh.

Yesterday afternoon, I was finishing off my submission for the piece Cantus Veritas (the online choir I am singing with) is doing. All I had to do was sing a long, low syllable as a pad during a verse of the song. Four times, as I was aiming to give four bass parts. Piece of cake? It is actually very challenging to hold a long, low note and this was about my third attempt on the section. I finally got there and sent my tracks in and then the idea of using my recordings for my own composition struck me.

I took the four tracks and focused in on the drone section. Each had subsections of about four bars apiece, so I chopped down to all of those so that I lost the start and end of each phrase, blended them together, spread the four voices across the stereo field and created further copies to extend the time, giving four tracks with a deep and somewhat eerie sound.

I could have stopped there but another idea struck me. I duplicated each track and applied different levels of pitch correction – a perfect fifth, minor third and major seventh (Am with a major seventh, a very unsettled chord). It was richer but still static but I did further tweaks, gradually introducing the additional voices and also writing in adjustments to the volume of each one.

Finally, I added effects – stereo delay, cavernous reverb and different EQs. Minor details in the recording become creaks and shifts, the whole sound is incredibly rich given where it started, and it seems a good place to finish this year’s project. One EP (five tracks) but actually long enough to qualify for the RPM album level (over 35 minutes). Job done. Oh.

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