Combining Organic and Synthetic Sounds

photo by  Studio Aton

photo by Studio Aton

Coming from a folk background I am always looking to combine organic sounds and acoustic instruments in the recordings of my songs.  Hans is a master of finding interesting ways of incorporating these sounds in a non traditional way to create new and exciting virtual instruments.  


Arthur Russell was a pioneer of experimental cello music and I wanted to pay homage to this instrument in my version of I Take This Time.  When we had finished the main body of the recording I called my friend Charlotte, an amazing cellist from Melbourne, and asked her to help me record some parts to incorporate into the song.  


One glorious sunny day I travelled up to her home studio in hills just outside Melbourne and her partner Ben Edgar kindly engineered for us.  We not only captured the strong sweeping melodic lines but also a series of percussive and harmonic parts.  I asked her to experiment with the sounds she could create from her instrument in a traditional and non traditional way so that we could have a wide pallet of sounds to choose from.    


When Hans heard the sounds we had captured he suggested we replace all the drum sounds in the track with sounds created from layering different percussive samples from Charlotte’s performance.  It took nearly two full days to massage all of these new parts into the arrangement but what we ended up with was a beautifully warm and intriguing rhythmic structure for the song.  


We recorded the vocals for this track 3 times before we struck on the right performance for the song.  The final performance was captured at The Palace a beautiful little studio in Brisbane owned by Caleb James.


Here is a video of Charlotte performing my song The Fall with me as part of a beautiful series of videos curated by Woodes for Melbourne Music Week in 2015.  The lovely gals from Kuwaii loaned us the stunning red numbers and Melbourne based internationally-recognised contemporary jeweller and artist Katherine Leopoldseder loaned us a couple of her pieces including the stunning wearable sculpture named Venetian Blind Tragedy.  


Tune in next week for the story behind the single artwork I made with iconic Australian music photographer and fine artist Glen Wilkie.