Track 4 - Harmonium


Recorded: January 27, 2015
Instrumentation: Harmonium, Hammond Organ, Upright Bass, Choir, Strings
Tempo: 64bpm
Audio Stems: Yes

A few years back my wife took an intensive yoga teacher training course that had a profound impact on my life. Positioned directly between the break-up of my old band Pela and the birth of Augustines, it was during this time that I was exposed to two of the many profound philosophies of Buddhism. One is whatever you send out into the world is what will come back to you. The other is if you want to be happy, the way to find it is to help someone else be happy. Whatever it is you want, give it away first. If you are seeking peace or love, help someone else find these in their lives.  It was also during this time that I discovered the true beauty of the harmonium.  

Years later, just after Augustines returned home from supporting our second record, I started writing for our third. Every morning for a month I would wake up and record an Audio Journal. During this incredibly prolific time period in my life I recorded over 30 journals. The foundations` of the songs Are We Alive, The Forgotten Way and Hold Me Loneliness all came from this time period. As did today’s entry.

“Harmonium" was composed and recorded entirely on the computer. Originally a free pass recorded with no click, I struggled for a while to establish a tempo. The music exists between a slow 4/4 and faster 6/8.  Eventually I settled on the 4/4 and recorded what you hear now. 

To create the instrumentation I used an instrument called Kontakt by Native Instruments. The prominent clicking sound you hear in the intro is actually part of the harmonium track.  In Kontakt I had independent control over this "room sound" and was able to fade the body of the organ up into the percussive texture. A heavily distorted Hammond Organ doubles the harmonium to thicken the mix greatly and give it weight.  

For the upright I used one of my go to treatments, a plugin called Devil-Loc by Soundtoys. Not the kind of effect you can put on everything, this distortion/compression unit naturally brings out the bow and air of an upright. Go check out "The Avenue" by Augustines for another reference. 

Also in the mix are a simple choir and string arrangement.  Intended to be felt not heard, I added these two elements months after the original recording with the hope that it would bring a little more movement and air.  

If anyone has any questions about this recording or any other songs you've heard so far, feel free to reach out.  I'm thinking of hosting a live chat at the halfway mark of the album.