Meditating Out Loud 4
Cover photo: Factor Eight – A Voice (IV) cover art
"Meditating Out Loud" presents some of the best new ambient and downtempo tracks we've handpicked for you. We are coming back with the fourth installment of the series.
Goya – Sleep to Dream

Goya is the project of the New-Delhi-based music producer and mix engineer Abhishek Sekhri. His latest single Sleep to Dream is a beautiful track started on Abishek's Moog Mother-32 synthesizer used to create the simple three-note melody that moves the track along. "It is one of those tracks that I finished in a span of a few hours, owing to the flow I was feeling while creating it," says the artist.
Willebrant & Sleepsleeprepeat – Stillness of Now

'Stillness of Now' came about when Davis Branch a.k.a. Sleepsleeprepeat approached Karl Willebrant for a collaboration. The track makes use of synths and two types of bass to create a slowly moving texture that feels fresh even after repeated listens.

Karl Willebrant: "Davis supplied the bed of an idea with a synth chordal progression. And I approached with slide piccolo bass to establish a minimal melody with breadth and also supplied low and thick drones with my bass guitar and soft synth pads. The movement of the piece gives a sense of stillness or very very slow moving that is perfect for wind down at the end of a hectic day. Quiet Oneiric Ambient Drone for deep breathing and focus."
Factor Eight – A Voice (II)

This is the second of six tracks created by Canada-based Factor Eight entirely using their own voice ("aside from A Voice II and VI, which include some snapping sounds made into the mic"). This emotional piece of ambient music was inspired by a happy accident. Read our interview with Factor Eight to learn the project's story.

– What is the story behind the project?

The why and the how behind this concept are a bit different. The how takes roots in my 6-week artist residency at the Banff Centre. I went there to work on an orchestral-electronic project, but my projects and samples weren't loading properly. Forced to adapt, I created something entirely new by manipulating a single piece of audio and using only built-in Ableton plugins.

While I am not aware of anyone else who has done something similar to this project, I surely was influenced by the work of Caroline Shaw and her "Roomful of Teeth" record. She was one of the guest faculty members during my most recent residency at the Banff Centre. Both Caroline and her past collaborator Kanye West have been inspirational with their passionate words about the human voice and its vast potential."

– What were some of the techniques you used for the processing and manipulating your voice?

– My primary technique for manipulating my voice is Ableton's built-in warp function. Throughout this process I have really explored the depths of the warp function, and I am still learning new things with further use. I think it is really an underused and undervalued tool.

– How was the voice recorded? Just pure notes (like aaaaah, oooh etc.) or something else?

I recorded my voice using a tube condenser microphone. For the most part, the recordings were oohs and ahs. The vast majority of the sounds for each track would have been derived from a single take. Manipulation upon manipulation produces an essentially limitless array of possible sounds.

— How did you come up with this concept?

The ability to have greater control as a producer came in tandem with having something to "say" as an artist. When the time came to create this record, I felt inspired to create something personal, raw and sincere. The most personal sound I could create was my voice, so I decided to construct a series of works constrained to using my voice alone.

Mental health has been a pillar in my life since I was quite young, and it was during the creation of this record that I was provided with some clarity around my own experiences with mental illness when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Creating music using my voice alone is a sonic parallel not only to the personal and artistic voice I found through the creation of this album, but also to my mission in giving a voice to mental illness and those who struggle.