A quiet moment snatched in Trieste, Italy, inside the Serbian Orthodox church at Chiesa Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo. Wandering in from the street, we came across a priest singing prayers alone at the front of the church, shaking his incense burner periodically.
He is shortly joined by a second worshipper, who joins him in what seems like a verse-chorus style recitation and repetition.
It’s a precious recording, which really feels like we’ve intruded onto a deeply-personal moment. In fact, I’ve left in certain imperfections in the recording, shuffles and motions that betray the extent to which I am trying to respect this private moment and capture it without somehow intruding upon it.
For the reimagined version, I wanted to create a full-on musical track using elements from this peaceful recording as base material, having already contributed some more ambient and contemplative reworkings of sacred spaces myself elsewhere in the project.
The challenge was to try to incorporate elements of the recording without just jamming a vocal sample over what could otherwise be a pre-existing track, but for those elements to be deeply and intrinsically interwoven with the music.
You can hear the original piece throughout like this:
- We start with a vocal loop from the field recording (a short loop that lent itself well to doubling), which feeds back on itself leading into the drums.
- The growling bass synth in the first section is constructed from a different vocal sample, using it as source material from which to generate a synth instrument.
- The second section loops a piece of vocal more directly, using it to replace the melodic content that would normally come from a synth.
- Throughout, you can hear the metallic clatter of the priest’s incense burner, which has been turned into an extra percussion sound.