Above the City

This track is actually the first full song I wrote.

The Sonic Foundry Acid 3 installation CD was packed to capacity with free-to-use loops and sound effects, ostensibly to give the user something to play with until they got to the skill level of making their own loops. I made many little experiments and beats with these loops, some of them actually interesting. With the state of modern consumer software, it's easy enough to find novel combinations when you start pitch-shifting, stretching, delaying loops, skewing the timebase, layering loops, panning between channels, adding effects, etcetera.

One of my experiments involved playing an extended string chord in the center channel and layering its duplicate, pitched up a few semitones, delayed by a beat, and panned to the left, and another duplicate pitched a few semitones down, delayed two beats, and panned to the right. That huge sound became the kernel of this song. The initial version, working-titled "Over the City" due to its grandiose sound, was completely composed with a ton of Sonic Foundry loops from the CD.

When the "Long Drive Home" album concept came around, I slightly retooled this track with a new storyline wherein the album's main character, "The Fool", transitions from the track bearing his name into this track, opening the door and crossing the threshhold from naivete to his first Big World experience. Caught up in the cacophony, mayhem, rhythm, and pulse of the urban world, he loses his way and collapses into a scared mess. The idea was to have a kind soul find him, take his hand, and lead him to a place of safety, a nearby church, where the album would transition into the next track.

In hindsight, I'm glad I never sullied this track with the vocal clips required to tell the story, because I started liking the sound of it after years of hearing it as it was. When the call went out for submissions for Wires 5, I decided to submit it, but it needed more work to stand up on its own without the concept. I found a deep rhythm loop I'd worked up years before and wove that into the patchwork along with a handful of other original loops, extending the song structure a bit before making the final mix for submission, which is what you hear on the compilation.

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