How I composed Submerged.

A lot of people listen to music passively these days. If I wrote a questionnaire asking when people listen to music and what they are doing at the time, I would assume the majority of answers would be, “I listen to music when I work”, “I listen to music when I am on the Car/Train to work”, “At the gym”. That’s fair enough, people enjoy it that way these days, and it’s a means of convenience.

Though there are many listeners out there at the same time listen to music as an art, connecting to an album as if it were a novel or a film. That’s always been the way I’ve treated music. Personally It’s for a number of reasons but to say it straight, I love to connect in a profound way with music and it’s because of the music I listen to. Some of my favorite albums are so dense and creatively diverse it’s impossible to listen to it passively. “Grace for Drowning” by Steven Wilson being a prime and recent example. It is an immersive and emotionally driving experience both in the music writing and the way it is presented.

Consequently the music I have ended up writing is with the same intentions of taking the listener somewhere else.

When I was first recording “Hail” I took my inspiration from mainly visual scenes that I either came up with in my imagination or looked up online for artists out there who had created some very impressionistic paintings. At the same time I was of course listening to Progressive music that was accompanied by astounding images that took you on a musical journey (Roger Dean’s work for Yes, Close to the Edge, need I say more). Additionally I was listening to 20th century composers renowned for music they had written as part of the impressionistic era; French composers Ravel and Debussy are amongst my absolute favorites because of the way in which they could let your imagination fly.

“Submerged” is based on the visual elements of a civilization being underwater, right down at the bottom of the ocean. Take the legend of Atlantis, Plato’s account of an Island being swept underwater. How surreal and colossal The opening riff is what I started with. I wanted to make it as heavy as possible so I cranked up my Black Star amp and recorded the riff 8 times.

The incline in my mind when I started writing the rest of the song was that there was something quite underwater like about it. I went along with that idea and was pleased with how thing’s developed quite naturally. I soon ended up structuring the song around several key changes to create the haunting effects required. I also ended up using influence from the likes of Mike Oldfield, bringing more and more tracks into the session to create atmosphere using an array of guitar tracks, some of which were played as sequences in harmony and other guitars I put several modulator effects and filters to make them sound as if they were underwater. The pad’s also helped to create this effect. There are a lot of sounds buried in the mix and without them backing the prominent role of the drums, bass and lead guitars; the effect just wouldn’t be the same. Towards the half way point of the song, I also brought in more intense guitar passages, arpeggios, the solo and the end section all being more sped up and intense as if you are sinking deeper and deeper.

This song as well as the rest of “Hail” was incredibly fun for me to create, and I am happy to say I’m really proud with how it finally sounds, a year after I started writing it.

I hope that you enjoy “Hail” and find it as enjoyable and immersive to listen to as it was for me when I recorded it.

Ryan Elliott

Hail by Eden Shadow shall be released through WhiteKnight Records on the 28th May

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