Silk Screens: OMBRE – “Tormentas”
In our most recent installment of Silk Screens, the otherworldly dreamers that are OMBRE guide us through the alluringly foreign world of their song “Tormentas“. For those of you who don’t know of their charm, OMBRE is the meeting of minds between Asthmatic Kitty labelmates Julianna Barwick and Helado Negro. Their most entrancing debut album Believe You Me is out now via Asthmatic Kitty.
“Tormentas” for me is a very memorable time in the studio with Roberto (Helado Negro). I instantly loved the feel of the guitar and the mood of the song when Roberto showed it to me. It was one of those songs that sort of unfolded in a really easy, natural way. I remember having Roberto write down the lyrics he came up with so I could sing with him. As we went along we would playback the song and I would pickup some of the stuff laying around the studio. I basically couldn’t keep my hands off the vibraphone through the entire recording of the album so I’m not surprised the vibraphone ended up on the song. We would both improvise when we were recording and some of the stuff just came out off the top of our heads. I remember playing the electric guitar for the first time in a long time for those parts, again improvised, but it had been so long since I had played the guitar it was kind of killing my fingertips and I wussed out a little. Luckily we got what we needed. Roberto worked his magic on the rest of the song, piecing it together and asking friends for contributions. I think the song is totally beautiful and it was such a easy, pleasant journey getting it finished.
Helado Negro (aka Roberto Lange):
“Tormentas” began when I made this really short piece of me plucking chords on my guitar making rhythmic pulse with it. I recorded that then played something of a melodic lead that I mimic’d with my voice. These words came to me:
corren las tormentas de mi suspiciones (the storms of my suspicions)
conocen las problemas de tus condiciones (run wild knowing the problems of your condition)
Under the guitar I layer down a really short rhythmic pattern that was something of bossa nova pattern with only a kick drum running through a snapback delay.
I was looking at the session today of when it was started and it was part of these group of songs I was writing during the time I wrote the last Savath & Savalas album with Eva and Guillermo.
In terms of influences the of the song I wouldn’t say there is really an exact something but I remember around 2008 discovering Congregacion, who were a group from Chile and had a couple members from the better known group Los Jaivas.
This song was usually on repeat around that time :
When I showed the idea to Julianna she had an immediate reaction to it so we just began tracking.
The first thing we did was add Julianna’s voice to double mine for the second half of the song. So this unison phrase in her register. After that I added a bass line to make the rhythm a little more concrete. Julianna then added doubled guitars tracking 2 different wandering guitars over each other.
We then both wrote some ideas for additional melodies. Before we got together again I sent the song to percussionist Matt Crum (from the group ROM & Feathers) to do this driving straight beat that wasn’t a bossa move beat.
Waiting for that I had Matt Bauder, who plays saxophone, to translate some of the additional melodies Julianna and I wrote for horns. We also had violinist Jamie Reeder supplement the horns with a string arrangement.
The last stretch of completing this song involved adding a vibraphone part and some additional percussion.
That is the break down.
(Curated by Verb/Re/Verb)