Disquiet Junto: vowel choral drone

Interesting exercise this week, requiring recording my voice and cooking it until well drone.
Disquiet Junto Project 0059: Vowel Choral Drone

This week’s project involves the human voice. You will create a choral drone from three samples that you will create with your own voice. This project requires a single die, or the digital equivalent.

Here are the steps in the project:

Step 1: Roll a die three times (or three dice once) to determine which vowels you will use. Depending on your luck, you may end up with two or even three of the same vowel.

1 = A (“a” as in “yay”)
2 = E (“e” as in “bee”)
3 = I (“i” as in “die”)
4 = O (“o” as in “yo”)
5 = U (“u” as in “you”)
6 = Y (“y” as in “Sylvia”)

If you don’t have access to a die, you can use various digital equivalents. This link, for example, will roll three dice simultaneously:

Step 2: For each vowel that you have been assigned by the dice, record a 10-second sample of you holding that vowel as a constant tone (volume, timbre, note, etc.).

Step 3: Create a choral drone that utilizes only these three sources of audio. You can treat them with effects lightly, but they should be recognizable as the human voice throughout the duration of track.

Deadline: Monday, February 18, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work should be between 2 and 5 minutes in length.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0059-vwls” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: Consider setting your track in a manner that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, be sure to include this information:

More on this 59th Disquiet Junto project at:

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

Using the generator above, it was determined I would work with 'O', 'U' and 'E' sounds. Quickly I settled on singing them as G, B and D -- three notes I like playing with sustain on a piano.

After realising it would be a challenge to sustain the lower note for 10 seconds, I hooked up a pitch-correction pedal to use while singing. Later I realised I didn't use it but I think that thinking it was on helped my performance.

With the samples recorded, I began experimenting with creating a drone and re-pitching the samples to create chords with which to develop a sense of harmonic progression in the track. This became bewildering as I lost track of key and at one point my family began complaining the lower frequencies were making them ill.

The next day I returned to the project and developed a chord progression that would work over the three notes I had. My partner commented that it sounded 'pop' so I didn't worry once it began to take yet another direction when I re-pitched samples.

Think it's finished but I'm not really sure what a 'choral drone' should sound like. On one hand I want it to be choral, so I was conscious of allowing space for breathing, on the other hand I was trying to layer up enough samples to create a drone without relying too heavily on reverb.