The song “Olm” starts out with a drum beat played on Djembe and Conga, distorted with lots of drive, delay and reverb, causing slight ring modulation. The rhythm is a variation on a traditional Ghanan syncopation in 12/8 time. It features a melody in B harmonic minor, played on the harp, and an Appalachian dulcimer, also in B harmonic minor. I chose to use a wide variety of instruments in this song because it seemed to complement the bizarre nature of the drums. Not many people distort traditional African drums, so the very idea seemed to attract more bizarre instruments. The tonality of the harp and dulcimer complemented the drums much more then the guitar, so they were chosen as the primary instruments.
The song “Olm” reminds me of the conflict between natural and artificial. This is shown through the distortion of traditional drums, as well as the conflict between the tones of the harp and dulcimer. Harp has a very earthen tone, whereas dulcimer is very wiry, and metallic. The contrast between sounds in this song evokes in my mind the conflict between man and nature, as well as “culture” and tribal This song all originated with a variation on the ghanan syncopation. The drumline was one of the first things I recorded on the album, and I wrote the harp part around that rhythm. After those two parts were recorded together, I simply needed to expand the melody to more instruments and found the chorus effect produced by the sound of the course strings fit well with the overall tone and already Arabian style of the piece produced by the harmonic minor key.