Motivational Music & 21st Century Post-Production Technology Create A ‘Clear’ Inspirational Voice
NEW YORK: Author, teacher, physician, holistic health guru, Deepak Chopra is a trusted voice in alternative medicine. A long-time advocate of the physical and emotional advantages of mediation, Chopra developed a 21-Day program to help novice and accomplished mediators experience and master its life affirming benefits. A discussion with celebrated humanitarian and media icon, Oprah Winfrey led to a unique collaboration. Their latest offering, Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Mediation Challenge™: Miraculous Relationships offers an illuminating, eminently accessible program of concentrated contemplation. This past August, nearly 700,000 people participated in the online audio version of the challenge.
To produce this worthy addition to the meditation lexicon, the Chopra Center, engaged composer/recording artist Scott E. Moore and his production company WingTip, Inc. In addition to his musical talents, Moore is an accomplished writer/director who had previously worked with Chopra on several high-end wellness videos. The assignment was to compose, produce and record 120 minutes of original music to serve as the instrumental soundtracks for Chopra’s recorded mediation guides.
“My first creative decision after getting the job was to call guitarist/composer/producer/engineer, Rich Tozzoli in to collaborate with me on this challenging project,” Moore reveals. “I’ve worked with Rich for years on many creative projects in the music and film worlds, and I knew he was gifted with the inspiration and the technical ability to help me develop two hours of innovative music within our six-week production time-frame.”
Each of the 21 individual tracks features a two-minute introduction by Oprah Winfrey, followed by a three-minute inspirational/instructional message recorded by Deepak Chopra before transitioning into a harmonious 8 minute “sound-scape” composed by Moore and Tozzoli. The objective of their collaboration was to approximate a film score “without the images,” a soothing aural environment to stimulate the mediators imagination.
Recording in a variety of Locations, Moore and Tozzoli invited a diverse group of skilled musicians to perform on the tracks. Guest artists included Akua Dixon (playing a 100 year old Cello), David Ondrick (Tibetan Bowls and toning chants), Kristen Hevner-Wyatt (acoustic piano), Andy Munitz (Violin), Bruce MacPherson (vintage anologue synthesizers) and Laura Josephson (classical Flageolet flute, circa 1830) and Ray Levier (drums, percussion, bowed vibraphone). Moore and Tozzoli added their own performances on both vintage and contemporary 6 and 12 string guitars, classical guitars, keyboards and electronic sound design. The tracks also incorporate ‘natural sounds’ including ocean, streams, bird songs and even the 17-year cicadas.
In creating the music, Tozzoli used the Sonnox Reverb, EQ, Dynamics and Inflator Plug-ins. Applying the Just Reverb setting helped him to create custom ambiences in conjunction with Altiverb and Eventide Space. He found the Inflator particularly useful on the acoustic instruments, in enabling him to increase their presence in the mix. He employed the EQ Plug-in to cut extraneous low end out of the reverbs, ‘cleaning’ the mix so as not to interfere with Deepaks voice - which includes numerous low frequencies. The Sonnox Oxford Dynamics Plug-in aided him in taming occasional instrumental ‘peaks’ in a clean, non-invasive way.
“Our project was well underway when we received Deepak’s initial introductory recordings,” Moore recalls. “Having worked with him on a video project, and being familiar with his work and speech patterns, I was aware that he had a rich tone, but also has a pronounced sibilance in his voice. Rich Tozzoli who has extensive engineering credits and is one of the most technically proficient recording artist/composers I know, immediately proposed that we suggest using the Sonnox Oxford SuprEsser plug-in to minimize this issue.”
“The SuprEsser proved itself to be a highly-featured De-Esser with an intuitive graphic display and three distinct listening modes. The Chopra Center’s engineers, who were responsible for marrying Deepak’s narration to the music, were able to dramatically improve the quality of Deepak’s voiceover, from previous recordings. The SuprEsser’s Automatic Level Tracking, and full (20Hz-20KHz) spectrum operation made an invaluable contribution to the overall quality of this project,” Moore adds. “We are really proud of our work on this, and especially to be part of creating something beautiful that can have such a positive impact on people’s lives.”
The Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Mediation Challenge™: Miraculous Relationships is currently available on CD, in two forms: the original guided meditation challenge and the Music & Mantras version.
Photo: Rich Tozzoli (left) and Scott E. Moore in Tozzoli’s home studio. Photo by Claudine Ohayon
For information on Sonnox Oxford Plug-ins please visit: www.sonnox.com