One of my favorite albums of 2019 was titled I Am A Mountain. Despite it being an entirely instrumental album, Tom Pearo’s ambient guitar-driven odyssey came with a rich storyline, a mythical quest of light and darkness. Pearo’s first release since that Tolkien-esque epic is a three-and-a-half-minute single, “Love Wave.” Despite its more modest size, though, “Love Wave” is no less ambitious; he went from from a Mountain high above sea level to recording literally underwater.
Commissioned for climate change organization Sea Change‘s event on water conservation, Pearo worked the conference theme into “Love Wave” in a literal way: He used underwater microphones and waterproof speakers to re-record the audio while submerged in Vermont’s Lake Champlain.
“I ended up very tastefully weaving in the underwater sounds to the track,” he says. “About halfway if you listen closely you can hear the waves start to creep in. Then the tone of my guitar changes, it sounds like there’s more reverb on it or something. That’s the underwater microphones!”
The song’s trumpet player Will Andrews told Vermont alt-weekly Seven Days that his instrument was also affected by the new environment: “A trumpet somehow sounds naturally good underwater. The water creates a randomized tremolo effect that comes and goes and moves like nothing else.”
Check out “Love Wave” below, which Pearo wrote with collaborator Michael Cain, and stay tuned because Pearo reports that, despite winter coming soon, his underwater-recording adventures are not over. “My next plan is to drill through the ice this winter and see what that sounds like. I just received confirmation that the microphones are totally fine and should work perfectly in cold water, so we’re looking good!”