Silhouette - Single (2020)
Review By Dan Fister
August 21, 2020
No stranger to a cappella recording nor to RARB, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Fundamentally Sound produces another dynamic, sterling track with its cover of Silhouette by the British duo Aquilo. Fundamentally Sound turns voices into visual art as the singers masterfully craft an a cappella portrait capturing the trials of lost love.
This track is dramatic in the best sense of the term. Like a sublime oil painting of a ship caught in a stormy sea, Silhouette cascades between shades of choral composition and EDM, between a pared-down indie duet and full-throated rock anthem. Arranger Michael Khor Eng Hoe paints the song’s musical waves, unafraid to strip away or add layers to the original song’s already thrilling arc. The newly composed wordless intro grows from atmospheric whispers and soft hums into a bellowing cry, only to give way to emulation of the original song’s simple piano accompaniment as the first verse begins.
Fundamentally Sound’s exceptional singers render this arrangement to its fullest potential. The group uses a wide vocal range, from high falsettos to rumbling bass to create caverns of vocal harmony, which soloist Mike Fuller fills with soaring passion and sound. Zach Zimmerman’s vp propels the song’s sense of drama with powerful entrances and sudden disappearances. The group tunes not just pitches and vowels but also deep emotions: they express regret, anguish, vulnerability, and ultimately, solidarity.
Significant praise also belongs to the team of Plaid Productions, Ed Boyer, and Dave Sperandio for forging the sound world of Silhouette. With careful attention to the shifts in the song's differing textures, styles, and moods, they facilitate the journey Fundamentally Sound embarks on with listeners, emphasizing voice parts and adding effects as needed. The track’s rich soundscape and emotional depth will awe a cappella novices and audiophiles alike.