Sound Design and Update

Well it’s been a long long time since I last posted and quite a busy year. I have now become a freelance web designer but hope to get back into sound at some point…

I created a siren sound on freesound (my username is Oddworld) and it got used in a hip-hop track here – Funny where stuff ends up!


Happy New Years Eve

I wish everyone a happy new years eve. I’m looking forward to visiting deserted London tomorrow morning, seeing what sounds I can gather.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

SDC – Origin Spirits Of The Past

Sound Design Challenge for Origin Spirit of the Past:

Duration: 9 seconds

Scene / Description: – Girl removes ringing neck bracelet

Time Taken: 3 hours

Original Video

SDC Video

I created the telephone tones using Audacity. Various sines and square waves at 1340 Hz and 1700 Hz. I blended them all together and EQ’ed. When She takes off the necklace it sounds just like when you open the boot of a car or use a bike pump. However I used a white noise with a filter sweep and a combination of a hoover and a washing machine powering down.



While I was waiting for a flight back to England yesterday I noticed how amazingly quiet airports are. I’m not sure whether it was just the off peak time I was travelling or that having not been abroad for a few years I’d forgotten what to expect. I realized that everything had been carefully engineered to provide a quiet space. The walls and ceilings were made of Micro Perforated Plates allowing sound absorption. This made me feel good knowing that this was thought about extensively in the design of the Airport.

Sound recording in public

Today I saw someone hastily pocketing their M-Audio Microtrack II while listening on headphones; instantly recognisable from its strange scientific looking stereo mic configuration. If only sound recording devices were more socially acceptable like the digital camera one could carry it around in public without raising suspicion. It feels like there’s a stigma around sound recording equipment – they are alien devices, unknown by most and akin to spy like technology. Taking a photo of a someone in public is more acceptable than recording their voice because as a society infused with CCTV and remote surveillance we have become used to a visual invasion of privacy. Audible privacy is something we feel we own the right to; sometimes stepping out of that right in a public conversation on a mobile phone for example. I think there is a fear that our social exploits would be used in a negative way such as if the words on this blog were turned around for a different use. If a conversation happens in public – who owns the sound if it were recorded? If everyone was being recorded in public right now would we be more careful about what was being said?

Radiophonic Workshop

Today I went to check this event out as part of THE SPACE and really enjoyed it. Matt Herbert, who is becoming a favourite of mine is the recently appointed creative director of the reborn ‘Radiophonic Workshop’. The day was split up in to a number of talks; the ones I saw were Music and Technology. The music one was a very interesting explorative debate on the role of music in films, theatre, tv and artistically. One point that Matt Herbert made was the seeming regression from electronic music to classical in certain theme tunes such as the re-imagined Doctor Who theme, originally created by Delia Derbyshire at the Radiophonic Workshop. The parralels between climactic, orchestral scores in film are apparent in some TV programs as a solution to mainstream audience need in the perception of importance. Another speaker on the panel, Paul Morley spoke of the TV ‘Classic Awards’ as a collective climax of uninspired music that could be stamped from a template of safely played underscore….or something along those lines.

The technology talk was something that got me thinking too. Yann Seznec showed us his project called ‘The secret sound of spores‘ which was a fantastic demonstration of combining technology with nature in its purest sense. The arbitrary results of a spore-catching-light-triggering midi synthesizer wonderfully reaffirmed a connection between a natural living process and an engineered electronic outcome of which a sense of control blends between the natural and the unnatural. It got me thinking about how we can make musical instruments that give back to the performer; a deeper interaction between musician and instrument much like the improvisation of two musicians responding to each other’s playing. We also heard from Robert Thomas from RjDj explaining how ubiquitous technology platforms (such as the iPhone) can provide us with a rich mine of data that can be extracted and used to target listeners musically based on unique situations they are in such as the weather, where they are in the world, how fast they are travelling in a car etc. This is a really interesting approach for a musician because you have the chance to engineer an exact experience for the listener defined by all-encompassing (‘shotgun’) and  fine-tuned (‘sniper’) scenarios.

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The Space

I just discovered THE SPACE – “a new, deliberately experimental service, managed by Arts Council England and developed in partnership with the BBC. It has been designed to give arts and culture organisations the opportunity to experiment and engage with new and existing audiences in a completely innovative digital environment. It is a pilot and will be available from the 1st May 2012 to the 31st October 2012”

I have only briefly looked at this and it looks like they have  a lot of interesting stuff so far – check it out

Mindful Solitude

I was recently perusing the shelves of Foyles in Euston station one evening without a purpose and found a book called “Seeking Silence in a Noisy World” and having briefly scoured the first few pages I knew that it was the book to buy. It talks in depth about the value of silence and how different cultures and religions approach silence. I particularly liked the explorations on the natural environment and how it connects us with our past both visually and sonically. Silence is a term that changes in context and cannot be explicitly defined as it mostly always a subjective experience.

The foreword reads

Often we do no recognize the value of silence until we are driven to seek it; most of the time it remains an unused resource. My own stumbling journey, which I will describe throughout the book, included a formal retreat while I was at college and a self-imposed silence on a Cumbrian moor. What I began to discover was that it is the natural world that helps me most of all.,adam-ford-9781908005113

Audio Conceptualising – ‘Sky Port’

This artwork is by ~RichardDorran at DeviantART.

I have chosen this image to compose a soundtrack to because it provokes an environment that would be bustling with different sounds. I like the artwork because it is both representative and detailed at the same time. I am able to target in on areas like the crane sections to the left or the launchpad on the right and pick out more detail than at first glance. I wanted to mimic that in the piece by placing sounds that built up an ambience but were also very specific to areas in the image. I chose a repetitive rhythm in the key of E major – one determined as having characterisitcs of “Joy, magnificence, splendour; brightest and most powerful key” – (Characteristics of Musical Keys, The art conveys a positive feeling, that of  astronomical mastery. The rhythm ebbs and flows like the coming and going of spacecraft and employs a minimalistic repetition.

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