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Close Encounters of a Special Kind – Part 3

sound design 101 gaia

Close Encounters of a Special Kind – Part 3

(the unexpected adventures of an unknown sound designer – includes embedded sound files) If you want to support my work, please make use of the "PayPal" button - thank you very much indeed!

Gaia Came to Visit Me

Even famous sound designers can tell you that electronic music and sound design are not always that closely and strongly linked to each other.

sound design 101

Most of us rather think of computers, hardware effect tools and electronic circuitry of all kind when it´s about sound design. Rather than thinking of dog food, microwave ovens or refrigerators. But that´s a big mistake. Frank Zappa told us once: “The mystery man came over me / And he said, “I´m out of site” / He said, for a nominal service charge / I could reach nirvana tonight”

Well, it was not the mystery man, it was Gaia. Gaia herself honoured me with her visit in my humble sound design laboratory (normal people call it a flat). Perhaps it´s a good idea to listen to what she made me doing, before reading ahead in this article (it´s exclusively made with sounds from my flat): https://www.dropbox.com/s/v7x2h57jqw3e8qy/Gaias%20dream.wav?dl=0

At first she entered my premises – unnoticed, silently, like a thief in the night – sat down on the sofa next to me and looked around. Then her gaze focussed on the curtain rod and the wooden rings on top of the curtain. She touched my hand, and at once I felt the urge to jump up from the sofa, run to the window, take the curtain and violently push it here and there, from left to right, from right to left and make the wood rings crash against the metal hooks the rod was fixed to the wall with. I rushed for my field recorder, started the recording and fell into a frenzy working with the curtain, until my wife came back from her shopping tour. She saved me from getting a part of Gaia. Who had somewhat vanished when my wife had entered the laboratory – I mean the flat.

Art and technique of sound design

Unfortunately she – my wife, not Gaia – had agreed to take care of our grandchildren, and had to leave quite soon, “Behave !!!!” was everything she said instead of a heartly “good bye”. As soon as the door banged close Gaia reappeared again. This time she (or is Gaia an “it”?) was extremely interested in our refrigerator, especially when it´s door stand wide open for a longer time. Gaia made me use some contact mics inside the fridge, glued to the back (inside as well as outside) and placed between slices of cheese and of top of bottles of milk. I got some fantastic recordings there.

After a while Gaia turned around (I think she was holding my hand all the time) and noticed the toaster. She pulled me over to the kitchenette and I suddenly felt the irresistible drive to make the toaster work, again with some contact microphones fixed to the outside and an additional Zoom H5 recorder watching the whole process from outside. Pushing the toaster´s slider down, waiting for it to come up again, pushing it down, come up, pushing it down, come up ….



about sound and sound design

Fortunately the laundry rack caught Gaia´s attention after a while, and so our Toaster survived. The laundry rack had been lurking behind the door to the living room, and there seemed a silent communication was going on between the device and Gaia, because she hesitated for some seconds before she trasported me into the living room, where I could help to unfold the laundry rack and start hitting it with several tools like hammers, cups, little cushions (you know these hard little things that hinder you to have a nice rest on the sofa). Then I ran for my fiddle stick and bowed the laundry rack at its different parts. Gaia made my think of even something else. So I hurried into the kitchen again, took the empty water kettle (some people use it to boil water, when they want to have a tea or coffee – what a nonsense), and started walloping the laundry rack with the kettle – everything nicely and cautiously recording of course.



sound design - everything you need to know

I was just battering the rack and sweating like, well you know what I mean, when suddenly – out of the blue – my wife stood behind me. Gaia had vanished again – somehow. “Don´t try to explain! Don´t even try!” was all my wife said to me, before she vanished as well – into the bedroom, where I supposed she had a serious talk with Gaia.

I was wrong, because Gaia came back after some minutes – silently, cautiously and slowly. Then she pointed back to the kitchen, where she looked at the egg timer. It was a long and longing look! But before I started recording the surprisingly different sounds such devices can produce when treated right Gaia made me close the door to the kitchen, so that my wife wouldn´t be disturbed in her silent meditation about what wonderful husband she has luckily got. The precaution worked. Well, it worked until the egg timer went off for, hm, I think for the 20th time or so, when Gaia was recklessly driven out of our flat by my helpful and caring wife.

More about Gaia and the project “Things II” here: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/46

... to be continued

to part 1: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/337

to part 2: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/345

to part 4: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/362

to part 5: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/367

to part 6: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/376

to part 7: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/383

to part 8: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/388

to part 9: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/394

to part 10: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/405

to part 11: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/409

to part 12: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/417


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