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Close Encounters of a Special Kind – Part 4

sound design Angry Alice

Close Encounters of a Special Kind – Part 4

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

Angry Alice “Morning Haze”

Sound design is not only about game sound or special sonic effects for film and for film sound. It´s also about finding and producing something audible to complement text, a novel, poems, short stories. I wrote a couple of texts, lyrics, poetry, back in the days. Mostly quite dark texts I must admit. The art and technique of sound design includes also setting text to music, and so I decided to use my old writings and produce an album – It´s in the work right now. Just watch the music video of the first piece called “Morning Haze” to understand the following. Here´s the link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/umeuml2rh93c2xn/morning%20haze.mp4?dl=0

sound design 101

"Morning Haze" is a depressive track. It is about a child´s fear of the dawn and the events of the day ahead on one hand, and overprotective parents who cannot accept that their child is a separate person with a personality of their own. Parents unable to let go. It´s produced using not only musical instruments, but mainly sounds extracted from real world recordings.

Let me talk about the process a bit. First of all I thought to find a sound corresponding to the blood pulsing in the veins of the child. The sound should remind of liquid pulsing through hoses and pipes, but must not even a bit sound like the stereotype heartbeat sounds out there. And not like simple water running through pipes – of course not. It should be an artful reminiscence of pulsing blood. I got the idea to record a round and corrugated wooden stick rolling across the wooden floor in our living room. When I would smooth out the very high pitches, and perhaps slow down the recording a bit, I might get suitable basic material to design the sound I was looking for. Well, I did so, and the recording provided me with what I had been looking for – they did indeed. And more! To my big surprise I discovered the sound of breathing in the recording after slowing it down and doing some very basic granular processing.

sound design - everything you need to knowMotivated and inspired by this discovery I continued recording things in the living room. The not at all studio like acoustic room design, the unusual “sonic” environment generated a succession of very useful sounds (watch the video and listen). I recorded different wooden things falling down to the floor (I used a stepped ladder and let them fall from about 3 meter above the floor) , I threw diverse metallic items from the ladder, plastic, rubber and even crumpled paper. I played with dices on the floor, wiped the floor with dry and with wet floorcloth, with dry and with wet sponges, let marbles roll across the floorboards etc. I used 3 different microphones at the same time: My Zoom H5 microphone head hanging about 50 cm down from the lamp in the living room, an old (lofi) microphone which remained from a broken tape recorder (they sold external microphones with their recorders back in the 1960s), and a contact microphone (DIY with peizo elements) directly glued to the wooden floor with adhesive tape. Later on I partly layered the recordings of these 3 microphones. Just listen to some of the raw sound here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kp0chm5l2d0yrs7/sounddesign_4%20sounds.wav?dl=0


sound design


Then the sound processing began. All in all I ended up with 46 layered tracks tracks. There had been a lot of equalizing going on of course – I mainly used the parametric EQ2 in FL Studio, some delay processing with u-he´s MFM2 and all the reverb is made using the free VST OrilRiver. There is no life audio stream granular processing going in the piece. All the granular sound design is made on individual snippets of the recorded sounds and re-recorded afterwards before I inserted it in the piece. I used the VST CrusherX by accsone as well as Granite by New Sonic Arts for the granular sound tweaking. There´s no compressor involved nor did I any kind of mastering – I like the raw character of the piece as it came out of the mix.

And here is the text for those who don´t want to listen to this dark and moody piece (there might be some squeamish people among you :-)


“When the night elves lay the day for you with their last dance …

… when their screams drive away the house spirits, who are crouching in corners, dark alcoves and cupboards …

… where they have been waiting greedily for the moment to jump into your dreams and torment you …

… when instead the silent shrill songs of the elves calls out the horrors of the day …

… when the morning haze hangs over the forests, wafts of mist drift lazily over meadows, and the cold grips your thoughts through cracks in the windows …

… when sleeps is loosing strength and you begin to hear your breathing …

… when – with a shake of your head – you deny what your first glance seemed to see at the window, when you dismiss it as the blurred remainder of your nightmare, knowing that you saw the twisted grimace of madness grinning in your room …

… when the morning fear chokes your breath, when your heart doesn´t want to beat but it has to …

… then be sure my child, that we are nourishing you, and our own fear sharpens the knives like scalpels, and that we will infallibly find the point, where the pain is greatest …

… then our poison flows into your veins through the umbilical cord of love, my child …

… then we clear the way for you – level and smooth – polishing the ice as smooth as a mirror, so that you don´t trust your own steps, tagger slip and fall, my doll …

… because you are the heroin in our little room, the drug that makes us forget our own pain – for a short time …

… for a short time at least – before you slip away from us …

… for whom we do everything and don´t spare no effort – not considerate, not on us, and not on you …

… when the elves screech in the morning haze, my child.

… 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 3: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/353

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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