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click! Erik Larsen from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: For this project I will attempt to represent sonically Francis Bacon’s painting Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X. Bacon’s work subverts the holiness and majesty of the original, instead creating an environment of thinly veiled terror and evil. To me, the power of the painting comes from its Bacon’s honest exploration of the bleakness of the human condition. The esteemed pope in his pontifical garments is revealed to be a corrupt monster who is just as terrified himself as he is terrifying.

My piece will consist of two main thematic areas: regal, “papal” music and dark, mysterious, frightening sound. The papal music will consist of snippets of baroque music and hymns. Even though it is technically anachronistic (since Innocent X was Pope during the mid-17th century), I think the baroque music will convey a sense of pomp and regality, while the hymns will convey religious piety. These snippets will quickly be interrupted by spasms of white noise and other unpleasant sounds. Eventually, the white noise glitches will build until the bottom drops out, and a deeply reverberant, ominous, and atonal atmosphere will prevail. Random shocks of noise, even more off-putting than before, will continue. I will also incorporate screams and other sounds of human suffering. In the end, I want to somehow incorporate the hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” probably through my own stuttering MIDI interpretation of it.

I will import audio files of baroque music and hymns into Digital Performer and chop them up into little snippets. I will modify the snippets in various ways in order to distort them; bit-crushing, time-stretching, pitch-shifting, and use of reverb and chorus plug-ins are all possibilities. In order to achieve a horror-movie sort of atmosphere, I will create synthesizer sounds in Logic that are mysterious and foreboding, and also ones that are jarring and dissonant.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, Logic, and Digital Performer..


click! Scott Russell from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: For my third project I have chosen to create a sound environment based on Salvador Dali’s painting “The Persistence of Memory.” Although I initially wanted to avoid using anything that is well known, I found the imagery in the painting too pervasive, and felt it was extremely conducive to the nature of the project. I therefore found myself compelled to use this painting, despite it being extremely well known.

The most prominent feature of the painting I plan to represent with sound design is the feel of melting, which seems to naturally infer pitch shifting. I therefore will attempt to create a thematic decay of essentially all of my sounds throughout the piece, mirroring the melting clocks. Furthermore, as the picture has several pocket-watches in it, I plan on attempting to establish a ticking theme at the beginning of the piece, which will slowly become less and less recognizable as the song progresses, attempting to parallel the melting of the watches, and their eventually unrecognizable origin. Another element of the painting that strikes me is the starkness of the imagery presented. There is a feel or barren, emptiness, which I hope to represent through sound, possibly with heavy echo and use of silence. The painting has a very surreal quality, and I imagine therefore that in attempts to replicate that I will be beginning with fairly standard, musical sounds, and attempting to progressively distort them as the piece progresses.

Right now I plan on achieving most of this using Garageband, and making use of the many sounds and synthesizers it will have available. I will also most likely record using the pith shifting tools it provides to begin the distortions. I imagine the piece beginning at least somewhat musical, and through the various distortions making the sound more warped and abrasive, ultimately resulting in something unnerving. Yet I don’t want anything in the piece to be overly intense or loud, as part of the effect of the painting is the starkness of the world it presents, and I wish to replicate that.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, GarageBand, and Digital Performer.


click! Harris Hudson from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: My goal is to create a metaphor in sound for the second photo on this page using GarageBand, Digital Performer, and Logic software. I will link the image to audio using complementary audio effects, melodies, rhythms, and textures. My intent is for the listener to understand a connection between my create audio and the image of skydivers at sunset. The listener should feel contemplative and calm. The listener should possess a sense of floating, falling, and gliding.

My plan is to find high quality recordings of sheets or flapping and steady wind blowing. I will use freesound.org and other field recording databases. I will loop, pan, and mix as necessary to create a sense of moving through and being surrounded by air. These sound effects will provide a background pad and provide an airy texture. I will then record a minute of electric guitar to act as the central element in the soundscape. I will then use synth chords fill out the space and add color. The result will complement the cool blue color of the sky and a sense of calm.

The content of the and effects of the soundscape will evolve as follows: Steady Wind (swirl with panning) – automation Flag Flapping (2 tracks out of sync, light reverb, swirl with panning) – automation Electric Guitar (Heavy sustain, reverb, possibly tremolo) – original tune Synth Chords (Pads, Swirls, Arpeggiators) (Reverb)

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, GarageBand, and Digital Performer.




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Last Modified:
November 27, 2012