For this performance I improvised live automation through a set of snapshots id prepared across 2 reaktor ensembles, one being a procedural sample layering instrument for the oneshots i was triggering throughout allowing for live control (and/or) randomization of a full suite of effects including granulation,distortion,reverbs,delays, reversals etc and the other a granular drone/soundscape generator based around positional dynamic sample modulation, somewhat heavily inspired by dron-e from Antonia Blanca
I wanted to keep true to some of the potent emotive content present in the original soundtrack as-well as some of the aesthetic tonal character but using extremely contemporary (additive) synthesis via a patch I created in Reaktor that simulates bells with fully customisable and dynamic reverb chambers and cut off filters (used to reflect stillness onscreen).
My aim was to compose something that coincided tightly with all the strong visual synch points and motion cues while still retaining a musical pulse (as they are dancing afterall!), which due to the repetitive consistent motions of the doll was to some extent feasible (finding a happy medium between both criteria) which I think works well. I re-emphasize all this by having part of the motif repeat finishing mid sequence to capture the abrupt sorrowful end to her inanimate reanimation.
For this exercise i drew on some of my experience and design flow from working on the game http://dayzmod.com/ which involved creating a gritty, realistic zombie survival experience in an openworld 3d environment where all sounds were situated and processed. I used the same arma2 engine to piece together a rough chain of events and situate all the sounds in a simulated space before then laying this into a reaktor arrangement in ableton live and appropriating all the foley - consisting of everything from a circuit bent gameboy for the alarm,spanners and pans on garage door and cement for the metallic hits and scrapes and an amalgamation of me and my cat for the zombie sounds themselves. To contrast my previous zombie work however I did go for a scifi/space aesthetic over a realistic one as I felt the lack of visuals gave room to more narration in the sound design itself.
The abrupt ending is intentional to meet the brief in that this would very likely be a hard cut in the film to the next shot/scene so long running sounds didn’t feel appropriate and used up the limited runtime.
Zip Download»> http://www.mediafire.com/?a3ijy7anfvjuebn
(from 0.00 of video to 1.30)
Here I wanted to aim for a minimalistic, stark outcome to really emphasise the spaces presented in each scene. While working on it however I did veer towards adding a comical edge to the piece (centred around the vocalistic violins I recorded for her voice) as it allowed for more creative freedom between each shot (note that I reduce harshness of cuts as the video progresses by not punctuating the supposed change in sound-bed as they were otherwise quite fatiguing on the ear and created a pace much faster than what I was aiming for detracting from some of the more hyper-real elements such as the sounds of the bears stomach). I found that given how “unreal” the mixture of physical spaces presented in the visuals were a similarly surreal approach in modelling of reverb etc worked best too in bringing that fiction to life. I did try adding many more complex layers of sound (with the bear and insect sequences especially) but found things quickly became cluttered due to the fast music video pace of the editing , an interesting contrast to doing the same audio replacement process for a piece of film which generally allows much more room for audio-visual synchronicity and (re)/contextualization.
As the image had such explicit compositional visual layers, i started composing based on my immediate response . I soon realized that i was creating a motion narrative for myself as an agent in the space (horizontal synchronicity across time) but at the same time making a literal interpretation of the visual composition to my use of the spectral space (vertical synchronicity across time), which was amusingly in an aesthetic sense a reminder of one of Dennis Smalley’s descriptions of spectral space in his paper “spectromorphology” as pictured below. As i continued with these in mind i added and embellished each direction (horizontal decay/spectral layout) accordingly to exaggerate them.
For the contrasting piece I wanted to keep some aesthetic and textural continuity in the things that came to me as inherent in the image, but totally inverse the aforementioned processes of interpretation - (moving along the z axis rather than the x axis in the space across time and building from the lower frequencies of the spectral space at the “root” upwards as opposed to “canopy” down) with strong rhythmic elements and detail in place to define the presence of the objects in the space as-well as the rhythm of their movement and line/shape together with any extrinsic contextual inflections onto the objects in themselves.
For this task I wanted to create an instrument that would respond to diegetic sound (and/or visuals) in real-time that I could then improvise and compose with to the same source of modulation itself. This thereby allowing me to have full access to the information from the film that techniques such as audio to midi would lose due to the inherently limited capacity of midi as a dynamic system.
I went about creating this in Reaktor + Live, drawing loosely on the concept of a vo-coders carrier.
To maximize effective correlation between the gestures and sound I compressed (quite heavily) the diegetic sound giving me some further freedom to accentuate certain moments.
I then went back to add momentum to the piece with some electric guitar , and finally some form of gestural punctuation with some subtle reversed piano arpeggios in key places to give the sounds momentum a sense of form and control that matched the visuals more aptly.
(good reading http://designingsound.org/2013/03/audiovisual-correspondences/)
(subtle) Volume automation of soundtrack for second half of Acer Commercial
For version 1 (working with the temp track) I decided to try and return the flavour to something a bit more African with regards to the percussion while maintaining a similar vibe to that of the temp track (using a full African drumset comprising of agogo, bembe, conga, djembe, ekwe and shekere). Due to my inexperience with African rhythmic composition I stuck with the most basic duple pulse the “Tresillo” and its sub divisions as it still allowed flexibility of attack points. For the guitar melody I initially started out keeping the exact same riff from the temp track but eventually chose to try something a bit different using the same altered pentatonic scale. The problem I faced was that the compound rhythms I’d established with my drum layers were a bit too complex to allow space for a melody in the vein of the temp track. Worked around this by really underplaying the guitars in the mix and just doubling octaves rather than having various intertwining melodies to keep things more succinct, however in reality I would probably have chosen to omit the guitar from the piece all together and just added further percussive decoration with melodic elements to fully complete the move away from the latin sound palette.
With version 2 I wanted to contrast this by going with something overtly melodic in structure. Feeding off the very 70s choice of lighting and various visual elements present I wanted to paint the South African streets with a retro funk American vibe, reflecting what’s being imported with the heritage of the product itself and perhaps present the combination of the two cultures in a different light. With more time I would have had more variation of bass licks, a more solid guitar melody and tone and a live drummer (as opposed to the toontrack VST I used here) to authentically reproduce the sound, likewise for the mastering.