Category: MEDA301

MEDA301 Blog Post 5

I was suggested by my tutor to watch the film Antichrist by Lars Von Trier to take influence into the direction I wanted to go. After watching the movie, I must say that the film did not slow down in further delving into the darkest of dark themes and visuals. It was a hard watch, and very very confronting in what I was viewing.

In saying that, I wanted to make my piece as confronting through sound as that movie was to my eyes. I feel my piece does a good job as the sounds are not at all pleasant. The monologue is there to create context, and the noise is chaotic.

At this stage I just refined what I feel should be fixed up in the audio piece, editing the levels and making transitions as smooth as I want them to be or as abrupt as I want them to be. After viewing the film Antichrist I just wanted to further make my piece more chaotic, and very uneasy to I made some of the levels piercing, but not too much.  I’ve mentally visualised how the images I made would appear along with the piece itself. Now would be time to put the audio and images into a video form.

I exported the final bounce of the piece from garageband which ended up being 3 minutes in length. I then put the audio file into the Imovie workstation along with the images.

I established the time zones where the images with specific shading of red would be used, and then I used the techniques of skewing, zooms, and cuts to stylistically use the images to make it a visual piece. The first two minutes include mostly slow zooms, and camera movements, just to build tension. During the last minute the visuals themselves become chaotic, cutting very very fast to match the audio.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.09.01 PM

Upon personally reviewing the piece itself, I myself feel very satisfied with the result. Like I said, I only wanted the visuals to be somewhat a guide, not to be the centre of attention of the piece. Though I will admit the images are simple, that is what I feel would stylistically match the concept. Too much going on at once is not what I want. The central idea of the piece is to place an audience into the sound embodiment of horror. The noises are not pleasant, and the monologue carries the central idea, with the visuals serving as a guide.

So at the moment I currently have a “finished idea”, of the final piece. I’m going to give this a few days of not watching or thinking about the piece, and then view it all again in to make any edits I feel would be great

 

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MEDA301 Blog post 4

After I completed a draft version of my piece, I felt I needed to step away and not listen to it at all for a week’s time. I’ve usually done this when I write music; I write until I’m happy with it, then I don’t listen to it at all for a week, and then I go back and give it a listen.

 

So after listening back to it, I feel like the parts were too disjointed, and the transitions could be much smoother, however I feel the sound ideas I was putting forward were effective and I was still happy with.

A stylistic component that at first I thought was an issue I needed to fix, but felt I should keep is the levels. At some points the volume nearly peaks. At first I went back to edit the levels so they are all balanced, but it sounded clean. It made it easy to listen to. And that is the one thing I don’t want my project to be; Easy listening. So you know what, I put more volume peaks and level changes through the song, as a stylistic component

I needed to define a structure, but also I need to bring the piece “back to earth”. Listening to this piece for me I know the context, however if I didn’t know the context, the only thing grounding the piece in meaning is the monologue featured in. The monologue offers the ideas out there, but I feel I need to make a clearer connection to the sound.

Now, a way to connect ideas to sound, and probably the best way, is through visual imagery. Now I needed to create images that don’t force meanings or ideas, but to suggest them. I don’t want anything specific. So in this case the use of colour is the central basis.

The common colour to associate with “bad things” is red. So I felt I needed to create images that represented the different stages of the piece.

After much brainstorming, I decided to take a photo of the sky, and then edit it on photoshop. These were the results;

 

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Now are these images simple? yes

But in my personal taste and style in how I create work, I feel simple is much better than trying to be ambitious and fail badly. Each image would represent a different stage in the the immersion into horror. The colours would convey it. And when it reaches the full immersion into horror, the image would change to the last one above.

The visual techniques I would use with these images are pans, zooms, quick cuts and fades predominantly. I am very well aware with the visuals I’m not trying to take the full attention away from the sound, because if that happens it will just look like a visual piece with audio in it. This piece is a sound piece with visuals in it. 

I feel this effectively enough establishes a structure, and matches the theme of horror I’m trying to achieve, and once again I went back to my group with feedback.

The general feedback was that they would need to see how the shots look like because so far they are just images that don’t really tell much. I then explained how I just wanted the visuals to be of aid to the piece, not take attention away, and after that the group showed interest in this idea. Though I know I still would have to show them next week what exactly I want to do as just showing the images themselves for the mean time don’t really show much.

MEDA301 Blog 3

This week I worked out the part of the structure of my piece;

An Intro- Just a brief taste of the dark sounds to come

Monologue- The horror monologue delivered by Brando with noise building up and down. The noise is meant to tease the entry of what’s to come as the noise get’s louder and quiet. As if to say the horror is begging to escape.

Glimpse of the Horror- After the monologue sounds would culminate putting the listener in a harsh environment but not for long.

The final safety zone- A safety zone where familiar sounds hold the listener in comfortable and familiar space before they fully immerse in horror.

Full Immersion in Horror- After the “safety zone” the listener descends into the chaotic sounds of horror.

After sorting this out I then got samples of guitar effects I recorded and put it in the new garageband track. I then pieced it all together in my desired form.

I knew I wanted the whole piece to lead to a chaotic final part of the track where the effects and noise just create chaos, embodying the sound of horror. Throughout the piece it would feature glimpses or segments that were cut up; enough to keep on edge but not enough to really put the listener in a world of horror just yet.

The safety zone that I came up with utilised the electronic instruments in the Digital Audio Workstation I used. This was what I came up with;

 

This part of the piece features familiar musical elements, where the timing is precise to the beat in a way. After this “safety” is where the chaos begins.

After creating this I figure I would create the final part. This part was the most fun as I just attempted to make the most chaotic harsh sounds that build up and get worse and worse. There is no music, no timing, no ideas, no care. Just horror. After spending around an hour this is what I came up with:

 

I was VERY VERY happy with how this turned out. This was very fun to make. Just chaos.

At the end of the tutorial I showed my group

From the group and tutors I received very good feedback, they mentioned that they liked the idea of the structure. Though the question posed was how would I show the segments in the final design. I surely CANNOT just have a voice over that says “Intro”, “Safety”, and “Horror”.

When I asked my tutor of advice, he then suggested that there needs to be visuals. But to create the visuals when the piece is done. “Let the visuals follow the sound”

What I took from my feedback is that the noise itself has to convey the embodiment of horror, while the monologue and visuals serve as a guide.

 

MEDA301 Blog 2

So after last week’s experimentation and research into noise music. I spent this class time coming up with a noise piece. I utilised a piece of music I recorded a while ago which uses guitar screeches and feedback, using techniques such as scratching the string with guitar pick to create a squealing and harsh sound. I decided to completely scrap the test piece I came up with the previous week, as I personally just didn’t connect with it, and it just seemed like a dark music piece rather than what I want. Which is sound to reflect the “horror” Brando is talking about.

After an hour of experimenting with this work I had created this piece below

 

It does not go for very long but from my influence of listening to the noise artist Merzbow which was suggested by my tutor, I got heavy influence on this piece. The main idea is the absence of musical ideas, but also making it coherent, not just random. Though it may come off as random at first listening, they were all calculated. The timing I constructed was precise to how I wanted it to sound, with the heavy screeches coming in intervals, and the low droning noise came in and out sequentially, but also when I felt it needed to be held longer.

From here on I then tried to integrate the piece with the monologue. This took a lot of time as it just didn’t sound right. I couldn’t really work out the reason until I was looking at garageband tutorials and I realised I needed to fade in and out individual tracks using automation so that it would sound more smooth and coherent.

During the end of this week’s tutorial I received feedback from my group and tutors of the ideas. I was offered some great suggestions:

  • Create a journey path: Structure the piece so that it goes through different stages
  • Have a part which is absolute noise chaos
  • Make the monologue a “guide” into the ideas, not the central basis of the concept. Let the noise be telling of the concept.

These suggestions definitely have placed the right ideas in my head, and have overall gave me a good vision for how I want the final sound piece to sound

MEDA301 Blog 1

So my concept which I came up with for my project proposal was a sound piece centred around the monologue in Apocalypse Now. The general consensus was through expressing through sound the nihilistic ideas which Brando talks about; embracing the horror. Upon conception the idea was a musical piece using electronic sounds, and after a few hours with messing around I came up with this:

I simply just got the monologue from Apocalypse Now, put it in garageband and I experimented with sounds in Garageband and came up with it. It was only 2 hours worth of testing. I utilised a recorded guitar effect I made a while back and then used that as the main idea. Then I used the electronic instruments within Garageband.

After doing this I felt it was just too generic and also a bit too musically driven. This led me to research and check out some Noise pieces, particularly by Merzbow which was suggested by my tutor. I checked out the album below

 

After listening to this I got more ideas for my work, so that it is less musical. The sound expressing these views would certainly be more effective by using a noise music approach rather than just ambient music.

Week 5- Project Proposal

So the past few weeks has been all about establishing a platform that I personally would immerse myself in, and the platform I established is audio as the primary field, and video as a secondary field. I focused a lot more on the audio aspect throughout each blog post but still mentioned video here and there.

So my project proposal would be an audio visual piece which would explore the themes explored in these two dialogues in True Detective by Matthew McConaughey and in Apocalypse Now by Marlon Brando.

The central theme I want to explore is the perspectives of human nature both these characters present is Human Nature

“in that last nanosecond, they saw… what they were. You, yourself, this whole big drama, it was never more than a jerry-rig of presumption and dumb will, and you could just let go. To finally know that you didn’t have to hold on so tight. To realize that all your life – you know, all your love, all your hate, all your memories, all your pain – it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it.”

The monologue in True Detective delves into everything that makes us human, makes us a person, gives us a purpose, is just an idea or a “the same dream” that just lives inside our minds, and in the end it all becomes nothing. And in the last moment and “last nanosecond” of life we welcome the end, as we realise how easy it is to just let go. It is human nature to believe everything you are and you have will mean something in the end.

 

“I’ve seen horrors, horrors that you’ve seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me. It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. 
….Horror. Horror has a face…And you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies.”

“You have to have men who are moral…and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordal instincts to kill without feeling…without passion…without judgement…without judgement. Because it’s judgement that defeats us.”

In this monologue delivered by Marlon Brando, he goes on how you have to make a friend of horror in order to win the war, and it’s how our morality and humanity is what defeats us in the end. How the ideal soldiers are men with morals but with ability to kill without feeling. It is human nature to look the other way from horror, to avoid it, but those who are able to overcome this, and to embrace horror, they are the perfect war machines.

The Audio Visual Piece

The audio piece would be a composition of sounds used to create an atmospheric backdrop to segments of each monologue being sampled. The composition would be both instrumental, with parts being musical and parts being just sound and noise.

The concept is the beginning composition the sound tone is light, with nicely harmonising notes and gradually notes start to be off tone, and bring in introduction of harsher noises, and it climax’s with just a clear sounding note, like a flatline when a person’s heart stops beating. This mirrors both how when you embrace the horror and make it a friend, you are able to be level headed, and in a clear state of mind according to Brando. Also it mirror’s the monologue by McConaughey as the build up of noises would represent all our experiences, and in the end when it becomes nothing, the flatline noise literally represents it.

Influences for this work would be:

This one hour track which too utilises the True Detective analogue captures atmosphere and the sound of horror through mixing music with monologues. Certainly a big influence.

Week 4-Research working processes and forms that interest you

The standard method of music production utilised in the modern day is multi-track digital recording. The idea is to have a layer per instrument. The standard is to start with the base instrument of percussion being recorded first to establish the backbone and structure of pieces, then layers are added such as main ideas and then finishing off with added sound effects such as clapping.

Here is a video of artist Wacka Flocka Flame recording the famous backup vocals which he utilises in multiple tracks and is seen as a staple in his music.

In audio music production the form which interests me is the standard method as changing that process would highly complicate it. The levels of creativeness is infinite with the standard multitrack as you can add layers upon layers of sound, which culminate to create a work defined by the artist and how they and their producers create their tracks.

A process of audio production which I have no experience in, but I carry high interest in is the creation of soundtrack for film. Film is my other medium which I have high interest in doing, but an idea I’ve always had an interest in is the relationship of film, and the soundtrack and Sound Effects.

One of the most popular soundtrack producers is Hans Zimmer who has created the soundtrack for many popular modern films, particularly Christopher Nolan. Here is his process for creating the soundtrack for Interstellar

There are two ways soundtracks are created for film by the artist:

  1. Draw inspiration from the script and write pre-production so the director more so makes scenes based on the construction of the soundtrack
  2. Create post production-the typical John Williams method

Hans Zimmer usually utilises the first method where he gets his inspiration from the script and creates a work based on that.

Week 3: Research opportunities

In the field of audio production there are many different options which are available, but nowadays actual opportunities do seem scarce, especially in music production. However more opportunities open up if one would open up to more mediums which feature sound design.

Having worked with two music audio producers, it is clear that to pursue a career in music production, you have to have connections and reputation. Obviously there are so many things an audio producer needs such as thousands of dollars of equipment, recording software, a high understanding of sound and production, but reputation and connections seem to be the only bridge to even considering a career.

The producers I’ve worked with for my music, they both carry all the above aspects listed, and to an extent many connections, but as a result of the overpopulation of independent producers who produces at home as well, gaining a widespread reputation is incredibly difficult. The first producer I worked with played in a well known band local band at the time which right off the bat made his name recognisable, and was a producer that many local bands, my old one included, got to record music for us. He too had many connections knowing other producers who are high up in popularity as well as many local bands. He recorded from home, and produced very high quality music for very affordable prices. For my old band’s 5 track EP we only payed $500 which is incredibly cheap. This producer however only recorded as a side thing as his main medium was photography and film which has gotten him many opportunities.

An aspect of audio production which I feel would provide great opportunities is sound design, soundscape making, sound effects etc. Especially for film like audio dubbing and foley work. When incorporating sound into other mediums, I definitely feel there is more opportunities out there. Here are some interesting sound occupations which are incorporated into other mediums

 

 

As you can see, audio production doesn’t just apply to the art of creating music. To widen up opportunities to do with sound production, other mediums MUST be incorporated, otherwise the opportunities are limited and often or not, only good luck and timing would allow for many opportunities.

Week 2-Research a Practitioner in Your Field and a Brief overview of History

Before I get into the history of audio producing, I’ll just delve into a brief overview of one of my favourite producers in music is Adam Dutkiewicz. Adam D is the lead guitarist of metal band Killswitch Engage, and apart from being a member of one of the most influential heavy bands in recent years, he has produced albums for some of the most influential heavy bands. His production quality has always been great and heavily complements the sound each band is going for.

Such include: Parkway Drive, The Acacia Strain, Underoath, As I Lay Dying and of course his own band Killswitch Engage.

Audio Timeline:

http://www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/audio.history.timeline.html

This is a very brief overview of the history of audio production, a practice/field which I feel is my niche in this subject.

 

The Acoustic Era of audio recording lies between 1877 to 1925. In 1878 the first recording was made of a recording of Yankee doodle.

1877

    Thomas Alva Edison, working in his lab, succeeds in recovering Mary’s Little Lamb from a strip of tinfoil wrapped around a spinning cylinder.
    • He demonstrates his invention in the offices of

Scientific American,

     and the phonograph is born.

1878

    The first music is put on record: cornetist Jules Levy plays “Yankee Doodle.”

The Electrical Era of audio production is between 1925-1945 wherein the invention of electrical microphones was able to allow sound to be captured, amplified, filtered and balanced electronically.

1925

      • Bell Labs develops a moving armature lateral cutting system for electrical recording on disk. Concurrently they Introduce the Victor Orthophonic Victrola, “Credenza” model. This all-acoustic player — with no electronics — is considered a leap forward in phonograph design.
      • The first electrically recorded 78 rpm disks appear.
      • RCA works on the development of ribbon microphones.

 

The Magnetic Era (1945-1975) is the third wave of recording which is through recording utilising magnetic tape. In this era was the development of multi track recording and demise of the disk as a primary mastering medium.

1945

    Two Magnetophon tape decks are sent back to the U.S. In pieces in multiple mailbags by Army Signal Corps Major John T. (Jack) Mullin.

The Digital Era (1975-Present). Unlike previous analogue technologies, digital recording captured and recorded sounds through sampling .

1975

    Digital tape recording begins to take hold in professional audio studios.
    Michael Gerzon conceives of and Calrec (England) builds the “Soundfield Microphone,” a coincident 4-capsule cluster with matrixed “B-format” outputs and decoded steerable 2- and 4-channel discrete outputs.
    EMT produces the first digital reverberation unit as its Model 250.
    Ampex introduces 456 high-output mastering tape.

 

 

 

Week 1-Defining my Practice

So the first task of this subject is to define a practice or a field which I am good at or more interested in. So this would refer to any form of expression in creative practice such as image creating, filming, graphic design, photography and all that.

After much thought I feel the field of practice which I am suited to is both audio and film.

First with audio.

I have been a musician for around 10 years now, first picked up a guitar when I was 10, then found myself writing music when I was 14 and since then I’ve been involved in different musical projects. My first band was a hardcore band called Clockworks in which I was one of the lead songwriters. Here is a song that I wrote for the band (CAUTION, HEAVY CONTENT)

 

The band lasted from 2013-2016, releasing one full EP and a single. After this band I stopped with music for a year, then I decided to create a solo project called Sane Old Me in late 2017One thing I hated about being in a band with other people is that it was rare for everyone to be at agreement with the sound. So having a project that is all mine takes that away. Since I made the project last year, I’ve released two songs which are linked below:

 

My experience writing songs, and being already recording at a studio, I feel makes audio a certain field of practice which I will delve in for the subject.

Now with Film

For this field of practice, there’s not much backstory to it as with my experience with audio, but essentially for every single one of my uni final projects I’ve created a film. And I get pretty good marks each time, so I guess that would make it a field of practice I’d indulge in.