Soundtrack 2 – The News

This second sound piece features our character walking whilst reminiscing on a time that the president called him to tell him that his son will be used in the army.  The emotion being tried to evoke here is anger.  The focus in the beginning here is that there is a telephone conversation between two men, who we can assume is the bouncing triangle that appears and the character walking on screen in the animation.  The phone call tells the character that his son has been chosen to be shipped out on military duty with the army.  The second time we hear the phone conversation there is 3 triangles rather than just one, so I have duplicated the telephone call and pitch shifted it down, this creates an ominous demon sounding voice, which is almost an aural metaphor to the context of the conversation on the phone.  One of the voices is normal, the second has been pitch shifted up and the third automates downwards in pitch from the same tone as the high one to a pitch much lower than the original.  The pieces conclusion is that there is a slow build up to a very harsh and dissonant ending, filled with disharmonic tension and layers of distorted sound, the distorted sound is there to represent just an overflowing of anger that the character will be feeling after discovering his sons fate.  The many overwhelming layers represent the overwhelming feeling you would be in if you were in this situation.  Up to this point the loud wall of sound near the end there is a glitchy drum loop under the piece which I created.  Which starts at no volume and automates up louder until this wall of sound is introduced.  As you get further into the piece these drums sound very scratchy as they have had a very narrow band pass filter added to them as well as a ping pong delay.  This acts in the same way that the cockroach sounds did in The Babadook scene, as that scratchy sound is reminiscent of insects crawling around, making the viewer feel nervous and grossed out.  There is two ambient tracks running throughout the piece.  I did these using virtual instruments in Ableton Live which sound very sci-fi-esque.  I have done this to fill the silent spaces in the background until the deathly sounds come in at the end, to keep your ears interested without thinking that nothing is filling in the gaps, theres always something to fill the gap.  I chose to do this because through my case studies it appears that the use of silence is only effective in creating fear rather than anger.  The absolute silence is very unnatural and makes viewers feel on edge, which is not as effective in this soundtrack as it could be in another.  Between the first and second phone conversation there is a jarring glitchy sound to show how the topic of conversation is affecting the character, much like the subway scene in Pi when Max is experiencing problems with migraines. Once we get to the end of the piece at bar 38 everything kicks off.  We hear the uncomfortable loud squeal of a dial up internet modem, this is to begin the thought that there is just a loud wall of sound building in layers in the characters head.  It is also an aural metaphor back to the phone conversation earlier in the piece, as the dial up internet would make the phone unusable.  This noise is uncomfortable to hear so I mixed it down a little so it wasn’t so loud, but still loud enough to make you uncomfortable as it rings in the front of your head, making you annoyed at it. When this is introduced there is a hand clap and hi hat rhythm introduced as well.  This makes it seem as if the animation is actually moving faster than it really is, due to its tribal rhythm.  It also brings a sense of urgency to the piece alongside the dial up sound, making the wall of sound seem more frenzied inside your head.  There is also the introduce a sub bass at this point, this is a midi transcript of one of the VSTs audio trail transposed down 2 octaves, which has been done using an algorithm that this version of Ableton creates.  The bass was added in just to flesh out the lower frequencies on the piece, to excite your ears a bit more than it would be without it.  Without it all the sounds we hear are in the upper register and we experience audio fatigue, and this brings more audio excitement to the lower register.  When some of the holes whizz by our wee man, I have created a bassline which wobbles, it automates in volume as it gets closer to the camera, until it is past the screen when it subsides.  The wobbling bassline is a fad which has mostly died out but its effectiveness here makes us feel like something in the hole is angry.  To match this I have also got a disturbing recording of people screaming, this automates at a much quieter volume towards the camera as well.  This makes it appear that there are people down these holes that are shouting at the character.  Alternatively, there are other holes which have a loud static noise which automate louder as they pass the character, making it appear as if there is danger in that hole which would cause you harm through electrocution.  This makes it seem as if the character is actually having a really bad day and can’t get away from all these horrible noises in and outside his head after hearing the terrible news.  Near the end of the piece as well as day turns to night, a ride cymbal is introduced.  This was done to give the nighttime a theme which is these long drawn out and washy cymbal hits.  Highlighting that the character has been walking all day until night, unable to get away from his thoughts.  The cymbal has had an echo added to it which makes it seem spacey, keeping in a theme more with the other VSTs in the piece.


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