A multi-disciplinary designer’s journey in field recording, sound design, and music.

The Barn

Posted: March 25th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: music, video/motion

We all get caught between having creative ideas, yet having extremely limited available time to explore them. To explore some personal creative ideas during an extremely busy time, I decided to give myself a challenge: Create a shortform video in 36 hours, inclusive of shooting, post, and sound.

It wouldn’t be the best thing ever, but it’d be a Thing. A Thing would be done…or as done as I could make it. The goal wasn’t to create the best thing ever…it was to make something. Period. And the time constraint would force concision, hard choices, and provide the constraints needed to be creative.

This resulted in The Barn. If you’d like to watch this short video, I’d prefer you watch this full screen. I’ll wait right here.

Given the focus of this blog, I suppose that I should speak to the music in a little more detail. I conceived, shot, and did a rough edit of the video in about a day. I slept on it, and composed the music the following morning in one session. The soundtrack is influenced by what I’ve been listening to recently: Ben Frost, Kammarheit, Erik Skodvin, Elegi, Stefan Németh, Paul Corley, and others. The music started with a sampler patch I created based on me playing my guitar with a cello bow, and some guitar plucks prepared with small magnets. Samples included wood floor creaks and static bursts that I had recorded or generated over the past year. It was created in Logic Pro 9. (The description on Vimeo addresses more about visuals for those that are interested.)

Could the music be better? More dynamic? More varied? Sure, yes, on all fronts, with no doubt. But this was an exercise in reaching done, a battle against hoping to maybe-sorta start something, and actually making something, warts and all. As they say, “Better can be the enemy of done.”

There are a bajillion things I’d like to change, improve, and alter. But in 36 hours – including decent sleep – that’s not important. The goal was to express an idea with time as the primary constraint. And the goal isn’t to continue to obsess and tweak this project: It’s done. Now it’s time for the next Thing.

I learned a lot from this small project, and will definitely do more 36-hour projects in the future. I relish constraints, even if they are arbitrary: They focus the mind like nothing else, and soothe the Blank Canvas Problem.

I welcome any thoughts, especially on the value of constraints, in the comments below. Thanks for watching and listening. I’ll return to more typical posts on field design and sound recording in the coming weeks.

Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Aaaaand We’re Back.

Posted: March 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: news
backbaby

With blackjack. And hookers. #futurama

The last post on this website was May, 2013. Almost a year ago.

Well, time to break the silence. It’s been a very busy and intense year, filled with both tribulations and triumphs, which is why Noise Jockey’s been on a sabbatical. But enough lollygagging. It’s time to get back to business.

Why now, after all this time? Maybe it’s the fact that some studio upgrades have me looking at audio anew. Maybe it’s because this week is the Game Developer Conference here in San Francisco, and my new office is only a couple of blocks away. Maybe it’s because I finally saw All Is Lost and played The Last of Us, both stunning artistic statements with some of the best sound work I’ve heard in a long, long time. Maybe it’s because I’ve been consuming gigabytes of new tunes that are changing how I look at music composition, genre, and sonic palettes. Maybe it’s just because all of you in the online sound community are good people and I’ve missed you all.

The audio fires are back in my belly. There are a bevy of new audio posts that are cued up and ready to roll. Good times ahead. I look forward to re-engaging with old readers, and starting conversations with new ones. So: I (re)welcome you back to Noise Jockey.

More very, very soon. Stay tuned.

| 4 Comments »