ViCKY'S AUDIONAUTICAL JOURNEY
This page is all about sound! Sounds simple enough at first, doesn't it?
In a week full of sound engineering at the Home of Performance Practices, accompanied by the artist daz disley, I dived into the world of sound - and sank first.
My goal was to discover ways to change my storytelling strategies. Now, after several weeks of more or less intensive contact with the subject, I can say: I have resurfaced and yet have only got to know a few drops of this huge ocean of sound.
What came out of it I would like to share with you in the following audio episode. Based on a current area of interest of mine, it deals with the handling of memories.
Below the podcast you will find a making-of of the creation process. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write to me!
The piano recordings are an improvisation by Paige Johnson, courtesy of her.
Other used sounds are parts of a series of interviews which I did for the performance Ged[a]nken - Ged[e]nken and recordings from my personal sound archive.
As well as: Kyster (2013): Stella Splendens. Available at: https://freesound.org/people/Kyster/sounds/197109/ [accessed 11.02.22].
Gurek (2020): Hackney Coach. Available at: https://freesound.org/people/gurek/sounds/547972/ [accessed 11.02.22].
How does remembrance sound like?
An approach to capture ways of thinking about memory in sounds
Behind The Scenes
Insights in the process of playing with audio
I started the whole idea with recordings from interviews I did for the performance Ged[a]nken - Ged[e]nken in March 2022. The project was about how to create a remembrance room. I wanted to use this already existing material and then build upon it. I then tried to see what sounds I remember from going on a holiday or from everyday life. I started to create a mini podcast series with short episodes about different memory related sounds. The episode you can find on this website is a mixture of all of them. Memories are often fluid and blurring into each other or they only capture single moments. My idea was to find a balance between a flowing storytelling and the sudden emergence and disappearance of memories.
50 shades of shitty: I was aware that I did not have any high-quality audio output devices at my disposal. Now I know that audio can sound awful in many different ways. For example, my laptop speakers are very quiet, my in-ear headphones don't carry bass, my on-ear headphones sound metallic, my Bluetooth box plays a constant background noise, ...
The world sounds different when you are having an ear infection. And after the consumption of alcohol.
It is a big difference how you set up your microphone. I tried to capture sounds in my everyday life and my experience from that is an easy reminder:
EDITING PROCESS - AN EXAMPLE
I used the programme Reaper for editing the audio recordings.
For the storyline, I wanted a connecting element. I found this in the piano recordings of the opera and musical actress Paige Johnson.
Having an amazing piano piece in a poor quality? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
This picture shows the piano song opened in Reaper. I added some screenshots on the screenshot of the interface. The so called fancy stuff pictures beautifully show how sound can look like. And I would like to explain how the yellow thing - the frequency - and the window above it - RealEQ, the equalizer - are connected and why they are important for the sound track.
First of all and super easy: with the equalizer you model the frequency.
So in this case I make changes of what frequencies pass through, so I can let nasty distortion disappear. Amazing, isn't it? For the piano, I basically concentrated on high frequencies because it was mainly low noises that disturbed the whole thing.
Another tool that was very useful to make this living room recording more enjoyable is the delay. This can create reverberation and thus make the sound space seem larger. If the delay is less than 7ms the human ear and brain will not recognize it as such but combine with the actual sound. Thaa-daa! Feedback is something nice to play with and it might help to reduce an echo. But it can also create crazy things. In case the piano turns out to be an alien-ish sound weapon this is good to know!
High- and Lowpass filter make sure that the frequencies of the delay that pass only in the range it should pass. And there is even more things to play with and see what comes out! Changing the stereo makes the sound sounding either from left or from the right side. And so on!
MORE CHALLENGES I HAVE FACED...
The interview parts were recorded in a very large, relatively empty room with background noise and street noise to boot. I wanted to make this sound more pleasant and easier to listen to. To do this, I used the functions described above.
To show you the difference, here is the original recording first:
What I did was first using the equalizer in combination with a high pass filter, so most of the deep disturbing sounds is not played anymore. Afterwards I changed the surrounding. The voice was mainly coming from one side and the background noise from the other, so I changed the inputs. This also had the effect that the voice sounded more central.
This is the new version:
Could you hear the difference?
This was only a small insight of how first steps towards creation of audio can look like.
Yes, I am still confused very often with all that but it was a great start and the more time one spends the easier it gets. So maybe I will jump into the audio waves of the sound ocean soon again!
Used pictures for Vicky collage:
Strobel, Manuel (2017): AATXAJzPyldhO5WJVi_p-U6sYFVvLwKnIgp8w4yZdA=s900-c-k-c0xffffffff-no-rj-mo (900×900) (ggpht.com)
Vic the Viking (2016): maxresdefault.jpg (1280×720) (ytimg.com)