Experimental Sound Design | NO PIANO

Project Breakdown

This project was submitted for a module assignment in my first year of University, I had a great time creating it so have decided to do a write up here for anyone who may be interested.

After coming across the subject video (Tremblay, 2023) for this re-design I came up with a spotting list of sounds that needed to be recorded, as-well as the tone and emotions I wanted to convey with those sounds and the overall soundscape of the project. Whilst recording all the required audio I threw together a comically crude foley pit to catch gravel, stones and dampen undesirable ricochets; this along with creating my own stereo EMI (Electro-magnetic Induction) mic, made for a fun recording session.

In Act One, there’s a scene with a ‘Stone Man’ breathing, seen through a surveillance system. To make the sound believable, I recorded various forms of stone foley and my own vocals, pitching down the vocals by an octave. Then, I vocoded them together to give the breathing a stony texture. After that, I compressed and equalized the sound to enhance specific frequencies.

In Act 2 the Stone Man is floating among glass bottles and a piano. I aimed to balance the glass tones with the overall soundscape. I took recordings of the glass bottles, reversed them, added delays, and used a plugin called Paul Stretch to create long ambient tones. I also used a Granular synthesizer to add texture by randomizing sound grains. Automation was applied with LFOs, and spatial positioning of the grains was controlled using the Sennheiser Orbit plugin. This resulted in a generative audio setup, allowing me to create various glass textures spread across the soundstage to match the scene.


Overall, I am pleased with how this project turned out. Initially creating an ambient pad / atmosphere that evolved as the video progressed really helped define the narrative and helped me visualise how the sequential sounds should be processed to reflect that progression.

In the future I think I would spend more time structuring the project more effectively to make mixing adjustments easier to perform. The current layout is somewhat structured, but the naming convention of different tracks is quite in-consistent making assigning sidechains and routing more difficult. Additionally, I would spend more time working on the breathing of the stone man, as I feel the end result is lacking in fidelity.