Ambient Sound Design and the hazards of such practice.

Over the last month my time has been filtered amongst a filthy selection of events and projects that I’ve swung between enjoying and loathing.

– Goofbang continues, still however struggling to find a decent cheap printing joint in this town. Launching our second issue at This Is Not Art with a live event featuring Blastcorp from Newcastle, ORLY from Sydney, Reuben Ingall and myself, plus a bunch of spoken word performers who will perform between acts.

– Invisible Connections, a government funded installation and performance piece that strings together a bunch of local Wangaratta organisations for the town’s jubilee. I was drafted in to create the ambient soundtrack to be played behind readings from local writers which I recorded.

– The Seewell Family Cabaret; The major production for me in second semester, and also the second to last show for the Puppetry faculty at VCA, as they got axed along with Musical Theatre in the recent budget cuts. It’s running as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

TFSC is the tale of a traveling troupe of b-grade magic, circus and cabaret peformers that consists of Jude Seewell, the host and ringmaster, Sonya Seewell, the luscious, vitriolic female co-star and Margarat, who is Jude’s wife and token puppy for most of Jude’s acts.

The show is actually a performance from the troupe, and the black comedy that ensues is not really what you expect from the outset. Jude has a number of crazed mental problems involving his dead parents who haunt him, and he takes it out on his sister and his wife. The tongue-in-cheek masochism in this play is worth the price of entry alone, even if the play is free. The puppetry in the show is often to portray the insanity inside the characters heads, with ghosts, teddy bears, gin bottles and coathangers all being manipulated in wonderful ways.

I was the sound designer on the project, which allowed me to use some of my Transmissions soundscapes as key parts of the ambience and soundtrack, which has been massively satisfying, as I finally get to churn out my scapes loudly to an unsuspecting audience. I’m playing back all the samples and tracks for the show from a midi-keyboard interface being run through Logic, a program I’m only just becoming acquainted with. I have a 6 speaker setup in the venue, trying to spread the sound through the space and create some depth for the audience.

I’ve never really worked on a show quite like this before, it’s been a new experience. The cast has been the most cohesive and fun since shows in Canberra and I’m really feeling like I have my foot in the door with this whole sound design biz. As there are no second year sound students, both myself and Raya, the other sound student, have taken on board alot more than we’re supposed to in first year, which is putting us a cut above others in terms of workload and experience.