Joel Cahen > Creating Surround Sound Narratives // Part 1

SO Ive been thinking of what is it in sound that gives a sense of a narrative, a story with the intention of creating a story which uses only sound and without narration or dialogue. I stayed a week at Steim in late September considering how sound is used in film, radio plays, computer games, animation, daily life etc, to give a sense of story and understanding about what is going on. Its clear that sound is very indicative of environment and action but it also gives a sense of movement through rhythmic and timbral connotations, as heard in music in silent films and in animations. 

I want to stay away from narration or dialogue based sound narratives like radio plays because the mind operates on a different level to analyze speech and translate it into meaning while sound is more immediate and emotive, especially when analysing progression of surrounding events it gets perceived on a more subconscious level than speech. I also want to stay away from sounds which are too descriptive and concréte like gunshots and footsteps kind of thing (although it could be unavoidable to a certain degree).

I initially thought of transcribing or rather, transcoring an adaptation of a book, but text, being literal, as well as cinema, adapted from literal stories, has loads of elements which cannot be transcored such as: 

  • A facial expression, character description
  • A character looking somewhere
  • A change in a room’s props.
  • Immobile objects [furniture, buildings, walls, food, mountains, rocks, etc…]
  • Some kinetic objects, if they are unusual and the sound they make is unrecognizable
  • Some movement, for example someone swinging an axe, we might hear the swing but would not recognise the axe unless we hear the impact and recognise its sound. A sound might indicate the movement is happening but not give us the impression of a movement actually taking place and its consequence.
  • Light changes / shadows
  • Panoramic view

This pretty much does away with most adaptable narratives, and so what I am dealing with is sound content which borrows a similar sense of narrative that dance might have with electro-acoustic sensibility.

 

…. more soon

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