EXPERIMENTAL FILM AND ANIMATION: ORIGINAL MUSIC, SOUND EDIT + MIX

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MIRRORRORIM: SOUND DESIGN FOR ANIMATION

Above: Originally presented at Cellular Cinema’s showcase “The Double”, "Mirrororrim" responded to the thematic brief of the evening: to create work on the themes of ”double exposures, doppelgangers, mirroring and twins."

John Akre presented me with finished animation to score, and I strove to create a soundscape both as rough-hewn and systematically intricate as the visuals. I sought to evoke reflection, symmetry, and palindrome in the sound design of the film.

Early on, the majority of visual gestures rely on small, repetitive/ reflective shapes in motion. I often flipped a brief audio sample backwards and butted it up against its forward counterpart to accompany these symmetrical visual gestures with sonic palindrome. Hence, I mirrored visual events with sounds which contained mirrored elements within them. A hall of mirrors, if you will.

Later on the visuals become more chaotic, and the sound design comes unglued to match. But I pursued similar palindrome strategies there as well, though it might not be quite as apparent…

And while I was interested in conceptual integrity, I was guided more by the potential for visceral enjoyment. Which is what I hope you have while watching this piece!

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McFOWL! ORIGINAL SOUNDSCAPE FOR SUPER 8 FOOTAGE + ANIMATION INTERVENTION

Above: Original musical score for a short experimental film by Trevor Adams. Adams shot Super 8 footage and then meticulously treated the film frame by frame. Inks, paint, and scratches accumulate as a dreamlike cascade of image and color. I responded with tonalities culled from acoustic and electronic instrumentation, field recordings, and processed samples. The sound scrambles, tumbles, and streams in conversation with the flow of imagery.

While waiting to get a high-quality transfer of Trevor's film from the developer, I roughed in a score from memory, thinking I'd tighten up the relationship between sound and image later. But when I laid what I saw as a rough draft up against the visuals, I really liked the dialog. The relationship was close but not exactly synced, which I found really effective.

“McFowl!” was originally commissioned as a part of Art/ Road/ Movie, a screening organized to premiere Kevin Obsatz's film “Crazy Horse”.

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“INFESTATION” SOUND EDIT + MIX FOR ANIMATION

Above: Animator Cable Hardin developed "Infestation" by cutting together assorted test footage, intending the result specifically for entry into screenings of extremely short films. I was attracted to the irony of the imagery, which tells a story almost accidentally. Given the subdued color palette and papery textures I used as much raw, unadorned sound as I could. I wanted it to come across like a documentary, as if all the audio had been captured on location while the footage was "shot".

I recorded a fair amount of voiceover for this film: my vocal performances (sped up) provide the voice of the cockroach, the buzzing of the flies and mosquitoes, and the sound of the ants scuttling up over the foot at about :24. The ambience in the foot shot is a recording of my back yard in the south Minneapolis neighborhood where I used to live.

The indoor ambience we hear when we see the walking figure (or just his feet, early on) I recorded from about the third floor atrium of a public building in downtown Minneapolis. The footsteps are samples of me walking in my basement wearing formal shoes.

The interstitial cuts to "black" (cloudy dark grey, anyway) are accompanied by a spooky drone I achieved by slowing the sound of my mom's dishwasher way, way, way down.

The massive impact of the bug's foot at :43 is a library sound effect. In that particular shot I slowed down some restaurant ambience (a recording I made while dining at a local pho place) to blend in with the more echoey atrium audio, speeding up the cafe sound to achieve its normal rate of playback where we see the fly sitting in the coffee shop (at least I decided it was in a coffee shop, rather than at home). When the fly flicks the guy off the table, I used not a wilhelm, but a library vocalization that sounds like a wilhelm-- an ersatz wilhelm, if you will.

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RETROFIT SCORE: PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIES IN HYPNOSIS

Above: Source footage downloaded from the Prelinger Archives at archive.org. Appears to originate from the University of Oregon. One comment on this film's download page suggests 1937 as its year of production. Retrofitted soundtrack by Mike Hallenbeck, 2010. I don't believe for a minute that it's a depiction of genuine hypnosis; I'd say any claim to authenticity collapses by the end of the film when it's viewed in its entirety. Hence, the purpose of this piece is a mystery to me, and I find its oddity quite appealing.

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“ABANDON”: ORIGINAL MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN FOR DANCE FILM

Above: A highlight reel showcasing original music, sound effects, and abstract audio accents I created for "Abandon", a dance film directed by Jenna Pace and featuring choreography and movement by Zhauna Franks. "A woman runs, taking a visceral journey through a hauntingly gorgeous landscape of time and space. Images of frailty, fear and suspense weave a beautiful portrait of solitude and transformation."

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