(Hot Chocolate in case it's not obvious)
Coming up with a short piece of music to describe the essence of something (and by short I mean 2-12 seconds) should be really tough. Someone pointed me in the direction of a video of Robert Fripp working with Microsoft as they work on the Windows Vista start-up sound. My first experience with Windows was back when they were using the Brian Eno-created sound on Windows 95, now I mostly use an Apple Mac (which, perversely, is the brand of computer Brian apparently used to create the Windows 95 sound). Anyway, I digress: whilst on the work placement – a little over 2 years ago now – one of the jobs I was involved with was the music for the re-branding of a French television station named “Mezzo.” It was something I was on the periphery of really, because I was mostly assisting on assembling material for a live DVD at the time, but there were some sessions where I had been running a DAT machine whilst they were trying to come up with the main themes. Several of which had to be discarded later when it was realised that they sounded like something else.
Whilst trying to make something that sounds bright, clear and hopeful it seems that most people fall into single notes of a major chord, often going mostly up the notes. Phrases with 5th intervals also frequently appear in this sort of audio branding – think of the old Intel Inside adverts. Watching the video of Robert Fripp at work, a lot of the things that the Microsoft people seemed to be looking for were the simple 4-7 note themes. Something that sounded “simple and clear with greens and blues.”
My problem with watching Robert Fripp at work is that I feel the need to set a digital delay unit to a very high level of long repeats and play single notes into for hours. And I was supposed to be going through my Boxes Of Stuff today.
New project on the go as well – some sound design for the Biggar Theatre performance of “The Best Snow For Skiing” a play by Linda Cracknell about Hugh MacDiarmid’s widow Valda. Hugh (or Christoper to give him his actual name) spent almost all of his later life living just outside Biggar, so there is a local connection. The play was written for radio and it’s going to be performed that way, pretty much as a reading around a microphone rather than with sets and movement. There is potentially a lot of sound work, involving lots of fire crackling, wind blowing at windows and doors, shovelling snow, and a terrier called Clootie. I’m sort of hoping a recording of this would also give me more material to compile into a short sound design demo/ show reel which I’m trying to put together. So far I’ve culled some bits from a read through of Inspector Calls and an audio book, added sound effects and spaced out the separate voices a little. I’m really wanting to get a few of them sent off soon.