The sounds of the In-valid You/th project

Today we bring you an early sound ‘mood board’ by our sound artist in the In-valid You/th project team Patrick Walker –

Other examples of work by Patrick and others for North Edinburgh Arts are available here:

Below are some thoughts from Patrick about beginning work for this project:

Inspiration and initial creative thoughts – Patrick Walker

For this project I intend on a slightly different approach from the last projects that I have worked on. As opposed to going in deep with mood pieces and lots of different musical ideas right from the off, this time I’m focusing on micro-detail and creating a sound-palette to work with.

Detail is definitely something I want to get into this piece with lots of tricky programming, pretty, evolving melodies and unusual sound textures.I am taken with the notion of portraying a softer side to mechanisms and have been experimenting with recording and reproducing micro textures from interesting objects.

A couple of inspiration pieces I have been listening to are linked below :

Wauvenfold -Ji-Gad

The tricky, scattery and mechanical feel of this piece always makes me think of delicate machinery and the juxtaposition of the delicate melody with the skeletal beats touch on the notion I have to convey the mechanical in a more humanised way.

Bjork – All is full of love – Funkstorung remix

The video by Chris Cunningham married with Funkstorung’s excellent sound design speaks for itself, the marriage of machine and human is haunting and a little disturbing but also has this juxtaposition of skeletal, whirring, clicking beats overlaid with a powerful and soulful vocal.

Although both of these pieces are electronic and experimental, I am drawn towards the fact that there is still a softness and humanity being portrayed, albeit in quite an avant-garde way. I am also drawn to the fact that both of these tracks marry organic textures with mechanical. Finally I think both of these tracks span a range of emotions and moods from haunting, unusual and remote to warm, close and upbeat / positive.

Whilst listening to these tracks I reflected on my thoughts from the first project meeting. There was discussion on making technology more palatable and how to combat issues of isolation or alienation when considering gifting humans animal or synthetic parts. This sparked a lot of thought about how I might make a robot or cyborg be or feel more human or more accepted and so both of these tracks immediately popped into mind.

Looking at films such as Wall-E and R2D2 are a great example of how sound design can give personality and warmth to mechanical objects and again – this is something I have

been pondering in terms of potential techniques.

I’m also at the stage of simply bandying words and themes about, for example :
-Always a solution
-Becoming something else
-Embracing the future
-Self development


All of these words could be chained together into some progression where someone or some people go from a state of happy normality, through something life-changing

and disturbing, embracing change, adapting, surviving and then prospering. I’d like to take these words further and perhaps start to associate more words as building blocks towards themes or ideas which might help us define more of the narrative or similar.

Over the coming weeks, I will be experimenting with sounds which might be associated with some of these words of phrases. It’s an exercise I like to set students when they are learning the art of sound-design. The exercise is simply pick 5 colours and then tell me what sound you might associate with that colour – e.g.: yellow – the sun, the sound of frying bacon.

This will help me to build up a small library of textures or sounds which might fit with some of our potential themes in order that we have a bank of sounds to play with at the appropriate times.Furthermore, this gives us a range of sounds to use as inspiration when it comes to engaging participants – always good to have examples and ideas to get the creative juices flowing !



One thought on “The sounds of the In-valid You/th project

  1. Pingback: The sounds of the In-valid You/th project, continued…. | Animal, Mechanical and Me: The Search for Replaceable Hearts

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