Scary Soundscape

A task as part of our audio course this trimester (AUS230) is to create a scary soundscape. The theme we are supposed to follow is ‘space’ (like space travel, aliens, planets etc.). We watched the movie Event Horizon during class time to get an idea of the type of sounds we may or may not use. I wasn’t sure of the direction I’d take with this soundscape as I didn’t want it to sound like a scene from a typical sci-fi horror film. I thought about what scares me about space in general: aliens and the unknown. I thought about the scenes from Interstellar where they’re travelling through the black hole and the one where Cooper has fallen into the fourth dimension. I also thought about the various scenes from the Poltergeist films where the characters are trapped in the wormhole or other dimensions. I decided on the theme of wormholes and the unknown and started the practical side of the project with creating a few scary sounds using the multiple synthesizers available in Logic Pro (I’d eventually go on to mix the whole thing in Pro Tools).

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.21.17 pm

I’ve had little experience using synthesizers and the only sounds I have created with them have been imitations of acoustic instruments e.g. violins, bells and drums. I’d taken a fairly methodical approach when creating those sounds, taking into account the types of waveforms, envelopes etc. of the original, organic sounds I was trying to recreate. Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.27.40 pmThe approach I took when creating the ominous tones heard in my soundscape was completely different. I pretty much just tweaked the different parameters of a synth till I heard a sound that was vaguely suitable for the project. I then adjusted it a bit more until I was happy with it. The synths I used were the EFM 1 FM Synth, ES 1 Subtractive Synth, ES P Poly Synth and the ES M Monophonic Synth. These synths are pictured here with the settings I used to create four of the sounds I used. Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.22.53 pmI created six different sounds to feature in my clip but I needed something more to add suspense. I stumbled upon the basis of my soundscape whilst youtubing ‘paulstretched’ songs. I was listening to one after the other to see if any were weird or scary enough to use as an ambience track underneath my synth sounds. What I found was a sound clip called THX Deep Note 800% Slower in Paulstretch. I LOVE the THX theme sound already so was very excited about this. The first half fit perfectly with the rest of the sounds I’d created and was the perfect basis for the climax my soundscape needed. The rest of the sound samples I retrieved from various websites (referenced below).

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.24.39 pm
So anyway, give it a listen and let me know what you think. It does need a lot more work but I’m happy with it for now and I feel that I’ve achieved what I set out to do.



One thought on “Scary Soundscape

  1. Didn’t realise you were blogging about your work! I listened to the Soundscape and it definitely evokes space. I too am creeped out by the vastness of space and the weird possibilities of aliens. I know synths are easy to use but you also need to have an ear for what ‘works’. It doesn’t sound like you have no prior experience with synths. It sounds like you know exactly what you’re doing. This clip would be right at home on a film soundtrack. Do you think that might be a future direction?


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