I have recently been doing the audio for a short film where 2 people meet on a subway train. It tells the story of the initial spark that is the beginning of their relationship.

The audio for the film took on a very interesting role. There is very little dialogue and what little there is got intentionally covered up by the sound design. We are only supposed to catch snippets of their conversation as if we’re listening in from a bit of a distance. The music was supposed to be very sound design-y. Not traditionally scored. I wanted to build all of the musical elements out of location sounds that I recorded from the TTC subway.

This piece of music is one of my experiments in the process. I thought to keep it upbeat and modern sounding so I came up with this pseudo hip-hop groove.

I created kick and snare drum samples by analyzing the waveform of actual drums and shaping the envelope of my TTC sounds to match. The synths I created in Native Instruments Absynth using a 3.5 millisecond splice from my TTC recordings. When looped it creates a pitch which I then modified in Absynth. I then ran them through other various plugins like Amplitube where I added Step Filter and delay stomps and ran it through an Orange amp. (Sidenote – one of the synths is playing a descending major triad which is the TTC chime when the doors are closing.)

The bass is created once again from a short splice of TTC audio but I built that one in Kontakt and ran it through Amplitube’s Gallien-Krueger bass amp emulation.

These themselves sounded kind of stark so I took pieces of TTC audio and placed them in Logic in a sort of sound design but looped so there is a subtle rhythm to it.

For the scratches, I used Torq LE and scrubbed through some TTC sounds. I then carefully added the fades in Logic. I know it’s not the proper way to scratch but it ended up sounding decent.

This experiment didn’t end up working for the film which needed a waaaaaaaaaay subtler approach, but I still like what I did here.



©2012 Shannon Penner