The Point: Eps 3 & 4

©2022 Michael Raven

The Point is a multi-artist collaborative visual story that I worked on with Cherie Suski and O’Wisp. The first two episodes of a five-part series are available here: The Point, Eps 1 & 2. The final episode is due to be released next Friday at 6pm CST.

In the way of reminder, while I have done quite a bit of music over the years, it’s never been with the intent of it being background music (BGM) and sound design. It didn’t occur to me until we started working on The Point that this type of effort was an entirely different beast which does not engender standing out. In fact, BGM is all about subtlety, of which I was still learning how to balance in the third episode of the story.

Warning: if you are the type who requires there to be trigger warnings before you consume content, you probably shouldn’t watch the following video. We accept no responsibility for any trauma you might experience by ignoring this warning and choosing to watch or listen. This is a work of mature fiction and is not intended for minors.

And yet, this was an action sequence, so I wanted something a bit more “in your face”.

It was also one of the episodes where I struggled to find something in terms of music design that felt “right”. The previous two episodes had more of an ambient sound in my mind and that just didn’t work for this. All of my attempts for the next few weeks felt like more of the same and this needed something to carry the action feel. I finally got inspiration while looking for it in some old bits and bobs of song fragments I had never done anything with — some drums and drone sequencing that I had originally thought might be good to apply to a song intended to mimic the sound of Skinny Puppy or Nine Inch Nails. I’d also stumbled onto some sound loops on CD from my first DAW (digital audio workbench), Sony’s Acid. While most of it is useless and dated, there were a few loops that were meant for aggo-industrial that I grabbed and utilized on this episode to give it a little more edge. Most of what you hear, however, is not prefab loops, but sequenced drums and synth by me, with the occasional modification to the voices on the synths.

The following episode was actually the last recorded episode and another that I had struggled with finding a sound I was happy with. On my hard drive there are at least five completely different variations of the episode, and at least another five that were whole cloth discarded.

Warning: if you are the type who requires there to be trigger warnings before you consume content, you probably shouldn’t watch the following video. We accept no responsibility for any trauma you might experience by ignoring this warning and choosing to watch or listen. This is a work of mature fiction and is not intended for minors.

I ended up recalling the songs from several bands in the late 80s. One of those bands was The Sisterhood, more of a middle finger to former bandmates than an actual attempt at making honest music, as well as a Dead Can Dance and, believe it or not, an Arabic power-pop band named Nasa. Yes, it is unlikely you have ever heard of them before, but I was into Ofra Haza crossovers at the time and worked at a used record store. I felt those sounds would work well, having a “desert feeling”, although the anthropocentric theme was more Hispanic than Arabic. So I did a little research on some Persian scales and built from that. I stumbled onto some found sounds from the Sony Acid days that were still posted online. With the exception of those found sounds, everything is mine.

I hope you have enjoyed this collaboration so far because I feel the final episode was the best effort in the series for my part. Come back next week to hear the finale.

Post a reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.