Haunted 2016 General Notes
After many years of collecting dollar store “scary sound” tapes and CDs, I decided it was time to make my own soundscape. My favorite recordings in this genre usually have a minimal amount of music, and instead focus on ambient interior and exterior environmental noises, with occasional voices. That was the general approach I took here too.
For years I have made recordings of various found sounds, including storms and night noises. But for this project, I knew I’d need an additional collection of fresh material. So my first rule was to use only original material - no sample libraries or synth patches.
My second rule was that everything would be recorded on site in a single location. I also wanted to use minimal processing, avoiding anything that was too synthetic sounding (though there is judicious use of some techniques such as pitch, amplitude, and fade adjustments).
The sounds used here were all recorded between 10/9/16 and 10/21/16, with only a few older sounds (e.g
. storm, night noises, furnace door*) from past original recordings. Everything else was recorded in the entry way/vestibule of our home, which happens to be a church. Of course the nature of the space added to the fun. Who knows what the neighbors thought while this was all being made.
The entry way, along with the adjoining office and laundry room, were very satisfying, and provided great natural reverb. In fact, for all the pieces, no artificial reverb was used. All of the voices are mine or come from my wife Audra, who was happy to help out and didn’t blink an eye while I recorded all this crazy stuff.
The first two pieces are the most raw. As I progressed through recording the sounds, I approached the assembly process in different ways. Later in the series I made use of Iris, a sampler program that has some unique qualities and allows for interesting control of pitch, speed, and EQ for multiple layers of audio.
When working with sound like this, there are really infinite possibilities, and one could go on for days tweaking. One might also be tempted to going back to previous pieces to try techniques that were discovered towards the end. I didn’t retouch anything. The point here was to have fun. I wanted to create something unique, and not fuss too much about technical matters. I really had a blast doing this, and I think that shows.
My original goal was a two-hour sound scape, to be played over PA speakers during trick or treating. That’s typically enough time for the kids to tap our candy reserves. After the first five pieces (60 minutes) were created, I thought the pieces were done. Then I had some more ideas and made the final 30 minute segment, which is now a “bonus” for online delivery.
*The furnace door comes from a local landmark, in a nearby town, not too far from the church. But I’m going to let people guess where!