21 April 2013 - musik

For his new short film, the director, Dennis da Silva, required voice readings as well as actual music.

We did all the reading recordings in my place, not an ideal location given all the various background daytime noises, although I live in a quiet street, and the propensity of the Zoom recorder to be excellent at picking up the slightest noise, including breath intakes and lips smacking. Upon examining the results in my beloved Wavelab, I expressed my concerns, and we decided to do another reading session, with which I was more satisfied. I then compressed all the recordings using the Ozone mastering plugin. My guiding line is that when working in the digital domain, trust the numbers first, then your ears. The reverse would apply if working using analogue equipment.

For the Hebrew voice weirdness effect, I settled on using the GRM Shuffle plugin (made at IRCAM), coupled with the KT Granulator plugin. For my own voice reading the stanza from Baudelaire’s Litanies de Satan (in French), I used the Waves Doubler plugin, on top of which i added a 30-40ms reverb, giving the impression of a voice coming from above.

For the music, I used Kontakt 5, a programmable VSTi sampler, which I had recently discovered. Suffice it to say that there is an enormous difference between a standard sampler and Kontakt. Once you have got your head round its own unique way of working, the sky is your limits. Kontakt’s secret is in its scripts, which allow it to breathe “life” in the sounds it produces.

For the actual score, I tried to reflect the obsessional character of magic rituals. First, a repeating 2 bar string pattern in 16th notes, based on an alternance between I minor (in root position) and VIb (in 1st inversion), which allows for a chromatic rising of the soprano note of the chord (e.g. in G minor, D goes to Eb). The strings used were from the Kontakt 5 default VSL library. Underneath, a Latin vowel chant every other 1/4 note, from the Requiem Light library, using the Staccato Full. And finally, a timpani. Only 3 instruments altogether, creating a kind of rhythmic counterpoint, but it did take a lot of messing about to arrive at that kind of simplicity. You’ll notice the LA Scoring Strings among my Kontakt libraries. I decided not to use it, as I had just received it, and had not yet fully tested it. That will be for the next film music track.

Apophanista will be shown at a private View of the group exhibition, ‘Ritual & Obsessive Thought’ at Gallery 286, 286 Earl’s Court Road, London SW5 9AS on Thursday 25th April, 6.30PM – 8.30PM.


There will be a special screening on Wednesday 22nd May at 5.30PM  on the big screen at the Eden Hotel, Cannes – alongside the Festival de Cannes 2013. We had in fact missed the deadline but they liked the piece so much that they allowed it in.


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