Audric Sebastian Audio Cultures Assessment 2

room 3 ECHOES

Sydney

"The impacts of a hundred-day confinement were felt by billions around the globe. Thoughts about personal health, job security, relationship stability as well as much more were breathed in and exhaled out daily as they infiltrated the mind and home, denying repose. It was the ironic reality of many, many people to be unable to find rest in the one place it belongs."

Through my audio program, I wanted to explore the lingering elements of a global pandemic in a world recovering. I tried to channel particularly absurdism (the idea that life is irrational, illogical and incongruous), which had also risen from the aftermath of a global tragedy almost as a means of coping. This was reflected in key story elements, like the idea of an omnipotent being who chooses to run guided relaxation tours of questionable success through the Sydney Botanical Gardens, and enhanced by manipulating the audio to convey more than just the surrounding atmosphere. For example, the sudden use of heavy reverb on his speech, followed by rapid fading into complete silence bar the noise of your own heartbeat pounding in your ears. There is also an obvious emphasis on mental health, which was contextually influenced by my experience as a student during the pandemic. During that time, I felt strongly that mental health was underrepresented and under emphasised in the Covid-19 response to students. Rather, emphasis was placed mostly on academics and ensuring that work would proceed and be completed as usual. To emphasise it in my own program, reflecting my own experiences, felt empowering and cathartic.

In my case, the location of the echoes soundwalk did not need to be a special or particular one; I simply needed to find a park open or wide enough to hold the whole program as well as provide a convincing backdrop for the surrounding activities, like an entire construction site or animal sanctuary. For this, the Sydney Botanical Gardens were sufficient.

All recordings were taken either in or around the house, with the exception of those taken from the shared group pool, and most recordings were done through a Rode dynamic mic into a Zoom H-6. This caused a problem when they were taken at a different sample rate to other audio clips, but they were converted through ProTools. Recording in and around the house proved to be an issue for some recordings, however. For example, as the construction site was also recorded near my house, it bled into the background of the dog barking audio clips. Other challenges included my house not always being the most appropriate acoustic recording environment as well as some quieter noises being harder to capture, such as the noise of the drawer skates or rain ambience. I tried remedying these with smarter mic placement, like underneath the drawer for a louder roll and quieter close or underneath the awnings for a louder rain pitter-patter. Next time I would record with a partner to streamline a lot of the process, more easily avoid handling noises as well and to get better recordings in general.

All vocal recordings were done into an Audio Technica AT2035 into Audacity via an audio interface in my bedroom. The voice recording varied a lot in volume in different parts in ways that weren't deliberate and had to be compressed once to solve this, then once again to adjust for correct LUFS. Next time, I would try to maintain a consistent distance and axis to the mic to avoid this, as well as employing a pop filter to avoid loud plosives and lip smacking noises. I would also look towards optimising my vocal recording space.


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The Echoes


Introduction

Construction Site

Pet Sanctuary

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