Wednesday, 1 August 2007
I have spend many days in my life searching for sound effects. Two or three times a year I need a certain sound effect for a radio show, a theatre production of a friend, for a song that a neighbour band is recording or just for some project of my own . Usually I cannot find what i have in mind and use something else.
Not so long ago a friend wanted a sound effect for a podcast, that would fit a change from one reality to another. I heard it immediately when I closed my eyes: this is what you hear in every science fiction movie. At least, that’s what I thought. But after going through all my favourite science fiction movies (and many more) I discovered that a) they all seem to have used the exact same sound effects, and b) that sound effect is a rather boring whoooiiish, that without the images doesn’t sound at all as if somebody’s reality is suddenly changed. I ended up making my own SFX, with our kitchen utensils.
Last week I came home with a second hand CD called “Distorted reality”, on the Spectrasonics label. Somehow CD’s have little or no real value for me, so I hesitate to pay much money for a CD, unless there is some nice booklet with it, or unless it is stuff you can’t get on vinyl.
While listening to the CD I read the text in the booklet. There was no name of the maker on the cover of the CD, but I read his name is Eric Persing, who was the Chief Sound Designer for Roland since 1984. (The CD is from 1995.) Ryeland Allison is also mentioned as responsible for this CD. If you want any more details, try this link.
In the booklet Eric Persing tells:
“I have always loved distortion. My first experience with the otherworldly glories of fuzz came when, as a boy, I cut off my toy organ’s 9 volt wall wart and connected the cord directly into the 120 volt socket. I was trying to figure out how to make it louder and it seemed logical that if it was not so loud at 9 volts, then 120 volts should be slamming. For a brief moment prior to the explosion, the most wonderful shriek of tortuous cacophony emerged from my tiny Wurlitzer.”
There are 99 SFX on the CD, varying in length from a few seconds to a few minutes. As on many SFX records, the names are great: Raveroids, Cyberdrones, Astarl Zip, Hyper-Warp and Splatterface for example. But in this case the sounds themselves are equal as good. Listening to this CD felt like a hit-test: I recognised many sounds that I have heard in songs. Like the SFX that Prince used for my favourite track that he recorded:
But there is also much of this:
The CD opens with a demo:
The CD is still available, but very expensive. Well, we cannot all be so lucky to find this stuff for one euro.