Daydream and Drunkenness is the first time I’ve mixed binaurally, and the thing I found is that results have a lot to do with intention, I think. Well, for me, at least.
At the beginning of a project, when ideas first begin forming and preparatory work is undertaken, this philosophical trait is at its most febrile.
As a sound designer, I spend a lot of time with these tools, so it makes sense to spend a lot of time finding (also nurturing and sometimes creating, or at least hacking) the right ones. It makes sense, too, to spend a lot of time thinking about them, for without them I cannot work, or cannot work as well.
Also, is (film) sound so subjective that finding commonalities among the many different textures that exist is, while not impossible, trickier, more murky, or even politically sensitive, than when talking subjectively about, say, colour, framing, composition, and shot length?
The concept of useful, complex noise, such as described in Thom’s post, the idea of having slightly randomised noise within your film soundtrack is an anathema to the school of thought that says as film sound designers we should be more concerned with taking elements away, decluttering the sound space, than adding to it with loosely defined (for want of a better term) noise.
However, story room, which Thom describes as a situation where, 'the sounds were basically non sequiturs. There was nothing in the story they could resonate with and/or the scene wasn’t structured visually and dynamically in a way that gave sound design a role,' is a different set of circumstances to try and unpack.
The other part of the equation would be depth, because that is often what is wanted as an outcome; emotional, expository, sensory depth. To my mind, depth comes from understanding: understanding what’s important and then selecting, discriminating, with one’s choices, based on that understanding.
Cultivate it in its many forms, fried, deep fried, wet and dry, plain and flavoured, happy and sad, fierce and tender. All the many shades of sound that exist must be within reach.
However, in whatever way we may choose to define it, I think of silence as simultaneously an absence and a presence. The absence of noticeable, penetrating and/or distracting sounds ('active' sounds, I will call them) creates a void into which an individualised sound space (conscious and unconscious) makes its presence felt.
A few sound related topics that interest me and which I don’t have adequate answers for:
The spectre of discovery is often cause for excitement. Exploration in some form or another is how we learn about the world and our place in it, and all of us have at some point yearned to go further; to find out more, and go deeper into uncharted territory. Everyday sounds are, by definition, sounds that occur within and around the usual events of a routine day. They are largely unremarkable and are sounds we are compelled to take for granted. These sound events occur, we perceive, register and acknowledge them, and then, for the most part, we move on. This has become the natural way of things.
When I have the chance to listen - and record - the everyday world around me I am fascinated by its richness; whether the cyclical ‘musical’ patterns that supposedly non-musical sounds have, or the way that ambiences evolve and shift as one is walking along, or how wind will carry sounds one way and then another. Add to this the incredible structures that environmental soundscapes, even man-made ones, intrinsically possess, and these unremarkable sounds are suddenly anything but. And so I find that walking around and using my ears like a weather vane, with or without a recorder in my hand, is intensely enjoyable and opens up a world of possibility and discovery.
Listening back to the sounds one has recorded is pleasurable and meditative, too. When detached and disassembled from the reality of the then-present, sounds have yet another story to tell.