Sound Design: How to Make Your Home Into Eraserhead or 2001: A Space Odyssey

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Hi, everyone – Welcome to back to the show. This week is all about noise. Noise in a home can be a disruption, like when an air conditioner cranks on suddenly; that's a common disruptive noise source. But noise in a sculpted sense can add a second layer to your home and help transport a space. Two of my favorite examples of this are the inventions of sound design found in Eraserhead and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both of these films use noise as an core part to the world they present. So for this week's episode, I thought it'd be nice to use only the technology available to Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch at the time of their films to recreate those sonic atmospheres.

So this week you'll learn how to use noise to modify your home, including a tutorial on how to make your kitchen sound like a room from Eraserhead or turn your attic into a control center from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It turns out limiting the techniques and tools to those eras is not very restrictive. Both Kubrick and Lynch had some of the finest gear in history to work with. It's my guess that they both used noise generators along with a 907 or 914 Moog Fixed Filter Bank. We'll use an inductor based 907A FFB to replicate the steps involved in The Lady in the Radiator scene and get a nice space sound aboard Discover One on your trip to Jupiter.

Your co-host for this week is an inductor-based Moog 907A Fixed Filter Bank

Both of these films use a variety of colors of noise, so to best understand this, track two discussed the Colors of Noise. A tutorial on using noise color to achieve these moods is included in track three. My studio has a good variety of colored noise generators and even includes a Scat Talker from Synthetic Sound Labs, which includes a Votrax SC-01 chip for speech synthesis. Using the Scat Talker, I've included a song of Daisy, just like in 2001. (That's blue and purple noise, incidentally)

In terms of making your own home into either of these worlds, you can do this with digital noise generators. I regret the app I refer to in this week's recording, called "Noises" no longer seems available on the Apple Store (my apologies, it's perfect) but this online noise generator should work nicely. If you'd like to follow some of the steps discussed, you can get very close with the FFB included in the Moog Model 15 app, as well.

SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #17: Sound Design Tutorial for ERASERHEAD and 2001: A Space Odyssey

Sides A and B this week conclude The Apartment, which is now available on Bandcamp as a complete album. You'll also find episodes one through ten there if you'd like to download a Road Trip pack to support the show.

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Thanks and a good radiator to all of you from my Jupiter-bound space helmet, Ethan