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Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Dare - A Freesound Challenge

My favorite musical resource in the past couple of years has been the Freesound Project. It is a vast -seemingly inexhaustible - database of sounds of all kinds. There are natural sounds, artificial sounds, and strange sounds.  There are musical bits and atonal pieces.  Animal noises. Sound effects. Everything.  Seriously.

And if you can't find the sound that you need, there are hundreds of members who are willing to find it / create it and record it for you.

And - best of all - to share it with you ... free.

But it's more than just a warehouse of sounds. And it's more than just a list of go-to sound engineers .  It's also a place for musicians and producers and hobbyists to challenge themselves and their musical production skills.  Every so often the members of the Freesound Project challenge each other with a "Dare."  A musical gauntlet is   thrown down - can you make a song using only animal sounds, or using only sounds that are shorter than 2 seconds?  Can you make a song using only the sound of thunderstorms and frogs?  (This was an actual dare some time ago...)

This month the challenge was to let the random "sound of the day" selector choose 10 sounds for us to work with.  We could fold, spindle and mutilate these 10 sounds in whatever fashion, and using whatever software and recording equipment we wanted - provided that we use all 10 sounds and only these 10 sounds.

And here is what I've created - my December Dare:

December Dare by thatjeffcarter was here

If you like it, you should download it for your continued amusement... and tell a friend.

Here are the 10 samples we were given to work with, and a brief description of what I did to them:

 - I took this very short sample and stretched it out with Adobe Soundbooth and applied copious amounts of reverb effects to it even before plugging it into my song - once there I added more reverb and shifted the pitch up and down a couple of steps.
Steampipe 7 Dark Pad C2   This drone is the foundation for the rest of the song.  I didn't change it much. I just made several copies of it and faded them together so that it sounds like one long continuous sound.
18  - I tried several different ways of working with this sound before I finished. I tried cutting smaller bits out and rearranging it... I tried stretching it out (something I like to do to sounds... you can find all kinds of new and interesting sounds that way.) But I finally just dropped the pitch and played it at half speed - along with some reverb and delay.
Hinge - This rusty hinge sound I stretched out and dropped the pitch.
Radio Blurb  - I shifted the pitch on this one, as well, both up and down.
Running Water  This one is all but unrecognizable after I was done with it.  I stretched it out and shifted the pitch way up. It began as a very soothing babbling brook and I made it into a strange sci-fi kind of sound
 Vocal Syllables  These three sounds I stretched out  (but not very much) and dropped the pitches a little bit.  Then, with a little bit of reverb and delay, they became nice percussive sounds 
Cascade of the Ketagwa  This was the last sound for me to include.  And I would have been content to leave it out... but the rules of dare said I had to include it.  So I dropped the pitched, warped it forwards and backwards and added lots and lots of reverb and delay.  Instead of running water, it now sounds like wind.

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