Demonstrating how found sound can be used to create musical cues and atmosphere in the short horror film, Slake.
In a world where vampires are all but extinct, a few wanderers remain. Moving from place to place, they attempt to evade the clutches of a mysterious organisation looking to investigate these remnants of a failing species—for they have begun to exhibit signs of weakness akin to the fragile humans on which they prey. Meanwhile, Slake—after finding himself in the right place but for too long a time—does his best to balance his new-found thirst with his old habits.
Sound Design Concept
In keeping with the horror tradition of using unusual sounds and instrumentation, it was decided that the score for Slake would be designed from scratch using found sound sources. By definition, found sound offers practically limitless opportunities for unconventional timbres and textures through exploratory interaction with found objects—the scope of which can be further expanded upon with the multitude of editing and manipulation techniques afforded by digital audio processing.
The antagonist’s presence was heralded by a stinger created from the low, resonant tones of a metal lampshade that became affectionately known as the “chrome dome.” Striking the dome resulted in a satisfyingly ominous sound that was further enhanced using granular sample manipulation—which added interesting texture and harmony to the original recording.
There was a desire to incorporate the narrative’s themes of addiction and inebriation into the very fabric of the protagonist’s motif. Experimentation with a cocktail shaker (a vessel of intoxication) led to the creation of an instrument that could be tuned and manipulated into a musical performance using MIDI sequencing and was thus used as the basis for the character’s accompanying melodic cues.