ICM / nmc fall 2008
if {image filter études} • proj07

Music and soundscapes created as études through the use of the Image Filter.


For this assignment I delved into my curiosity for the LAD Kodak testing image girls (AKA Marci). All of my picture files were found digital copies of 35mm film, whether it is scribbles on leader or images of these models. In the Image Filter room I played with the ideas of saturation, contrast, and harmonics. Luckily most of the images sound well in stereo but I did have to crop out sections of these pictures. For the sound sent through the images I chose a projector running from a sound library. I pulsed some of the sound files and also tinkered with key and scales. The etude is balanced with a base track of a woman defining herself. I thought it would be perfect way to show the mystery of these models. The three separations of the etude are very basic because I didn’t want it to be too distracting. The first movement is less filtered and is recognizable as a projector. The second is more rhythmic, confusing, and sporadic. The last movement calms the piece down and adds some solace to the last words of the woman speaking.


For this project, I started with a set of pictures, my main focus being a set of three Mondrian paintings which I thought might be useful to create more linear filters for use in the Image Filter room. I also used some Rothko paintings as stereo filters. I experimented with what sounds worked using these as image filters and liked the results best from a collection of recordings of various unhealthy breathing patterns I had from another project. I focused on two samples in particular: a weird wheeze that sounds sort of like a goat and the ‘death rattle’, the sound of liquid stuck in the lungs. I also used a recording of the French word for ‘wake up’, reveille, which I used both as a processed sound and also took a spectrum analysis and used as an image filter on other sounds.

The main structure of my piece is based on four repetitions of the word ‘reveille’, stretched to about 64 times the original duration, next 16 times, 4 times and finally the original speed. From this I thought of a sort of narrative involving the weird time between dreaming and waking, and confusing trapped feeling of when real life sounds start to invade dreams (if you’ve ever experienced sleep paralysis, you can understand how strange this state can be!). The sound of someone trying to wake you up is often distorted and somehow integrated into what you are dreaming of, and it is usually almost impossible to understand, thus the extreme slowing of the word reveille (and maybe the use of French instead of English?).

I used the ‘goat wheeze’ with various filters and reverb and shorter pitched samples from it to counter the ‘reveille’ sound. The stereo placement is rather extreme between these two forces at the outset, but the derived shorter sounds play around more in other locations. The third major sample, the ‘death rattle’, is the central sound between the first and second iterations of ‘reveille’ and with a sample of a labored breathing sound filtered by one of the Mondrian paintings, creates a drier sounding interlude between the first two lengthy ‘reveille’ sections. In the end, a clear voice finally wakes us up from whatever dream we were having involving the goat wheezing sounds.


This piece was constructed using sounds found on the Internet relating to the theme of a thunderstorm. The sounds were then processed using the images created in Objective 1 of the project through MetaSynth’s Image Filter. The sounds were also edited in the Effects and Montage rooms.

My goal was to construct an ambient piece that invoked the sounds and progression of a thunderstorm from calm, to windy, to climactic thunderclaps and back to calm. I emphasized the element of surprise in a thunderstorm by sectioning off rhythmic parts of the piece and ending or beginning each with an unexpected thunderclap.


I first took a low bitrate .mp3 recording of my dad reading a sermon at his church. It is mono, and I made it stereo. On two of the clips, I did a spectral analysis, warped the image, and applied filters. I took that new filter and applied it to the original as an image filter. On the final mix, you will hear the original and the altered version panned hard left and right. I used the school logos of the three Universities that I have attended. UNLV has red letters, Oregon is Green and Gold, and Uha is a red hawk (but I inverted so it would be green). I loved the effect the hawk creates as a filter, but it did not fit well into the piece—so I did not use it. Repetition is used, with attention to panning and dynamics. At one point, four voices are heard (2 in the left and 2 in the right). They are actually only two independent voices: voices 3 and 4 are simply 1 and 2 in canon, with their panning reversed. A “unison” occurs near the end, the same word is heard in two voices which sets the focus in a second direction. The “da capo” is incomplete: only the first sentence is repeated. There is also attention paid to the use of space.

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