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30 minute composition, audio landscape, sound design

 

Right from the start, I found the challenge to evoke a sense of connection through music really intriguing. It is such an obvious and desired outcome for any piece of music, but how does it actually work? How does connection emerge? How is it built? How does the concept come to life? 

The open and inviting atmosphere within the team lead to a really broad and free flowing creative process. It brought about the realization in me that if I wanted people to feel some sort of connection towards themselves, one another, and to their natural surroundings through music, I, first, needed to be connected to myself, other people, and nature. 

To achieve this, my first step was to attend a four-day mindfulness retreat which happened to revolve around the exact same topics as our audio journey. This helped me tremendously in my process of getting into the right mindset. It’s hard to pin point when and what exactly it was that got me into the headspace necessary to compose freely, but if I had to give an answer, I think I largely have the following two things to thank:

1. Being able to spend an entire four days outside in nature, where my only focus was to take a break from the business of my normal everyday life. Being surrounded by likeminded people was extremely valuable too, and I slowly started to feel an effortless and natural sense of connection to those around me.

2. And second, getting multiple confirmations from the team early in the process that they trusted me and my gut, and that I should just go for it with the composition and sound design. This trust and encouragement went a really long way. What a great setup!

 

From that point on my memory gets a little blurry. This always happens when I get into a state of flow. After an initial meeting where we discussed tonality and descriptive words, I just remember sitting straight down at the piano at home and recording a twelve minute long freestyle that would later become the main theme for the audio landscape. 

There were of course a few challenges in the process, too. One thing that was trickier then expected, was creating the one simple note you hear in the beginning. The challenge was to create a simple sound that was not too meditation-like, but still interesting. But after figuring that one out and getting the piano theme to a place I liked, the rest all came together almost on its own. 

The only real challenges I had to face in the remaining composition were the heavy sequences in the middle. It was hard to go to such extremes and create that kind of tension, because it’s not what comes naturally to me, and so I once again had to rely on the reassurance and confidence of the team that we were on the right track. They also gave me the courage to get dissonant with the music at times, with statements like: “It’s okay to hurt from time to time.“ I am so glad they encouraged me here, because honestly those parts were a lot of fun to make! 

The third dimension of the audio landscape posed the last challenge, as we decided to add human elements to the mix because of the powerful and charged energy they bring. “Going back into nature” after the world of manmade sounds felt really natural, and brought the whole piece full circle for me — coming back to the beginning, but in a more grounded and energized way than when we started the journey. 

I think the contrast of how one feels at the beginning of the piece, to how that feeling changes over the course of the half hour is a really interesting and beautiful experience. I’m really grateful to have been apart of creating this.