Week 4 Summary

Another interesting week.

I played around a bunch with Taxi Driver for my assignments this week. That was a ton of fun. I love that I was able to act out the famous “You talkin’ to me?” speech for the line remix assignment, of course substituting “me” for “him.” I also used the film’s theme music as the basis for my radio bumper, something I knew about but didn’t realize had a name. I’m not a huge fan of my speaking voice, so it was a little eerie hearing myself talk, especially with the dark shtick I was going for. It’s still fun to listen to. I love Hermann’s score in that film; really an underrated aspect. But enough about Taxi Driver.

I really enjoyed both the sound effects assignment and the solo vocal trio. The latter I’ve played around with a bit in the past, but I’ve never attempted to tell a story solely with sound effects. It was a bit of an eye-opening experience realizing how important silence and pacing is in creating mood and atmosphere. I want to continue to play with that idea and incorporate more deliberate pacing in my music and storytelling, which I think has a tendency to fly off of the rails.

Radio Taxi

I think I’ve made my love affair with Taxi Driver pretty clear already, but here I am using it again. I instantly thought of the theme music by Bernard Hermann for the assignment. I spliced it up in a few places and I think most of them are fairly clean, though there’s one in particular I wasn’t totally able to smooth out. I had some goofy fun playing around with what I was going to say besides “DS106 Radio.” I eventually ended up with a somewhat generic little noir line, but I think it’s still fairly effective. I was really impressed with what others were able to do with this assignment. A few of them are so spot on, especially in terms of creating a real identity for the station. I’m not sure mine is quite as effective in that department, but I still think it’s a nice little piece.

Someone Just Left

This is the required sound effects story assignment, worth 3 1/2 points.

I’ve never done anything like this before, and I don’t think I realized just how far one can push a story with sound effects alone. The hardest part was determining a topic. I struggled for a while and didn’t know where to begin. I decided to listen to a random effect on freesound and build a narrative with that as my starting off point. The sound I landed on was a car driving away. I decided to create a subtle, melancholy story where a man watches someone important drive off while he’s left to himself. He sighs, listens to the chimes outside as the car slowly drifts off. Then he goes inside, sits down in his rocker with a big exhale and turns on the television. It’s simple and perhaps not as ambitious as it could have been, but there’s a remarkable amount of content going on here, even as simple as it is.

Blackbirds

This is the solo vocal trio assignment, worth 3 points.

I do a good bit of guitar playing and singing in my spare time, and I’d been listening to this classic today so I thought it might work well. I forgot how long the gaps in vocals are. That’s the biggest problem here. It just goes quiet for too long without the guitar plucking away in the back. I fudged a line which bothers me, and I’m hellishly out of key at different times, but I’ll take it!

Week Three Summary: Shadowy Times

Crazy times for me are finally at an end. I think I’ve driven more the last two weeks than I have my entire life. I can’t wait to have a fresh week.

Anyway, I did have some interesting, fruitful discoveries this week that involved quite a bit of personal photography discussion. My favorite bit was the photo safari. I love playing with shadows so that project was gravy for me. I’ve fallen in love with the moonshot above my house. It’s awesome.

Moody Moon

I also had fun remixing the Dark Side of the Moon cover. That’s something I’ve thought about doing for a while, but never saw any real reason for it. I’m happy I finally played around with it.

The bag contents assignment was a great way of continuing to flesh out my character, Jack “Settig” Neff (by the way “Settig” is “Gittes” backwards). I’m having a ton of fun with this altar ego/mentally crazed writer idea for him. I’m looking forward to seeing just what kinds of mysteries Jack Settig solves at night after Jack Neff is done with his job at the grocery. I’m already thinking of awesome stuff.

The “stenciling” assignment was a fun one. I learned that GIMP’s idea of stenciling is not what the project called for. I found a few new GIMP toys in the process here that will surely be useful in the future.

I’ve been reading Emerson lately because it’s one of the only books I’ve had access to at different points this week, so I used a quote from him for the visual poetry assignment. I probably put too much time in boxing with GIMP to get what I wanted and I still didn’t even get close. Regardless, there’s something to like there I think.

 

A Shaky History with Photography

I love film, but does that inherently mean I love photography? Well, yes and no.

I’ve been interested in landscape shots for as long as I can remember. I used to have my parents buy me those disposable cameras as a kid when we went on vacations so I could snap pictures of everything. I’m pretty sure I never once developed any of those, but the interest was undoubtedly there. Film made me fall in love with images in general I suppose, particularly color. I’m all about color. Weirdly though, I’m mostly about subtle colors; strong, simple colors. I like starkness and clear divisions in my photography. I prefer a strong, vibrant landscape of simplicity as opposed to a hectic, flashy one.

Here are a few random shots I took with my phone over Summer a few years back:

ferris wheel angle      Plane Cloud

 

Light pole

 

Ironically, I’m not sure if they really fit the description I just gave. That’s an interesting conversation in its own right. Regardless, I think this gives at least something of a background into my photography history. I have little technical background but a ton of passion and hopefully something of a knack for it despite my lack of professional experience. Finally adding some constructive guidance to my undeniable passionate interests would undoubtedly be helpful in bettering my photography skills.

A Shadowy Safari

I had a hell of a lot of fun collecting different shadow photos throughout the week. Basically any time something caught my eye, I snapped it. It was more natural than I would have thought. The only one I “staged” more or less was the tennis racket for my Venetian blind effect. The others I happened to notice while walking at night or sitting around my room. My black guitar is perfect for these, so it ended up in a few of them.

 

Dramatic use of distinct shadows:

Dramatic Shadow

Lighting from One Side:

Guitar double shadow

Unusual Angles/Framing:

Guitar Angle

Venetian Blind Effect:

Racket Shadow

Urban Nightscape?

Urban Shadow

I also love this one, right above my house:

Moody Moon

What Does Jack “Settig” Neff Keep in his Bag?

This is the What’s in Your Bag assignment, worth three points.

The first thing Jack Neff makes sure he has in his bag is his change of clothes. After his day job as a grocer, Jack sets out into the night and transforms into the hero of his novels, Jack Settig, a cunning tracker and mystery-solver who despises the scum of the city.
The first thing Jack Neff makes sure he has in his bag is his change of clothes. After his day job as a grocer, Jack sets out into the night and transforms into the hero of his novels, Jack Settig, a cunning tracker and mystery-solver who despises the scum of the city. For Jack, the look makes the man.
Flask
Jack Neff doesn’t drink, but Jack Settig runs on drink. Each night before hitting the streets, Jack fills his flask to the brim with premium scotch whiskey, Glenfiddich when available, and never leaves a drop.
As Jack Neff, the journal serves as a notebook for his novels. For Jack Settig, its a log of his current cases, suspects, and other various notes of interest from his nights on the streets.
As Jack Neff, the journal serves as a notebook for his novels. For Jack Settig, its a log of his current cases, suspects, and other various notes of interest from his nights on the streets.
Jack Neff has never smoked. Jack Settig is a chain-smoker who likes the finer tobaccos He rolls his own cigarettes each night before hitting the town.
Jack Neff has never smoked. Jack Settig is a chain-smoker who likes the finer tobaccos. He rolls his own cigarettes each night before hitting the town.

 

A Flipped Side of the Moon

This is the Classic Album Makeover assignment which calls for a visual rethinking of a famous album cover. It is worth 2 1/2 points.

I’ll admit, I bet everyone thinks of this album cover for this assignment. It’s simple, iconic, and has been interpreted beyond belief for seemingly hundreds of years. Dark side of the moon remix

I made a point of trying to keep this simple. Trying to much with this sort of iconic image, loading it up with all sorts of bells and whistles, seemed the wrong sort of move. My goal was to add something significant-but-subtle to the image to spark a visual reappraisal of just what’s going on here.

It probably goes without saying for this cover: I was always going to flip it, reverse it, mirror it, something. When given a triangle and a few lines on a black background, almost anything is possible, but the obvious potential for easy, geometrical fun was too hard to pass up. I settled on flipping the triangle, keeping the beam of light in the same direction. I then had fun with GIMP’s smudge tool to create a jagged, lighting-like effect as the light passes through the triangle and refracts. My initial plan was to change the background to a night sky instead of the plain black backdrop, but I couldn’t find one that wasn’t cheesy.

So while this is admittedly something of a simple album cover makeover, I think its simplicity is where it shines.