Freelance work for animators
Illustrated and animated byMolly Hensley
, andTatiana Shchekina
Nocky used a bunch of different detailed layers to create an eerie and unsettling setting for her character. She gave me some suggestions for visual elements she wanted reinforced with sound, so I recorded some realistic or synthetic sounds to add another dimension of spookiness. I was excited to use a few different layers of real shakers and rattles to create an uncanny but organic sound for the monsters lurking in the forest.
This project presented a few different fun challenges to work through. I created an expansive, limitless environment for the character to endlessly fall through. Once I had the setting established, I picked out some smaller percussion sounds I liked to represent specific floating icons, and meticulously timed them to the changes in the animation.
I like working on Halloween projects or other spooky videos because there are so many different ways to create unsettling or outlandish sounds! As a trained percussionist, I tend to reinforce visual elements with percussive sound first, and I had fun finding and making sounds to give life to the different elements in this project.
I wanted to create something ethereal and ambient for Molly's lava lamp animation. The drone represent the two poles, while the individual notes (made with short kalimba and more sustained soft-synth sounds) are synced with the timing of the bubbles moving between the poles.
My biggest challenge in these shorter animations is creating a realistic environment in just a few seconds. I spent some time creating wind sounds, footsteps, and breathing sounds and working with them to ensure they all work together to create a convincing scene.
As a hockey fan (but not a Bruins fan, go Avs), I had a lot of fun recreating the physical space of a rowdy arena and balancing that with the sounds on the ice. I made two versions of this video, with and without the music I created, but because each arena and team have their own associated music, I think the music helps tie the animation to a more specific location and environment.
I love the way that individual bits of material interact with each other in this animation, and how patterns of motion collide and intersect. I was inspired by this wavy, underwater-looking render to explore sequencing and arpeggios on some soft-synths.
Tatiana was going for a 1920s-noir look, so I thought I'd put together a quick version of a vintage, jazzy Auld Lang Syne to to connect everything to New Year's. The animation didn't require a lot of additional sound effects, but I did record myself doing the vampire voiceover.
Nocky sent over this 3D animation with some stock music she wasn't excited about. I was excited to try out a new vinyl sim and some new virtual instruments, so I arranged the end of the classic tune “Moon River”.
Molly and I were listening to a lot of Kim Petras when I started working on this animation. I found a song in a tempo that I could sync with the motion of the car, transposed and recreated the song in Ableton Live, and added some highway sounds so the viewer can understand that the car's in motion without seeing the road.
This is one of my first sound design projects I worked on, but I think it really captures my personal sound! I recorded samples of my drumset and timed them to different visual elements. All of the dots remind me of those early Norman McLaren animations.
When Nocky sent over an early version of the animation, she also sent some example sound effects. I found and synced some replacement sounds, added a few additional minor details, and panned and mixed everything.
I've made some percussion instrument sample packs in the past few years.
My newest sample pack, professionally recorded at Dandelion Gold, contains more that 60 percussion instruments, recorded with excellent microphones, performed and edited by myself.
I recorded my first sample pack with an SM57 in my bedroom closet one day in COVID isolation in 2020. Despite the simple recording set up, they sound clear and accurate, and I use them all the time as loops in pop songs and one shots in Ableton drum racks.
Head over to the Audio Engineering page to learn more about my sample packs and get the samples!
Breakthrough - a Trifilm production
Trifilm, a video production and design house based in Seattle, asked for some help working on sound design in this video.
I received a rough cut of the video with Bill's audio - my job was to add realistic environmental noise or sound effects to the B roll.
I had a great time digging for stock environmental noise, recreating noises from samples, and recording my own original audio. My contribution is most noticeable at the beginning and sprinkled throughout the second half of the video.
my solo music
I try to spend as much spare time as I can making music, and these days I've found limitless fun using MIDI devices and digital instruments in Ableton Live to create musical environments inspired by nature and life in the city.
Some deep over-thinking of my personal music-making process inspired me to develop a system of generative music, so that I could focus on instrumentation, space, and character, instead of writing pitches and rhythms.
My most recent release, Music for an Ordinary Day, is a full-length album comprised of eight original pieces of music. Each work on this album was generated from sets of rules determining things like pitch, rhythm, etc. using elements of chance and randomness, so that every performance generates a unique musical output.
In my studio, once I feel confident about my programmed rules, I'll record the generated output and use whatever was generated as my stems, to mix and further process with audio effects.
When I perform these works live, I assign different functions of audio effects, volume faders, and other things to knobs and faders on my Novation Launch Control XL. I can use the Launch Control to mix and modulate generated MIDI in real-time.
As the musical director of sorts, when I perform this music I can't anticipate exactly what will be generated, which makes performing so exciting to me! It feels like a duet between myself and the computer - except I also programmed the computer, I guess.
I'm excited to continue making music this way, exploring the possibilities of Ableton Live and my own improvisation skills. I'm putting out singles regularly in 2022 and early 2023, so stay tuned!