On April 18, Chris Guest (of This is Spinal Tap fame) is set to release his new film, this one centered on the folk music groups of the early 60s. A Mighty Wind (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/AMightyWind-10002036/preview.php) is based on the premise of a memorial concert celebrating the life of a folk music promoter by reuniting some of his most famous acts (some of whom haven't performed together for 30 years). Sound designer Hamilton Sterling used Kyma to do a manually-controlled decode of the MS stereo production recordings that were made during the number of impromptu rehearsal scenes leading up to the final concert. This allowed him to cross-fade from stereo music to mono dialogue within a shot without a jarring change in perspective (helped along by some stereo backgrounds). Sterling also used Kyma to record all the crowds in quad and 5.0. For the backstage scenes, he played back the concert material through various sources and re-recorded it in the original dressing rooms and backstage areas for a you-are-there verisimilitude. Kyma was also used to create the rapid on-board car bys and car idle bys during the scenes of travelling through New York.
Warner Bros. Dreamcatcher open in theatres March 21, 2003, but most of the buzz seems to be centered on the 9-minute animated "short" that will be paired with it. The Final Flight of Osiris, a fusion of CG animation and Japanese anime serves as a link between the Wachowski brothers' The Matrix and its much anticipated sequel The Matrix Reloaded (scheduled for May release). Included on the soundtrack is music by Ben Watkins and his Kyma-ite collaborator Greg Hunter (aka Juno Reactor). Listen for Kyma-generated granular feedback, vowel filters and surround effects courtesy of Greg and his transatlantic Capybara. (http://www.intothematrix.com).
SUPER SUCKER (from Purple Rose Films) opens in selected theaters January 24, 2003. Starring the "homemaker's little helper," a vacuum cleaner attachment whose voice was created by Joel Newport entirely in Kyma (with the help of a feather duster and a spinning bicycle wheel), the film was voted best comedy of the year by audiences at the HBO Comedy Film Festival in Aspen Colorado. Rumor has it that the Homemaker's Little Helper *may* be in the running for an Oscar nomination in the 'best supporting household appliance' categorythe first time in the academy's history that this award would be awarded to a mechanical device. For more details on the cast, crew, story line and where you can see the movie, check out http://supersuckerthemovie.com/
Narc, a brutal story of undercover narcotics cops and the relativity of truth choreographed to an avant-garde musical score, opened nation-wide in January (http://www.narcmovie.com). Cliff Martinez composed the score, assisted by Tobias Enhus who created the musical atmospheres. Tobias used Kyma and CSound to create every sound in the score by processing struck-metal source material: turbines, metal sheets, steel drums, and even the suspended back end of a fork lift. Starting from these nonharmonic sources, Tobias used the spectrum editor and tuned filter banks to create atmospheres that match the key of the Martinez's musical score. He also used the Kyma timeline to do the surround scoring. The film, premiered at Sundance and picked up by Paramount for wider distribution, is striking audiences in a particularly haunting way, with many reviewers giving special mention to the effectiveness of the sounds and the score. For an early review ("The film literally rattled me for hours after the screening, the imagery and sound hanging with me for days"), see http://hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6186.
Blanche, a new film by Bernie Bonvoisin starring Lou Doillon, Gérard Depardieu, José Garcia, Antoine Decaunes, Carole Bouquet, and Jean Rochefort features some skin-crawling Kyma vocal treatments by Fred Attal (studio DIEZE). Set in the 17th century but with amusingly anachronistic use of slang and references to current global politics, the film opens with shocking scenes of a young girl, Blanche De Perronne, witnessing the savage murder of her parents by Captain KKK, the man in charge of the "Death Squads," a private militia of Cardinal Mazarin. Jump to fifteen years later and a grown up Blanche who is determined to avenge the death of her parents. She discovers two invaluable items that are highly coveted by his Eminence the Cardinal: a substance called "powder of the Devil" and a coded letter that only Bonange, a spy in the employ of Mazarin, is able to decipher. When Blanche finally gets her chance at hand-to-hand combat with Mazarin, Attal uses Kyma to create a chilling, dream-haunting, animalistic scream. In another powerful scene, Mazarin's voice betrays his true nature when, processed through Kyma, it becomes the voice of the devil. (http://www.commeaucinema.com/news.php3?nominfos=5346&cinenews=1)
Claude Letessier created most of the underwater textures for the Universal Pictures movie Blue Crush (http://www.blue-crush.com/) using what he calls his "old rusty" Capybara-66. (Maybe it got rusty when he was recording on the beach in Maui?) Directed by John Stockwell, the movie examines what happens when a girl surfer enters an all-male surfing competition and falls for a pro quarterback from the mainland.
The graphics and sound designers at LucasFilm are renowned for their creation of complete virtual worlds populated by amusing (and sinister) creatures, and in this latest installment of the Star Wars epoch, they set a new benchmark for computer graphics and sound in film. From a city-covered planet (Manhattan extrapolated with shades of Blade Runner and Fifth Element), to an opulent water planet, to a Dune-like desert planet, to a clone-makers' planet of endless drenching rain (why didn't they install a space port or something so their visitors didn't have to get soaked every time they walked from the ship to the front door?); from epic battle scenes, to the subtly shape-shifting face of a hired assassin, to chimeric killer animals in gladiatorial combat, to the graceful momentum-modelling gait of the clone masters, you'll find yourself so mesmerized and impressed with the environments that you almost don't care whether there's a story or not. Thankfully the story flows familiarly straight out of the collective unconscious, a reassuring amalgam of mythic adventure, Lord of the Rings, Dune, and childhood memories of fairy tales (except the queen in this story is elected and has a two year term limit!). There's even a reference to "federation starships" (no, not the Enterprise) and an uncomfortably prescient invocation of emergency war powers by a powerful democratic leader, lending a post 9/11 uneasy reality to the on-screen violence and intrigue.
Actors Ewan McGregor and Christopher Lee stand out as the embodiment of good and evil respectively but the *real* stars of the show are the sound designers (Ben Burtt and Matt Wood) and the army of computer animators who've succeeded in creating the thoroughly immersive and believable environments (that are, technologically speaking, a quantum leap beyond those in Episode I). Sonically memorable moments include: the surprising and powerful sonic "depth charges" in the asteroid belt chase scene, the updated-sounding light sabers, insect-like creatures that have frog voices, the voice of a rickshaw driver on Tatooine and the voice of the creature from the "Techno Union" when he loses it for moment and has to retune his oscillator. Favorite musical moment: an obvious statement of the Darth Vader theme played just when Anakin shows his darker side caused me to chuckle but drew some angry glares from those seated near me (sorry!!) The tables were turned later on when everyone else was laughing at the antics of R2D2 and 3CPO, and this time I was the one who didn't get the joke.
As for the secret details of how the individuals sounds were created in Kyma, Matt Wood would reveal only that "Kyma was used to create ambiences and vocal processing." (To learn more, you have to agree to leave your mom as a slave on a desert planet and undergo "the training" at an undisclosed location near Nicasio, California.)
Human Nature (http://www.humannaturemovie.com/), an offbeat comedy from the same people who brought you Being John Malkovich, is now playing in theatres. Francois Blaignan, the Supervising Sound Editor on the film, used Kyma to create an environmental morph between day and night and the procession of the seasons during a surrealistic time-compressed sequence depicting idyllic love. Kyma is also audible in the background ambience during the laboratory scenes and in the zap of the electro-shock collar. Claude Letessier (who used Kyma in The Mothman Prophesies) was the Supervising Sound Designer for the film. Directed by Michel Gondry, the cast of characters includes: a repressed scientist (Tim Robbins) obsessed with teaching table manners to laboratory mice, his lab-assistant with a secret (Miranda Otto), a beautiful girl (Patricia Arquette) with a hormonal problem that causes her body hair to grow to a rich fur-like covering, her electrolysis-confidant (Rosie Perez), and a wild man (Rhys Ifran) discovered living in the forest. Human Nature is a comic/tragic exploration of the thin line between civilized behavior and repression, and the tension between "fitting in" and being true to your own (human) nature.
Sound designers and self-described Kyma addicts Cedric Denooz and Christophe Colson created the voice of the Alchemist for Pitof's digital video film Vidocq http://www.vidocq-lefilm.com. Set in nineteenth century Paris, the film tells the story of the final case of Eugene François Vidocq, fugitive-turned-police-spy with legendary crime-solving abilities. His last assignment was to solve the case of the Alchemist, a monster hidden by a mirror-mask whose victims lose their souls as they are murdered.
Pitof's conception of the Alchemist is not so much a real character as he is evil incarnate. He is a ghost with many voices and disguises. He can become anything from a sweet young girl to a terrifying beast. Over the course of the film, the Alchemist's voice starts out as the raspy voice of an old man and ends as a girl's whisper. To create the voice, Denooz and Colson started by recording a master track of a voice actor who specializes in "reverse talking," i.e. speaking while inhaling. Then they got two comediennes to dub their voices onto the master voice using ADR. The resulting voice tracks were then mixed in various ways and processed with Kyma.
This is the first film ever to have been shot using the Sony high definition digital camera and they spent one year in post-production. It will be released on DVD on March 22.
Mathis Nitschke used Kyma to process the voice of the "licker monster" as well as for generating ominous backgrounds and ambiences for Paul Anderson's Resident Evil (premiering March 15th at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood). The story revolves around a zombie-inducing virus that is accidentally released from a secret lab called the Hive. For more information about the film, see http://www.spe.sony.com/movies/residentevil.
Mathis was hired by supervising sound editor Nigel Holland assist with the sound and to brainstorm on ideas for processing the monster/licker. The result was a dual-mono 50-band vocoder fed with different loops of strange animal sounds. The carrier was a performance by a British voice artist named Pete who first drank two liters of whole milk and then screamed and burped into an arrangement of tubes and buckets. Holland and Nitschke then recorded the processed version in a live-session with Nitschke controlling the vocoder in realtime. Holland then used the resulting library of sounds not just for the licker but for atmospheres and backgrounds throughout the film. According to Holland, he really enjoyed working with these sounds because they always surprised him.
Kyma user Claude Letessier was the supervising sound designer on Sony's recent release The Mothman Prophecies, directed by Samuel Pellington. The film stars Richard Gere as a journalist who investigates reports of psychic visions of mothmen reported by the local in a small town in West Virginia and who suspects they may be the first guard of a larger alien invasion. And just what exactly is a moth man? For some theories, visit http://www.themothmanlives.com.
In the newly released film Black Hawk Down (music by Hans Zimmer), Tobias Enhus used Kyma to do live granulation of a large orchestra, creating interactive "nervous" sound clusters.
For Narc, the police thriller scored by Cliff Martinez (Traffic, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Tobias used Kyma and Csound to create nearly every sound in the film score. He did a lot of experimenting with processing live metal percussion and various steel drums. Their favorite "instrument"? The suspended rear end of a fork lift. Tobias created a wide range of Kyma instruments using tuned filters, resynthesis and extremely dense custom reverbs.
Joel Newport (mailto:email@example.com) used Kyma to create evocative and comical sound effects for the new Jeff Daniels movie Supersuckers, the story of a vacuum cleaner attachment with an unintended alternative application. Called the "Homemaker's Little Helper," the attachment's "nap nipper" setting (created entirely in Kyma) is discovered to be a favorite of men and women alike. Joel set up the "nap nipper" patch so that he could perform it live to picture, and he and Daniels recorded several live takes for each scene. Then they used the Sonic Solutions workstation at Harvest Music and Sound Design in Lansing, Michigan to select and edit takes and lock to picture. Written, directed-by and starring Jeff Daniels and Dawn Wells (best known as Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island), Supersuckers was slated for completion in November 2001 and should be in theaters in early 2002.
SuperSucker was voted best picture by audiences at the HBO Comedy Film Festival in Aspen Colorado.
Anthony Fedele, sound designer and audio engineer for Concentrix Music & Sound Design (http://www.concentrixmusic.com) is featured in the September 2001 issue of Markee magazine for his work on The Greatest Adventure of My Life, an independent feature film set during the American Civil War. Anthony is sure to set trends in both sound design and fashion now that he's been photographed sporting a Kyma.5 Recombinant Sound T-shirt on page 38 of the magazine http://www.markeemag.com.
BT has scored two films, Driven and The Fast and the Furious, both of which feature various Kyma treatments and sound manipulations (tons of granular synthesis and monotonizing effects which BT describes as "similar to vocoding but WAY cooler"). He says he also plans to use Kyma on his next scoring project: a new Ben Stiller film called Zoolander.
He also did a track for Tomb Raider (with Angelina Jolie) where he used Kyma to freak the vocal and provide some rhythmic granular stuff which he says "came out AMAZING."
During the International Program of Experimental Video at the European Media Arts Festival, Osnabröck, Germany, Fred Szymanski's (recombinant) videoelectroacoustic work entitled Retentions 1-4 will be screened as part of the "Sounds of Vision" program, Saturday night, April 28. http://www.emaf.de/
Mathis Nitschke has finished the sound design for a new film by Joseph Vilsmaier, The Jew and the Maiden (working title). A traditional film based heavily on dialog, it is set between 1930 and 1944 and tells a true story--the tragic story of the love between a successful Jewish salesman and a young German girl during the time of the Nazis.
Nitschke's goal for the sound design was to give the film a modern sound without disturbing its authenticity. He used Kyma not just for a few special effects but as a steady partner: generating basic effects, pitching and vari-speeding sweeps, and applying movement to atmospheric sounds with Doppler. He writes that "this kind of partnership inspires a lot of confidence. And it's good to know that if you need a special effect you can get it."
Sound design as practiced by Fred Attal and Sylvain Lasseur (partners in the DIEZE studio in Paris) is often closer to music than it is to "sound effects." Whether they are letting us hear what it would sound like to be inside a laptop looking out or what the sound of a ticking clock becomes to a psychologically disturbed character (as in Mortel Transfert , directed by Jean-Jacques Beinex and released 13 January 2001), DIEZE sounds have more to do with the inner mental states of film characters than they do with gun shots and car screeches. You can hear more of their poetic spectral manipulations in a film called A Ma Soeur ("For My Sister") the story of a young girl's sexual awakening as viewed through the eyes of her younger sister directed by Catherine Breillat and released on 7 March 2001.
Sound designer François Blaignan has finished work on Endurance, a Disney film based on the story of an Ethiopian runner who won the 10 k race during the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Blaignan used Kyma to process sounds of breathing (and there is a lot of that in a movie about a runner), creating the subtle illusion of voices that the runner hears in his head. Be sure to watch all the way to the end as rumor has it you may recognize the names of some sound designers or sound design workstation manufacturers mentioned in the screen credits. Check out http://www.tinitus.net.
Belgian sound designer Peter Flamman used Kyma to stop the flow of time in his score for and the rest is silence..., a film produced for Dutch television. The film follows the thoughts of the main character as he approaches death and reflects back on the events of his life. Flamman used granular time-freezing on orchestral scores of Aaron Copland to create a striking and poignant effect that feels very strongly like frozen time.
Mathis Nitschke used Kyma in creating a German radio ad for the film Vertical Limits from Columbia Pictures. Nitschke used Kyma to morph between a voice and ice-cracking and between a voice and a gamelon gong to give a sense of the coldness, danger, and location of the film.
Dan Jones used his Capybara to produce some of the sound track for a film called Spectre of Hope. The film is about photographer Sebastiao Salgado and is being produced for HBO by actor / producer Tim Robbins. A rough cut of the film was shown at the UN Millennium Summit.
Jones also used the system in a film he completed last December, although it was primarily an orchestral score. The film is entitled Shadow of the Vampire starring John Malkovich and Willem Defoe and premiered recently in Telluride.
Sam Wells' experimental/narrative feature film (based on the story of Joan of Arc) called WIRED ANGEL will be playing in the Chicago Underground Film Festival, screening Monday 21 August at 5:15 PM at the Fine Arts Theater 418 South Michigan Avenue. http://www.cuff.org.
The film features sound design by Fred Szymanski and a score by Joe Renzetti based on sampled Latin liturgical phrases sung by early music singers and children and some rather interesting use of string and percussion samples-all mixed by the filmmaker. Wells describes the work as "operatic." There is no sync dialog but lots of vocal texts, all processed by Fred in Kyma.
It will be presented in 16mm but with DTS digital stereo sound, and the filmmaker will be present at the showing in case you would like to meet with him afterwards. http://www.cinemafx.com/wiredangel
Jeff Boydstun was nomimated for an Emmy (his second!) in the Sound Editing category for his work on Roger Corman's The Phantom Eye (AMC). According to Jeff, the Triffid scenes and the monster were done with Kyma!
Thierry De Vries used Kyma to do sound design for a Belgian short film entitled EX.1870-4, directed by Christophe Van Rompaey and produced by Anja Daelemans for Another Dimension of an Idea. No sync sound was recorded for this film, because everything was recorded on virtual sets and blue key backgrounds with heavy background noise. The sound track was built from scratch by the Foley Artist and Sound Editing Department. The characters didn't communicate in a traditional way; dialog happened at an intra-brain level. Voice clicks were morphed in Kyma with dolphin sounds to generate the brain-dialog sounds in this film. The flesh-like elevator floor pass-by's were treated with Kyma-doppler effects.
Released on 35mm Dolby Digital, it won the award for Best Picture at The Houston International Film Festival http://www.worldfest.org and Best Sound and Picture at the film festival in Huy, Belgium.
EX.1870-4 was shown in the USA at the New York Film Festival, The Montclair Short Film & Video Festival in New Jersey, and on 29 November, and on 3 December at a film festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on the Santa Fe Festival).
Now that EX.1870-4 is released, Thierry is already hard at work using Kyma on another film, Dead End. The film carries an aids-information message and is based around a guy playing a 3D virtual reality game with "Matrix"-like elements with the border between game and reality blurring...
Doug Masla of One-O-Eight Music & Sound in Venice, California completed all the music for the first season of TV Guide's Celebrity Dish a new cooking show hosted by morning network TV personality Mark McKuhen (sp?) and featuring movie and television celebs cooking their favorite food. Each show is 60 minutes long and is shown on the "Food Channel" Network as well as in international syndication (in over 25 markets so far plus all 50 US states). Doug put Kyma to heavy use in the 82 minutes of music written for the show: lots of granulated snare hits, guitar and synth processing, frequency shifting and general mangling, as well as some sound creation using FM and additive synthesis. According to Doug, "I felt lucky that I was working with an executive producer and director who wanted 'cutting edge' music, not the typical music one would find on a show of this nature, so I had a free hand to let the borders drop!"
Many of the special effects you hear in The Phantom Menace (especially during the pod race and sub scenes) were generated using technology developed by Symbolic Sound Corporation in Champaign Illinois. The Kyma Sound Design Workstation became part of Ben Burtt's arsenal of sound production tools when he first started work on the project. According to the interview in Mix magazine (June, 1999), Burtt's sound design tools for this project consisted of a Synclavier, a Kyma Sound Design workstation, and an old favorite: 1/4 inch analog tape.
Burtt and his colleague, computer-whiz Matt Wood, created a "sound library," a virtual world of sonic elements that would make up the universe of The Phantom Menace. Kyma is a graphical language for manipulating sounds; it's not just a synthesizer or effects box that does just one set of sounds. So it allowed for Burtt and Wood to create their own unique algorithms for manipulating live voices and synthesizing the sounds made by imaginary devices, ambiences, and creatures that havequite literallynever been heard before. (Read the interview with Matt Wood at http://www.eyeonuniverse.com/article/mainv/0,7220,111042,00.html.)
Joker Nies used Kyma on one of four interludes for the radio play Manson Revisited (WDR Germany, 1999). You can listen to an MP3 of the interlude at http://www.klangbureau.de/Joker_E/klangbureau-Klangbeispiele.html.
This was the first piece that he made entirely in Kyma, about a month after he got it. The techniques include time-stretching, various vocoders, resynthesis and spectral morphing (and, true to its subject matter, it's *very* scary). The words are all from Edgar Lipki, the author of the radio play, except for the line "come on baby lets take a ride, come on baby gonna drown tonight," which is borrowed from The Doors. http://www.klangbureau.de.
Marco d'Ambrosio used his Kyma system to generate the sound for a new Dolby Digital-Surround EX version of the THX trailer logo. The trailer will be played prior to every film shown in THX-certified theaters, beginning with the premiere of The Phantom Menace on the 19th of May. http://www.symbolicsound.com/press-THX.html
Film composer Stephen Taylor did the music for an animated short (starring the Goofy character) that is being shown prior to Disney's Mighty Joe Youngin theaters. (For other examples of Stephen's work, check out the score for Why Do Fools Fall in Love on video, featuring some Kyma sample granulation).
Marty Frasu used Kyma to design some new "alien-influenced" sounds for David Newman to use in his score for the science fiction comedy Galaxy Quest. Frasu developed the sounds in Kyma and recorded them as sample files that Newman could then access from his sampler. You can hear the Kyma sounds (not to mention the sounds of a 120-piece symphony orchestra) on the sound track album...or by going to the movie (not a bad idea, considering that laughter has been shown to be beneficial to your health).
Digitale Soundeffekte, an exploration of what can be done with computers and sound (and including an interview with Karsten Fischer and Carla Scaletti by Maximilian Schönherr) was heard on the German radio WDR 5 FM between 4 and 5 pm (and repeated in the evening) on the 15th of June, 1999. For details, visit http://www.wdr.de (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) and locate the science program called "Leonardo."
Bill Rust and Chris Iannuzzi used Kyma to create endlessly falling Shepard tones and vocoding for the promos of the Tom Hanks HBO special From the Earth to the Moon, so if you are "cable-ready" you may have unknowingly heard Kyma on TV.
As riveting as the special visual effects may be, it is the sound for The Phantom Menace that comes closest to creating an truly immersive environment. Unlike the visuals, which are projected on a screen at the front of the theatre only, the sound will be sent on multiple channels to speakers positioned throughout the theatre. The Phantom Menace will be the first film to be shown in the new Dolby Digital-Surround EX formatproviding even more channels of sound and more chair-shaking bass than the 5.1 Surround Sound technology which was premiered in the original Star Wars film.
THX, a division of LucasFilm that works to standardize and improve the delivery of sound in movie theatres, will be premiering a new, Dolby Digital-Surround EX version of their audio logo that will be shown just prior to The Phantom Menace (and from then on, prior to every film shown in THX-certified theatres). Marco d'Ambrosioa composer, sound designer and THX veteran, now in his own company MarcoCotook elements of the original logo and augmented them with about 20 ProTools tracks of new elements generated using the Kyma Sound Design Workstation.
It was a challenge bringing all the elements together, but finally, on the day of the deadline, they mixed what is now known as "Broadway 2000" at Skywalker Ranch. Gary Rizzo of Lucas Digital engineered the final mix on a new AMS Neve DFC console, keeping the entire signal path, from source to print master in the digital domain at 24 bits. The consensus? "The general comment from everyone was 'It Rocks!'," said d'Ambrosio. "The new chord is much fuller, and, although at 15 seconds it doesn't have the same time to swarm as the original, the same effect is achieved, with much greater bass." So when can we hear it? D'Ambrosio smiles. "Listen for it in front of The Phantom Menace at a THX theatre near you!"
Jeff Boydstun at Quantum Productions in LA used Kyma to design the aliens for a television movie called Alien Cargo which aired on the 28th of January 1999 on the UPN network. To create the alien sounds, Jeff says he "morphed pitched pig squeals with some really gross slime and then vocoded for inflection. Weird as hell - the producer loved it!"
Giles Hale-Tooke used Kyma to produce the title music, sound design, and bumpers for a new television show called The Mixa hard-edged weekly program on dance music which airs every Friday evening at 8 pm on ITV2, one of the new digital channels in the UK. Giles used Kyma to fulfill the producers' requirements for music that would skirt the edge between sound design and pure music.
In the US, you can tune in any Saturday morning at 11 am on ABC TV to hear Stephen Taylor's main title music for Mouseworks; it includes the Kyma vocoder saying "Mickey Mouseworks" loud and clear!
Houston-based sound designer Jim Grater is working with composer Jeff Walton on the music for a teen horror film called Fear Runs Silent from an LA-based production company called Flashpoint.
Stephen James Taylor used Kyma to do some granulation for the score of Why Do Fools Fall in Love. The life story of Frankie Lymon as told through the flashbacks of the three women he married (simultaneously as it turns out) features lots of production numbers, the Platters, and an appearance by Little Richard as himself. Despite the fact that it is the story of a musician who rose to fame when he was just 12 years old and died by age 25 of heroin addiction, Stephen assures me that it is a comedy (he has seen it with 5 different test audiences and all of them laughed all the way through it), so go see it or rent it on video, especially for the sound track! (and for a little history on how the early rock and roll musicians were exploited by the record companies).
Edmund Eagan used Kyma for the sound track of a broadcast project with video director Chris Mullington. Called Beyond Belief, this video art program aired on the CBC program Man Alive. Beyond Belief explores one person's spiritual quest from childhood Catholicism into atheistic tendencies fueled by notables from Darwin to Dr. Persinger. Kyma supplied sampling, resonance and vocoder manipulations. There's even a cameo of Ed himself in a First Communion procession!
St. Louis based composer and sound designer Mike Radentz used Kyma on the music for Fortune Entertainment's Motor Sports Weekly, a half hour news magazine on racing that debuted on the Fox Sports Midwest network this summer. Radentz used the morphing capabilities of Kyma "to create a kind of guitar dive bomb, air ratchet, engine rev, pig squeal, car by, woman screaming kind of thing for the main theme and then used that effect throughout the package." He also used Kyma "to do some tempo based Doppler effects and distortion waveshaping of sound effects."
Radentz was commissioned to compose and produce the entire music package for the show, including high energy bumpers, opening and closing themes, and background themes for the different show segments. According to Radentz, "We wanted to capture a sense of being in a major auto race, the people, the emotions and excitement, the decidedly human feel of the event, not just the mechanical. The main theme is fast paced, with a sequencer driven bass line, heavy metal style guitar and rhythmic sound effects. It's kind of like Metallica meets The Chemical Brothers meets Alanis Morriset."
If you are able to get the Fox Sports Midwest cable channel, you can listen to Mike's work on Motor Sports Weekly at 9:30 PM CST on Thursday evenings, 12:30 AM CST Friday mornings, 11:30 AM CST Saturday mornings, and one half hour before Formula One on Sunday afternoons.
Kyma users François Blaignan, Lloyd Billing of The Tape Gallery Ltd. in London, Frank Serafine of Serafine Sound Design, all got mentions in an article on sound design for film and advertising in the 19 March Thursday edition of The Wall Street Journal. The article discussed how the special effects in sound are finally beginning to catch up with the visual SFX. (Ed., even though we all know that sound has always been ahead of graphics!) Read the article at http://interactive.wsj.com/public/current/articles/SB890151101756037500.htm.
Quite a few of Dan Jones' Kyma-assisted television scores were aired on British television during November & December including:
Body Story Channel Four, November 12-19-26, December 3, 10, 17
A 6 part docu-drama on the human body
Battle Shock Channel Four November 8, 15, 22
A 3 part series on the mind at war
François Blaignan was the sound designer for independent filmmaker John Brasher's Spring 1997 film Just Right. Billed as a "psychological drama of two women," the film uses hand-held cameras pointing in through windows and blinds to put the viewer in the role of a stalker or a voyeur. Blaignan accentuated this "outsider" effect by using the sounds of breathing and he used Kyma to warp ordinary night sounds like crickets to give a feeling of uneasiness and tension to the scenes.
During the opening scene of Star Trek: First Contact, movie-goers can hear some of François Blaignan's voice-processing work on the sound track. Each time Picard makes mental contact with the Borg throughout the film, you can hear some subtle whisperings that were constructed by processing the Borg queen's voice through Kyma. Some of the heavy breathing you hear in the space-walking scenes is also due to François, but he did those sounds with his own lungs, sans Kyma. Blaignan also makes heavy use of Kyma to produce sound effects for The Muppets Dr. Seuss on Nickelodeon.
Francois Blaignan is using Kyma almost daily in his sound design work for the children's cartoon series Chrono Quest, and he and Claude Letessier from Media Ventures used Kyma's vocoder and RE Sounds on the trailer for Lost in Space from NewLine (shown in many theaters as a coming attraction before Spawn).
Whether he is granularly disintegrating in a virtual Japanese restaurant, shouting at Denzel Washington in a high speed car chase, or just relaxing in three pieces in a pool of blue nano-blood, the voice of SID 6.7 in Paramount Pictures film Virtuosity is also the voice of Kyma.
Virtuosity (released on August 4, 1995) is essentially a computer game presented on screen with live actors. The plot proceeds through a sequence of highly stylized "arenas" where hero Denzel Washington does battle with Russell Crowe as SID 6.7 against backdrops of anonymous spectators whose ritualized responses evolve into the kind of driving music that keeps you at the computer and draws you into the game. Like a video game, the object is to rescue the helpless and then ride off into the sunset.
Venice, California-based Serafine Sound Design headed by Frank Serafine used Kyma to give SID's voice that menacing-yet-vulnerable quality in those scenes where his nano-motors start to fail him. Virtuosity is chock-full of sounds that support and intensify the visual special effects, which forced Serafine and his team to work around the clock to meet Paramount's August 4 release date.
Composer Daniel Jones used Kyma in producing his score for Jaguar: Year of the Cat, an all-digital Telenova production that aired in the U.S. as the season premiere for the Nature series on PBS on October 8 and received rave reviews from both the network and from attendees at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival where the program was screened in high definition.
Partners Francois Blaignan and Mike Mancini are busy with freelance sound design projects in the LA area. They have just finished doing the sound for a John Brasher film called Persons Unknown staring Joe Montegna and Kelly Lynch and have started on a new virtual reality movie for ShowTime called Meno's Mind. On the multimedia front, they have completed a CD-ROM game for Interplay called The Mummy and are in the midst of doing the CD-ROM version of Waterworld. In addition to all of this, they somehow manage to squeeze in the time to do the sound for the Hypernauts TV show along with other freelance work for EFX studios.