Sound Project

by rllyon2013


The colour I chose for my Sound Project is one that is closely linked with my childhood in QLD, the colour of tropical storm clouds. I can only, inelegantly, describe it as varying shades of purple/greys. These storms, and this colour, hold some of the best memories of my childhood. You can hear a really big storm well before it hits. First there is the still, humid heat and strange tint of colour to the sky, ether a pale purple or green. Then echoing thunder that gradually grows into sharp, deafening claps of sound you can feel throughout your entire body. The sky fills with broiling banks of purple/grey storm clouds, everything seems to pause, and then torrential rain. This rain doesn’t slowly build, if you are outside you will be soaked in a moment.


I would spend hours curled up next to my window reading to the sound of rain and hail hitting the panes. Or piled with my siblings on my Mum’s bed, listening to her read aloud.


I decided to create a history of these times in my sound project. Re-creating the sounds of the storms and a timeline of my reading from my childhood to the present day. As the piece progresses the books become more mature, beginning with Beatrix Potters “Squirrel Nutkin” gradually working up to Jennet Wintersons “Oranges are not the only Fruit” and similar. I wanted the piece to have a similar feeling to a tropical storm. Erratic and building to a crescendo of sound. The rain, thunder, and readings mix until the ear strains to pick out one from the others. This is similar to the cacophony of sounds in a tropical storm, the wind, rain, thunder, hail, and swaying of trees combine into a ‘tropical symphony’. (One I find infinitely more enjoyable that “Bolívar”)


Original photo – Courier Mail

I started the project using Audacity but was unable to achieve the layering that I wanted in the finished track. I recorded all of the spoken audio using Audacity with my Sampson USB Microphone. The recording of “Squirrel Nutkin” is from an old record “Tales of Beatrix Potter told by Wendy Craig” from AXIS Records.

ImageAfter recording the readings in Audacity I used the ‘Export’ function to convert into .aiff files, which are compatible with GarageBand.


By switching over to GarageBand to mix the track I was able to create the layers I needed. 




At first I had trouble controlling the sound level in the different layers, the volume would randomly fluctuate between the audio layers. I was able to control that by using the individual ‘Track Volume’ controls on each layer. 


 After I finished mixing the track I used the ‘Share podcast to iTunes…’ option that is available in the ‘Share’ menu. This converted the GarageBand file into an MP3, which I then uploaded onto SoundCloud. 



The thunder at the start of the track was found here.

The rain and thunder heard throughout the track is from here –