Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Voiceover Recording: Screams for "Curse of the Invisible Werewolf"

I've been meaning to share this for a while-- here are some documents of a scream recording session that I engineered for the short film "The Curse of the Invisible Werewolf".

Director Jay Ness was kind enough to perform the many screams, cries and grunts needed for the film. And he decided to film himself performing them too:

Below, hear the resulting scream recordings:

For more info on "Curse of the Invisible Werewolf", check out the film's Facebook page.

More film sound by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck home page + contact

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Vader's Redemption: The Imperial March in a Major Key

Put some spring into your step with John Williams' Imperial March, transposed into a major key!

Mike Hallenbeck home page + contact

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mirrororrim: Sound Design for Animation

Originally presented at Cellular Cinema’s showcase “The Double” in 2015, "Mirrororrim" responded to the thematic brief of the evening: to create work on the themes of ”double exposures, doppelgangers, mirroring and twins."

John Akre presented me with finished animation to score, and I strove to create a soundscape both as rough-hewn and systematically intricate as the visuals. I sought to evoke reflection, symmetry, and palindrome in the sound design of the piece.

Involving even more frame by frame analysis than I’m used to in an animation project, my process punned on the classic "mirroring" technique used in cartoon music by matching imagery and sounds directly. I strove to evoke a world of potential lurking just beyond the boundaries of the frame.

Early in the piece, the majority of visual gestures rely on small, repetitive/ reflective shapes in motion. I often flipped a brief audio sample backwards and butted it up against its forward counterpart to accompany these symmetrical visual gestures with sonic palindrome. Hence, I mirrored visual events with sounds which contained mirrored elements within them. A hall of mirrors, if you will.

Later on the visuals become more chaotic, and the sound design comes unglued to match. But I pursued similar palindrome strategies there as well, though it might not be quite as apparent…

And while I was interested in conceptual integrity, I was guided more by the potential for visceral enjoyment. Which is what I hope you have while watching this piece!

More sound + music by Mike Hallenbeck for animation

Mike Hallenbeck home page + contact

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Monday, February 15, 2016

New Study Finds Only 88% Of Guitar Center Customers Become Famous Musicians

From the Onion: This study reveals a shocking truth. 12% of Guitar Center customers, it appears, do not in fact achieve the fame and fortune that seems theirs for the taking.

"Though music executives regularly prowl the store’s aisles, scrutinizing the deafening clamor of 20 guitars being played simultaneously in hopes of finding the next Eric Clapton or Steve Vai, the reality is that an alarming 1 out of 10 patrons of the music equipment superstore nationwide manage to fall through the cracks."

Coming on the heels of this report, the plight of GC customers appears bleak indeed. One can only hope for better days ahead.

Mike Hallenbeck home page + contact

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Z-Fest Trailers: 2016

Z-Fest approaches once again... this year I've been tapped to work on two films. Check out the trailers below, and feel free to give a thumbs up to either/ both on youtube if you want to offer support for Best Trailer.

Director: Josh Stifter
My Role: Composer/ Sound Designer/ Re-Recording Mixer/ Voice Actor

A short animation by Flush Studios' Josh Stifter, this piece takes a lighthearted look at the early days of fatherhood. I provided an original musical score rooted in music box melodies and pedal steel voicings; the latter undulate to accompany each number as it appears. I also assembled sound design that's heavy on the squishes and squirts appropriate to the subject matter. And I performed the narration voiceover too!

Director: Andrew Hunt
My Role: Sound Designer/ Re-Recording Mixer

"Personal Space" is a tense thriller directed by Andrew Hunt. I conjured lots of squeaks, creaks, fumbles and scuffs within the sound design to heighten the mood. This film reunites much of the team that brought about last year's Z-Fest champ "Clean Cut", with some nice new additions; Nathaniel Levisay's taut score, for example, was a real pleasure to work with.

More sound + music by Mike Hallenbeck for animation

More film sound by Mike Hallenbeck

More film music by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck home page + contact

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sound Design for Virtual Reality: Honey VR

A highlight reel from new immersive experiences created by Honey VR, some of which will feature my sound design upon release.

While this trailer doesn't actually include my work (though it contains a brief video clip from a piece I was involved in), it gives a sense of the project's scope.

Stay tuned for more info.

Sound + music by Mike Hallenbeck for animation

Film sound by Mike Hallenbeck

Game audio by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck home page + contact

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Recent Listening: February 2016


"Compton: A History": Dr Dre

I've never been much into NWA, but I did want to see "Straight Outta Compton" when it came out. And even though it was obviously a pyramid under which Ice Cube and Dr. Dre may one day entomb themselves, I did enjoy it. This set me off familiarizing myself with NWA and its whole galaxy of connections, which of course led me to this recent collection.

While I've always respected Dre's work-- I mean, duh-- I've never been a huge devotee, as I've said. But after checking this disc out of the public library just for the heck of it, I found myself listening to it nonstop for about two weeks. The production work-- apparently split up between the Doctor and a number of associates-- is simply nuts, delving into all sorts of experimentation that I always appreciate as part of hip hop's potential.

Bending, blocky single-note figures ascend and descend in ominous tension during "Genocide"; odd echoed fragments hover behind the beats on "Satisfiction" and "Medicine Man"; eerie tremolo effects on the background voices in "Deep Water" simulate drowning. The work with tweaked vocals is an album-wide highlight: multiple voices are stacked, layered, chopped, auto tuned, harmonized, pitch shifted and bit-crushed into fractals throughout.

"Can You Prove I Was Born": Shuttle 358

Dreamy, flowing ambient with a nicely "concrete" physicality to it. While it's impossible to tell how this music was made, the impression is of analog synths roughed up by overload/ overdrive and drenched in pools of old-school effects. Hypnotic repetition. Great stuff.

"Our Small Ideas", "Sleepy Insect Music": The Boats

Ragged, tuneful, intimate, lo-fi, pretty, melodic, spare... reminds me of a more minimal take on The Books. Apparent instrumentation includes ukelele, acoustic guitar, standup bass, toy glockenspeil, and found object percussion-- occasionally mixed with that kind of clicky electronica that sounds like somebody bouncing a ping pong ball off the floor really rapidly. Tracks often seem unfinished in a nice way.

"All Tense Now Lax", "The Letter", "Sane Men Surround": Liberez

This stuff isn't for everybody, but it's definitely for me. Extended heavy yet lackadaisical jams that often feel built on improvisational development. Vocals are mostly textural; some instruments are filtered to a point where there sources are difficult to identify. Reminds me of an edgier/ crisper Set Fire to Flames, with a dash of Joy Division and the more leftfield Broacast stuff. A gorgeously grey music.


Beards, Cats, and Indie Game Audio

Soundworks Collection



The Truth (Radiotopia)

99% Invisivble

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Mike Hallenbeck home page + contact