‘A Clear Mind’
A morning routine of a walk in the park, proves to not be as easy for clearing the mind… A piece that encourages you to think just how often your thoughts overwhelm your moments of solitude. Can you ever escape them?
Producing a piece that has the main focus of sound rather than voice, is a concept rather foreign and unnatural to me, and initially, I struggled with my approach on how to deliver a piece with the idea of “showing” rather than “telling”. Ironically, I did not have a clear idea in my mind when creating ’A Clear Mind’. It changed direction drastically throughout production, and it wasn’t until half way through when I realised the narrative path it was taking.
The main association to my location choice (Caulfield Park), is going there to walk. I go there to take a break, get fresh air, and de-stress, but often find it hard to fully disconnect, instead, have a million thoughts rushing through my head. This became the main idea behind my piece.
During planning stages, I grappled with how to communicate this influx of thoughts, as I found it difficult to provide depth and narrative revolving around this singular idea. This is when I had a lightbulb moment of starting the story before even arriving at for the walk; from waking up, to eating breakfast, flicking through the television channels, before getting in the car and arriving at the park.
Many of the sounds were sourced from royalty free sound websites freesound.org and soundfx.com, as well as my own location recordings of the car, walking and park ambiance, done with a Zoom H4n microphone.
The musical score at the beginning is playful and is meant to imply the banality of the everyday activities occurring. It is also meant to symbolise the brain waking up. The music that comes in, is panned to sound like headphones are being put in the ears, firstly in the right ear before heard in both.
I was inspired by ‘When Time Stood Still’ by Sharon Davis, in particular, the use of reverb. Having not used it before, it helped me understand what this effect is able to create, such as accentuating a different time period or space, and in my case, the voice from within. ‘Desert Mischief’ by Kerry Fletcher uses a realist way to express a place and scene by using sounds to develop a space. I tried to replicate this notion, by making clear the shifts in locations, from the house, to the car and to the park.
I still have significant improvements to work on in terms of concept, yet I think this piece shows how I was able to release slightly from my reliance on voice to tell a story. I pushed my boundaries by using FX like reverb to emphasise and alienate the overlapping voices in the mind. I used a variety of cuts, such as segues and fades to symbolise changing of locations, and also show technical and conceptual progress.
I feel as though I lost focus in terms of meeting the brief, as my locations shift, therefore the park is not the sole focus. Having an emphasis on the morning routine was relevant to my idea, but I worry I spent too long there. If I were to do it again, I would spend longer planning on how I could achieve a succinct narrative through the one location, more so focusing on ‘the park’.
Do I think I pushed myself to my absolute limit with this brief? No.
But I have learnt a lot in terms of my own attitudes towards sound vs voice, and what I am able to create when I don’t limit myself to primarily using one.