Sunday, August 28, 2011

Le Marais de la Feu Follet

Long ago, French fur trappers would return from deep within the marshes of southern Louisiana with strange and terrifying tales. Far from roads and civilization, the men would venture out into the desolation of the swamps. There, beneath the blackened canopies of the cypress they worked with nervous haste as countless reflecting eyes watched motionless from shadows of a meager oil lamp. In the darkness, a sinister chorus of creatures sang their warning to Man;  

"You are no match for us in this place. For we who lurk just beyond the flicker of your fire are are made of shell and scale and claw and barb and fang and venom. We are of ancient kind, much older than man. We survive on the blood of those who fear... just as you do now."

Click on the link below. Envision yourself seated in a small rowboat drifting deeper through the shallow waters of the swamp. Your vessel floats over the glossy, black surface, occasionally bumping against invisible obstacles beneath and sending metallic echos into the night. All around you are the noises of the marsh.  Your oil lantern has been carelessly neglected and should give you enough light for another five minutes... unfortunately for you, your journey is ten.
As your eyes strain to adjust to the darkness, you notice an iridescent mist hanging above the water ahead. The fur trappers have spoke of it before... they call it "feu follet" (pronounced FEE fuh-lay).  It drifts closer and closer, wafting over the edges of your little boat, weaving back and forth through the buttons of your jacket. Heed the advice of the trappers and remain as still as a statue, for they say that if you show fear now - if you try to get away...  Au revoir.   

Friday, August 26, 2011

Soundscape: Victorian Chamber

A big problem with Halloween sound effects is that almost every single track is over-produced with low quality unrealistic sounds. I can't count the number of times I have looked for the ambiance of a haunted house only to be presented with a cacophony of hokey sounds assembled without the slightest concern for order. Werewolves howl into your left ear every five seconds, Tacky thunder barks and snorts across the sky like the lightning it is somehow suffering from sleep apnea. People are clearly screaming, but you are not sure if it is because of the werewolves, the chainsaws, or the terribly synthesized moans. Perhaps it is all of the above, after all, they are all playing at the same time.

I am, by no means, a professional sound designer. But I always wished I could find a great spooky audio clip that I could play over and over as many times as I wanted (maybe while reading a ghost story or two) without losing focus as a result of the audio.

Subtlety is what I am looking for and if I can't find it, I am going to create it...  and if I'm going to create it, I am going to share it because chances are, there are other people out there who are looking for it too. My latest creation is called "The Victorian Chamber". It is made for those of us who have ever imagined sitting in a huge, dark, echoing, Victorian era living area on a cold and blustery evening. A warm fire and a huge leather chair would be your only comforts. Nearby, an ancient grandfather clock ticks the witching hours away all too slowly. Wind howls against the walls of the house as its aging wooden frame strains and creaks like the bowels of an old ship. In the darkness, your ears may detect the occasional aberration, however, it may be only be wind. Have a listen and enjoy a spooky nineteenth century evening complements of the Haunted Gallery.

The 2011 Halloween Season is officially upon us. From now through October, dying leaves, chilly nights, burning wood, and all the other ambassadors of Autumn stoke fires of macabre imagination once again! As you can see, new additions to the Haunted Gallery are already on the way. Here's to another frightfully good season!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night...

I took this picture last night as a thunderstorm was approaching. A little close for comfort.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Along the Hangman's Wold

Back in 1995, I was given my first copy of Photoshop. From that time forward, image manipulation has been the de facto medium for expressing creative ideas in my mind. The internet is full of pictures and photographs that I  can sift through and combine, stretch, distort, recolor, and blend to bring to life a vision in my head. In the last couple of years, the internet has developed a rich collection of audio in addition to the visual. I thought I would take a crack at using the same principles I employ in my image manipulation and try to make audio manipulations. I have enclosed such an audio manipulation. The composition consists of about a dozen different sounds I managed to scavenge from the internet all stitched together to make a final product. After listening to the soundscape, it reminded me of one of my favorite horror poems. An excerpt is included below. Enjoy! 

... There was a strangeness in the horn,
A wildness in the cry,
A power of devilry forlorn
Exulting bloodily...

..."Lord God!" the shepherds said, "they come;
And see what hounds he has:
All dripping bluish fire, and dumb,
And nosing in the grass,

"And trotting scatheless through the gorse, 
And bristling in the fell.
Lord, it is Death upon the horse, 
And they're the hounds of hell!"

- The Hounds of Hell by John Masefield


Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Condemned Hallway

As you find yourself navigating through the darker reaches of the Haunted Gallery, I would offer this word of caution...
Visitors have occasionally reported rounding a corner only to be confronted with an impossibly long corridor. The paint is peeling, the floors are in disrepair, and some report a chilly wind that whispers incoherently into your ears as it drifts past. Even the most resolute of our guests choose wisely to terminate their progress upon stumbling upon its location. There are some visitors however, who's courage intermingles with insanity, that venture further into the enveloping darkness.
What lurks at the end of the hallway? Nobody is certain, because nobody returns. No blueprint or architectural design makes mention of such a hallway in the Gallery.
But one thing is for sure...if such a sinister hallway exists, it is not the hallway that is condemned.

Music for a Condemned Hallway