As Diego Stocco proved with a dinner plate a few weeks ago (and many other objects before that), you really can make music out of anything and this week Mick Gordon has taken the concept even further with a track made entirely with human voices.
Mick is a composer and sound designer who has worked on many video game soundtracks for the likes of Electronic Arts, Marvel Studios, Warner Bros, Nickelodeon and Sony Entertainment with one of his more recent projects including the video game adaptation of M Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender.
Armed with a small microphone, Mick wandered the halls of San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference recording vocal sounds from anyone who was willing to make them. Grunts, moans, screams, screeches, and groans all provided the source material from which Mick built his track.
The recordings were manipulated using various sound design techniques and numerous plug-ins including iZotope‘s Ozone 5 mastering suite and the company’s Nectar vocal suite. We got in touch with Mick to find out a little more about the track and his use of the iZotope products…
“I must have used every plugin under the sun on this project. The composition and production phase took five continuous weeks to get through and there were many, many hours of meticulous tweaking, editing, hair-pulling and chin-scratching!
One of the hardest things to do in the track was the male and female “singing”. I recorded a few conversations with Joe Twaites, Morla Gorrondona and Hilary Thomas and then pitched these conversations so that everything they were saying was in G Major. I then sliced up the conversations and arranged them on a keyboard and played them back randomly so the “words” aren’t recognisable, even though they’re singing in tune.
To make it sit in the track and make it sound nice, I used iZotope’s Nectar which gave a fantastic final polish, especially with it’s treatment of high frequencies. I used Ozone a heck of a lot too – on each mixing buss! It gives so much control over the punch and levels of each group which really helps during the mixing process.”
The entire process of creating the track boiled down to two main techniques – matching waveform visuals and looking waveforms for ‘synths’. Click here to visit Mick’s website where he gives a detailed explanation of these techniques.
Here’s the track in full…