Regular readers of our blog will already be familiar with Alessandro Camnasio for his incredible sound design work on Gothic Instruments’ DRONAR and SCULPTOR Kontakt software. Outside of these instruments, his sound design has been used in countless Hollywood movie trailers including Transformers, Captain America, THOR and many others.
This week, Gothic Instruments released their fifth DRONAR module – Cinematic Atmospheres – for which Alessandro really went to town in creating FX using some weird and wonderful equipment and techniques. Naturally, we had to catch up with him to find out more…
Hi Alessandro, so where did the idea for DRONAR Cinematic Atmospheres come from?
We wanted to create a DRONAR module based on different kinds of noise, from natural to technological, and also take them to more abstract levels through further processing and manipulation with the synthesis engine of DRONAR.
How does it compare/differ from other DRONAR libraries, particularly the Hybrid Edition?
Both feature sounds with strong, evocative qualities. Cinematic Atmospheres extends the exploration I started with the Hybrid Module and takes it to new territories with much more FX, which is intended to be the core of this new instrument. This also gives the user many possibilities to create atmospheric cues and sounds that will blend with other musical instruments to add texture, and dimension to a track.
Tell us about some of the sounds you recorded for Cinematic Atmospheres – how did you go about recording them?
I used a variety of tools, including high-definition and contact microphones, modified pick-ups and hydrophones, and different processing and synthesis techniques for recording and creating the sounds, such as water, steam, pyrotechnic toys, magnetic fields generated by different devices, wind, electric sparks, industrial machines, feedbacks, and so on.
What were the most challenging sounds to capture and why?
Probably the electric sparks, because I used a welding machine and there were many things to take into account for recording good sounds. Its generator was very noisy, so I had to put it in a contiguous room and surround it with heavy acoustic panels to isolate the unwanted noise from the sparks I wanted to capture. Then I had to decide where to put the microphones: I wanted them close enough to capture some details but not too much to damage them due to the high temperature. Also, I had to learn how to “play” the welder against different kind of metal pieces to produce good sounding sparks. It was a bit tricky but I think it led to some very nice results.
How would you describe the resulting sounds and in which types of projects would they be most effective and why?
I’d say they are evocative of nature, technology, places and also mysterious and fascinating thanks to the processing they went through, which gave them a more abstract quality. I think this makes them effective in every musical context that needs interesting textures and timbres, especially soundtracks, ambient and electronic music, trailer music, and all the musical productions which tend to crossover those genres, so also cutting-edge pop, rock, and EDM songs.
What tips would you have for anyone looking to get the most out of these unique sounds within DRONAR?
One thing I really love about both the DRONAR and SCULPTOR series is the Random button because it gets me into unthinkable, interesting directions. Even Mozart used to roll a pair of dice for musical reasons: so we are all excused if we use the same trick to stimulate our creativity. 🙂