The soundtrack for my first game ‘Innervision I’ interestingly came way before the videogame.
I had previously had a vision-like dream about a videogame that I had fallen into unwittingly following a late-night drunken zelda boss-fight session. The dream contained all which I would put into my first game in terms of music & visuals. The vaguely Playstation-1-era looking graphics, the crispy-clean interaction sounds, the NPCs etc.
I found the idea of making a videogame based off of music, and not the converse, an amusing one due to the fact that I enjoyed both sound design and visual design as well as the obviously backward methodology. The process of designed a game-level based off of a sound was entirely backward and I would not recommend this process to anyone else, however, I feel it works well for me as I enjoy reverse-engineering projects. This caused multiple problems on every level of production & performance. Instead of going back into the songs and changing their structure to match the level layout, I would rigorously play through each level to make sure what was happening on-screen visually was in accordance with what was happening acoustically. If part of a level didn’t match the sound I would delete and rebuild that part of the level somewhere else within the level at a time when the music was more fitting. This eventually translated to having a strict playthrough-schedule within each level, due to the restrictions within the software in not letting you dynamically change the sound. Maintaining this schedule within the level when done correctly gave the impression of an entirely natural evolution of sound, however, when done incorrectly gave an entirely jarring effect.
This game was performed only once for the 2nd Interworld Media event @ Foodhall, Sheffield, sometime in February 2019.
Due to the incredibly janky nature of the gameplay and the fact that I did the ENTIRE THING IN 1 WEEK, the game will not be released to the public in full at any point. However I will be releasing a playthrough video at somepoint in the near future.
My music video for Base-journey by Phoneutrian, Interworld Media, 2018.
This song for me is very emotive & evokes a strong sense of feeling alone in a crowded environment, so I endeavoured to articulate this feeling of solitude. One of my favourite things to watch, as previously mentioned, is slow movement. I’m a big fan of ‘slow-t.v.’ and anything which involves the gradual transition of form. Furthermore, I recalled a powerful experience exploring spaces which are usually busy but now are empty (Kenopsia).
I used these experiences to draw inspiration from primarily because of how removed the vocal lines are in the song, it instantly made me feel like I’m inside a vast cavern, glimmers of human interaction echoing off the walls, like the dying hiss of reverb desperately trying to stay alive! Moreover, I had experienced many long car journeys growing up and would routinely try and create patterns in what I was seeing as a way of keeping myself entertained.
I had previously enjoyed sessions viewing ‘Night Walk/Ride‘, which is a ” first-person view of a trip through part of Toronto during the late-night hours, accompanied by Jazz ” and found them comparable to my present-day late-night/early-morning walks home from work. I decided to use this footage instead of trying to re-create my own as I felt I would create a poor recreation, also I felt that it may date the video tremendously if I used contemporary footage as opposed to the ‘Nightwalk’ footage, which was shot in the 80s. But isn’t the 80s footage dated as well? Well yes, however, I feel that using found footage doesn’t recall as strong a sense of specific location or date for me. Whereas if I had used contemporary footage, I feel it would have seemed like I was overtly trying to say something about that specific space/time. Which is exactly the opposite of what I wanted: a universal experience of travelling alone.
If I was to start this project again I would probably choose to use a wider variety of footage. Whilst I used a wide palette of material I chose to exclude some footage due to a wide difference in colour levels. Whilst recognising those as different is obviously important I feel that I could have used them elsewhere in the project, working with their differences as opposed to against them.
I have been working on 6 Levels of a video game (and 1 bonus level). These levels are directly inspired by a recent experience of falling asleep & waking up whilst playing video games.
I finished work at 7 am and returned home to play some much needed GameCube. I finished one of the first bosses on the game ‘Zelda: Wind Waker’ and found myself drunkenly wandering around the first ‘Fairy cave’ I had experienced in the game, a religiously relaxing experience. The (relative) intensity of that boss perfectly complimented how calm I felt now peacefully residing in the safety of the cave, this had an entirely tranquillizing effect on my person and I pretty much immediately drifted off to sleep listening to the fairies lullaby.
When I awoke I found myself inside the fairy cave, I could hear the great Deku tree (an incongruity) speaking to me softly and I could see the pixellated fairies floating around the cave gently. Most notably, I could hear the music I had fallen asleep listening to, or my perception of it was this. I wandered around the cave looking closely at the textures of the walls, floors and leaves of the plants that grew there, holding no concern for the music. Merely moving around in this area was almost like walking through water and I felt I could no longer keep this up, I tried to lay down on the grass, which was waving around in front of me, although what I actually achieved was to ‘clip’ or move through the floor, following which I felt myself descending an unfathomable distance.
When I awoke I found myself inside my bedroom, I could hear the fairy music still looping and my projector still displaying the fairy cave. The experience left such a powerful impression of confused peacefulness on me I felt I would have no trouble in illustrating this in a piece of work. Thus I resolved to create an interactive experience in the form of a 1-player, first-person video game, which would in effect illustrate this dream to an audience.
I had previously been inspired by various video game music, most notably the ‘Earthbound’ OST by Suzuki & Tanaka. Furthermore, video games as a whole have been instrumental in my childhood, adolescence and adulthood, so I already had a wealth of experience from the perspective of an audience to draw upon in my creation.
This installation is typically paired with a more frenetic visual piece as so to provide some direct antithesis and a strong sense of dichotomy.
The piece serves as a moving canvas, gradually transforming throughout the 7 hour period of exhibition into complete abstraction and eventual removal from its original spiralling form. The piece illustrates how our perception can change through time, without our noticing and how what was once immediately recognisable can become eschewed beyond our recognition.
“I enjoy people watching immensely and find this installation to be analogous to that so peaceful act of observation. How we can watch things slowly move around & still remain the same but somehow looking away and returning your gaze can make the changes, however minute, all the more obvious.”
I feel that this experience is a very relatable one that can be applied to many aspects of the human condition, specifically to our relationships with each other and more importantly, our selves.
The final excerpt of the ‘Cittasamskara’ event held at The Moor Theatre Deli, 2016.
The song, slowly builds with militaristic reverberated snares, a swelling layer of pitched vocals and a slow advance in volume, which builds up to nothing. An anti-climax. This is how I had felt at the time about my university degree and personal life, everything I had done so far in my life had been working up to something I no longer had; I felt extremely detached from the entire arrangement, to say the least.
A minimalist maze game seemingly designed to hurt your eyes by rendering all textures as the ‘zebra’ pattern of repeating monochromatic lines.
I enjoy playing this game for the sheer difficulty it takes merely to look at it & discern which direction you are supposed to be going. Which is nearly impossible.
I am often concerned that a lot of the aesthetic within my work relies too heavily on an ‘Optical Illusion’ aspect, this game illustrates these concerns perfectly, it almost physically hurts my eyes to play this game for more than a few minutes. Which is something I try to steer away from, for obvious reasons. However after seeing how other artists have replicated this for a plethora of applications I’m beginning to reconsider my approach to this ‘difficulty of perception’. Not wanting to lose the “microcosm of subtlety” my work displays, it will be a welcome challenge integrating this style into my own.
This is the Second portion of a 3-part performance of visuals & sound, combined generative & composed. Performed at the Sheffield Theatre Delicatessen in support of ‘Jefferson Slim Sheik Experience’ for their ‘Cittasamskara’ show.
One of the few pieces containing voice, albeit barely recognisable. Regarding the cognitive dissonance contained within ice cream headaches.
This is the first of a 3-part performance of visuals & sound, combined generative & composed. Performed at the Sheffield Theatre Delicatessen in support of ‘Jefferson Slim Sheik Experience’ for their ‘Cittasamskara’ show.
I wanted each section within the performance to have a defined style. Thus this part refers to calming notions of water, nature, birds, forests, etc. I conceived this piece after discovering a ‘relaxation cassette’ made by my father for one of his clients roughly 20 years ago. I listened to the entire recording & constructed complimentary pieces of sound design to go alongside the narration, as well as utilising existing footage of water used in previous projects. Subverting both to form a new, altogether connected experience.