Friday, December 16, 2011

Haunted Holidays

"Ghost of the Future," he exclaimed, "I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company, and do it with a thankful heart. Will you not speak to me?

- Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol

The newest addition to the Christmas Tree

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Last Post of the 2011 Halloween Season

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope you will agree with me when I say that it has been an amazing Halloween season here at the Haunted Gallery.

       In 2011, we've brought you to haunted houses, lonely churchyards, and desolate swamps. We've Trick or Treated in terrifying locales, brewed top-shelf mischief with the witches, and laid waste to the undead. We rode bravely along with Ichabod through the ominous haunting grounds of Sleepy Hollow and lived to tell the tale.

      Alas! A bitter wind is stirring from the north and frost is nipping at the withered grin of the jack o'lantern. Sky and tree alike have been flushed of color, leaving only shadows and grey in the stingy light. Halloween has come and gone, ushering away the season of harvest and making room for the season of darkness.

      A lonely wind howls through the Haunted Gallery. The shutters have been boarded up for the season and the rooms have grown still and dark...  Mysterious sounds echo from somewhere down the hall.

The wagons have been loaded, the horses pawing impatiently at the ground. My compass shivers steadily over "North" and I look in the direction to the darkening hills. My destination is the Winter Post, a place to explore some of the icy blue facets of my creativity...

During the rest of the year, we keep the doors to the Haunted Gallery unlocked. Feel free to stay and enjoy the haunting memories of another great Halloween season for as long as you like... and feel free to leave comments and questions as well  - they will always reach me.

For those of you who have been endowed with the spirit of adventure, (or perhaps just a smidgen of curiosity) I invite you to hop in the wagon and come along with me to the Winter Post. I guarantee we will have a good time.

~ J.P.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Room of Midnight Reading

Here at the Haunted Gallery, we love sitting back and relaxing with a good ghost story.

As a matter of fact, up the stairs and at the end of the hall, you will find a room designed especially for such a purpose. In this room, it is always a dark and stormy night. Rain slashes against the window pain, thunder rolls across the sky. Inside soft music from another time is playing on the radio while an old clock ticks slowly towards midnight... 11:31pm to be exact.

A small but growing selection of ghost stories awaits you on the bookshelf, or feel free to bring your own. 

As always, a word of caution. Do not turn off the radio. After all, this is the Haunted Gallery and the spirits that dwell within the room can be rather unpleasant when you disrupt their music.  Off you go!

Haunted Gallery Bookshelf of Ghost Stories:

The Room in the Tower - E.F. Benson
The Child that Went with the Fairies - Sheridan LeFanu
Smee - A.M. Burrage

Halloween Memories #1 "The Weapons of Halloween"

Back in the late 80's, when I was around eight or nine years old, my mom took us to a department store. I don't remember the name of the store and I don't believe it even exists anymore. (Places like Wal-Mart and Target were still years off, at least in our town).  It was in the month of October and as we walked into the store my eyes were immediately drawn towards the unusually dark corner of the store on my left. In that corner, all of the store's Halloween decorations were on display. Whoever set up the displays was a fan of Halloween because it was clearly evident in their work. It appeared as if every decoration for sale had a completely assembled representative lurking somewhere amongst the merchandise.  Ghosts floated just above my head, strung from the ceiling above, strobe lights flashed and a fog wafted along the linoleum tile below. A cassette of Halloween sounds played from some unseen stereo hidden in the shelves.
Out of all the Halloween stimuli, my attention was directed to a cardboard display in the center of the area. Inside the box were all sorts of sinister looking plastic weapons. I had never seen Halloween props like this before. There were battle axes stained deep with crimson, the blades were nicked and jagged. There were swords, bigger than most children could even wield, with vampire skulls fused into the hilt. Pitchforks that looked like they had been manufactured in some hellish underworld toy factory.
       Impressive as this was, what truly seared itself into my memory was the two-color mural emblazoned upon the cardboard armory. The sky was orange, a Halloween sunset was the impression I got. Below the sky where the silhouettes of an army of evil, grotesque creatures. Hundreds of them equipped with the weapons from the box. They were marching across what looked like a harvested cornfield. I just stood there looking at the box wondering how horrifying it would be to encounter this army of Halloween in the last minutes of dying sunlight. The image had a medieval feeling to it. Perhaps there was a Halloween that looked much like this long ago before the Halloween we've come to know.
       Many of the image compositions I create today depict spooky sunsets. This is directly inspired from the feeling that has always been with me ever since I saw that display. One day, I will recreate that image for the Haunted Gallery...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Soundscapes Available for Download

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If you are looking to download my soundscapes to enhance your Halloween season, look no further.
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Soundscape Idea...

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen.

In case you haven't noticed, it is always evening here at the Haunted Gallery and the posts have a habit of happening very late... in the evening...

Friends of the Gallery, another soundscape is in the works and in an attempt to become more clever and creative with each project, this one is different - this one will be a Halloween dare -  More details to follow.

On a side note, I wanted to touch briefly again on the subject of downloading soundscapes. The soundscapes are not for sale because they are free. I make each soundscape using sounds from all over the internet, with little concern for where the sounds come from. Because of this, I could not possibly charge for them. The concept however, is mine and I have no problem sharing my compositions at no charge.

I am trying to find a way that allows me to upload my soundscapes so that fans can download them. I was using Opendrive but there are bandwidth limits which are exceeded very quickly. If anybody knows of a good (free) way to accomplish this please, send me a comment so I can continue sharing them with the community.

Thanks, everyone!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mini Soundscape: "600 Meters" Doubles as Halloween Costume Hint...

I've finally decided what I am going to be for Halloween this year. (I had to come up with an outstanding costume idea because I am going to be in  Vegas for Halloween weekend!)

Listening to this little soundscape is a clue as to what my costume is going to be... and it just may send a few shivers down your spine in the process. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Speculum Mirror

My second Halloween decoration purchase of the year. 

Beauty is not so much in the eye of the beholder...

as it is in the angle of the eye of the beholder.

The Midnight Ride, now on Hauntcast

If you've never listened to Hauntcast radio before, head over and check them out. In this month's Hauntcast, friend of the Haunted Gallery and accomplished Halloween enthusiast ShellHawk gives listeners some wonderful insight into The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in "The Charmed Pot" segment. She was even so kind as to mention a certain soundscape of particular relevance... :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Camera + Haunted House = Hilarity

Here at the Haunted Gallery, I do what I can to maintain an artwork oriented bearing, but every so often, I come across something on the net that I just can't help but share with everyone. 

Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, Canada had the brilliant idea to install a camera at what is evidently an extremely terrifying point in their attraction. Check out the pictures here... If it's been awhile since you've had a good laugh, this one is for you. I'm still laughing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Soundscape: The Midnight Ride of Ichabod Crane

Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the exhibition of the Haunted Gallery's newest Soundscape. The Midnight Ride of Ichabod Crane... The capstone piece in my 2011 Halloween Soundscape collection. If you are unfamiliar with the project, browsing older "Midnight Ride" posts will bring up up to speed. For those of you who have been anticipating this soundscape, the time has come.

The soundscape you are about to hear tells the frightful tale of Ichabod's ride through the Hollow exclusively through sound. The soundscape captures the journey in real-time. In an effort to remain as true to the original story as possible, I have taken most of my audio cues from the short story itself, deviating only if it was unavoidable.  The remarkable aspect of this project is that it was created using sounds extracted from existing videos out on the internet. I spend many a long evening scavenging across the web to find sounds that blended well together to make this story.

Remaining as authentic as possible, this soundscape focuses on the subtle sounds of the tale. You are going to want to listen to this with headphones or a good stereo system (preferably in a very dark room). The devil is in the details and discerning ears will detect all of the nuances from the original text. Little hints are evident if you know where to listen. For example, If you listen to the laughter in at the Harvest party, you might deduce one cackle dominating above all the others. This can only belong to Ichabod's adversary Brom Bones... and it sounds familiar...

With that said, we now join Ichabod, perched near the warm security of the autumn hearth. Merry music fills the estate and bolsters the schoolteacher's courage for the ride home. Bundle up and cover your necks! It's a dark, chilly Halloween night and were headed deep into Sleepy Hollow!

Midnight Ride Update #3

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This evening, near the stroke of midnight (EST), the Haunted Gallery will present the its main exhibit for the 2011 Halloween season... the frightful tale of the schoolmaster's journey home through Sleepy Hollow told in sound... The Midnight Ride of Ichabod Crane. The tale begins in a moment bravery mustered from the merry music of the Van Tassel annual harvest party. Below is an excerpt from the original story, the details of which you will hear this evening...

"It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, pursued his travel homewards, along the sides of the lofty hills which rise above Tarry Town, and which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon.

The hour was dismal and far below him, the Tappan Zee spread its dusky and indistinct waste of waters, with here and there the tall mast of a sloop, riding quietly at anchor under the land.

In the dead hush of midnight, he could even hear the barking of the watch dog from the opposite shore of the Hudson; but it was so vague and faint as only to give an idea of his distance from this faithful companion of man.

Now and then, too, the long-drawn crowing of a cock, accidentally awakened, would sound far, far off from some farmhouse away among the hills—but it was like a dreaming sound in his ear.

No signs of life occurred near him, but occasionally the melancholy chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the guttural twang of a bull-frog, from a neighboring marsh, as if sleeping uncomfortably, and turning suddenly in his bed.

All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in the evening now came crowding upon his recollection.

The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He was, moreover, approaching the very place where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid.

 In the centre of the road stood an enormous tulip-tree, which towered like a giant above all the other trees of the neighborhood, and formed a kind of landmark. Its limbs were gnarled, and fantastic, large enough to form trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the earth, and rising again into the air.

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree, he began to whistle: he thought his whistle was answered—it was but a blast sweeping sharply through the dry branches.

As he approached a little nearer, he thought he saw something white, hanging in the midst of the tree—he paused and ceased whistling; but on looking more narrowly, perceived that it was a place where the tree had been scathed by lightning, and the white wood laid bare.

Suddenly he heard a groan—his teeth chattered and his knees smote against the saddle: it was but the rubbing of one huge bough upon another, as they were swayed about by the breeze. He passed the tree in safety, but new perils lay before him.

About two hundred yards from the tree a small brook crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and thickly-wooded glen, known by the name of Wiley’s swamp. On that side of the road where the brook entered the wood, a group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild grapevines, threw a cavernous gloom over it.

To pass this brook was the severest trial. This has ever since been considered a haunted stream, and fearful are the feelings of the schoolboy who has to pass it alone after dark.

The sky grew darker and darker as one by one the stars winked out their lights and driving clouds obscured the moon from sight.

Once inside the murky glen, Ichabod’s anxiety increased one hundred-fold. For now, the forest seemed to close in behind him. Every small detail of Brom’s awful story returned to haunt is recollection..." 

We will see you at Midnight...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Midnight Ride Update #2

So far so good, everyone. I have been working pretty steadily on this project, chipping away at it kind of like a multiple choice test. (knock out the easy parts first, then take the time to go back and really work on the harder ones)
This weekend I will be wrapping up the final efforts. If all goes well, I will have my main project done and ready for you all to enjoy just in time for the beginning of October. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Halloween Decorations, Going Up...

Starting with my first purchase of the season. I picked up this Raven tea light holder from the Z Gallerie.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Soundscape - Witchcraft

The Haunted Gallery's newest soundscape follows a feisty little witch as she whips up some mysterious concoction  just before heading out for some Halloween-night mischief.

Now presenting, "WITCHCRAFT"

Friday, September 23, 2011

'Tis the Season

It's been a busy week, but I am looking forward to showcasing some new work here at the Gallery this weekend. Happy Fall, everyone!
The Van Tassel Home - 2011

(You will notice that I've flipped the blog so that the gadgets are now on the left-hand side of the screen. I've done this in order to post bigger pictures without the issue of them running behind text.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


"The animal he bestrode was a broken-down plough-horse, that had outlived almost every thing but his viciousness. He was gaunt and shagged, with a ewe neck and a head like a hammer; his rusty mane and tail were tangled and knotted with burrs; one eye had lost its pupil, and was glaring and spectral; but the other had the gleam of a genuine devil in it. Still he must have had fire and mettle in his day, if we may judge from the name he bore of Gunpowder. He had, in fact, been a favorite steed of his master’s, the choleric Van Ripper, who was a furious rider, and had infused, very probably, some of his own spirit into the animal; for, old and broken-down as he looked, there was more of the lurking devil in him than in any young filly in the country."

Sketch of Gunpowder - The Haunted Gallery 2011
I've tried to capture Gunpowder's personality in sound. When the soundscape is released, listen closely for the indifferent canter as his hooves slightly drag the ground. The old horse frequently slows his pace as if falling asleep in mid stride. The occasional jangle of tack can be perceived as Ichabod prods his steed onward.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Midnight Ride Update

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I've just finished the second "act", for lack of a better word, of The Midnight Ride of Ichabod Crane. For reference, the whole project is being produced in approximately 5 minute acts that, will span across about 20 minutes. Of course, when the project is complete you will not be able to distinguish where one act ends and another begins. By then all of the rough edges will have been sanded down and polished into one solid soundscape. :)

The most time consuming aspect of this project is collecting the right sounds. Remember, I don't have access to professional sound effects and every sound you hear is a result of late-night scavenging missions across the internet. Even though my soundscapes are created from rummaged data and open-source software (Audacity), the final product is going to sound professional.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is near and dear to probably everyone reading this and I do not want to do the tale injustice by cutting corners. That being said, this soundscape is going to rock. Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Best Halloween Music you have Never Heard

Go get your Halloween music… Go ahead, I'll wait… Got it?  Good, now go fling it in the closet. Why? Because this year the Haunted Gallery is making your Halloween playlist and I promise you it is the darkest, smokiest, sexiest, collection of Halloween Music you have never heard.  

Investing way more time than I probably should have, I have created a Halloween collection for all of you sinners and sinneritas. Yes, evil has never felt so good. ;)

Just as every good ghost story has its roots in folklore, each song in the playlist has its roots in folk music. Off-tune pianos, fiddles, organs, acoustic guitar, blues guitar, and harmonica… these are the instruments that give this playlist a distinctly vintage American folk sound, thus rooting it firmly to America’s shadowy, superstitious past.
I present to you the Haunted Gallery Halloween Music Playlist -  finally, a Halloween mix for adults...very badly behaving adults. Bon appetit!

The Haunted Gallery Halloween Music Playlist 

1. Closer - Kings of Leon
The haunting echo of the guitar coupled with the lead singer's voice makes this song an instant favorite. The song is rumored to be about a vampire who has been searching for is long lost love and can sense as he is getting closer to her.   

2. Phenomenon - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Not to be confused with the similarly titled song by L.L. Cool J, this songs distorted organ and catchy chorus beg to be played at a Halloween Party.  

3. Bad Blood - Beck
After its ambiguous intro, this song settles into a nice "seedy Texas roadhouse" feel.  With bluesy riffs and dark lyrics, this song should be playing in a bar full of strange people.

4. Play with Fire - Cobra Verde
A minimalistic rendition of the classic by the Rolling Stones. The main line of the song, "Don't play with me cuz your playing with fire." sounds more like a dare than a threat.  

5. Evil is Going On - Jace Everett 
From the guy who brought you the theme song to True Blood, Evil is Gong On would fit perfectly in a Halloween themed burlesque act.Trust me, I've envisioned it many a time. :)

6. Werewolf - Cat Power
Basic acoustic, shivering violins, and Cat's smokey, 2am voice deliver a sympathetic, yet dark, tale of the conflicting duality of the werewolf.

7. Fresh Blood - the Eels
This is the coolest song on the playlist. Everything about it is laid back, and foreboding all at the same time. The lead singer's monotone delivery remains consistent until the moment he mentions the word "blood", at which point he appears to relapse into some primitive impulse. Whooo!  

8. Bleed to Feed - CC Adcock and the Lafayette Marquis
Another sexy Halloween song. The whole damn thing. 

9. What You Do to Me - BlakRoc
Keeping the party alive, this vintage/hip-hop joint has just the right amount of minor tonality and organ. Imagine a dark house full of ghouls, giant swinging chandeliers, and lighting raging through the windows, with this song on the stereo.

10. And When I Die - The Heavy
If George Thorogood and Screamin Jay Hawkins where spliced together this might be what it would sound like. The chorus is a little light for my tastes but the rest of the song more than makes up for it.

11. Mr. Splitfoot - Paris Motel
No song on my playlist exploits the noises from musical instruments in order to paint a terrifying narrative better that this one. If any song will give you nightmares, it is this one. One of my favorites.

12. Barton Hollow - The Civil Wars
Fully embracing their folk roots, The Civil Wars gives us Barton Hollow, a mournful lament of a sinister place where not even the preacher can save your soul. 

13. Bones - Little Big Town
From folk to country, Bones is has all the right criteria for our playlist. This song is the master of Halloween innuendo.  Listen to it and you will soon agree.

14. Swampblood - The Legendary Shack Shakers
With a nod to CCR, the Shack Shakers take our playlist from south to the deep south. This song might have a little voodoo in it. 

15. Howlin for my Baby - M. Ward
Another vintage sounding cover of a vintage song. This song applies the bass guitar in just the right places to give some lupine attitude to an otherwise even keeled tune.

16. Ain't No Rest for the Wicked - Cage the Elephant
If there is one song you have head on my playlist, this one is probably it. Nonetheless, Cage the elephant is unique enough to make the playlist and round out our spooky journey through the American south... for now.

17. Wolf Like Me - TV On the Radio
Fast paced, sexual tension disguised in werewolf metaphor. 

18. Rev 22-20 - Puscifer
When I said "evil has never felt so good", I was referring directly to this song. Originally from the Underworld Soundtrack, it takes a special talent to make lust sound this blasphemous. You're going to need a cold shower and a set of rosary beads after listening to this one.

19. Snake in the Grass- Vallejo
A great little song out of Austin, Texas. Snake Charmer's main guitar riffs have an unmistakeable Halloween vibe while the lyrics deliver our second warning of the evening to the ladies.

20. Diablo Rojo - Rodrigo and Gabriella 
Plunging way south of the border, our playlist picks up Diablo Rojo. Subtle in its nefarious qualities, this amazing guitar duet really shows its Halloween spirit when played in a room lit solely by flickering candlelight.

21. Frenzy - Screamin Jay Hawkins
How could you not love an creepy old song that sounds like it is being sung by Oogie Boogie from the Nightmare Before Christmas? When Screamin Jay comes on the radio, things get a little psychotic...

22. She's Not There - Neko Case & Nick Cave
A cover of the original by the Zombies. This version is faster and has a slight French/Creole undertone. Nick Cave makes any song sound creepy instantly.

23. The Amazing Sounds of Orgy - Radiohead
Everything in this song has an unnatural eeriness to it. If ghosts could write music, this is what it would sound like.

24. Where Did You Sleep Last Night - Jim Oblon
A unique cover of the haunting original by Leadbelly (not Nirvana) This song winds down the evening with mellow vocals and creepy off-tune guitar.

25. The Ghost Who Walks - Karen Elson 
A Gothic melody about a ghost who forever searches for her love... who just so happened to be the one who murdered her. Karen Elson just so happens to be a supermodel and is married to the lead singer of our next song...

26. Blue Veins - The Raconteurs
Dreary "Last-Call" blues echo throughout this song as Jack White sings his love song not to the woman, but to her blood. A good song for the end of your party.

There you have it. Please be sure to drop me a comment and let me know what you think, as I am always looking for feedback. J.P.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ichabod Crane

It's been a while. With all the soundscapes I've been working on, I almost forgot I am a graphic designer by nature. Here is a composition I made this afternoon to go along with my upcoming sound project. 

Ichabod Crane - 2011   Composition was created with multiple different images found on Google Images. To see the individual images that comprise the image above click here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Spooky Dedication...

If you are here at the Haunted Gallery, there is a  very good chance you were referred through
... and if you are unfamiliar with, then you have not been introduced to the true "Pumpkin King."

What makes this site so genuine is its designer "Rot's" authentic and perpetual love of all things Halloween. Rot truly embraces the spirit of the season all year round. When all the candy has been passed out and the jack 'o lanterns withered into mush, is still radiating Halloween from every post. As a fellow artist, Rot's contributions to the Halloween community are priceless.

I want to give a quick thanks to my friend Rot and to They have been one of my first and greatest supporters, whom without, the Haunted Gallery would be a very lonely place indeed. Thanks for introducing me to a great community. This soundscape is dedicated to you.

Every neighborhood has a creepy old house that you should never visit on Halloween...

Download this Soundcape

New Soundscape on the way!

By Thursday evening I will be presenting my newest soundscape. Just adding the finishing touches. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Tulip Tree

A significant aspect of the upcoming soundscape, is the infamous tulip tree, "which towered like a giant above all the other trees of the neighborhood, and formed a kind of landmark." This is where fear truly begins to take hold in Ichabod. As you know, it's all downhill from there. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Lonely Churchyard

Winner of the "What Soundscape Shall I Make Next" poll.

Ladies and Gentlemen, "The Lonely Churchyard".

Picture a blustery late November afternoon. The sky is grey and sinister looking and threatening an unseasonably late thunderstorm. Ill tempered wind rakes the leaves of a single gnarled tree in an old dreary churchyard. Nearby, a gravedigger chips away at the at a neat little square in the chilly ground. Eerie church bells mourn that death has claimed another for his own. Listen carefully to the subtlety of the atmosphere... the scavenging crows overhead, the frigid bite in the air, careful hammering of each coffin nail... Oh, where you not aware? Why, of course, this grave belongs to you. 
Rest in Peace...

Headphones or high-quality speakers are a must. It is worth the effort.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Midnight Ride of Ichabod Crane

Imagine the story of Ichabod Crane's terrifying ride home told exclusively through sound. Starting from the festive comfort and security of the Van Tassel annual harvest party and ending at the infamous covered bridge, this soundscape brings you along for the ride in all the horrifying suspense of real time. You have never heard a soundscape bring a story to life in every spooky detail like this, I promise.

The goal is to create this piece with as much attention to detail and quality as possible. At the moment I do not have a presentation date. Rest assured, however, I will keep you updated as much as I can and entice you along the way with production extras like below. Enjoy!
Soundscape map detailing the route of Ichabod through Sleepy Hollow 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Project for the Halloween Season... Stay Tuned...

I am currently in the process of working on a project that will be the Haunted Gallery's main exhibit this season. It is unlike anything I have ever done and I promise you are going to love it.  Make sure to check back when you can for updates and extras. In the mean time, I recommend brushing up on your Dutch-colonial folklore.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Soundscape - What shall it be?

Good evening, everyone.

I have a few ideas for my next soundscape but I thought it might be fun to take a vote to see which one I make next. Below are some of my ideas, and I am not ruling out any external suggestions. Let me know which one you would like to come to life!

Option 1: The Lonely Churchyard

A dreary November afternoon. An old church cemetery on the fringes of an odd little village...

Ingredients: (provided I can find them : )
  • Light wind blowing through a single tree
  • Light wind occasionally whistling through an iron fence
  • The creaking of a metal gate
  • Leaves rustling along the ground
  • A distant crow's caw
  • Funeral bells
  • The faint noise of a shovel digging through earth
Option 2: 3a.m. in a Dark Subway Tunnel 

A storm raging across the city has forced you underground into the bowels of the subway. This stop is unfamiliar and dark... it looks too old to be in service. Hopefully the train comes before the lights short out.

  • Echoing brown noise
  • Unidentifiable industrial noises
  • Failing electrical lighting
  • Terrifying "bumps" in the night
  • Muffled subway intercom announcements
Option 3: Abandoned Carnival 

An October stroll through the rusted remains of an old county fairgrounds.
  • The sound of rubbish blowing across pavement
  • Wind blowing through chain link fence
  • The occasional clang of large metal machinery 
  • Tent flaps fluttering in the wind
  • Echoing creepy carnival music
  • The disembodied laughter of a lunatic

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Haunted Gallery - Made with 99% Recycled Internet

Some of our visitors to the Gallery have inquired as to whether or not the sounds exhibited are for sale. While I think the soundscapes I have been making do fill gap in the market for spooky ambiance, I could not possibly charge for them.

Every audio composition that I create is stitched together from sounds I have scavenged from across the internet. If it sounds good and helps create the desired vision, I work with it. I only use the material to express creative ideas. I certainly do not want to make a profit off of creative ingredients I cannot say I own. The final composition of all the collected sounds into one, however, does represent an idea that belongs to me, and I feel that I am entitled to share that with everyone for free.

Perhaps one day I can make soundscapes that are completely my own that I could sell as an awesome collection.

If you see something that you enjoy, please feel comfortable enough to leave a comment. My creative energy is derived not only from the Halloween season, but the idea that there are people out there who enjoy looking and listening to my projects as much as I like to make them. Thank you!

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