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...
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.)
"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.
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...
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.
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.
If you are here at the Haunted Gallery, there is a very good chance you were referred through pumpkinrot.com.
... and if you are unfamiliar with pumpkinrot.com, 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, pumpkinrot.com 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 pumpkinrot.com. 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...
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. :)
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.
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
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.
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
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. Ingredients:
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!