Sound Design

Short video outlining my work in sound design

During the pandemic, one of the earliest goals – like many musicians – was to get a self recording set-up sorted out. I bought some basic gear and got on with it. 

What then happened was ‘Liberté’ – my first project in sound design that was born purely out of experimentation and a love for text, language, improvisation and composition.

I asked myself some questions… 

  • How might I use it to give people a voice?
  • How might I express my own voice through this medium?
  • Could it shed new light on an existing poem, speech or text in interesting and respectful ways?
  • How might it illuminate a text in another language for an English ear?
  • How much fun can be had with this?!
  • How can it bring relevance and meaning to works from the past?

So far I have explored the answers across a number of projects: 

‘Liberté’ 2020

An exploration of the classic french poem about freedom, expressed by 21 women and children in French and English

‘A sheep’s life’ 2021

An interview with a shepherd before a showing of Acid and Galatea 

(with Dan Samsa, Jonathan Darbourne and Vache Baroque Festival) 

‘Paradise and Pandemonium’ 2021

An interview with a shepherd before a showing of Acid and Galatea by G.F. Handel 

(with Dan Samsa, Jonathan Darbourne and Vache Baroque Festival) 

‘The Pale Blue Dot’ 1990/2021

An exploration of the Pale Blue Dot speech by Carl Sagan 

(with Clod Ensemble)

‘Promise and Oath’ 2022

An exploration of the basic elements of a promise and what philosophers, doctors, lawyers and detectives might have to say about it… before a showing of La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers by M.A. Charptentier 

(with Jonathan Darbourne and Vache Baroque Festival) 

The Royal Philharmonic Society asked me some questions – here are the answers…

How did you overcome any challenges?

Being someone who has worked almost exclusively with live sound until 2020, there were some real ‘technical mountains’ to climb at times. By keeping the passion of the speaker or author in mind, this really helped me keep going. It was a real driving force for me – the more passionate the interview or material, or the more ‘unheard’ the voice seemed to me, the more it drove me to see the project through with detail and precision! 

I took a short course in sound design course with CLOD Ensemble and guidance from producers and composers such as Melanie Wilson, DJLeoLeoLeo, Sarah Angliss, Sophie Cotton and Dan Samsa. 

The Vache Baroque Festival provided an invaluable opportunity to engage with real live audiences and interesting briefs to work towards which has been crucial as playing work took over again. 

What have you learned?

To set mini deadlines for each part of the project and stick to them!

Not to collect too much material.

To be extremely focused about what content and style the piece will have. 

Not to become too emotionally attached to the material as it doesn’t always fit the piece!

Find your balance of working on the shape vs the detail and try and be methodical in switching between the two. 

Going forward, I would like to write my own text more and use my singing voice more than I have previously. I would like to make more connections between my views and opinions and my output as I have tended towards others’ voices thus far.

Any practical advice, guidance or tips?

In my opinion, don’t start with a course – first find and hone an idea or message and then try and work out how you want to say it as it’s much more fun when you learn tech with a clear vision! 

YouTube usually has the answer.. 

Invest in a powerful enough computer as soon as you can so that you’re not fighting the tech. 


Any useful leads, contacts, resources and links that others may benefit from?

Some useful websites:

Logic: https://www.apple.com/uk/logic-pro/

Free sound clips: https://www.soundly.com

Freesound: https://freesound.org

Using logic flextime to manipulate/correct rhythm and length. Here is a tutorial 

Recording on your phone – the AVR pro app is great as it allows you to set higher bandwidths: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/awesome-voice-recorder-pro-avr/id892393815

A huge thank you to: 

Royal Philharmonic Society – Enterprise Fund https://royalphilharmonicsociety.org.uk

Arts Council England – Develop Your Creative Practice Grant https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/DYCP

Vache Baroque Festival – https://vachebaroquefestival.com

To festivals, composers, producers, actors and directors: 

Melanie Wilson, DJ LeoLeoLeo, Dan Samsa, Sophie Cotton, Clod Ensemble and to all those who contributed their voices and instruments with fun, joy and skill!

https://www.clodensemble.com https://www.dansamsa.com http://www.sophie-cotton.com https://linktr.ee/djleoleoleo

1 Comment

  1. Well done Naom! Look forward to discussing the next steps you will take in developing further these eclectic themes and disciplines.

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