Link to Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-335824763/eamon-arthur-sound-cultures
The idea behind this piece is to create a sonic story that can be followed according to musical expression that represents the stages of torture. The initial drum pattern follows a simple 4/4 structure and as the velocity increases so to does the progression of the song. The middle part of the sonic story continues with the amplified guitar parts that help to add texture and volume whilst serving as a melody line. The final section of the journey concludes with the return to an isolated beat in 4/4, this time with tonal changes that signify the end of sound piece.
Based on the idea of using music as an isolating device I decided to try and create an atmospheric and ambient sound that helps to isolate someone using reverb and delay. The key of the song is important too as I have based it on what many of my influences in the more extreme metal genre do today which is to play in a minor key as it possesses a much darker motif or theme than that to a major. The technical identity of the instruments also plays a part in the feeling of the music, if this sound clip were to be played in a major key the identity of the song would change and in turn would become much lighter and happier by default. The kick drum used in this piece plays an important part in terms of creating the feeling of energy and keeping the beat. By using compression I have aimed to make the kick control the overall sound of the mix using the technique of ducking which is used on many club songs. This effect means I can easily shape the stereo output to create a more solid an impactful outcome. With regards to the guitars, I have used two instances of the same recorded tack but applied the Haas effect to the left FX channel which is routed through a Send from the right channel. The Haas effect opens up and fills the stereo space with more of the delay effect used on the guitar and so in addition to high passing the guitars at 200hz creates an even and atmospheric tone that sits just above the lower frequencies.
Former Guantánamo prisoner Ruhal Ahmed stated:
“From the end of 2003 they introduced the music and it became even worse. Before that, you could try and focus on something else. It makes you feel like you are going mad. You lose the plot and it’s very scary to think that you might go crazy because of all the music, because of the loud noise, and because after a while you don’t hear the lyrics at all, all you hear is heavy bangin’.”
The inclusion of bass tones that are mixed in the sub-sonic area help to create depth, power, and by using the minor key, suspense. These ideas of creating feeling and emotion were based on the lecture that included using music as a means of torture. Although this sound clip is not as intense as some of the music shown I feel this piece helps to embellish the idea of an atmosphere and isolating sound that creates suspense. Overall I wanted to end the piece with a more artistic gesture, based on the statement by Ruhal Ahmed (above), my ending was unclear at first however developed into the idea of metallic hitting on prison bars representing the pain and suffering of those being tortured. The fact that this part is isolated form the rest of the song is intentional as I wanted to convey the idea of being alone, this part, although sonically different from the intensity of the rest of the song, is technically true to the musical format that follows throughout the song. The 4/4 beat continues for a bar proceeding with the final kick/snare hit that rings out concluding the sonic story.