Hello! How are you? Good.
For those of you who have just joined us,
my name is Taran and I make films.
A little while ago I entered a creative brief held by
Ideastap to join the BFI Doc Next Media Lab.
Our first assigned project was to make a short experimental doc.
The making of ‘Seeing Sounds & Hearing Colours’
No brief. No Guidelines. Sounds too perfect to be true, right? Well, it’s a challenge alright. Being a freelancer involves you developing certain habits when working with clients. Through Pre-to-Post production, meticulous plans can be disrupted with time/money constraints, presenter/crew problems, etc. and guidelines and drafts were what I become familiar with, especially over the last few years being influenced by and getting the chance to work with great creative minds (you know who you are).
My film, with no brief, and no guidelines, became a bit of a journey… at least a very mild-mannered journey. Involving Megabus. While I was involved in building a media hub in Coexist’s Hamilton House space I met an artist, and was quite taken back by the level of intricacy and layers in colours in this piece of art that caught my eye one day. It was a piece done by Amy Timms, who I later found out had synesthesia. We talked at length and I began recording her, without any purpose at that time, just as research. We talked about the days of the week and the colours, textures and emotions connected to sound.
You ever get when you’re just interested in something you want as much information as possible? I get that a lot. I live for those tiny obsessive information overloads.
During my research stage I found Oliver Sack’s ‘Musicophilia – Tales of Music and the Brain’ and it has a great chapter on ‘Synesthesia and Music’. I began to drift back into the EXPERIMENTAL frame of mind. I’d lost myself in information and was only brought out by my mentor for the programme, Phillip Warnell.
I wanted to find a way of displaying the visual elements being described as the experience was happening. After considering many different aspects I picked two music producers, one with and one without synesthesia.
I was considering using Saint-Saens or Beethoven as a soundtrack, but understood their may already be certain unconscious influences to how they might perceive classical music, but was equally curious to hear what they made of a piece of music I wrote myself.
I began to see it in a different light; the visually escapist story I attach to my own music must be entirely different to others. What could they be exactly.
This piece of music was a special experience for me. The album took two years of finely crafting a personal escapism from reality. It is set to the ideas behind spacecraft eventually being able to launch from earth and travel through a black hole. I envisaged the warps, blips, thuds, and transformed it into a progressive soundscape journey of electronic music.
So as you can see; with such a visual piece of music I was eager to gain some outside perspective.
This is where Singer/songwriter music producer Suzy Condrad came in.
We had worked a few times before, but at a special gig in the Leftbank – we began to discuss the ideas of this (still unborn) project surrounding the language of music and visuals. Suzy has synesthesia. I’d seen her play possibly fifteen times in and around Bristol over the last few years,
To cut a long night short; I the next week I visited Suzy in her studio and we began recording bits and bobs, Including a response to a particular song I had based in A=432Hz for a subconscious warming feeling and atmosphere while she had the earphones on.
You can watch the film for an indepth response 😉
A few weeks later I found myself in the presence of a technical wizard, Matt Olden. I’ve always been awestruck at what this guy has accomplished and in the past ten years of Bristol residence I’ve met him at the most random doos. Whether it’s making drum&bass grindcore from scrapyards, deconstructing pianos for installation… I eventually joined him to play in Tate Britain.
So I knew this guy could give me some sort of outlandish image to work with, or a more structural pattern-based element I heard from I Am The Mighty Jungulator’s music/VJ software developer . Both Matt and Suzy were amazing at allowing the development and structure of such a delicate process to flourish.
So yes, I’ve rambled on. That film is called ‘Seeing Sound and Hearing Colour’ on vimeo. Recently it got screened at London’s ‘Exploding Cinema’ event!