For the TX Huaihai commercial and cultural centre in Shanghai, we were commissioned by onformative to compose and design a reactive ambient for their permanent digital art piece centred around the topic of urbanisation.
The aesthetic of the ambient is based on the minimalistic depiction of an ever-changing city at day and night through variations of grids, lights and shadows.
The visual elements of the two modes are sonically translated into collage-like ambients conveying the two particular moods.
The sonic materiality of the two modes, day and night, is derived from their particular mood. While the day mode conveys a light and calm feeling due to the soft colours and bright scenery, the night mode is more lively, pulsating, and fragmented due to stronger contrasts and details in the more prominent play of light.
With “Air” as the material for this mode, we designed soft synth pads with a breeze-like behaviour. For this, we focused on the reverberation of the sound by using its decay (reverb tail) as the actual sound source.
Using this small section of the original sound, the collage technique creates a sound characteristic all of its own. As a result of repetitions and extensions of different parts of the reverb tail, the synth pad resembles a calm air movement, thus elevating the visual mood.
The vivid night mode is visually inspired by urban media facades and colourful neon lights. Thus, the typical hum and buzz of the latter served as inspiration for the material of this mode.
As sonic counterpart to the pulsating character of the visuals, we designed delicate percussive sounds arranged in minimalist rhythms. We obtained the sounds for this through granular synthesis of audio recordings of neon lights, which gives the visuals a sense of physicality.
Concept, Production, Composition, Design, Programming