Experimental storytelling of Bloodchild

Bloodchild and Other Stories is a short science fiction story written by Octavia E. Butler. It erases the concept of gender where Terran’s men usually provide host bodies for parasitic Zerg species, but interestingly she presents the colonial story in a twisted mix of bloody and warm scenes. This week, Bryan Hsu and I decided to make a 3-min sound piece focusing on the section when Gan goes out to slaughter an achti.

We use the first-person view of achti to tell the story, it starts when achti is chewing inside a wooden cage and ends after T’Gatoi scratches open its body. Here is the sound piece, enjoy!

Collecting sounds

Bryan and I had a lot of fun finding and experimenting with sounds; that is an imaginary process since we are portraying a Sci-fi story and there’re not many real objects to make the actual sound. We firstly random picked up some trash from the 4th floor and went to a quiet classroom in Bobst library for recording.

There are several sounds we collected smartly. To distinguish between achti and Gan, we use a sudden stretch of the clothes to imitate Gan’s heartbeat, and surprisingly we found that the rubber band can make the alien-like strange heartbeat! We also make the gun cock sound by hanging up the phone on the wall, luckily it just sounds like that.

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Editing in Audition

I was in charge of editing the last half of our sound piece. I found a music piece (The Rest Is Noise — Jamie xx) and the electro drum beats can perfectly fit with achti’s heartbeat. I insert a small piece as BGM after Gan hesitating in front of the door, which sounds like achti is having momentary recovery of consciousness just before death and shows Gan’s struggle at the mean time. Then T’Gatoi shouts, fears od knives, the sound of cutting, music reaches the chorus, slowing heartbeats and distortion of the music, and finally forever peace. The most challenging thing is to adjust achti’s heartbeats to match the tempo of BGM gradually and make a smooth transition. I use different sound effects such as full reverb, parametric equalizer, chorus to show different stages of consciousness of achti.

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