Sound Design: Cyberpunk Soundscape

Here’s a little sound design that I did for class, the task was to write a story with 5 different locations or acoustic environments to tell a story without any dialogue from the main character. I went for a futuristic vibe to give me a chance to work the synthesizers out in some digital foley. There’s plenty going on in here with all the sounds I recorded, created, or processed to create illusions of spaces and movement. This really helps me get my chops up for film mixing as well since it’s pretty much a visual-less short film in my head. I also used some scores I’ve been working on for the soundtrack (with the exception of the ol’ Ludwig Van in the car) I’ll go ahead and post the story I wrote below in case you want to read along:

Scene 1: Office/Police Station
Detective Giblarski’s bones ache; he stretches in his chair for what is surely going to be another depressing day in the year 2058. AARA (Adaptive Augmented Reality Assistant) chimes in with a case file. Giblarski motions through the holographic menus to request a paper report; a habit his younger colleagues often mock him for. His 3D printer fabricates the report and he tosses it to his desk. From the first page it is obvious, another in the recent series of murder and dismemberment: the fourth this week. With a despondent sigh, Giblarski rises from his desk and through the bustling department to the parking garage. The crime scene beckoned.

Scene 2: Parking Garage
The garage is eerily quiet; his steps echo out as he approaches his vehicle. A sudden chill creeps down his spine as if someone were watching in the distance: he whips around suddenly but there is only void. He slowly resumes his walk, unable to shake the despair that hangs over him. His 65th birthday was only 2 weeks ago and this string of particularly grizzly affairs had the detective strongly considering his retirement. He had been ‘considering’ it for years; he just didn’t know what else he could possibly do. Inside his car, AARA appears and asks for a destination. He doesn’t bother talking to the machine; he fondly remembers the times when computers just did what you wanted without the pleasantries. He loads the coordinates from the case file and leans back as the car begins its route…

Scene 3: Arrival
As Giblarski groggily came to, the vehicle is pulling to a stop. Pulling himself out of the car he can’t help but think, “I really am too old for this”. The file said the body was found mutilated in the alleyway between the ‘Downtown Upbeat: Jazz Club’ and the ‘Humanity++ Augmentation Clinic’. It was right between the old and new parts of town, the Upbeat was always piping some funky mess into the streets just to let the neo-futurists know that some things will never evolve. The case file said the poor chum was just some genome tech at the augmentation clinic. Giblarski never augmented his body he was old-fashioned that way. He had heard a rumor that DSOs (Digital Sensory Organs) would soon become mandatory in the department—a policy that would practically single him out. “Just another straw on my already broken back”, he thought as he crossed the street to the Clinic.

Scene 4: The Alley
Just out of earshot from the Upbeat he saw it. Crimson stains popped against the polished sheen of the alleyway. Crime scenes were always excluded from the cleaning routines of the public maintenance drones. The stark contrast made the human mess glow like the chaotic visions of classical artists such as Pollack or Warhol. Realizing he was bordering admiration, Giblarski tore his gaze away. “Desensitized doesn’t even begin…”, he froze mid-thought. Two yellow eyes were locked on to him from the darkness at the end of the alley. Younger Giblarski might have already shot, the old man couldn’t move an inch.

“Meow”.
An overwhelming sensation of relief and embarrassment poured over Giblarski. He had thought his heart was going to burst…wait
Something was powering up.

“MROOOOW”
The creature emerged, not as a cat, but as a mockery of a cat. Four and a half feet of mechanical pistons and muscle tissue ground together in a swelling cacophony of death: a symphony writ by the disregard of all things natural. The leer of the beast never deviated from its prey as it approached. Giblarski smiled, he perhaps had finally lost it in the surrealism of it all; he was going to die. He felt the breath of the monstrosity on his neck—cold and mechanical. He closed his eyes.
FFFZZZZPPPP
An EMP blasts from Giblarski’s arm-mounted Digitool. “AARA must have triggered it from over the cloud, I’m definitely upgrading her server when I get back” Giblarski thinks. He pulls himself together and proceeds directly to the Downtown Upbeat.

Scene 5: “Downtown Upbeat: Jazz Club”
Giblarski pulls up a chair directly at the bar and is relieved to see the bar tended by an actual, pure human like himself. He eyes a bottle of scotch and the bartender pulls a glass down.
“You look like could use a drink”
Giblarski nodded, and finally knew: today was the day he was going to retire.

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