Folks have often asked about our house music playlists, one of the most fun parts of creating a sound design for a show. For me, it’s a way to get folks into the mood of whatever it is we’re about to be up to. A way to help transition them from the “real world” to the world we’re about to move into.
I’m not really sure it’s much different than making that mix-tape for a friend or special someone back in the day. Maybe you hope they’re paying attention to every detail in every song and getting all your nuance, but at the same time it’s also cool if they just have it on in the background while reading or having a chat.
Sometimes I go for things that are thematically on the nose (Desired Constellation, Across the Universe (Take 2)). Maybe sometimes too much so (She Blinded Me with Science). That’s ok. Other times I might just draw out something about the show’s content and find songs that also have the same things (Love, Muzzle of Bees). In any event, I enjoy it.
When it comes to the actual sound design of Constellations, there’s not much in the way of pre-recorded music being used. I can’t really include them in a Spotify playlist because, well, they’re weird things I engineered or made. The sound effects used as transitions, to punctuatemoments, and to serve as atmosphere come from a lot of different sources.
First, the go-to handy-dandy BBC Sound Archive has more ambience than you could swing a dead cat at (I bet they have that sound on file) and a website that I find invaluable as a designer, freesound.org. If I can’t find it there, odds are I am using a field recorder and engineering it. The atmosphere and effects in this show are all over the place: deep space, air-conditioning hum in a hotel room, a busy street, a modified bug zapper, the sound of an underwater explosion, a super-engineered sound of insect wings, the human heart, a defibrillator, electricity, a field with birds chirping.
Let me know what you think of the sound once you see the show!