Behind The Quest Inn – Making Episode 28: Jailhouse Blues

Welcome to the ongoing series of behind-the-scenes posts for our little endeavour that is The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe.

/MAKING JAILHOUSE BLUES

Session: 04

Title: Jailhouse Blues

Recorded: 12pm, 25th January 2019

Location: Library at the Dock Recording Studio

Guests: Simon McCulloch and Derek Wilson

Jailhouse Blues was the fifth episode recorded in the season, and the first of two episodes recorded that day. This was the first session recorded with more than one guest.

As a rule I like having multiple guests, but as soon as the guest count increases, so too does the level of difficulty for getting everyone in the same room at the same time. It was a record-breaking hot day in Melbourne (42°C!) and we were lucky that anyone managed to turn up at all.

Despite the heat, our guests Simon McCulloch and Derek Wilson manage to deliver excellent performances – as well as adding some really interesting lore to the shared backstory of their characters (Lister Een and Alistair Zamboni).

In preparing for season two, we developed the story arc of the Quest Inn crew going to prison (and having to escape) as an opportunity to get the characters away from the usual location for two reasons. The first was to add something new for our listeners, and the second was to allow me (as audio editor) to play and create different scenes using ambience and audio effects.

//EDITING:

The first little difference you’ll notice with this episode from previous episodes is the “Lawless” slide guitar theme which I used to bookend each episode in this arc. This simple blues theme came to me as I was thinking about how I could differentiate this story from standard episodes and the reason it sounds the way it does is because the picture I painted in my head before we developed the Rika-Shore high security prison element was a little jail in the middle of nowhere – akin to something you might find in Texan desert country where dust and tumbleweeds is the name of the game.

As we progressed, I couldn’t divorce myself from the Texan image and so it kind of stuck – that’s why you hear coyotes and crows in there too.

On a side note, I got those animal sounds from Yellowstone Sound Library – a fantastic little resource for natural ambience as well.

The super-cheap electric guitar I used was recorded using a direct line-in and software effects were added in post using the guitar suite in Adobe Audition. I also put a mic on the strings where I played the slide to get the raw acoustic elements of the performance. It doesn’t really work, but it was fun to play around here, just to see what I could achieve without the proper tools.

For this episode, I had to make Rika-Shore high security prison sound big, and I did this buy adding a whole bunch of reverb and panning effects to simulate movement through this space. The addition of heavy doors slamming in the the distance along with alarms and security-like elements all helped to sell this.

I also attempted to make it sound like Alistair Zamboni was walking up and down a long corridor every time he came and went – this was an interesting challenge, and I think I did okay with it.

Tell us what you think! Did we do a good job with this one? What did you love? What could we have done better? Any questions or comments are welcome!

Till next time.

Listen to the full episode here.


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Featured Album: Resolution (2017) by Krisis

Article – by Morgan Thistlethwaite

Krisis (aka Shannon Michels) is a Wollongong-based music producer who’s been tinkering away in his studio on beats and soundscapes for the better half of his life now. His new instrumental album Resolution is the culmination of this work.

“I had 17 years of my work to make something from. I chose to choose tracks from the last five years to give it some sort of coherence … my music has evolved.”

The Gong, as it’s known, is a seaside city of almost 300,000 on the east coast of NSW characterised by picturesque beaches and surrounding bushland. This natural beauty cocoons Wollongong’s heavy industry, the city’s beating heart that lights up the night sky like some kind of post-apocalyptic nightmare.

Wollongong_at_night
By Robert Montgomery [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
 In Resolution, the influence of his hometown and the hip-hop sensibilities that Krisis was weaned on are evident. The tracks It Isn’t Any Fun and Respek reflect these roots and from track to track, you can feel the evolution. The Bottom, Got Dark and Hard Labour thump, brood, and evoke imagery that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Philip K Dick novel, and the lighter, more contemplative tracks Tribute, New Dawn and The End Is A New beginning speak a language that suggests maturity that only comes with experience.

Among its influences, the album draws on triphop, dubstep, trap and ambient music to present an eclectic collection of tracks that reflect urban living, science fiction themes, and the fragility of humanity. It’s a solid collection of sounds that illustrates the breadth of ideas and moods that Krisis is able to evoke through his soundscapes.

Pump up that bass and give it a listen.

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Follow and support Krisis on Facebook and Soundcloud.