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Posted by on May 22, 2016 | 1 comment

Sunday Sound Thought 21 – Visibility Problem…Still

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

I’m trying to remember on which podcast I heard it this week [ed. I’ve been searching, but to no avail], but there was a news story about Emeka Ogboh and his reconstruction of Lagos soundscapes as art installations in which, I believe it was a curator somewhere, talked about him as if he was the only artist in the world working exclusively with sound…”without some sort of visual component.” Please understand, this is in no way a critique of Ogboh or his work. I’m happy that his art is out there and getting the attention it deserves. It was just a reminder of how overlooked sound is within the arts community. If you want a more visible example, just look at the Tony Awards brouhaha from 2014, which is still being felt today.

I can quickly pull up examples on Google from prominent news sources. I could event point to Audium in San Francisco; which, despite its success, is still a rather underground art experience. Why do I define it as successful? Well it hosts two performances a week (many of which sell out), and does so from it’s own permanent installation on Bush St. near the border of Nob Hill and The Tenderloin…a space which it has occupied since 1965!

That curator pissed me off. Yes it’s her job to find the next big thing and promote it as a way to bring patrons into galleries and museums, but it’s also her job to put that work into the context of the broader art community. This comment is demeaning in two ways. She belittled the work of all those other sound artists out there, of whom she is apparently ignorant. She also belittled the work of Ogboh by not explaining why his work is important within that broader field of sound art.

It’s easy to be important when no one else is doing it, and far more impressive when a work has genuine value in a wider community. Sound work still has a visibility issue, so Ogboh needs to be celebrated for his success and thanked for the attention it brings to our craft. Well done, sir!

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Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 | 0 comments

GDC Roundtable Recap – SUN 3/27 5PM PST

Sightglass Coffee is where it all gets broken down each morning.

#lostdinklybird Photo: Luca Fusi / Hashtag: Chris Trevino

GDC’s a week in game audio overdrive, a week-long gathering that resonates all through the following year.

Several of Designing Sound’s editors, friends and family were fortunate enough to make the trek to San Francisco in time for this year’s show. And before the embers have cooled, we thought we’d get together and make some sense out of everything we saw.

So join us for an interactive community roundtable and discussion:

 

WHEN: Designing Sound’s Google+: https://plus.google.com/100500018761690760477

WHERE: Sunday, March 27th at 5PM PST

 

If you’ve any specific topics you’d like to see discussed, leave us a comment here or on our Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/designingsound!

An archive of the talk will be available thereafter.

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Posted by on Jan 26, 2016 | 0 comments

In Memory of Brad Fuller

bradfuller

Earlier this month, the game audio community lost Brad Fuller, a man who was both a pioneer and an inspiration. We reached out to some who knew him to share their thoughts and memories of Brad, and to celebrate his life and contributions to our community.

From Don Diekneite:

Brad Fuller, 62, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He passed away after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer on January 2nd.  His early love for music became a calling and he enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston, followed by the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington. In 1982 Brad joined Atari as Director of Audio where he built and managed Atari’s audio team which was responsible for the sound of all of Atari’s coin-operated games. During this time, he pioneered technologies and creative audio practices whose impact is still being felt today. Among the many titles he personally created sound for are Donkey Kong, Marble Madness, Klax, Paper Boy, Toobin and many, many more.

Though he was particularly passionate about jazz, Brad loved just about every kind of music from blues and country to rock, classical, electronic, and experimental. Combined with an equal regard for the magic in code and technology, he made 1s and 0s come to life in sound.

Brad was one of those rare individuals who excelled in several areas. His exceptional technical competence in both software and hardware is hard to find in someone who is also so expert in the creative realm. As a sound designer and composer, he not only created great material but also leveraged technical knowledge to find creative solutions others often missed. His experience combined with a genuine care for people made him an extraordinary manager with a unique ability to balance the business, the technical, and the creative.

Working for Brad at Atari Games was a daily lesson in learning by doing. He did not manage by insisting on a specific way to solve a problem or accomplish a task. Instead, he taught you the tools, explained the goal, said, “go,” and then gave you his unconditional support – the operative word here being, “unconditional.” He worked for those on his teams as much as they worked for him.

If one measure of a man is his ability to impact, influence, and even change the lives of others, then Brad measures up big time. Because of Brad’s influence, those whose lives he touched often found their lives taking a new direction, with new choices being made. Some seemingly small, some huge, but all having unquestionable impact. Many of those who worked with Brad credit him with the acquisition of greater knowledge and understanding of the technical (how things work) and the creative (how things are made). All leading to nothing less than truly artful results. To this day, sound designers and composers of interactive media owe him for pioneering efforts in adaptive audio for games, toys, and other interactive products.

Not to mention the millions of people all over the world who felt such delight in the countless games they played that were strengthened by the sounds, voices and music Brad created.

But most of all, so many of us owe the simple but heartfelt sharing of warmth and friendship from a guy who did not draw a line between co-worker, colleague and friend.

Thank you Brad, your spirit lives on in all of us.

 

From Leonard Paul:

I first met Brad during the IA-SIG party in San Jose in 2006. We chatted for a while before I found out that he had worked on the music for Marble Madness, which was a favourite game of mine on the Amiga. He always had a warm personality and I had fun corresponding with him by email and catching up with him over the years at the Game Developers Conference. The Level 2 music from Marble Madness will always be a classic for me.” – Leonard Paul

Thanks for the offer of having people send in their thoughts. A good link to his music with Hal Canon on Marble Madness is: http://vgmrips.net/packs/pack/marble-madness-atari-system-1
In addition, Dren McDonald has spearheaded an effort to record one final piece that Brad was working on prior to his death. We will share any further information on this as it develops.
All of us at Designing Sound send out our hearts and sympathy to Brad’s friends, families, and coworkers who were deeply affected by his loss. He was a valued and caring part of the game audio community, and he will be sorely missed.
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Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 | 6 comments

Bellingham Audio in Games Event (BAIGE)

Event playbill sketch credit jovietajane (https://twitter.com/jovietajane).

Event playbill sketch credit jovietajane (https://twitter.com/jovietajane).

Community spotlight on: the Pacific Northwest, a uniquely concentrated locus of game audio talent goings-on.

Every month, Vancouver and Seattle both host up an in- to semi-formal gathering for like-minded designers and composers, usually alternating developer showcases and bar crawls. Lots of cities do these, but it seems like these ours are particularly well-attended: upwards of 75+ attendees Eventbrite’d in for November’s behind the scenes look at the sound of Bungie’s Destiny, on site at their Bellevue headquarters. Each city’s been on a really consistent tear with these meet-ups for the last two years, but they’d never really come together.*

Until this weekend.

On Saturday, the Vancouver and Seattle Game Audio communities came together in the basement of Western Washington University, a graciously provided-for halfway point, for a collaborative afternoon of talks and panels. We ate donuts, shuffled slides, met our brothers and sisters from across the border and broke it all down over pizza.

I’ve been going to these things for a while, and I always leave them hazy-brained and grateful to be part of an industry so welcoming. And it’s just flat-out unfair not to spread that around. So here’s Designing Sound, bending towards Bellingham, for a bullet point recap of some of the knowledge that was shared.

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