Overground Magazine

The sound of something.



The sound of something.

Working with sounds is quite stimulating, you never stop learning


by Painé Cuadrelli, illustration Alessandro Kallaghan


Everyone has listening skills that enable them to relate to whatever auditory environment they come across with. Some environments are more pleasant than others, a specific kind of music catches our attention immediately, while others fade into the background, some noises may annoy us, while others are so attractive that we would listen to them incessantly. Our personal taste, our history and some other factors linked to the “here and now “we are living, determine our relationship with sounds. However, when you have to create a sonorous object with a specific function, things change. In the case of advertising and communication projects you need to follow specific rules to convey a message that is consistent with your idea and to make dreams come true. This is done by translating words, impressions and adjectives into sounds, usually in a limited period of time. One of the key element to start planning a sound production is the context where it is experienced. Experiencing a sound at the cinema, even through the use of the most advanced technologies (multichannel broadcast, Dolby surround, Atmos) will differ from the one we would have with a web content, enjoyable in different ways too (a system connected to a computer, built-in speakers, tablet speakers, mobile devices, headphones and head cuffs). And still we would have a distinct experience when we listen to a site-specific installation. (indoor or outdoor, interactive, linear or immersive). The current sound design panorama- and music panorama- is flourishing and keeps on offering high quality and varied examples, both on the side of traditional media (cinema, television, recording companies, also in their digital and multiplatform varieties) and on the one of the new technologies (VR, 3D audio, games, applications, interactive systems). I usually go beyond technical issues related to sound diffusion, and I try to imagine who the listeners are, where they come from, how they get in touch with the sounds I make and what they will remember after the listening. All these questions can have plenty of answers, but the only key to understand and justify our work is to whom it is targeted: the audience. I try to put myself in place of the listeners and imagine what kind of interaction they may have with the listening context. These reasoning determines how the sound content will be realized also from the point of view of the shape and aesthetics, which are closely connected to the function. This means that a designed sound is the result of a complex process involving thought, experience and technique.




This year had the chance to follow a group of students belonging to Sound Design program at IED Milan during the realization of three projects in cooperation with Club to Club. The biggest challenge for the students was to experience plenty of different contexts in few weeks, working either individually or in team. A Great Symphony for Turin, a project supported by the British Council and under the trusteeship of Kode9, aims at realising soundtrack by field recording in different spots of the town and that could be listened in different locations with a smartphone. This year the students worked on Porta Susa train station. Space Appeal is the main exhibition at Paratissima (at Torino Esposizioni) edited by Francesca Canfora and Cristina Marinelli. In this case, they produced an evocative soundtrack, made by 17 tracks, visitors can listen within the exhibition path. Whereas Overground Sound interpret sounds with respect to the universe of the magazine. Students made soundtrack proposals by developing the contents and editorial profile of Overground.


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