Every now and again we witness something that is utterly breathtaking. It can come from anywhere. Maybe we see it first hand or find it whilst browsing the internet. In our case it was the latter.
Shortly after SoundShade was released we saw a fan base building in Japan and it was extremely intriguing. As a result we began to look into Japanese culture and came across something called 'Hanami' (花見) which translates into English as 'Flower Viewing'.
Hanami is a very old tradition in which the Japanese people celebrate the blossoming of the Sakura (Cherry Blossom Tree) by spending time with family and friends across the country, under the blossoming trees, as the wave of blooming flowers makes its way from the South to the North of Japan. This sounded like an incredible event and so we kept looking into it and came across this picture from Visit Japan International:
It was this picture that took our breath away. The huge trees in full bloom, majestically embracing the calm river and the Japanese people below in small rowing boats, enjoying the seasonal event. We could almost hear the sounds that would have been playing out at the moment that this photo was taken and inspiration flooded our minds. Coming from the Nordic region, such views are quite rare for us.
The team decided at that point to make a tribute to our Japanese fans and this awe-inspiring event; and so a new sound pack for SoundShade began to take form.
Choosing the Perfect Sounds
Some of the SoundShade team had visited Japan in the past, and also have Japanese friends. The Japanese have a unique way of life and it was important to us that we could reflect this in the sounds that would be used in the sound pack.
One thing stood above all others while researching Japan, it's culture and its people – an admiration of peace and tranquility; not only in their surroundings but within themselves.
It was obvious that the new sounds needed to embody this peace and so a traditional garden would be the inspiration from which the sounds would be designed.
There were many sounds we could have chosen to represent the garden, but we also needed to ensure the sounds we used felt tranquil.
Many hours were spent simply listening to sounds of Japan including: Shishi-Odoshi, Suikinkutsu, Wind-Chimes, Birds and Flute-Music to build a better understanding of the spirit behind Japanese sounds. It was evident that each sound that could be heard in a traditional Japanese garden was gentle and soothing.
A perfect match
Each and every sound we put into SoundShade is meticulously handcrafted and edited to ensure there are no harsh elements or sudden volume changes that could distract and/or annoy. The sounds of Japan seem to go hand in hand with SoundShade's philosophy and design approach.
The final sounds we chose were:
- small birds,
- a small wind-chime
- a large wind-chime
- and the sound of a small, rock fountain
Each one was made to compliment the other so that there were no dissonant or clashing frequencies and that each sound had its own space in the audio spectrum as to avoid the sounds conflicting one another when played.
Applying a New Sound Design Technique
Our sound designer, having already made the other sound packs for SoundShade, set to work right away once the raw audio recordings of the chosen sounds were acquired. However, applying the same techniques as he had done for the other sounds did not acheive the Japanese tranquility we were aiming for; and so he begun to experiment with some new editing techniques.
After a few attempts he finally found something that worked. He managed to acheive a soft gentle sounding texture and at the same time maintain the dynamic range and naturalness of the sounds. This was a breakthrough for the team and as a result the Japanese Garden sounds, from a professional standpoint, have incredible detail. This new technique will be applied to the existing sound library to give the users the absolute best quality and experience we can give.
A little sample of our Japanese Garden.
Your focus companion
It is intriguing, where inspiration can come from, how it can take you by surprise.
As a result of exploring our inspirations we are able to learn valuable lessons from cultures, people and places, lessons that may have passed us by if our imaginations hadn't received the sparks of creation they sometimes desire. The exploration of the things we hold important to us is as important as those things themselves.
SoundShade has been, and is being, created so that you are more able to focus on exploring the things that are important in your life.
Give it a try: http://sndshd.com/get