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the volitar miner   "news from the 22nd  century. ® august 2002
a monthly publication based on the science-fiction world of volitar

issue #5
in this issue:

1) the making of volitar (part 4) sound effects (part 2)

2) volitar: murder mystery mayhem review by jedd beaudoin

click here to read last month's newsletter.

  the making of volitar

(part 4) sound effects (part 2)

dead's eulogist

this month's article focuses on the creation of the eulogist's voice in murder mystery mayhem's track 13, "dead". the voice has been diced up into five different variations, from the raw sample to the completed mix of the voice in the music. you're welcome to save and use these volitar samples as you wish. also, if you don't have a music player installed on your computer click on this link for a basic real player, it's free!

the first sample is my voice reading the script recorded with a sennheiser md-421 microphone. in most cases, alterations to the recording happen after it has been recorded therefore preserving the original raw sample but, in this case i was sure of the tonal quality i wanted and recorded through a 16 band graphic equalizer. use the link below to hear this raw sample.

eulogist (raw)

after the recording of dead was complete studio engineer george bryson began adding effects to dead's mix. reverb was used to create the illusion of space, or size of room the eulogy was being read. these are the program parameters george implemented on timeworks reverb 4080: input=0, predelay=20, decay=74, damping=0, room size=89, outverb=-18, outdry=0. use the link below to hear this sample with reverb.

eulogist w/reverb

dynamic expression can be beautiful during a live performance but, on a compact disc extreme quiet or loud performances need to be evened out. compression was used throughout the mix of volitar "murder mystery mayhem" and especially on scripted or dialogue passages. adding compression to the eulogist's lines helped to ensure each word was understandable to the listener. these are the parameters george used on waves compression unit: threshold=-19.3, ratio=4.43:1, attack=6.92, release=50. use the link below to hear this sample with reverb and compression.

eulogist w/reverb and compression

now that we have the basic effects processing the eulogy it's time to make it sound sci-fi . during practice mix sessions on my own, i found this haunting effect configuration using ultrafunk fx:modulator: rate=4.06hz, phase=180degrees, depth=15ms, feedback=0, cross mix=0, mix=100%. this was one of many voices where special effects were used on the cd and truly is one of my favorites! use the link below to hear this sample with reverb, compression and modulation.

eulogist w/reverb, compression and modulation

use the link below to hear the eulogy mixed in its completed form into the music!

eulogy in the mix

stay tuned as the making of volitar continues in september!

if you are interested in more information on the products mentioned in this article contact your local music retailer. if you'd like to purchase the volitar "murder mystery mayhem" cd (click here).

written by andrew engstrom

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volitar: murder mystery mayhem review by jedd beaudoin


volitar, "murder, mystery, mayhem"
independent, 2002

composed and produced by alaskan andrew engstrom and telling a story that involves all three of the elements in the alliterative title, this is an innovative, if not always satisfying record: a blend of audio book, comic book, concept album and movie for the ears where the quasi-camp space-based narrative (co-written by becky jo engstrom) doesn’t fully take off although the songs do.

mixing jazz, progressive, and pop on numbers such as "deep freeze" (complete with fantastic horn lines) and "soul searching (a little taste of something for those who appreciate wall of voodoo and the like) with the hard rocking "faces" and the open expanse of the best moments of the closing "free," engstrom establishes himself as a promising musician, composer, and producer. of course, it helps that he’s surrounded himself with a promising group of players (ford james on bass, scott hamilton on guitars and andrea mogil on flutes, plus several special guests) who help the often-soaring melodies come to life.

given the quality of the songs, it’s surprising how heavily engstrom leans on the scenes scattered throughout the record. although they do add a certain sense of originality and humor to the journey, some segments overstay their welcome just a little bit, jarring listeners out of the realistic and intriguing world created by well-laid notes. that said, engstrom and engstrom do show promise and one looks forward to a future release where a more even balance might be struck between music and words.

reviewed by:
jedd beaudoin, jrbwriter@yahoo.com

this review was originally posted at ghostland.com. thanks jedd!


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