Making of Heavy Rain + Piano Soundscape #CoreOpulence

The soundscape of my living environment changed over the course of the past few months, especially with the implementation of the third UK lockdown. Once busy streets and loud, popular pubs keeping me awake at night, are no more. Traffic is light and people are keeping to themselves. Though there is a change in sound scenery, the ambience of my environment continues to inspire me. Especially with the increase of nature sounds taking over the urban soundscape spaces.

Rain is a sound that is consistent with London living. At the same time, the rain acts as a tool that shapes the environmental soundscape during the process of a drizzle or downpour. From bouncing off umbrellas to taking conversations inside warm houses, rain can transform the sound experience, whether we are actively hearing, listening, or not.

Though rain can stand alone as it’s own soundscape, I am in the process of learning how to layer different sounds together in order to provoke emotions from the listener. This rain recording is accompanied by a mellow piano in an effort to see if positive emotions can result from the listening experience. From my personal experience as an ambience listener, this combination of rain and piano is a staple when it comes to finding relaxation or needing something to fill the sound-space whilst I am studying. When listening to this combination I am often able to unwind. How do you feel when you listen to this soundscape? Please share your feedback and get in touch using the hashtag #CoreOpulence (or fill out the contact form on my website).

The photograph accompanying this piece is a shot from Slough, UK. As I was out walking, the rain started as a drizzle and then began to get heavy. Before the heavy rain came, I was able to take some shots of raindrops on the leaves. Once the heavy rain came, I took my phone out to record the sounds. I believe this process of adding imagery to the sounds encourages the visual and audible elements to establish the soundscape story. Where are you? What are you doing? Where are you going? Your story can be your own, but it starts with the rain motivating the journey. Whether you are on the path to relax, need a visual guide to meditate, or anything in between, this soundscape is the start of your journey.

The two elements, rain and piano, were fused together using Cakewalk. I tried keeping the sounds as natural as possible, without much manipulation. However, I did reduce the gain of the piano in order for the rain to be highlighted, and I reduced the speed of the piano in an effort to provoke feelings of relaxation. Though this might seem like a simple task, this piece took a few hours to make. The field recording was done during my walk in Slough, UK. I then had to compose the piano and play around with which piano sounds I liked. I experimented and ended up deleting my first piano sample because I did not feel it went well with the rain sounds. Finally, I created a loop to allow the piece to be one hour long.

In the end, I believe this is a piece I can fall asleep to. I think the composition of the piece is reflective enough of my goal to encourage positive responses from the listener. Positive responses meaning relaxation, peace, chill, etc. Yet, I will add that I finished making this piece at 4:00am and perhaps I associate feeling tired with the soundscape and so having that predisposition would make me want to fall asleep listening to it.

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