Impulse 7: Hania Rani

Hania Rani is a Polish pianist, composer, and producer known for hypnotic sound of her compositions. Her songs often feature delicate piano melodies mixed with subtle electronic elements, creating a mesmerizing blend of acoustic and electronic sounds.

Rani’s compositions are characterized by their introspective and atmospheric qualities, with haunting melodies and rich harmonies that evoke a sense of introspection and emotional depth. Her music often explores themes of lonliness, introspection, and the beauty of simplicity.

In addition to her solo piano pieces, Hania’s songs include electronic beats, synthesizers, and atmospheric textures, adding layers of depth to her sound. Her music maintains a sense of intimacy and warmth, drawing listeners into its evocative sonic landscape.

Hania Rani’s live concerts are a pure emotional soundscapes. She is coming to Graz on the 17th of March to Orpheum, I am looking forward to it.


Impuse 6: “Crazy for you”

The musical “Crazy for You” at the Graz Opera, directed by Cusch Jung, is based on George and Ira Gershwin’s music and lyrics. The show’s sense of humor and energetic choreography keep it engaging. The costumes and set design by Karin Fritz effectively capture the essence of the story’s setting. The Graz Philharmonic Orchestra provides a splendid musical atmosphere. The talented cast, including Dennis Hupka and Katia Bischoff, deliver impressive performances.

It’s beautifully set between the Wild West and New York, mixing dance passion, love longing, determination, and courage. It provides great entertainment, bringing the theme of “I Got Rhythm” into the audience, deeply resonating with the musical.


Impulse 5: “Hoffman’s Erzählungen” im Oper Graz

Jacques Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann” is performed in various opera houses in a slightly different version. In Graz Opera four directors were involved in production: Tobias Ribitzki was responsible for shaping the story and introducing Hoffman as a drinker who is inspired by the muse to write something. Neville Tranter portrayed the world of the fragile artist – Antonia with puppets. Each of them was operated by the singer. Nanine Linning presented beautiful animations along to the play of actors. Music was led by Johannes Braun – conducting Graz Philharmonic. The whole thing turned out to be very dynamic and colorful, with beautiful staging and costumes.

The new conductor, Johannes Braun, brought a smooth and precise touch to the Graz Philharmonic’s sound, adding richness and clarity. He highlighted the emotions in the music and vocals, especially in solo parts, effectively bringing out the different characters traits, whether bizarre or vulnerable.


Mysterious underwater sounds

The Bloop
The “Bloop” sound is a mysterious and intriguing underwater sound that was detected by the U.S. NOAA in 1997. It was recorded by hydrophones in the Pacific Ocean and captured around 4828 km away. The sound had unique characteristics, resembling a deep and low-frequency sound, similar to the vocalizations of whales, but much louder than the loudest animal in the world – the blue whale. 

There were a few speculations: from secret military experiments to massive undiscovered sea creatures. However, after further investigation by NOAA scientists it turned out that the sound was likely produced by the movement of massive icebergs in Antarctica.

As glaciers move and crack, they release tremendous amounts of energy, creating sounds that can travel long distances underwater. The “Bloop” was consistent with the acoustic signature of ice-related phenomena. Large icebergs as they break apart, generate powerful underwater acoustic signals.

The “Bloop” sound remains one of the most famous examples of natural phenomena initially misunderstood as something more exotic.

The Upsweep
Like the “Bloop,” it was considered as discovery due to its mysterious nature. The “Upsweep” is characterized by a series of narrowband upsweeping sounds, which have a distinctive rising and falling pitch, resembling the sound of a large, slow-moving wave. The source of the “Upsweep” remained unidentified for many years.

In early 2000s, the “Unsweep” sound was associated with volcanic eruption nearby Pacific Ring of Fire. The sound is thought to be caused by the release of gas and fluids from volcanic vents on the ocean floor. These vents emit a continuous stream of bubbles, which can create distinctive acoustic signatures as they rise through the water column.


There was a lot of speculation about the source of the “Julia” sound, ranging from submarine movements to secret military operations.

Researchers eventually concluded that the “Julia” sound is likely associated with the movement of icebergs or large chunks of ice scraping along the ocean floor. When these massive pieces of ice encounter irregularities or obstacles on the seafloor, they can produce distinctive acoustic signals as they grind against the ocean floor.

The rhythmic, pulsating nature of the “Julia” sound suggests a regular and repeating process. While the exact mechanisms behind the “Julia” sound are still not fully understood, its association with ice-related phenomena provides a plausible explanation for its origin.



VCV Rack – whale sound production

Last semester I was getting familiar with VCV Rack: open-source modular synthesiser. The software contains several VCOs, LFOs, mixers and other standard synthesiser modules. It’s based on Eurorack system. I was trying to reproduce a whale sound, in the patch I used basic sawtooth oscillator and patched it to filter module. LPF was sent to a plate reverb module – Plateau. This brought more liveliness and spaciousness to a dry sawtooth sound. The cutoff frequency of the VCF was randomized, along with the melody and fade module. I dedicated time to experimenting with various settings, especially with Plateau and the randomizer, to discover different sonic possibilities. Everything was was routed to the mixer and recorded.

There is another very interesting filter called “Lateralus” that gives extra glide effect, as well as SKF, SVF and LADR modules from Kocmoc.


“Inside the ocean” – binaural composition: sound production

I divided a sound design into several parts, each of which tells a slightly different story about life in the ocean. The main character is a whale who takes a listener on a journey from the sunlight zone and dives deeper into the twilight zone, encountering various species living in different parts of the ocean. Next, the midnight zone is introduced, where a sperm whale engages in a battle with a giant squid. In the next section, anthropogenic, geophysical, shipping, and sonar sounds are introduced. It begins with a few sound spots blending with the oceanic soundscape and escalates into a symphony of noises. Whales attempt to communicate among the cacophony but struggle to do so. The noise is disrupted by a celestial voice from above, bringing hope and encouragement not to give up but to fight for a better place in the world.

The entire composition was divided among three ambiences: A, B, and C, each corresponding to different layers of the ocean, along with Sound FX A, B, and C. Sound FX A represents the sounds of whales, Sound FX B correponds other oceanic species such as jellyfish, squid, anglerfish, and octopus, while Sound FX C was intended for geophysical and human-generated sounds.

>pink noise signal generator doubled and treated with automated EQ (with LPF between 900 Hz and 2 kHz) and HPF till 200 Hz. To create movements I automated the volume. At the end one of the track was sent to reverb (Dverb with large decay: 8.7 sec)

> Humpback VCV Rack (filer oscillation with manipulation of resonance)
> Blue whale: low frequency sinusoidal (below 100 Hz) and wobble bass sound
> Sperm whale: foleys (recordings of jar covered with foil and plastic bag) resembling clicks. Modified with impulse response reverb (MC convolution EZ)
> Violin glissandos, strongly filtered out (below 500 Hz) and violin melodies (whale song)—> repitched and filtered out
> Tam Tam (treated with Dynamic EQ: 293 Hz)
> Re-pitched, automated clicks (sperm whales)

Oceanic soundscape:
> Sunlight Zone: mostly sounds of waves with underwater bubbles (Soundly library), EQ automation (above water vs under water), reverb automation
> Twilight Zone: layers of sounds of dishwasher with LPF till 126 Hz and boosted resonance 170 Hz,  ring tones around 498 Hz, layers of underwater bubble sounds (from Soundly library)
> Midnight zone: layers of low rumbles, ambiences of underwater sounds that remain silence (from Soundly library)

Oceanic species:
> Giant squid (in midnight zone part): sounds of currency, electricity and sparks 
> Angler fish: sounds of teeth clicking, with rubber blade effect from H3000 harmonizer and impose response Convolution EZ
> Jelly fish: sound of a thin leakage of water from a mountain spring with some heavy dropouts: equing LPF 18.6 kHz -12 dB and boasted LMF 510 Hz +3.1 dB, treated with MConvolutionEZ
> Octopus: Splat, slimy sound, movements, 21 kHz +3.3 dB, treated with MConvolutionEZ and MWobbler
> Shrimps: quick, sparkly movements, strongly equed with LPF and HPF (leaving a spectrum of frequency 564 Hz – 4.1 kHz)
> Oceanic worms: sound of butterfly wings

Environmental and anthropogenic noises:
> Explosions from volcano eruptions: low hits with a long reverb tail
> Wind whistle
> Earthquakes: metal rattle
> Dropping anchor into the water: Firework like sounds and explosions
> Sounds of heavy ships and vehicles
> Piercing sounds of drilling
> Seismic (oils and gas) bloops

For all sounds, I applied extensive EQ and volume automation, particularly for low-pass filter.

Impulse 4: Stranger Things

Craig Henighan is a sound designer for the science fiction TV series “Stranger Things,” which is considered a masterpiece when it comes to sound design. There is much to discuss regarding the entire sound design and production. I will touch on only a few points that I found impressive.

Main themes:
Starting with the opening, composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein capture the vibes of ’80s horror movies. The main theme was created using the Roland Juno 6, known for its excellent built-in arpeggiator, while other themes were produced with the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, one of the first synthesizers to introduce presets, designed by Dave Smith.

Haunting clock:
In Season 4, a haunting grandfather clock becomes a signature sound effect connected to the Vecna’s character. Henighan creatively manipulated it by layering multiple clock ticks, experimenting with cello strings for a groan-like effect, and adding a slowed-down, descending tone for the final chime, amplifying its eerie presence in the world of the story.

For the monster (Vecna) sound the sound designer heavily compressed the audio and boosted the low-end EQ, then applied the Infected Mushroom plug-in Manipulator for pitch shifting. Reverb and delay effects were added before Mark Patterson, the dialogue and music mixer editor, applied his own processing and dynamically panned Vecna’s voice for spatial depth.


Impulse 3: Cello 2 Cello

Centrum Nauki Kopernik (Copernicus Science Centre) in Warsaw, Poland provides various exhibitions/performances/concerts for educational and entertaining purposes. The place is quite unique when it comes to acoustics. The spaces are designed flexible to accommodate diverse events. This includes implementing noise and reverberation control measures, integrating audiovisual systems.

At the beginning of January I was invited to the concert of “Cello 2 cello” band, consisting of two cellists: Izabela Buchowska and Agnieszka Kowalczyk. Their music blends classical, folk, and contemporary styles. They perform in Poland and worldwide. I found the concert very entertaining. The repertoire was not appealing to my personal musical taste, but I liked the creative and technically level of performance. The repertoire mostly covered popular songs like ABBA, Libertango by Piazzola, Lady Gaga, and Game of Thrones. Of course, one of the biggest advantages was the acoustics of the hall. Every note sounded clear and rich, filling the space beautifully. The sound was warm, making the music feel immersive.

Another event that made a great impression on me in this hall was a concert under the stars and a journey inside the moon. During the entire concert, you could lay on pillows and watch the cosmos accompanied by ambient music. It was one of the most beautiful concerts I got to experienced.


IMPULSE2: The Peasants [2023] (Chłopi) – Polish folkloric movie nominated for an Oscar award.

The movie had its first showing at the Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Special Presentation and was nominated for an Oscar award. Its spectacular painting animation was appreciated at the Gdynia Film Festival. The creators got the Audience Award and a Special Award for its unique look.

The newest version of “The Peasants” movie catches attention because of its unusual style. Instead of regular filming, it tells the story using painted pictures, similar to the concept of “Loving Vincent”. It’s inspired by an artistic period called Young Poland. According to Filmweb website, the movie is made up of about 80,000 pictures painted with 1350 liters of paint.

Music is composed by a polish hip-hop producer Łukasz L.U.C. Rostkowski. It’s a kind of “Slavic New Age” with beat music consisting of various influences that come across as a musical experiment. He did a great job in my opinion. The music creates a typical rural atmosphere, it is boisterous and joyful. “Chłopi” is an international project and L.U.C also tried to create such music. There is Polish folk, Slavic music, but it is filtered through the inluences like Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead. I am sure it makes music interesting also for other cultures.


Ocean zones

The sound of the ocean can change based on the depth of the water, and these changes are influenced by various factors. 

Sunlight zone:

This is the top layer, also called the epipelagic zone, where sunlight reaches. It goes down to 200 meters. It’s likely to hear more pronounced crashing and breaking of waves.The sounds may be sharper, and you may also hear the bubbling and hissing as waves interact with rocks and the seafloor.

Twilight zone:

Below the sunlight zone is the mesopelagic zone (from 200 meters to 1,000 meters). It’s called the twilight zone because there’s only a little bit of sunlight that reaches here.In mid-depth waters, the waves may become more regular and rhythmic.

The sound of waves breaking may still be present, but it could be more consistent and less turbulent compared to shallower areas.

Midnight zone:

Deeper down is the bathypelagic zone, from 1,000 meters to 4,000 meters. It’s super dark here, so it’s called the midnight zone. The only light comes from creatures that glow in the dark. The temperature is pretty much the same all the time, and the pressure is very high.

In deeper ocean waters, the sound of waves breaking becomes less pronounced. Instead, you might hear a more continuous, low-frequency background noise.

The ambient noise in deep waters is often dominated by natural sounds such as the movement of water currents, the creaking of ship hulls, and marine life.

Abyssal zone:

The abyssal zone is from 4,000 meters to 6,000 meters. It’s the deepest part of the ocean, where it’s freezing cold and pitch black. Not many creatures can survive in this zone. In the deepest parts of the ocean, like oceanic trenches, the ambient sounds are typically very low-frequency.

Whales are travelling all the way till Abyssal zone.

2. Exploring the ocean through soundscape – Jennifer L. Miksis-Olds, Bruce Martin, Peter L. Tyack