5 sound designers who will take over your brain.
I can't take my ears off of it.
It opens worlds inside my mind.
It's an esoteric and translucent art, and it's critical. It the icing. It's the glue.
Sound design. Soundscapes. Audio magic. Who are the best practioners of this ambient art?
Determining the "best" ambient sound designer is subjective, of course, and can vary based on personal taste, the specific needs of a project, and the evolving nature of sound design as an art form. All of that factors in.
However, there are a few notable figures in the field who have been widely recognized for their contributions. These guys have moved the needle.
Eno is often credited with popularizing ambient music. Eno's approach to sound design and his concept of creating an atmosphere that can be actively listened to or ignored, such as in his album Ambient 1: Music for Airports, has been hugely influential.
I listened to "Airports" a lot. To get the full vibe I put it on play while I was walking through airports! I'm serious. And a little weird. But I liked this record. I wouldn't say loved, but I was fascinated with it.
Known for his work in film, especially with the Star Wars franchise, Burtt's innovative use of everyday sounds to create new, immersive worlds has set a high standard in the field.
The 'voice' of R2-D2, the lightsaber hum, the sound of the blaster guns, the heavy-breathing sound of Darth Vader. If you loved Star Wars you loved the soundscapes of Ben Burtt. Sonic imagination unleashed.
Here's link to learn more about his amazing work on that iconic franchise.
A versatile artist, Sakamoto's work in films and his own albums blend ambient sound with musical elements, creating rich, textured soundscapes.
We lost this great artist in 2023.He had been a compass for my work in the fields of sound design and audio productions. And his thinking on the pressures being put on artists by the digital overlords has been an inspiration.
Sakamoto campaigned for fair copyright terms and artist rights in the Internet age with an emphasis on the convenience of Internet users and music fans, ultimately testifying directly before the Agency for Cultural Affairs’ Copyright Council.
The assaault on copyright continues.
But it is his music, and sound design that, of course, defines his life.
Although primarily known as a composer, her work, especially on projects like Chernobyl, and the hypnotic Bathroom Dance in The Joker--deeply immersive soundscapes that blur the line between music and ambient sound. Her work as a player, a composer and sound designer, approaches what I hold as the gold standard of sonic artistry.
Today, I'm focusing on sound artists, so I refer you to her piece, Good Sound with Dirk Dresselhaus.
NOTE: I always try to direct folks to a site they can BUY an artists work, or SUBSCRIBE to their site. We need to gather round each other and support the work of all these amazing artists.
A former member of the band Cabaret Voltaire and a sound recordist for the BBC, Watson is known for his field recordings that capture the natural world in a profoundly evocative way.
His work with Ricahrd Attenborough is legendary, the natural world speringing to life under that iconic narration.
I use his sonic artistry to sleep, relax, unwind. I mean that in no way an insult. His amazing catalogue is well-worth purchasing and listening to.
Imagine this artist moving through the world with his microphone, recording our living planet. A gift and a treasure.
These artist change the way we hear. They change the way we experience our world. Technical innovations, artistic visions, distinctive styles. I love their invisble art. It changes the way my heart beats.
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Thanks for reading ~ chris