Copyright © 2019 Box Of Toys Audio Ltd

OFFF Festival

Barcelona 2018

When Imaginary Forces passed the torch of the OFFF Main Titles to our long time creative associates Giantstep we were excited to be given the opportunity to collaborate on yet another groundbreaking project.
Headed up by Jake Ferguson and Heebok Lee, this sequence is about McLuhan's famous quote "The medium is the message" infused with Greek mythology, Gemini. The story of Gemini was adopted and paralleled with the history of media; their secret birth, sisterhood, and death/resurrection along with letterpress printing, broadcast transmutation, and computer/AI world.


We worked closely with the directors to marry our audio approach to the overall visual concept. The narrative and visuals speak of the duality of origin and evolution using geometry and golden ratios. Repetition of imagery created a pattern that we reflected in the music with a pulsating acoustic rhythm. This became the basis of the entire soundtrack.


To emulate the naturally occurring patterns and mathematics used in the visual treatment we chose to adopt a ‘scientific tuning’ of our instruments where the note A = 432Hz. This tuning is in contrast to the widely accepted worldwide reference frequency chosen in 1953 where A = 440Hz. It is proposed that a 432Hz tuning harmonises with naturally occurring frequencies and stems from 8Hz; the fundamental ‘beat’ of the planet (known as the Schumann resonance). Some go as far as to suggest that music tuned to this scale has natural healing qualities.

With our trance like rhythm and natural tuning in place we proceeded to layer in recordings of hypnotic instrumentation. Contorted melodies were played on stringed instruments, resulting in a prominent riff coming to fore. An arching guitar performance was effected via a Line 6 Bass Pod, infusing deep synth like qualities and serenading the twisted journey through Gemini’s world.


McLuhan’s quote resonated with us as it begged for a sonic interpretation. By enlisting a rag tag team of friends and colleagues we were able to record that very phrase over a number of languages including Japanese, French, German and Greek. The resulting recordings were jumbled together and processed to create a swirling ambience of voices, all reminding us that the medium is indeed the message. These were perfect for illustrating the screen structures seen throughout the film.


Wires, strings and threads are heavily featured in the sequence and we wanted to represent their presence and character in an interesting way. By gathering contact mic recordings of sound propagation through wires, ice lakes and alike we created a small library of sounds that were then combined and processed through Twisted Tool’s S-Layer software. As can be heard below the audio output gave an abstract sense of tension and distance held in the sprawling network of wires.


A more digital interpretation of the wires was created by recording the light plucking of strings at the head of a guitar. With multi-effects applied these provided a number of twinkling digital textures that helped to add sparkle to several key scenes.