How A Video Game Used A Real Human Skull To Make Music

Image: Martin Stig Andersen

In such a saturated market, game makers are always searching for a twist or edge to push their title ahead of the pack. While some might focus on visuals, or a cool mechanic, there a many opportunities to explore in the audio experience too, as sound designer Martin Stig Andersen discovered when he decided to incorporate a human skull into his work.

Tasked with crafting the audio for game developer Playdead's recent title, "Inside", Andersen was inspired by the way the human head itself acts as a modulator for one's own voice, according to his post over on Gamasutra.

As the audio engineer explains:

People are often shocked when they hear themselves recorded, because things sound totally different inside your head. Things sound much softer in there, more full, in a way. This is because a large part of what you hear is your voice resonating inside your body, in your jawbone for example. Try blocking your ears while you speak or sing; that's the sound I'm talking about.

He doesn't go into much detail about how he acquired the skull, but is happy to share the results of his work. Here's the original track:

And here it is after being "processed" inside the skull:

It definitely has a "creepy and cold" feel to it, to use Andersen's own words. Not creepy enough for you?

Turns out the skull itself didn't make it through production unscathed:

The sound has almost a chill about it. Eventually all the teeth fell out of the skull because of the vibrations, but while they were still there they created this small vibrating sound that I think was unsettling but also strangely familiar to people. Because we all know it, in a way.

[Gamasutra, via RPS]

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