Sound design for Beyond Two Souls

We asked sound designer Mathieu Fiorentini of Quantic Dream to talk about how he used Kyma in the sound design for the PS-3 interactive psychological action thriller — Beyond Two Souls — starring Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe:

Throughout the whole game, the player encounters creatures from the other side, called the Entities. We designed the Entities sounds as a team.  For the part of the job that was assigned to me, Kyma helped me a lot to find and propose  layers for the movements and the growls of the creatures. I recorded some collections from the Tau Player, then put the results into the 3DMorphSampleCloud to merge with some human voices. I also got some very exciting results from the 100 Whooshes patch from JED (sound designer, Jean-Edouard Miclot).

In the final chapter of the game, I used Kyma for creatures and ambient sound.  For example:

In this sound, the player is inside a kind of supernatural tempest. So I needed very consistent sound for the ambience. I used the 3DMorphSampleCloud prototype to merge and modulate various sound effects (wind, sand movements, volcano, dogs growl, my voice).

This is the sound made by some weird monsters made from sand particles; they come up from out of the ground to attack Jodie (the main character). I used the CrossFilter prototype to cross human voices and moans with the sounds of wind and gas jets.

I’m new Kyma user (1 year), and I’m so excited about getting deeper and deeper into Kyma. There’s something unusual and magic when I switch on my Pacarana. I know I’m going to spend time dedicated to search and experiment, and I often forget that I’m working on a computer. It helps me to focus only on the most important thing: the sound.

— Mathieu Fiorentini

P.S . Here is the complete list of the Quantic Dreams’ main audio team for Beyond Two Souls:

Alexis Antoni, sound designer
Sylvain Buffet, sound designer
Lorne Bafle, music composer
Xavier Despas, lead sound designer
Mathieu Fiorentini, sound sesigner
Laurent Gabiot, dialog recordist
Mary Lockwood, music manager
Mathieu Muller, sound designer
Stéphane Tréziny, dialog editor
Dominique Voegele, sound designer
Hans Zimmer, music producer

Isikyakar in Ankara

Ilker Isikyakar, sound designer and composer at Cloud18 post production studios in New York, will be in Ankara (Turkey) on 31 October and 1 November to make a presentation on Kyma at the Audio Technologies For Music and Media international Conference (ATMM 2013).

Audio Technologies for Music and Media is an international interdisciplinary conference that focuses on various aspects of audio, audiovisual and music technologies for music and media as well as the relationship between sound, music and image in both ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ media.

Isikyakar will demonstrate how he utilizes Kyma in his work and talk about how Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi‘s nine elements of flow apply to his way of interacting with Kyma. Csikszentmihalyi describes the ‘flow state’ as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one…”

You can read Ilker Isikyakar’s abstract in the ATMM 2013 Program booklet.

John Balcom Scores Big Shot

Composer John Balcom recently completed the score for a new documentary utilizing Kyma as his synthesis tool kit.  BIG SHOT, part of ESPN’s award-winning series 30 FOR 30, tells the story of John Spano’s notorious purchase of the New York Islanders hockey team – which, 4 months after it happened, was exposed as one of the biggest scams in sports history. Directed by Kevin Connolly (E from ENTOURAGE), the film offers the first ever interview with Spano. It’s a pretty incredible story — Newsday called it “a must-watch for anyone with an interest in the power of delusion — both of the self and of others.” The film will be premiering Oct 22nd at 8pm EST on ESPN, and will eventually be available on demand as well as Netflix.

Far more than a sports documentary, the film is, at its core, the story of how a con man pulled off an incredible scam, and much of Balcom’s music speaks to this part of the film. The main instruments used were harp, piano, percussion, and synth, with Kyma supplying most of the synth parts.

When asked why he uses Kyma, Balcom responds, “I find the sound quality second to none. It has become an invaluable tool for me and I find myself using it more and more in my projects.”

Kyma at Musicacoustica Beijing

Three world premieres at the Musicacustica Beijing 2013 festival are utilizing Kyma for live sound generation and processing:

Magic Fingers for Leap Motion and Kyma by composer/performer Wang Chi, a composer and performer whose research and composition interests include data driven instruments and sound design. Chi is also an active translator for electronic music related books, including Kyma and the SOS Disco Club.


The FA Yun An man for Kyma by composer Wang Chunming, associate professor of Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, PhD candidate in digital media at the Shanghai Conservatory Of Music, and Director of the Institute of China Electronic Music.


And Theatre of Spheres by composer Jeffrey Stolet of the University of Oregon. Jeffrey Stolet is a professor of music and director of the Intermedia Music Technology at the University of Oregon where he has installed 5 Kyma teaching and production studios. In addition to teaching Kyma to his composition and sound design students at the University, Professor Stolet also directs the yearly Summer Academy on the UO campus where he welcomes international students and faculty for a two-week intensive course on digital audio, sound design and Kyma. Recently Stolet completed a book on Kyma, entitled Kyma and the SumOfSines Disco Club that is currently available in English and will soon be available in Chinese.

A script shaped more by sound than words

“Working from a script shaped more by sound than words, insight comes at us in primal waves. The heart-wrenching sobs, the gut-churning nausea, the keening and, perhaps most profound of all, the silence. It all carries specific meaning.”

This is how Betsy Sharkey, film critic LA Times, describes Hamilton Sterling‘s sound for Morning, a film by Leland Orser with his wife Jeanne Tripplehorn, Laura Linney, Elliot Gould, Kyle Chandler, and Jason Ritter.

Sterling, who is credited as sound designer/re-recording mixer/supervising sound editor on the film, used Kyma to process the transitions to the characters’ memory flashbacks of their child in this tough and unsentimental exploration of a couple’s grief over the loss of their child.

The film opened in LA, New York, and select cities this month and will be available through VOD and DVD for those of us who do not live in “select cities”.

Tobias Enhus featured in Studio Magazine

Tobias Enhus‘ Santa Monica California-based film-scoring studio is featured in the November 2013 issue of STUDIO magazine. You can get a preview of the article through this video in which Enhus gives a demo tour of his unique collection of gear (including a rack with three Pacaranas) presented in Swedish and the universal language of audio gear, all to the soft accompaniment of the glassy, metallic, vocal, analog electronics that have become his signature sound. Near the end of the video, Enhus does an impromptu performance with Max Mathews’ Radio Baton controlling vocal resynthesis in Kyma!

When not composing for film, television, games & advertising, Tobias Enhus enjoys a bit of cave diving.
When not composing for film, television, games & advertising, Tobias Enhus enjoys a bit of cave diving & sleep walking.

The article describes how Tobias was born in Sweden and began by following in his father’s footsteps as a construction engineer before changing course to follow his true passion: music and sound design. Now he is a successful film composer and sound designer in Hollywood, and he has what he describes as a real monster in his sound design studio: “This is my audio playground,” Tobias says, referring to his Kyma system, the programming language considered by some to be the most powerful sound design tool available. Enhus’ Kyma system (his 3-Pacarana rack is among the world’s largest sound computing clusters), along with his Synclavier and analog synthesizer modules, have laid the technical foundation for Enhus’ successes in Los Angeles; his composing credits include the films Narc and the soon-to-be-released feature film Sisterhood of Night, the television series Top Gear and video game Spiderman 3, as well as sound design and music composition for numerous ads for companies like Mercedes and Coca Cola.

The article is full of photos, anecdotes, advice, and insights on the life of a professional composer and sound designer in LA. And it’s an inspiring story for anyone who feels they are expected to take one path in life and is seeking the courage to risk it all in order to follow their dreams.


QUANTUM at CERN Open Days. Photo by Gilles Jobin

Choreographer Gilles Jobin’s latest creation, QUANTUM, combines movement-generators and interaction algorithms inspired by the four fundamental forces, Kyma sounds based on collision events captured by the ATLAS experiment at CERN, and a kinetic light sculpture that explores resonance and forcing functions. An outgrowth of Jobin’s residency last year at CERN, QUANTUM is an example of what can happen when artists and scientists interact with one another, exchange ideas, and learn about each other’s work. One hundred meters above the beam line of the Large Hadron Collider, against the colorful back-drop of a photograph of the CMS detector, six dancers form and dissolve fluid patterns of vibration and heat, playful non-contact interactions, flowing across the stage like a Bose-Einstein condensate, and bouncing through a bubble chamber, carried along by spinning waves of quadraphonic sound, as lights careen in wave-like patterns above their heads.

You can see the piece performed again, this time in a theatre, from 4 – 8 November 2013 in Paris at New Settings #3 / Théâtre de la Cité Internationale – Paris – France

And again on 14 January 2014 at Bonlieu Scène nationale – in Annecy, France.

More details and credits on Gilles Jobin’s site.

A description in New Scientist magazine;

A review from Le Temps in Geneva;

A radio interview with Gilles Jobin on RTS with excerpt of music;

A preview from Le Courrier



Sound design for Brecht in Porto

Sound designer Luis Aly utilized Kyma to spatialize the sound for a 13-27 September 2013 production of Brecht’s Die Geschäfte des Herrn Julius Caesar (The Business Affairs of Mr Julius Caesar) at the National Theatre of Porto in Portugal.

To create the space, Aly routed eight Kyma outputs across 26 Meyer Sound speakers grouped as: Front of House (10 speakers), Surround House (10 speakers) and Back of Stage (4 speakers) and Inside Stage (2 speakers). The ten actors and live musicians (voice, violin, custom electric guitar and electronics) were all miked and their inputs were mixed in a Midas Heritage 2000 mixing desk, sent to Kyma, and spread in space using reverberation and delay algorithms.

According to Aly, “..with only a few parameters I could move the space, stretch it, shrink it, delay it…Kyma it!!! For a sound designer it’s a dream come true. In this process I thought of what I wanted, realized it very efficiently in Kyma, and the results were amazing!”