Welcome to the website of Calgary, Alberta based Sound Designer and Composer Aidan Lytton. Feel free to learn more about me, have a gander at my audio and video samples, or even get in touch directly via the contact page. Enjoy!

A Sound Effect Contest 

The website asoundeffect.com posted a little contest to design the sound for this short video. The challenge: you must create the sound using only synthesizers, processed however you like.

I got down and dirty with some good old experimentation while concocting my submission. One highlight of the process was learning how to create spark sound effects with a synthesizer. I also ran some of my synth sounds through a bass amp with small screws on the speaker cone, the buzzing of the screws as they vibrated with the speaker cone created a wicked analog buzz, which I recorded and used in the design.

Check it out below and let me know what you liked about it, or what could be improved. Cheers!

 

 

+15 Soundscape 

     Exciting news! My multi-channel soundscape "Caverns of Sound" has been selected for exhibition in the Arts Commons +15. Prepare to enter an otherworldly cavern as you pass through the +15 in-between arts commons and the Glenbow Museum from May 1st until June 30th. Check out my artist's statement on the work below. Stay tuned friends!

     Caves are places of great mystery. To our early ancestors they represented both refuge and danger, and even today they can inspire an intermingling of awe and terror. There is something supernatural about the air of a cave, and they have popped up in mythologies and spiritual traditions around the world. The infant Zeus was hidden from his murderous father in a cave, and left there to mature into the King of Gods we all know. The power of the cave is one of transformation, of death, and re-birth. 
     It is for these reasons that I have chosen to utilize the metaphor of the cave as a vehicle to craft an otherworldly soundscape. This installation is an exploration in the creation of a unique environment within our city, through the medium of sound. Part meditation, part auditory journey, Caverns of Sound is intended to spark the imagination of passerby’s, by creating a surreal experience in an everyday place, evoking the joy and magic of nature.
     Crafted using field recordings taken from the natural world, which have then been sculpted and manipulated, this sound installation presents the ear with something familiar yet new. Ultimately, Caverns of Sound is aimed at taking the auditory sense, which is too often dulled by the daily grind of city life, and awakening it to something fantastical.

Noonright 

I am exceedingly excited to announce that Noonright, a short animation which I had the pleasure of scoring and sound designing, has won the Telus Story Hive Digital Short competition! The project will now move on to another phase of development, as well as getting exposure at the Banff World Media Festival. Take a look and listen to what we created, and stay tuned for further developments!

Cypress Hills Cattle Drive  

Digging back into the archives again, this field recording comes from the Cypress hills in Saskatchewan. A few summers back I was camping there, and was roused one morning by the strangest bestial moans. What sounded like a distant herd of Triceratops moving through the forest, turned out to be a cattle drive (not an uncommon happening for the area). The sounds of the cattle drive, mixed with the lush bird calls of the Cypress Hills, makes for a strange and unique soundscape. Enjoy!
/
  1. Cypress Hills Cattle Drive

The Island of the Birds  

So I thought it would be fun to use this blog in part to post some of the interesting field recordings I've collected over the years. To start it off, this is a recording from Bacalar in southern Mexico. Bacalar sits on an idyllic inland lagoon, and in the middle of it is a small island shrouded in mangroves. It's earned itself the name "Island of the Birds" as it is home to somewhere around 80 species of birds. One morning a few friends and I decided to Kayak out to the island at sunrise, and we happened to capture the birds during feeding time. This beautiful cacophony is what we heard. Enjoy!

Recording with The Left Behinds 

So I just spent two weeks laying down tracks for The Left Behinds upcoming (as of yet untitled) sophomore album. Oh man, what an experience! The Left Behinds are an incredible indie rock/folk band who formed while the members were attending the University of Lethbridge. They are one of Calgary's finest (Check 'em out here!). Joining them on creating this album was an absolute treat, and for two weeks I felt like part of the band as we worked together closely, treating the recording process as an extension of the music itself.

We began by laying down live instrumental tracks for all the songs on the album, a huge task in of itself. We decided to take an unorthodox approach, recording without a click track, and just capturing the musicians as if they were playing in a live setting. This gave the tracks an amazing raw feel, as we embraced slight imperfections, and in doing so captured the emotionality and intensity of the band playing together. We also had the pleasure of using some sexy vintage equipment, including several 1970's era tube amps! I felt this equipment captured the quirky spirit of the band beautifully. Here's a picture of them laying down some sweet sweet music. Notice Kathryn's amp to her left is draped with a blanket for sound isolation, just one of the many DIY recording techniques we made use of!
Once the foundation of the tracks were laid down, we began overdubbing vocals, lead guitar, and a variety of other sonic additions. This is where the creativity really came out. We spent time chatting about the direction of the different songs, and what kind of sonic statement we wanted to make with each track. We experimented with guitar effects, feedback, group vocals, hand claps and more to give character and texture to the songs. I even got involved in some of the aforementioned, as you can see here me and Ryan laying down backing vocals in the "vocal tent" we made.
We had a lot of fun, learned much, and captured some beautiful moments over the two weeks. I'm currently mixing the album which should be out by late November. More to come, stay tuned friends!
Click above to check out my original theme music for the campy, creepy horror play, The Underneath.

Click above to check out my original theme music for the campy, creepy horror play, The Underneath.