Carl Sondrol

Composer and music producer

Filtering by Tag: dreamy

What is a Mullet?



Well, hello again. I had the pleasure of creating music and sound design for this charmingly funny video by my friend Giga Shane.. in which he interviews his parents to gather their theories on the age-old question: “What is a Mullet?”

I brought in some lovely live musicians for this one including:

Bass Clarinet: Eleanor WeigertBassoon: Brittany SeitsCello: Heather McIntoshVocals: Angeline Gragasin

I added some humming, then dusted off the accordion, broken guitar, and even some whole wheat spaghetti to season the music with the right mood for this bizarre conversation.

Special thanks to Richard Howarth for some very detailed work in helping get the dialog levels under control!

Speaking of… this conversation was recorded casually on an iphone, which presented some interesting challenges from a post audio perspective. Who wants to geek out!? Bear with me and I’ll reward you with a few pictures in a moment.

Usually when I’m processing vocals (from a singer tracked in studio for example), they’ve been recorded at a pretty constant distance from the microphone. Microphones will respond differently depending on how far away a sound source is, so this contact distance is helpful because it will yield a relatively consistent balance as far as low, mid, and hi frequencies in the voice. However, in this case Giga and his parents are at different distances from the iPhone which resulted in this scenario:

  • Giga (close to mic): More “harsh” or “bright” frequencies, louder volume
  • Parents (further from mic): More hiss and “muddy” frequencies (more of the “room noise”), softer volume


Since there is music underneath the dialog, it’s important for the speaking to be consistent as possible… from an EQ perspective AND a volume perspective. This will help it be more intelligible, and not as easily covered by the music.

Fortunately there are really cool “dynamic EQ” plugins built for just this type of scenario. I was able to apply a specific EQ setting for Giga (to tame the harshness) and a very different EQ setting to his parents (to reduce the hiss and muddiness).. and automatically transition between these in cases where the phone or the person speaking is moving. That is really really cool, right?

After improving the EQ balance of all the dialog, the overall volume levels could be dealt with using envelopes and compression.

Hmmm, as I seem to have gone on and on about the sound design / mix side, I will summarize the music side quickly: super fun! As promised, a few session photos:

Brittany Seits, Bassoonist Extraordinaire:

O, the delicate timbre of whole wheat thin spaghetti:

GOODY! TWO SHOES



I recently had the pleasure of scoring & sound designing this video, directed by the wonderful Celia Rowlson-Hall. She describes it thusly:

watch me demolish a city, perform in a broadway show, stroll through the jungle and turn into a ghost… all over a pair of shoes.


I’ve been following Celia’s work for a few years now and it was a real treat to team up. It was a fun challenge to figure out how to complement the stream-of-consciousness visuals in a compelling way… I’m pretty excited about the godzilla-soundscape-into-broadway-sassiness-into-electro-jungle-ominousness-into-bittersweet-death-music-with-ghost-breathing approach we landed on :)

Thank you to all the great musicians who helped out on super-short notice:

Shannon Stone - tenor sax, clarinetWalter Simonsen - trumpetAngeline Gragasin - vocalsMax Crowe - guitar

Also, thank you Richard Howarth for assisting with sound design (as with last week’s post!)

Special thanks to frequent collaborator David Fishel (who also assistant directed and edited this video) for the introduction.

Enjoy! Then check out more of Celia’s films and choreography here.

Pipe Dream released

It’s hard to believe this day has come: Pipe Dream, a film I finished scoring 2.5 YEARS ago* has finally been released. It’s interesting to hear the musical approach of a younger me and I look back on this one fondly.

I’ve written a bit about it before in a previous blog post:

Vocals by my great friend Alice Wedoff, who’s also an amazing theater actress.

The goal for this score was to match the tone of the film with something like an echoey French pop song interwoven into sweeping/dreamy swells and neurotic sound design. I used a mix of synths, a broken guitar I found in an alley, orchestral elements and more to get it there.

This was also a fun challenge because it required French lyrics– and I don’t speak French! Solution: I sang a temporary track of the melody (in gibberish), David wrote lyrics to match, then Alice came in and nailed the real thing. Voila! (Ok, one word of French…)


I must give kudos to our good friend Joel Anderson for his top-notch sound design, and of course to director David Fishel for not only making the thing but also having the persistence to get through many a technical setback. Here’s his description:

This is a cute little short I shot on 16mm in Paris in 2007. When backing up the hard drive it was on before making the final mix, the hard drive crashed and I lost everything. It has taken until now to rebuild it from the negative and complete it, thanks to the help and support of many friends.

summary:Set against the less than conventionally romantic backdrop of the Paris Métro, “Pipe Dream” tells the unlikely connection between two would-be lovers despite social, cultural, and linguistic boundaries.

Pipe Dream score



Part 1: (intro and buildup, 2min length)



Part 2: (narration into HIT at 1:10, 2min length)

Above is some audio of a dreamy score I made last year for the film Pipe Dream (again by David Fishel). It still hasn’t been released but when it is I’ll be sure to post it.

Vocals by my great friend Alice Wedoff, who’s also an amazing theater actress.

The goal for this score was to match the tone of the film with something like an echoey French pop song interwoven into sweeping/dreamy swells and neurotic sound design. I used a mix of synths, a broken guitar I found in an alley, orchestral elements and more to get it there.

This was also a fun challenge because it required French lyrics– and I don’t speak French! Solution: I sang a temporary track of the melody (in gibberish), David wrote lyrics to match, then Alice came in and nailed the real thing. Voila! (Ok, one word of French…)