sound department    

Karel von Kleist has created sound and music since 1969
Either to carry out his own ideas. (Always in plentiful supply).
Or to work with other people
- filmmakers, choreographers, directors, artists -
on adding an extra dimension to their creative projects.

Through soundscapes ... audio effects ... sound installations ... or music.
(To see what he has done to date, click here).

So, what is a soundscape?
Karel von Kleist:

A soundscape does what it says on the tin. It is a composition that consists solely of sounds, whatever their origin. The organising principle focuses on timbre, tone colour, dimensional characteristics, and cadence. Rhythms may naturally be present but are not allowed to dominate. The range of source materials is endless.

Of course, the concept sound as music is not new. Composers like Stockhausen, Varèse, and John Cage treated both phenomena on an equal footing.

In the right hands, sound IS music.

Nature is an inexhaustible source of inspiration, but I can use any type of sound, acoustic or electronic. As long as its texture or colour are interesting.


Sound products for various media
Von Kleist supplies atmos, wild tracks, ambiance, sound effects, sound design, foley (on location), imaginary sounds, music, and full-length soundscapes or installations for exhibitions and spaces that are accessible to the public (from waiting rooms to hospitals to airports) and for film, TV, theatre, ballet, and/or radio.

"Soundscapes can be very effective if (film) makers want to add another dimension to their product on top of what can be done through set sound or music. Whether creating/producing music or taking care of sound design, effects, foley etcetera, what counts is that on-screen images are highlighted according to the specifications of the director/creator. It requires careful preparation as well as attention to detail. In essence I apply the same working method to all media and to any environment, although you have to reckon with different technical and acoustic requirements."

Working method
He uses an SMPTE compatible 8 channel portable Aaton film set recorder (Cantar X2) as well as several Sennheiser 416, and Sanken CMS-9 microphones to achieve a 170° MS panorama conversion to LR, in combination with a Jecklin disc.

A parabola (plus the unsurpassed super-omni Sanken CO-100K) is deployed for nature recordings. During postproduction it is possible to create a 5.1 surround version (based on 8 channel Majax).

For film, 96 kHz, 24 bit. Up/down conversion/FRTS.
For TV, 48 kHz, 24 bit.

"I think in terms of panorama, medium total, and close-up when recording. Clarity and definition are paramount. My approach can be naturalistic, if required (a realistic registration or reconstruction of actual situations, spaces and/or events) or venture far into surrealism. Sound can be very suggestive and does not need to be an exact fit like music. Also, a soundscape can add an intellectual angle to a film and remain emotionally neutral, which can be quite liberating for the maker as well as for the audience."
Special rates for student filmmakers.
Please contact Karel von Kleist for more information and/or quotes.

Soundscapes as autonomous art
Von Kleist is constantly creating new, autonomous soundscapes.

Extremely important is the way different sounds work together. Sometimes I work on an autonomous composition for many years, off and on, until I have found the right combination. These are true voyages of discovery. Almost like geological sound experiments, layer by layer. The ultimate joy is to find sounds that seem new and undiscovered to the composer as well as to the listener.

I often feel like an explorer who is about to enter a virgin continent. I can create my own maps."

An example: Traditional Chinese Paintings
"Sometimes a combination of real music and documentary audio is great. For instance in Traditional Chinese Paintings. Sound mixer Erik Mosterd made recordings on location in China (Shanghai). These interact with western and Chinese string instruments played by musician Thijs de Melker. Radio fragments, nightingales, harbour sounds, pigs, and wonderful playing merge into a soundscape that is almost like a little film in itself."

Sound archive
"My archive contains real treasures ... the crescendo of a piano falling through a window, many different types of wind, brooks, rivers, a roaring ocean, city sounds, industrial noise, harbours, rustling leaves and the sound of silence in the Sheehy Mountains."




Amsterdam ZO, recording Unexpected Answer

With Thijs de Melker, soundscape studio

Opening Vista exhibition

On location, Sheep Cove, Ireland

Colour photos by Suzana Zalokar,
B/w photos by Richard Willebrands / Muriel Agsteribbe

sound & music
Karel von Kleist