When Man Made had the opportunity to build a new home from the floating concrete floors up, we knew we needed to think about our space differently than the creative and digital media companies whose offices we all lust over. We needed to think about the space between. For a music company, it is not about the walls, desks, and couches, but the space between them, through which the sound and music moves, that is most important.
Check out the Man Made Music Penthouse below.
Designed to inspire creativity, collaboration and innovation, the Penthouse allows us to live the philosophy of our brand at MMM — setting the tone of different areas not only through visual design, but soundscaping and creative sound exploration. We can design and model client experiences, from bank foyers to hotel lobbies, and we have sonic space to play.
Akin to casinos, most studios are notoriously dark and windows are few and far between. After living in such a space for years, Man Made wanted the opposite. A light filled penthouse with a unique “H” shape, putting the priority on natural light entering every corner — even the recording studios.
With no less than 70% of our “meetings” requiring audio playback, Man Made was designed to be studio-centric. Meetings happen in the studios where our highest-level contribution to the world, amazing music and sound, are created.
As all New Yorkers know, we could use more of the great outdoors. Natural elements improve mood and productivity. Since we can’t physically have an outdoor space, can we create the illusion of the outdoors? This idea depends on the interaction of two separate elements — the lights and the sound system. Through this experience we want the lights and this particular zone of sound to be responsive and work to reflect the changing day and atmosphere.
Based in QLab show control software, MMM has created three transformative sonic experiences supported by synchronized LED lighting: A thunderstorm, a baseball game, and a rainforest. It’s a 20-channel audio experience that fills the entire office with sound that moves, ebbs and flows from one end to the other, triggered from an iPad via Open Sound Control (OSC). OSC commands QLab to fire its cues, while QLab in turn sends MIDI information via DMX to strip lights and more OSC data to the Philips Hue lamps in the ceiling.
The flexibility of the system allows us to continue to explore the possibilities for sound experiences and invite others to create for the space — a revolving exhibition of sonic arts by the friends and family of Man Made Music. 2016 will see the facility begin to host artists outside of Man Made’s usual suspects with our Artist-in-Residence program. The AiR program gives artists from around New York the opportunity to work with our state of the art facility and design installations using our top tier sound delivery system. We can’t wait to see how the space between feels in 2016 and beyond. The new Man Made Music Penthouse is designed to be a hub of creative collaboration in service of our clients, staff and music collaborators.
Thank you to Francis Manzella and FM Design for the design of the space.
Lauren McGuire is SVP, Managing Director at Man Made Music. Talk to her on Twitter @McGL212.
(Photo Credit: Netflix)
Disclaimer: I live my work-life at a music company surrounded by composers, musicians, and sound designers. I get to hang with some seriously sonically-gifted folks. I am not one of them. So if you are looking for a technical sound review of “Daredevil”, this will not be it.
I am however, a listener, and this is arguably my most important role at Man Made Music. After all, most people aren’t experts in music or sound, but we do love it, live through it, and have a visceral emotional response when the sound is perfect for the experience. I am the audience for sonic experiences in entertainment and for brands.
I am also a comic nerd. So, between the two, I could not wait to see what Netflix would do with “Daredevil” – the series about a man blinded by chemicals, relying on his heightened other senses to fight evil. If they played it right, the sound would be key to getting into Daredevil’s head – you have to experience the world through his ears instead of his eyes.
As many a Reddit reviewer has noted – watch “Daredevil” in surround sound or through headphones or you will miss out on the detailed sound design that is key to the viewing experience. Sound is one of the primary, if not the premiere, storyteller in “Daredevil”. The world as heard through the main character is immersive, powerful, and at times gruesome. This sonically-attuned-fan-girl was not disappointed.
Three specific executions of sonic storytelling in “Daredevil” Episode 1, I really enjoyed as a viewer…
- From the opening credits you know the heartbeat will play a key role in the soundtrack, true to the comic story. Defense Lawyer Matt Murdock focuses on the sound of the heart beating to tell whether a person is lying or telling the truth. You hear your first nod to this story point as the main title resolves onto screen with a subtle heartbeat closing the title track. The heartbeat is heard in the background of a few key conversations throughout the episode, clueing the observant viewer into the truth of the matter at hand. A note: it is subtle enough that my sister, who watched on her TV, did not hear it. Unlike the widely panned 2003 Ben Affleck film, the sonic storytelling here wasn’t painfully obvious, it was purposeful and effective in a way you might not even notice – exactly how sound should be when it’s done right.
- It’s been noted these Netflix series would be darker than the shiny Marvel blockbusters, and it is true. Through dark and gritty imagery, you can’t always see every detail of the fight scenes, but you experience them through the detailed sound. The cock of a gun, squish of a knife cutting flesh, crack of bone are present and pointed. Covering your eyes doesn’t help you skip the gore in “Daredevil”. During one battle you sense the swing of a knife going from left to right , and back over head from right to left with the backswing. These fights are choreographed not only visually, but sonically.
- The sound of the environment seems like it will be playing a key role in the series. In episode 1, two main scenes are set to the sound of falling rain and rolling thunder. The sound sets the scene for the viewer, as it does for Murdock. One such scene is a flashback and you can imagine how when a blind man thinks back to a moment in his past, what he remembers first is the falling rain. I look forward to seeing if this environmental sound treatment moves forward as it seems like flashbacks will play a key role – at least until they have fully told Murdock’s origin story.
The rich sonic storytelling was present throughout the entire episode, but the most visceral moment arrived in the last 30 seconds of the pilot episode. Daredevil stands on a rooftop in Hell’s Kitchen, sifting through a sonic barrage. The sounds of the city are laid out below him. Finally, he hones in on a single sound – the cries of a little boy come rushing at you the viewer, or in this case, the listener. Onto the next episode…
Thank you Netflix. Let the binge listening begin.
Lauren McGuire is SVP, Client Services and Brand Development at Man Made Music. Talk to her on Twitter @McGL212.
I have never seen the movie Frozen, nor actually heard the recorded song, and yet I can’t stop singing “Let It Go.” This is simply because I live in a neighborhood with lots of children and they won’t let it go. Just go already.
Every few months a movie score, kids show theme, brand jingle or song (no matter how inappropriate the subject matter) grabs hold of the collective kiddie consciousness and holds us all hostage for a few weeks. This kind of “recess recall” or “playground playback” is priceless. Between the spontaneous street karaoke and resulting slew of adorable viral videos, you could pay millions and not get the same level of exposure.
So what makes a track, whether it be in entertainment or general market, get this kind of kid love? Some musical indicators can be hysterically explored through YouTube’s collection of children singing popular (and age inappropriate) songs…
Simple Vocals: A sticky chorus melody that stands on its own, even without the track. It inspires kids to sing along, in a group or solo, even by themselves.
Repetition: Requires low cognitive resource and suggests a cognitive echo. Simple repetitive lyrics, rhythms, instrumental riffs apply.
Musical Incongruity: A missing or added beat. A melodic contour or harmony that violates pattern expectancies
Lyrical Incongruity: An odd word, a slightly mispronounced word or a violation of expected syllable accentuation. Taylor Swift is the princess of this one.
Wordplay: The witty exploitation of the meanings and ambiguities of words. Use of onomatopoeia is popular here.