ALL THE SOUNDS OF AMBERGRIS: TELL ME WHAT YOU HEAR!
Kevin de Groot, from the band Leopardskin Nuclear Bomber (see previous blog entry), was kind enough to send me a most peculiar sound file stripped of the overlying guitars. I then sent it around to a few people and asked “Does this sound like the gray caps?” The gray caps, for those of you who don’t know, are the underground inhabitants of my imaginary city of Ambergris, driven there when the current colonists arrived.
You’ll find the responses, which run the gamut, below.
But my question now, for the rest of you out in cyberland, is Does this sound like the gray caps? And if not, what Ambergris sound is it? (I’m sincerely interested, and looking for your honest opinion—your first reaction. Please take a few moments to leave a comment—and, besides, it’s a 13-second sound clip. It won’t take you long at all. And you might be helping with the Shriek movie...)
You can listen here.
I imagined them a bit more like one of those African languages with clicks and whistles, but this works well.
Egads. I had my volume up too loud, and now the dogs are barking. I never actually imagined the grey caps making any noise, they were much more creepy when silent. That said, the last few seconds of that clip, when there is gibbering/choking going on...that worked for me. The middle, not so much. I couldn't see a context for the middle except for, say, a foreman yelling orders. I could hear lots of teeth in the whole thing. That bit was spot on, heh.
Keith B. Johnston (book collector)
Sounds gray cappish to me!
Yep, perfect, and it made Cosmo bark. She got out of bed to chase whatever was making that sound. The staccato bits near the end of the sample sounded particularly great.
Well...that is truly disturbing. Honestly, quite worrying. But no, not at all like my idea of a grey cap, I'm afraid. I imagined them silent, insidious, a moan rather than a screech, even when they were at the door trying to get in and they escaped over the roof. I imagined maybe a howl, a low one...but mostly I guess I imagined a SILENCE. I guess it could represent something to do with the festival of the Great Squid, and maybe when the two coloured factions were fighting...but that would be more low pitched. No, what this reminds me most of all is the EVIL MONKEY - mid-throw...It really is incredibly affecting - it doesn't lose its power either when you hear it again which is strange. It is the sound of a smashed up mind. That's what I thought, unrestrained insanity.
The greycap sound seemed odd to me, because I'd never imagined them as high-pitched. (And now you can scold me and tell me they're always referred to as high-pitched screamers in the book.)
The grey cap audio thing, for some reason, cracked the shit out of me. Laughed like hell when I heard it -- supremely annoying.
Juliet Ulman (my Bantam editor)
AAAAAAAAACK! And yes, yes it kind of does.
Eric Schaller (writer, illustrator, man of science)
Not the version I have in my mind--which tend to be quietly menacing.
Hannes Riffel (my German editor)
The sound file sounds like the seven dwarfs on dope, which certainly fits the profile ...
Gilles Goullet (my French translator)
Actually, gray caps had always given me the impression they were quiet (almost mute) people. Maybe because they don't have a single line in the book. So I guess nothing will sound like gray caps to me! But I like the sounds, though. Kind of creepy. I wouldn't like hearing that while being underground...
All I can tell you is that really, really upset the Jazz-dog. It also freaked me out! Brr. Remind me not to visit Ambergris!
More like the gray cat after you stepped on its tail. I always thought they sounded more like a woody vibration, a bassoon made of cork.
No. But everyone will have their own aural image of gray caps' sounds. I always thought of them having bass voices as they mature, and also, I think of them never sounding wild and unsocietal as this clip does to me. They would sound articulate, and soft-edged as adults. But again, there's no 'right' to this, is there? I don't know how you think they sound, but I've hunted for how they would sound to me, and if you can imagine the sounds of boiling mud in a place like Rotorua (or slowly boiling and popping oatmeal) add that to sounds of your foot being pulled from mud, and these clips (with the first one speeded up in parts), and that's what they--young, adult, and aged—sound like to me.
Jonathan Stephens (book collector, writer)
I always imagined them making a tongue clicking or perhaps whispering, but that definitely sounds like the noise they would make when they are doing "something" to someone they have captured!
I love it!
EVIL MONKEY’S TIP OF THE WEEK: If someone is stealing your plastic-wrapped newspaper, get up earlier than the culprits for five consecutive days and replace the new newspaper with an old one into the middle of which you have stuffed a ton of cat poop. Not only will this soon stop your paper getting stolen but you’ll have cleaned the cat box for the day.