Follow Bristolian and dystopia enthusiast Tim Maughan has released his debut novel, a near future depiction of the collapse of the internet and international supply chains. Tangible dread, absorbing storylines and all to close to the bone predictions of disaster define Infinite Detail as an essential snapshot of what the next ten years hold.
When Tim asked me to help produce the audio book, it was a done deal. Add in top tier narration by Joe Sims, famous for Dark Souls 2 and Bloodbourne, giving it his best, also hometown dialects, to bring these Bristolians to life.
The Drone Gods are a hacker group synonymous with Lulzsec, Lizard Squad or Anonymous, who are revealed to have had a significant part in the destruction wrought in the world, effectively, as their name suggests, playing god with the lives of everyone dependent on the internet, which is just about everyone. When Tim asked me to produce an excerpt, an announcement from the Drone Gods, the first thing I researched were the classic Anonymous youtube channel announcements. The methods of voice manipulation to hide identities, the self aggrandisement of being untouchable and self righteous, the youthful exuberance and naivety of teenagers who realised they were ahead of the curve, all themes that stood out to me from Tim’s excellent prose and correlated so closely with my understanding of their real life equivalents. To translate this into audio, a series of read throughs with both synthesised and real human voices were taken, then through pitch shifting and time stretching a ‘hive’ of voices was built. Inspired by the way Borg communicated in classic Star Trek: The Next Generation and how that plays into the concept of hacker groups all round the world, operating as a single unit. Each track was then stitched together, glitched and layered to produce the announcement, the final message from the Drone Gods.
Here’s a snippet of the excerpt:
Tim also requested a musical introduction, something to set the scene. Throughout the DroneGods announcement, I wanted to create a sense of urgency and impending, unstoppable change. Drawing on the mainstream news programs’ themes found on CNN and the BBC, the pulsing rhythms backed with an ever approaching drone fit the bill. As the story itself is deeply rooted in Bristol and sound system culture, it seemed only appropriate to have dark Jungle leanings of the early 90s, a period of electronic paranoia and increased government surveillance. Coming together in an atonal composition packed with dread and menace.