It must have been a good while since I last heard people really discuss sound effects intensively. Matter of fact, I dont believe I ever heard or saw any noteworthy efx debate prior to this week. Be it as it may, King of Europe Soundclash has started the argument, mainly based on what people perceived as an exaggerated use of lickshots, horns and lasers by Supersonic’s selector Jr Blender. I have to admit that I noticed an unusual amount of gimmicks being used when listening to the audio, but i never really gave it much thought until i read the comments on the internet about it. That being said, I do believe that the use of horns, gunshots and other samples can subconsciously influence a (soundclash) massive.
I remember a soundclash in berlin I attended around 2005, where I was the only guy in possession of an air horn in a pretty much packed venue. Long story short, everytime I pressed the trigger, a good portion of the crowd would start making noise, giving forwards. Though I guess using an airhorn in comparison to a sound effect might prove more effective, they do share the same principle. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it manipulation,
because after all a sound will do what it has to do to get the people involved in their presentation. However, given the “leadership role” Supersonic have been credited with on the EU scene, I feel this might be part of an interesting development. As Spider (of Supersonic) pointed out, sounds have been using sound effects in clashes for ages (biltmore cassette fans shouldnt be surprised). Nonetheless, as far as I can tell, the use of efx in soundclashes, as well as in juggling dances, has been on a decline ever since then. On the other hand, we used to have a lot of air horns, whistles and torches in european clashes in the early stages of the soundclash development on the old continent. It was not unusual for a sound to hand out said equipment to loyal followers for supporting purposes. Wheras this still seems to be the case for a number of US based clashes I heard, I haven’t seen an airhorn in european dancehalls for a mighty long time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to go down the “sounds lack followers” lane here, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a shift of strategy in pursuit of the same goal: getting the people to root for your sound. The internalization (sounds using efx) might therefore be an indirect result of the ongoing biasness discussions. No matter how bad sound men want to win, one thing they won’t risk is being publicy attacked for “dirty deeds”.
Now even though I personally endorse the use of sound effects on both juggling and soundclash occassions, like every other gimmick it needs to be used in moderation. Otherwise, you migth just end up having to explain why you had to trigger these lickshots to win…