The Long Walk

The Long Walk is a collaboration with composer Alex Eckford. One goal of the piece is to illustrate Alex’s experience of synesthesia. Synesthesia is fairly common and could be described as the condition in which stimulation of one sense leads to secondary involuntary experience in another sense. So when some people smell certain smells they see specific colours. In Alex’s case music stimulates visual and spatial experience; “I see music as shapes and colours in front of me, in my mind’s eye. The colours vary, but it’s usually blue or white outlines of waveforms and shapes on a black background. It’s mapped to the stereo spectrum - sounds off to the left and right appear visually to my left and right.”

The aim was also wanted to create something that would work alongside an actual performance. Almost ambient, immersive and engaging but not too distracting. It’s also designed with flexibility of platform in mind so could be reversioned as 360/VR video or as a panoramic projection for a live music venue.

The colours reflect the idea that the ‘long walk’ begins very early, before dawn and we witness the sunrise in the final section of the song.

The main portion of the animation is entirely driven from the audio data (both MIDI and the audio file) meaning that barely any manual (key frame) animation was used. The MIDI controls the position and velocity of the emitters which generate the symmetrical wave structures and bass element. At the very bottom we see a structure which is generated by a 3D graphic equaliser type setup which is driven by the waveform of the audio file.

Process images and stills below

Recording Process
The piece was recorded at Saint Jude-on-the-Hill in Hampstead Garden Suburb and performed by The Janus Ensemble.

Houdini Process


Director: Simon Russell
Composer: Alex Eckford
Arranger: Danyal Dhondy
Performers: The Janus Ensemble
Recorded by: Adaq Khan
Conductor: Tom Seligman
Mixed by: Jonathan Allen
℗ Bucks Music Group Ltd. 2018

Houdini, Cinema 4D, Arnold, X-Particles