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Inside's Sound Was Recorded Through A Human Skull

As one does

Sounds and music for Inside [official site] were recorded through a real human skull.

Vibrations rattled the skull so much that its teeth fell out.

No one's saying whose skull it is/was.

Yep, sounds and music for Playdead's grim platformer were played through a (severed, defleshed) human skull and recorded with contact microphones to eerie them up, audio director Martin Stig Andersen explains in a post on Gamasutra. He's mentioned this before, all casual like, but here drills down into it (the technique, not the bone). And he has photos of the skull. And sound samples. It is all quite good.

"I had the basic idea of trying to recreate sounds as they would sound if they were happening inside your head," he says, explaining that sounds resonating inside our bodies and bones changes them. "That was the curious thought that led me to acquire a human skull and experiment with it."

As one does.

So he hooked the skull and lower jaw up to contact microphones and played them some songs. Even aside from the ace effect it had on sounds, I am so into the whole idea of this. A little incidental black magic never hurt anyone.

Here, check out what this track (by Andersen's co-composer SØS Gynver Ryberg) sounded like in its original form:

And here after skullgrooving (and post-processing to clean up the recording):

However realistic the initial inspiration was, the end result is ace. Following strange fancies can take you wonderful places.

Andersen says:

"The end result, after the post-processing, is generally a bit creepy and cold. The sound has almost a chill about it. Eventually all the teeth fell out of the skull because of the vibrations, but while they were still there they created this small vibrating sound that I think was unsettling but also strangely familiar to people. Because we all know it, in a way."

Fab. Do read the whole thing.

I can't promise skulls but you might also enjoy Pip's look at Inside's animations.

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Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.