In Lament for Joe Hall, Matt Gray presents his interpretation of the Jeff Hall murder from the point of view of the son Joe Hall. The soundtrack begins with a twitchy, high pitch feedback that made me cringe with its headache inducing frequency. This sound is coupled with the boy’s somber monotone voice introducing his life as a failure and what sounds like parents arguing. This introduction not only begs me to turn down the buzzing high pitch but really gives me insight into how irritated, confused, frustrated the muddled thoughts in young Joe Hall’s head must have been during this time in his life. As I listened on it seemed to me that he wanted this sound that was troubling his head to end as well and knew of only one solution.
Once this loud screech ended a child’s voice bluntly introduces the troubled life Joe Hall faced. Whether it was intentional for this purpose or not I believe the use of a child to do the voice was genius since many people naturally have a greater inclination to listen and have more compassion for a child. The rhetoric bluntness of his initial statement draws in my attention in a way that makes me want to hear more and see how he dealt with such troubles.
The brief moments between talking were coupled with more unsettling frequencies. These frequencies deliver an uncomfortable affect analogous to the agitating occurrences that young boy was facing. Matt used rhetoric to show the controlling detrimental behavior of Jeff Hall by using phrases and words like, “he read me,” “he made me,” and “he said I needed to.” By using these phrases he shows how Joe lacked free will and how his father influenced him in ways he had no say in.
Around half way in when Joe is explaining a time when his dad took him out to the border to look for “illegals” Matt couples the speech with outside type creepy music with dogs barking to create an affect that made the listener sound like they were out there with them. The eeriness of the background music mimics the nervousness and anxiety that Joe was experiencing at the time.
Overall, Matt does an excellent job utilizing rhetoric, sound, and other audio sources to create effective affect that keeps the listener engaged throughout the entire story and binds us with similar feelings that Joe may have been facing even though much of the talking is monotone without emotion in itself.
Question: What types of assisting audio can we fuse into our projects to create the desired appeal to emotion? What types of sounds evoke which emotions?