3D and IMAX may receive top billing, but the secret weapon of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is something the audience will never even see. From the sound design to the score, Gravity features one of the most innovative and inventive sound mixes to make its way to theaters — one that breaks with modern movie convention in significant ways. It’s a film where space is actually silent, touch is the best way to hear, and dialogue whirls around the audience in an immersive 360-degree cyclone.

Two of the artists who helped bring it to life are sound designer and supervising sound editor Glenn Freemantle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours), and sound re-recording mixer Skip Lievsay, a frequent Coen brothers collaborator. We spoke with them both to learn about the techniques and tricks used to bring Gravity’s aural panoramas to life — and the technology that made it possible.