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Sound And Space / / Surround Story



The direction of this piece moved a lot over the course of the project. Initially the project surrounded the story of a father going on a walk with his child and accidentally walks into a hole in the earth.


I didn’t really like that idea but kept the hallucinatory sentiments. My re-written story began with me skating to class. As I am skating, I cross the street and get hit by a car. What follows is an abstract interpretation of what would happen before my body would hit the ground.

I feel like this story evolved out of my anxiety surrounding the project. I couldn’t find a good starting place for the sounds of a father and child on a walk, so I started with something I knew. I began collecting samples of my skateboard, the sounds of wheels spinning, and some field recordings of Washington Square Park, which ended up being the first piece of this composition.

The goal of the composition was to reconsider the moments and experiences hidden in the banality of a morning commute. I realize that the audience won’t immediately understand what the sounds represent, but I tried to use that ambiguity to my advantage by making a more loose and free flowing composition.

On a technical level, I learned a lot about how to make sounds fit right in a 5.1 surround sound system. I was surprised to learn tools to help me de-noise sounds and create more interesting racks of delays and effects. It was especially exciting when I began to make sounds sit in between the speakers and create the illusion of sound where there was no speakers. I wish I spent more time lengthening the end of the composition and creating a more structured, musical ending. I enjoyed using everything from my trombone to elevator coils and tape players.

The most challenging part of the project was when I wanted to re-compose clips and their respective automation in Audition but I either lost automation or didn’t get the sound to sit right in the mix. However, having an auditorium to hear the final work in was especially exciting and rewarding. Hearing new voices respond to my work and hear about the elements of the composition that were most effective was special.

I often make compositions in Abelton for electronic music making and I don’t think Audition will replace that program, but now I expect to use the two programs in tandem for future projects. In addition to learning a new software, this project made me think outside of the computer and consider what an audio installation could look like for me in the future.

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