Aviation [Midterm Project]

by Manoli Despines

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For my midterm project, I have made a piece that explores two environments that occupy a larger overall space but contain totally unique sound palettes. These spaces are an airport gate and the inside of an airplane, which occupy part of an airport's overall space. Each space has very specific sounds that will define each area. For example, in the airport gate I include many sounds that are atmospheric (air conditioning, relaxing music) as well as sounds that deal specifically with human behavior (the rustling of a newspaper, boarding announcements, phones ringing). In the airplane, sounds such as eating, talking, and working relate more to the theme of human activity. The main concepts that I want to get across in my piece is that two different environments within a single overall space can physically feel very different, and that the normal everyday sounds of humans can make a mundane space feel alive. For example, the sounds in the airport gate will be much more open, airy, and physically varied than those in the airplane. On the other hand, the sounds within the airplane will feel much more claustrophobic and related to human activity due to the large amount of people compacted in a much smaller setting.


In my project, I tried my best to sonically recreate two environments: an airport terminal as well as the interior of an airplane. In the first part of my project, I came across some success as well as some aspects that could have been improved upon. The most successful aspect of the first part of my project was the mood and nature of the airport terminal. The sounds used seem to convey a very relaxed but moderately busy setting, which was part of my original intention. I feel that my work on the first part of the piece could be a bit weakened by the fact that the piece is driven mostly by my voice and not a plethora of additional environmental sounds. It is also worth mentioning that although there are multiple voices that do give the environment a sense of sonic color, all those voices are performed by me and therefore do not give much of a variance in terms of sounds across the sonic spectrum. If I could improve this project in any way, I would try and add additional voices that were not just my own and possibly add more sounds that define the environment rather than sounds that drown out the detailed sounds of the environment.

Similar to the first part of my project, the second part of the piece also contained many strong aspects but some weak aspects that could be amended as well. The strongest aspect of this part of the piece is the relationship of the many small detailed sounds that communicate well with the rest of the piece. All the intricate parts seem to come together to make the environment feel quite alive. However, there are some weak aspects of the piece as well. Similar to the first part, most of the second part is driven by the voice of the airplane captain. Additionally, the sound of the fasten seatbelt sign on the airplane is not exactly a great representation or recreation of a synthesized sound. Finally, there is an problem of continuity, such as the absence of sounds that represent stewardesses or passengers walking about the cabin. To summarize, the piece does not offer a complete representation of reality and for that reason there is a weak spot in its overall reputation. However, if I could do anything to fix this I would have spent much more time recording more detailed sounds or possibly even layering multiple copies of each sound to give the environment more of a connection to reality.


released March 8, 2017



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Manoli Despines Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

My name is Manoli and I make music. My weaponry: an OP-1, miniKORG-37, Akai MPD32, Ableton Live 9, and a guitar. All donations, purchases, and downloads are very much appreciated. All my social links can be found in the YouTube link below. Enjoy!

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