© 2019 La Cosa Preziosa | sound art


Flying carries different emotional associations for so many of us. It can be an experience that we dread, that we look forward to, or something we just experience through a sort of numbness, going through the motions (which for every journey are as repetitive as they are frustrating). A sort of passive, out-of-body experience.

This latter feeling is what I was trying to capture in my latest long-form soundscape, Non-Priority (if you've ever flown with Ryanair, the title is a reference to their absurdly tiered pricing options.) If you'd like to listen while you read to get a sense of what I'm about to talk about, click play below:

The idea for this piece was to combine two very different, distinct sonic environments: that of reality, gathered and represented through field recording, and that of the subconcious mind taking over in auto-pilot, imagined through sampling, processing and composition. From reality we slide into a sort of passive numbness, where the experience is still felt, but more like a strange, recurring daydream.

To achieve this I started by introducing the piece through actual field recordings from Dublin Airport. In the background you can hear a series of announcements (Ryanair included, of course), travellers rushing to their gates, suitcase wheels grinding against the travelators as they come to a stop, security vehicles, chatter. These are all real sounds recorded on location.

The piece then transitions into what I imagine as the flight part of the journey. In my mind I had this traveller, this person, sitting down, weary, sleepy, subconscious mind processing the sounds from the earlier airport experience and the cabin itself and feeding them back as a sort of calming, soft drone.

If you've ever flown you will be familiar with the bell-like sound that announces the seat belt sign being switched on (or off). I generated it in Live and used it as a clue to hint at the cabin setting. To go back to the distinct two parts of this soundscape (one real, one imagined) this second part was entirely generated in Ableton Live as a sketch of an internal world.

I hope you will enjoy this track, and wonder if you will recognize in it something of your own flying experience. Feel free to drop me a line, as I always love to hear any feedback or questions.