"One Giant Leap for Alienkind"
By: Nathan Craciun
This work is meant to take the listener on a fascinating sonic journey through mankind's first interaction with alien life. This experience goes back in time to the first human moon-landing, the Apollo 11. This time however, otherworldy beings may be discovering us instead.
Humans often misconstrue past events when they are too incredible to believe. The Apollo 11 moon landings have been the subject of countless conspiracy theories over the years, many of them involving alien encounters. This work imagines the story NASA "covered up" — one in which aliens actually encountered us.
This work tells a short sonic story of a group of aliens observing the Apollo 11 moon landings. It begins with the aliens curiously listening to the humans with their high-tech radio recievers, and ends with the aliens departing the scene once their observations are complete. The humans are left unaware of their close encounter with these otherworly beings. One can expect sounds of the future, along with guttural alien languages and spacecraft whizzing about.
This work is designed to immerse the listener in the sounds of a moon-based alien race discovering humans for the first time. The Apollo 11 moon landing has often been portrayed as a great step for mankind, but this work turns that idea on its head. Instead, it's the aliens that are being exposed to humanity and all its complexities — and are thus taking one giant leap of their own.
I've always had an appreciation for the work NASA has done in space exploration, so this work was influenced by NASA's mission. The freely-available recordings provided on NASA's website contained a treasure-trove of resources for this project as well. The vast conspiracy theories that have been passed along over the years were also an influence on this work, and were the source of the idea to dramatically alter the events of the first human moon landing.
This work is a continuation of the sci-fi conspiracy theory genre of storytelling. There have been many different takes on the moon landing, and this one fits in well with many of the crazy ideas people have thought of over the years. My work reaches into the imagination of the listener and makes them ask, "Could this really be what happened?"
I went through many sound files found in the vast trove of sci fi sounds in the public domain to find the best ones for this project. I utlized the archives of freesound.org as well as NASA's sound files in the public domain to get many of the alien sounds as well as original audio from the Apollo 11 moon landing. These sound files were then arranged using Logic Pro X on a Mac. Some sounds were pitch-shifted to create different tones that could then be arranged with other sound files to create a dynamic storytelling experience. Sounds were then faded in and out to facilitate a seamless transition between different sound files. The archival website was hand-coded through first-hand knowledge as well as useful pointers from W3schools.com. Fonts were obtained from the Google Fonts library.
The end result of this project was to create a sonic arrangement that would engage the listener into an imaginative exploration of one of the greater conspiracy theories sourrounding the moon landings. An alien encounter on the moon is something I think many people would find interesting, and the goal was to engage the audience's imagination through sound. I think this was achieved through the use of a wide variety of sound files and a structure that contributed to narrative flow. This flow could then engage the minds of the listener so they could mentally visualize what was happening and think about what could happen next. The feeling of immersion is important here, and I believe it was achieved. The eerie, otherworldy sounds instill a sense of wonder, or even fear.
I believe the result of engaging the audience in an immersive sonic experience was achieved. I believe the listener could really feel that they were on the moon during this landing, and were lead to wonder what would happen next. This was observed through giving the sound file to others to listen and observing their reactions to the work. There could be improvement in the climax section, with perhaps a more concrete explanation of what the aliens were experiencing or thinking about when seeing humans for the first time. Perhaps this is a strength of the work though, as the audience can use their own imaginations to fill in the blanks. This work led to a greater understanding of how to work with sound files, and led to the discovery of new places to go to for free sound resources.