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Various Artists

Airport Symphony

(Room 40; US: Available as import; UK: Available as import; Australia release date: 18 Dec 2007)

Anyone who has traveled by air understands the strangeness of it—the way airports make you feel lost, the way everywhere starts to look the same. The pieces of music that make up the two-disc Airport Symphony, each the work of an experimental musician using an airport field recording by Lawrence English as source material, all capture those feelings perfectly, in intuitive and visceral ways, through quiet more often than noise. Though the source recordings seem more often of exterior airplane noises than what a passenger hears, not counting one using flight attendant’s safety instructions, the music also tends to explore the interior state of mind that comes with traveling. The static waves of Christopher Charles’ “Airport Symphony: A Brief Life” or the mysterious hums of Dale Lloyd’s “Airs for Beacons / Signals for Ports” bring to mind not just the sound of transportation machines, but also the way traveling puts you inside your own brain, the way you experience the actions and crowds around you from an interior mindstate. That most of the first disc has passed before a place name is clearly uttered aloud is suggestive both of the placelessness we experience in airports and of the way this evocative, expansive collection of music emulates the same feeling.

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Dave Heaton has been writing about music on a regular basis since 1993, first for unofficial college-town newspapers and DIY fanzines and now mostly on the Internet. In 2000, the same year he started writing for PopMatters, he founded the online arts magazine ErasingClouds.com, still around but often in flux. He writes music reviews for the print magazine The Big Takeover. He is a music obsessive through and through. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.


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