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As part of my ongoing collaboration with Academy Award nominated animator Gary Schwartz, I recently created two minutes of “walking” sound design for a student workshop he taught in Armenia. The high-school-aged students were charged with creating walk cycle animations to the changing scenes set up by the sound design.

My assignment required a walking pace tempo, an ending like the beginning for potential infinite looping, and a series of scene changes all about “walking”.

Here’s the track on its own. What do you imagine happening during these sounds?

I think I’m happiest with the “monster attack” sequence. Since the students making the visuals for this work spoke Armenian and Russian, I decided that if any spoken text appeared in the piece that it should be one of those languages. Thankfully, serial-collaborator Lado Darakhvelidze was able to appear in the work as a Russian-speaking military pilot, ostensibly firing missiles at a monstrous, city-attacking Guinea pig. I expressed some concern that there may be an accidental political message about Russia and Armenia by throwing in a Russian military voice to the mix, but then again it is just a run-of-the-mill monster attack. It’s hard to tell from the clip used, but Lado’s full-length recording originally contained a yawn, so he added in his own commentary on the Russian military.

Late in the track you’ll hear suction cups and clinking glasses. This bit of sound design was created for the first episode of a radio serial I produced in 2016 called “Switchboard Infinity”. The design’s original use was for a robot character named Brendi, a flight attendant pushing a cart of drinks, moving forward on suction cup feet. Jeff Jimison created these sounds originally, and gave me permission to work them in to this track, intended as an inside-joke cameo appearance for Switchboard fans to discover.

More of Gary’s work, including my sound design, will be exhibited as part of All Together Now, April 26-28 in Highland Park, MI.

Here’s the finished piece with animation as seen on Gary’s channel:

Joseph Krause