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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Gilles Aubry & Stephane Montavon - Les Ecoutis le Caire [Gruenrekorder - 2010]

“Les Ecoutis le Caire” is a collaborative effort, with Gilles Aubry being responsible for the sound and Stephane Montavon being responsible for the accompanying text.

The sounds and the ideas were both put together during a six week stay in Cairo in February and March 2007.

What I’ve read about this describes the sound element of it as “based on the principle of 'indirect listening' to a busy city soundscape. It features recordings of several enclosed spaces chosen for their resonant properties and predominantly silent contexts : a bathroom, a market hall, a basilica, a courtyard, a refrigerator and a parking house.”

As an idea it’s great, there’s nothing more exciting than being able to capture the atmosphere of somewhere and convey that to the listener. The reality of it however is a really dull recording made as someone wanders around bits of Cairo. The sounds are uninteresting and have nothing in them to capture the imagination. There’s nothing inherent in the recording that really makes you know where you are or what you’re listening to.

Field recordings can be very hit and miss. Often the sounds only work because you know what you’re listening to and because of their context. But even then they have to be interesting sounds not just “sounds” per se. 

As for the text. My very bad French seems to tell me that the poems/text that accompanies this describes the places that the recordings were made. I’m not going to comment on the quality of the poetry as without being able to translate all of it I can’t really say if it’s good or bad.

The packaging seems to be a piece of about A4 size cardboard with a few holes punched into it. It’s then been folded in half and the details of the recording and label are embossed in the back. Which makes it all rather difficult to read.

Good concept, bad execution.

Rating: 1 out of 5Rating: 1 out of 5Rating: 1 out of 5Rating: 1 out of 5Rating: 1 out of 5

David Bourgoin
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