Martin Kay - Courtyards [Herbal - 2016]As it’s title suggests this CD brings together recordings from with-in a selection of courtyards in Paris. The last time I heard from this Australian sound artists & field recordist, was back in 2014 with the excellent All Things Metal- which saw him offer up a selection of records made in & around metal things.
The release comes in a six a panel mini gatefold, which takes in a selection of pictures from deserted courtyards. The CD takes in a total playtime of sixty seven minutes, and nine tracks- offering up selection of recordings from seven separate courtyard locations moving from classic apartments to modern project housing estates.
As you’d expect with recordings made in locations such as courtyards, they are often made up of distant, faint, passing or echoed sound. Taking in the likes of: brief foot steps, faint chatter, sound of child playing & screaming, doors shutting, sound of cutlery, traffic drone, water trickle, sound of work men, etc.
Each of the recordings here certainly does deliver it’s own sonic qualities, distinctive sound elements, sonic dimensions, and audio architecture. And for the most part the recordings are interesting (in a subdued way) & keep ones attention well enough. The thing that does rather lessen the impact of the release is the long silences at the end of each track. I can understand why these are here - so each field recording is wholly separate & isolated, but they just feel too long at around the minute to three minute mark, meaning you have to sit though fairly lengthy gaps of nothing.
So in summing this release certainly has an interesting & original concept to it, and for the most part the recordings captured are worthy. It’s just the overly long gaps of silence that rather make it somewhat of a frustrating listening experience when played as a whole. Roger Batty