Brussel Noord is a field recording album presenting sounds from the North District of Brussels. The area is dominated by a large train station, commuters and office towers. The album captures the soundscape of this place in five movements.
5 Tracks (24′58″)
Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder
Gruenrekorder / Germany / 2016 / GrDl 168 / LC 09488
Adam Skyes | Musique Machine
Brussel Noord is a field recording album presenting sounds from the North District of Brussels. The area is dominated by a large train station, commuters and office towers. The album captures the soundscape of this place in five movements over 24 minutes.
Opening with “Apartment” we hear muffled sounds escalating to a cacophony as someone enters the world after their slumber and begins their day. “Commuters” follows this with morning routine and then into the hubbub of the journey to work.
The latter 3 pieces of this release seem to explore the distance and disconnection of the city. You are part of it, but not in an intimate way. There’s less space around you, but with that comes a larger feeling of being alone. The sounds of the familiar become the sounds of the unfamiliar and are drawn out over a period to make them almost eerie to hear.
Exploring the goings on, movement of people into their industry across 5 pieces, Willem Sannen explores a cityscape in wondrous detail. This album is a beautiful document of urban living. Showing the area of a city Willem knows well to full impact. You are immersed fully in the sounds of the locality. The subtlety and definition in the recordings make you feel there; a part of, and apart from, the city.
Willem Sannen explores the amplification of the everyday routine on the voyeuristic field recordings of “Brussel Noord”. Over the course of the album a journey begins to emerge. Every single sound relates to something that hundreds of millions of people go through each day. Doubly refreshing is the way that Willem Sannen sequences these many elements together, from the lonely aspect of waking up to simply traveling amongst vast groups of strangers. Respect for the surroundings results in some particularly fine exploration of spacial acoustics. By far what ties the many pieces together is the sense of continuity that comes to define the album.
Muffled sounds introduce the album on the blurred beauty of “Apartment”. Lonely in nature the piece reflects upon the first moments of wakefulness, of how quiet things are at first. A soothing stream of water emerges out of “Commuters”. With this piece Willem Sannen lets a sense of play enter into the equation as the ambient noise of the mass of commuters is transformed into chipmunks-like noises. Quite eerie is the hovering drone of “Corridor”. Downright isolationist, the piece is particularly compelling in its extreme minimalism and by far the highlight of the album. Industrial elements grace the expansive “Place Rogier”. Closing the album off on a dark note is the implied threat of “Junction”.
Stylish, tasteful, and with a focus on the small details that make up a life, Willem Sannen’s “Brussel Noord” is a fine document of what modernity sounds like.