Gilles Aubry: s6t8r
Winds Measure Recordings

Swiss sound artist Gilles Aubry, based in Berlin since 2002, uses field recordings, computer programming, and electronics as a basis for his sound installations, recordings, and radio pieces. His three-part s6t8r is a site-specific piece based on recordings made inside rooms within the now-empty Stralau 68 building, which formerly operated as a venue for experimental music in Berlin. The space is hardly silent, however, as the sounds of trains passing by on a nearby bridge are prominent in the mix. A steady train-generated thrum persists throughout the opening part's first five minutes, until its abrupt cessation allows the material to reposition itself for a subsequent battery of hollowed-out emissions and smears. A low-level rumble inaugurates the second part until it's joined by a louder flow of white noise, whose sudden onset is much like a valve being opened. Subtle transformations ensue as the gaseous sound becomes a high-pitched stream of whistles punctuated by intermittent clatter. The third part finds the train sounds re-emerging, asserting themselves once again as a forceful presence, until the work quietens as it enters its final minutes.

Throughout the forty-two-minute recording, Aubry keeps the material at a steady pitch that, while generally loud, never rises to an uncomfortable, ear-splitting level. The work's constant mutations in character ensure that one's attention doesn't stray, and one comes away from the work with an appreciation not only for the acoustical resonance of the building's room spaces but a sharpened awareness of how a physical space functions as something alive as opposed to static. Adding to the appeal of the release (300 copies available) is a distinctive letterpress sleeve presentation.

January 2011