A lot ambient-electronic have a distinct industrial feel: the hum of giant machines and installations, soothing at some times, ominous – or even threatening – at other. Quiet and reassuring when distant, but loud and aggressive when close.
Though this may not be exactly what you expect of “ambient music”, it definitely is part of the sounds of our surroundings. Until the crisis may stop them, at least.
“Loud Listening ” is a free (!) compilation from the CrÃ³nica label, based on the environmental recording of four Italian soundscape artists: Allesio Ballerini, Enrico Coniglio, Giuseppe Cordaro and Attilio Novellino.
They recorded the sound of four different Italian industrial sites, aiming “to capture the strength of industrial noises, providing a â€œloud experienceâ€ of mechanical hums, natural drones, metal squeaks, waves of steam and the sounds of raw materials, simultaneously proposing to reflect over the meaning and the high social value of industries and workers in a country where they are often overlooked”.
These recordings, presented as the four opening tracks on this album, were then handed to soundscape artists (all living outside of Italy), who then “reinterpreted” the recordings “looking from afar to Italian industry, but perhaps feeling much of the effects of the crisis that is affecting it”.
Among there reinterpreters we find some (more or less) familiar names like Gintas K, @C, Lawrence English, Simon Whetham and Tu’M.
The basic recordings are beautiful in itself, presenting soundscapes from a boatyard, a wheat plant, a 70-ton furnace and a cement, lime and calcium carbonate factory. In the second half of this album, these sounds are altered into a somewhat otherworldy experience.
It may come as some surprise that this album is far less loud than the title suggests – although this conclusion mÃ¡y depend on what sound levels you’re used to. Peter van Cooten