When making field recordings, sometimes it’s best to stay away from the obvious. There will come a time when listeners have had their fill of sparrows and seas and begin to wish for something else. That’s where artists such as Flavien Gillié come in. The Belgian recordings of Encore Un Peu De Ce Monde aspire to capture “what is somehow first hidden” – turbines, tunnels and other resonant resources. The more unique the sounds, the more they draw the attention.
The album is not completely unfamiliar; the crying sound of the turning turbine in track one is followed by the playful banter of children near what sounds like a drainage pipe in Josaphat Park. Gillié’s microphone work is pristine; we hear every nuance, from distant traffic to nearby footsteps, without distortion or momentary mute. But as the tracks progress, they grow less familiar. Cooing and public service announcements are left behind in favor of droning motifs – although the “music” in this case is in the ear of the beholder. “Enfants Sous La Pluie” (“Children in the Rain”) sounds nothing like its title. High heeled echoes grow rounded and metallic; a sinister hum is joined by Raster Noton crackles. The fuzzed-out ending of “Abattoir d’Anderlecht” again sounds like the work of a drone artist, while the accompanying sirens add an intriguing texture. Oddly, despite the presence of animal noises, “Abattoir d’Anderlecht” sounds less like an abattoir than the subsequent track, recorded on the metro; the shrieks of unlubricated brakes sound strangely like the squeals of terrified pigs.
The variety of field recordings on hand inspire the question of how this album might sound as a single-track soundscape; there’s certainly enough raw material to create a dynamic long-form piece. Such a project would require only a slight overlap and a shuffling of the track order, perhaps from the quiet and familiar to the abrasive and strange. As it stands, the album is a fine collection of sounds that are thankfully a bit off the beaten path. (Richard Allen)