There’s no substitute for a good rainstorm, and Toni Dimitrov catches a beauty. The segment forms a major part of Bucharest Sketches, a tapestry teeming with life. The soundscape serves as a warm advertisement for Romania, and marks the return of Green Field Recordings after a months-long break.
Before the rain begins, birds squawk up a storm at the beginning of the day; then come children, playing and shouting in the streets, and adults going about their business. A student mentions a dissertation, but in a way, Bucharest Sketches is a dissertation on its own: a collection of seemingly disparate ideas, organized by sonic paragraphs and sewn together by a collective thread.
The rain enters swiftly, but not suddenly, in the sixth minute. One can imagine the people scurrying for cover, battling with their umbrellas: but certainly they must have seen it coming! Motorbikes and cars splatter early puddles and unlucky pedestrians. The deluge increases, coming down in sheets. A few people venture outside, then retreat. Finally the rain subsides; the kids come out to play, shoppers fill the streets, transit picks up, and a ping pong game begins in the park ~ not a very good ping pong game, based on the bounces and laughter, but an enjoyable one. “Uh oh – urgh!” and then “Woo!”
Returning to the beginning like a sonic arc, Dimitrov reintroduces the birds and closes with handheld bells. Those looking for a metaphor about cycles can easily find one here. In the northern hemisphere, spring is beginning to bloom. Around the world, parks are reopening. Bucharest Sketches is not only a portrait of a bustling city, but an advertisement for joy. (Richard Allen)