Swiss mountain transport system. ERNST KAREL
(Gruenrekorder 2011)

The thumping sound of the steel cable and the rhythmic crackling encounter of the supporting towers are the recurrent sonic details in this work.

Throughout the whole album, the sound of automatic cable cars and chairlifts seems to be put in front of everything, the aural attention is focused on the mechanics of transportation and on the propagation of the vibrations from the bullwheel in the terminal, passing through the cables, the spring-loaded grips, interacting with the steel structure and finally echoing inside the cabin.

These recordings recreate an immersive and muffled environment and the listener rapidly becomes a passenger: the urge to look out of the window to see the trees and the green fields is inevitable.

Technically speaking these are fine recordings of course, but what I found really compelling is the 3-D stereo sound sensation, it’s like actually being inside a cable car and I wouldn’t be surprised if the recordist had used binaural microphones.

In the second part of this work some natural sounds from the outside gently reach our ears, as if they’re passing through a slightly open window. They are filtered and distant, barely perceivable but nonetheless extremely important in the overall scheme of the audio documentary.

The chirping sound of the crickets, cows and cowbells, voices and dialogues, everything has been carefully included to provide a full aural experience of, first and foremost, the transport system but also to give us a quick glimpse of the Swiss mountain landscape.

As it often happens with Gruenrekorder’s works, this is an ambitious project that requires great attention and patience to be completely understood.

A fine work indeed that deserves to be listened.

-Elliot Loe

Ernst Karel website
Gruenrekorder website