Title: Sound Interpretation: Paris
Release Date: 2015 Sept 08
Genre: Experimental / Ambient / Jazz
License: CC BY-NC-SA
A funny thing happened on my way to writing this review: when I first sat down to write about it I didn’t realize I had only listened to a selection of the tracks from this release. I’d been using the Sonic Squirrel app on my phone to listen to releases, but didn’t realize that only a selection of tracks were available for this release until I looked at the Haze website. Well, now I’ve listened to all of Sound Interpretation: Paris so let’s get on with the review.
Sound Interpretation: Paris
It’s interesting to me how Haze puts together their Sound Interpretation series. it would seem that the pieces would have been inspired by the location in a somewhat direct manner, and yet, that isn’t always the case. Take, for example, the opening track of this release: ‘Paris. Rain’ by Aortha. Certainly the concept of the piece is clear: the sound of rain falling, and a background of ambient sounds. But nothing about it specifically says to me that it is peculiar or specific to Paris over any other city in France.
And while that is definitely not the case of all of the tracks and / or artists on this release, it is clear from looking through the accompanying booklet that at least in a few cases the works were inspired trhough more academic research than actual experience. Which is an interesting approach: how we interpret a place through someone else’s representations of it is an unusual idea.
This is a release that is at times frustrating, and other times incredibly gorgeous. Take the example of ‘Arnehiorth Sena Nuit’: a very laid back, downtempo jazzy piece with electric piano and trumpet leads. Very fitting as a love song for the composer’s wife, and as a reflection on the jazz music that has infused the city throughout the years. Another piece that does stand out is ‘Paris At Night (with The Nightchild)’ by Thalie Nemesis, a song specifically about the experience of Paris nightlife.
But then there is a song like ‘Scrambled Eggs Unbroken’ which sounds like a fairly typical bit of 8bit music with a bunch of video game sound effects that don’t really have a feeling of being related to the city. But sometimes even the pieces that do have a relationship to the city aren’t always great listening, like ‘Metro Oblique Brie’. I get the concept: the abstract sounds of going through a subway in Paris, however the mastering of this piece could have been considered a bit more carefully: parts of it will just about shatter the eardrums of the casual listener. (This piece actually woke me up out of a deep sleep one night.)
But on the whole, whether inspired by actual experiences or locations, abstracted sounds from the city itself, or interpretations based on other’s representation of the city Sound Interpretation: Paris is an interesting release. Although, there is one track (which I won’t mention by name) that might be considered fairly offensive, which might be seen as spreading the range of interpretation a bit far.
This is a release that has some really standout out tracks for me: ‘Arnehiorth Sena Nuit’, ‘Paris At Night (with The Nightchild)’ and ‘U Siomym Niebie’ to name a few of them. However, there are some tracks that I feel could have been mastered better, like ‘Metro Oblique Brie’. But on the whole I would say this release is worth listening to and judging for yourself how well it represents Paris either from your own experiences, or your own impressions of the city.