Willem Sannen – Brussel Noord
Willem Sannen explores the amplification of the everyday routine on the voyeuristic field recordings of “Brussel Noord”. Over the course of the album a journey begins to emerge. Every single sound relates to something that hundreds of millions of people go through each day. Doubly refreshing is the way that Willem Sannen sequences these many elements together, from the lonely aspect of waking up to simply traveling amongst vast groups of strangers. Respect for the surroundings results in some particularly fine exploration of spacial acoustics. By far what ties the many pieces together is the sense of continuity that comes to define the album.
Muffled sounds introduce the album on the blurred beauty of “Apartment”. Lonely in nature the piece reflects upon the first moments of wakefulness, of how quiet things are at first. A soothing stream of water emerges out of “Commuters”. With this piece Willem Sannen lets a sense of play enter into the equation as the ambient noise of the mass of commuters is transformed into chipmunks-like noises. Quite eerie is the hovering drone of “Corridor”. Downright isolationist, the piece is particularly compelling in its extreme minimalism and by far the highlight of the album. Industrial elements grace the expansive “Place Rogier”. Closing the album off on a dark note is the implied threat of “Junction”.
Stylish, tasteful, and with a focus on the small details that make up a life, Willem Sannen’s “Brussel Noord” is a fine document of what modernity sounds like.