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Gilles Aubry/Sink

16 Sep 2007 - 21:00


Gilles Aubry (laptop) "Backyards - Berlin2007"
Marcello Busato (percussion)
Arthur Rother (guitar)
Chris Abrahams (dx7)
Andrea Ermke (minidiscs)

"Backyards - Berlin2007"

Generative sound piece based on field recordings of several backyards made in Berlin during the winter 2006.

In the urban context, backyards are interesting in that they are transitory spaces between private and public territories, home without a roof and enclosed streets at the same time. They are the place of various types of neighbouring interactions - from friendly greetings to perverse voyeurism - where a mutual process of visual and aural control is at work on the pretext of the community's security, a phenomenon illustrated in Alfred Hitchcock's movie Rear Window.

In many cases, backyards reveal spatial surprises in contrast to what one could expect from the street point of view: a peaceful garden, a school playground, rich ornaments on the walls, big ventilation systems, piles of anonymous garbage or, typically in the case of Berlin, a huge empty no man's land.

On the acoustic level, backyards work as a resonance body for all present sounds especially the ones coming from the street. Loud traffic noises are being heard through indirect reflections, filtered and attenuated by the high walls surrounding the empty yard like in a reverberation chamber, while quieter sounds from activities within the yard or from the houses around are being amplified. Because of this balancing and smoothing effect, backyards soundscapes have a particularly high acoustic resolution and constitute interesting sound sources for recording.

The compositional work itself uses very simple techniques like random looping and layering of sounds cross-fading into each others in a continuous flow. The very process of choosing a precise location and recording it is in fact the most important step. Far from being spectacular, Backyards -Berlin 2007 aims at attracting the attention of the listener on the sonic qualities of the space itself and on micro-variations in the peripheral sound environnment.

For live performance the piece is played through a four loudspeakers system surrounding the audience. The several layers of sounds are moving slowly through the speakers in order to create an increased spatial impression.