Box 30/70

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Box 30/70 is halfway between a document of a sound art installation and an album of electro-acoustic music. Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger (O+A) have created a device that captures the sounds of an urban landscape and transforms them into tuned drones. Software and hardware are cased in a big green box that was stationed at key intersections in a handful of European cities during the year 2001. Tracks with city titles consist of excerpts from these recordings, but they account for only half of the 16 pieces included here. The other pieces also derive from field recordings, but are not directly related to the project. They act as interludes, or "promenades" (in Mussorgsky's sense) between locations. They often segue from and into the city cuts and introduce sounds that will be heard in the next piece. For example, the faint bells in "Landscape 1" marvelously prepare listeners for the church bells in "Düsseldorf." It gives the disc a smooth flow in tune with the atmospheric drones. One can decide to focus on the differences between the cities' sonic architectures (the intention underlying the project), but in the end Box 30/70 works well as an electro-acoustic piece regardless of its technical specifications. Interested parties should note that the duo had already released a four-minute track titled "Box 30/70" on Tourette's 2001 compilation CD, Format 5.

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