Album Review

Ernst Karel – Swiss Mountain Transport Systems (Gruenrekorder, 2011)

Ernst KarelScuol-Motta Naluns (Gruenrekorder)

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Absolutely one of a kind. Karel has made field recordings of gondolas, chairlifts, funiculars, and various aerial cable cars in Switzerland, without any self righteous tweaking or altering. These sounds are coming straight from the cars. Mostly a calm, serene, and hushed album, with lots of motorik rhythms and mechanical percussion breaking through. The man-made sounds are the focal point, gears grinding, bang clanking, crunching, howling, etc. This is one that demands your full attention though, as it’s easy to think there’s nothing going on if you’re not 100% intent on hearing it. Despite the spiked mechanics, it’s a record of profound & solitary quiet. But it’s not empty by any stretch of the imagination. Just the opposite. It’s full of life. Every little detail is captured, the wind carrying through the mountains, distant animals, hushed hums, Swiss voices, it’s celebrates the minutiae and tells me to live in the moment and enjoy what I hear around me. Pay attention, hear it, live it. Truly fantastic. Swiss Mountain Transport Systems could be my new life mantra.