Record Reviews

Bin 01

?These are binaural recordings,? the scant liner notes for Bin 01* warn. ?Please use headphones.? It’s an instruction not to be ignored, as binaural recordings create a deeper sense of space and place than an average stereo recording is capable. Through careful placement of microphones, binaural recordings aim to approximate the way our ears receive environmental sounds in day-to-day life. It’s a method particularly given to field recording, and on *Bin 01 Melbourne’s Sasha Margolis has collected three raw recordings of various locations in Israel.

Of course, the recordings aren’t presented raw. With deft subtlety, Margolis’s mode of operation is to allow the various environments – mostly crowded urban spaces – to speak for themselves before ascending into frightening echo chambers, as if the recordings? inhabitants were experiencing an apocalyptic rip in the time/space continuum. Album opener ?Piece 2? braces the listener for a documentarian approach to field recording before, late in the piece, the environment starts to fold in on itself, creating a stuttering, three-dimensional drone. The effect conjures images of a crowded town square where the inhabitants are locked in an eternal loop of random inconsequence. It’s audio phenomena as existential fear; revealing the terror inherent in the ruthless repetition of a tiny insignificant moment.

Later, during ?Hiss & Hum? (named after a bystander’s observation that there is ?a lot of hiss and hum in the background?) an unidentified machine’s nondescript aural data is looped so that it gains a rhythmic intensity through carefully fabricated repetition; panning from left to right and decorated by what sounds like pitch shifted incidental sounds. Indeed, much of what makes Bin 01 such a compellingly alienating experience is the revelation of a frightening soullessness at the heart of every sound. Automating manages to invert minutiae into something profoundly unsettling.