Sofia Nights

Fascinating set of field recordings by Das Torpedoes on Qu Nar (EH? AURAL REPOSITORY EH?88). Sometimes I feel frustrated by the “genre” of phonography and what I perceive to be its limitations, but this collection of 13 audio snapshots somehow works perfectly. I suppose I enjoy a number of aspects of it: first, the lack of detailed explanations as to what we might be hearing, although it is clear that train travel and other forms of transport feature heavily. Second, the every-day nature of the sound events; Das Torpedoes is not one prone to seeking out the bizarre side of life, and finds the humdrum of daily existence satisfying enough on every level. Then there’s the rough edges of the recordings themselves; they are not exactly aiming for technical excellence on the surface qualities, and might as well be the equivalent to digital photos taken using a cheap smartphone. I also like the way each track “snaps off” at the end quite abruptly; nothing much has happened to signal this closure (in fact very little is happening on tape at all), yet it’s a nice way of punctuating the work with an audible “full stop”. I can almost sense a hand-held cassette recorder at work, with its clunky keys and switches. Well, these recordings have been sourced from Zagrebo, Sarajevo, Istanbul, Sofia, and other parts of Eastern Europe in 2015. Das Torpedoes might be Charles LaReau, who has also put out tapes as Voost Viszt and is a member of Naturaliste, a “psych-junk” collective group with Bryan Day and others. Judging by this record, which is all I’ve heard from LaReau, he’d make a very good travelling companion; I say that because I think he’d leave me alone to my own devices, instead of trying to do boring tourist-y things like visit historical sites of interest, or forcing me to join him in the local cafe. If he did though I would be happy to buy him a glass of Albanian wine, a remark which I make influenced by Track 11 here. From 25 July 2016.

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