Photographs © Thom Kubli

Sound Composition – 34’39’’ – WDR 2016

New York, in the summer of 2011. A sublet apartment in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The view from 12th floor is stunning, the air condition struggles with the heat. A black piano – slightly out of tune – leans against the wall of the small living room.

The Swiss artist and composer Thom Kubli surveys the smallest noises within the interior space. Thus he reveals an acoustic microcosm that opposes the spectacular exterior of the urban environment. The field recordings of the apartment space insinuate minor narratives that lose themselves in the repetition of daily routines. Nevertheless the auditory gestures do not consist of loops. No sound happens twice. The dense assemblage of ›hardly perceivable sounds‹ describes a different type of urban reality.

NY-INSIDE defines an enclosed auditive room – an intimate resort within the sublet apartment space. However recurring walks through the floors and corridors of the huge apartment building do indicate moments of permeability: fleeting encounters with neighbors and residents take place, leading to ephemeral communications. For an instant the hallway opens up towards the outside – the overwhelming spectacle of the adjacent New York Broadway.

The ›found‹ piano in the sublet space becomes subject to experimentations. It serves less as a musical instrument, but as a resonator of elusive moods. Examinations ofthe pianos physical parts and free improvisational sequences are recorded during the two-month long stay within the apartment. The recordings are digitally dispersed and transformed into atmospheric drones that gradually interweave with the field recordings of the urban habitat.

Audio Material: Field recordings from New York | Duration: 34’39’’ | Year: 2016.


Composition and concept: Thom Kubli | Mastering: Jean Szymczak

Realized with kind support of Westdeutscher Rundfunk, WDR3