Michael Raphael (aka Sepulchra) is a highly trained and well-equipped field recordist. He operates Rabbit Ears Audio, which produces a series of sound effects libraries, their contents ranging from steam whistles to helicopters to winter atmospheres to typewriters. And when Raphael goes on vacation, he takes along his microphones. This track was recorded outside his Berlin hotel window. I wrote to him to confirm it wasn’t edited, which he confirmed and elaborated on in a blog post at his sepulchra.com site. His hotel was located near Marienkirche, St Mary’s Church, and its bells are heard rolling through much of this track, above the din of traffic on Karl-Liebknecht-StraÃŸe. A testament to Raphael’s ear, the piece is easily believable as a post-production construction, so flowing and sinuous are the bells, and so perfectly interweaved are the street sounds. And yet, like a well-framed photograph, it is simply daily life, elevated thanks to the refined sensibility and ability of its documentarian.
Bonus: Here’s a promotional video of his steam-whistle collection: