Architect Mark Alan Andre describes brutalism as a the most pure and honest form of architecture. Simplicity, versatility, starkness. Qualities which can be attributed to both concrete constructions and ambient music. Yes, when one thinks of a multi-storey brutalist tower block you could read it as imposing and inelegant. But when brutalism is done well, and likewise when ambience is done well, there is a tranquility and joy in directness and simplicity that can be found nowhere else.
There are few styles of architecture as divisive and schismatic as brutalism. Whether the sight of towering behemoths of bare concrete appeal or repulse the eye of the viewer, there can be, in my mind at least, no other form of building which so quintessentially captures the spirit of modernity and the mundane beauty of everyday metropolitan life.
Brutal is an attempt to celebrate this spirit - and the spirit of each individual location - through sound, field recording, and music. Picking from a variety of buildings across London - from the iconic terrace and tower blocks of the Barbican, to the H.G. Wells-esque space-age high-rise of the Ministry of Justice Offices - this EP seeks to present listeners with an auditory tour of some of Londons most celebrated, and in some cases most maligned, brutalist spaces.
With binaurally mixed music, binaural field recordings of each space and concrete sounds rooted in the history of each site, this EP is an encompassing and immersive effort to transport the audience to each space through its modern soundscape, its character and atmosphere through the artist’s lens, and sounds from its history rendered through creative reconstruction.
Brutal can be listened to at Castles In Space. Please listen to my field recordings from each location here.