David Toop: 37th Floor at Sunset

too-37fas.jpg (26k) David Toop: 37th Floor at Sunset
(Sub Rosa - 2000)

Focusing on the idea of apartment building as a self-contained socio-ecosystem, David Toop examines every nook and cranny, seemingly down to the submolecular level of the mortar, metal and humanity held within.

Talk about a room with a view... 37th Floor at Sunset gives a stylistic, microscopic look/listen into strange-yet-familiar soundworlds...

Don't expect dance music during the brief introductory visit to the 21st Floor Discotheque at 4AM; instead, quietly gritty pulsations cover faraway television voices. Multilingual spoken fragments are sliced and diced to be exported as Dream Cargoes which drift in rippling, warbling currents, lit by obtusely twinkling electrons. A Nocturnal Service Shaft (8:55) carries a resonant mechanical drone of distant machinery, occasionally speckled by clicks of static.

For less than one minute, Empty Mail delivers a musical loop. With an air of computerized paranoia, Automatic Security Procedures casts suspicious glances down dimly lit hallways. Big hollow spaces ring from the void of disposal chute inoperative, a nicely droney expanse.

Insectoid chitters or electrical buzzings? 37th Floor at Sunset seems alive with tiny activities while devoid of any human presence. Brand New spools out loops of robotic spoken word and jazzy blares. Little bug chitters emanate from short-lived Virtual Pet #1 (0:28).

Another droning passage, Air-Con Function rumbles and whirrs, far and near. Gruffly ruffling cycles surround Watchtower Data which leaks out thin radiance and other electric molecules. Perhaps summing it all up, Connection Not Enabled emits weak signals for a final minute...

Without resorting to simple field recordings, David Toop creates the sensation of being literally inside a half-sleeping highrise via abstract soundscenes which capture the essence of enclosed spaces, inanimate-but-alive, inhabited-but-empty. For that isolated-amongst-a-crowd sensation, the surreal estate of 37th Floor at Sunset provides the space for an 8.3-rated getaway.

Exclusively distributed by Dutch-East India.

This review posted September 30, 2000

AmbiEntrance © 2000-1997 by David J Opdyke (except CD cover art, rights retained by original owners).