BERLIN SONIC PLACES: Book Review

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Given the scales traversed, a few places feel underserved by written description alone. But when they resonate, it’s a reading of sound – and noise – as an anchor of everyday life that produces the richest conjurations: Cusak’s description of his own Hinterhof (courtyard), where the quotidian rhythms of neighbours-never-met ricochet off the walls will be familiar to residents and AirBnB guests alike. Describing Maybachufer’s bustling market, Udo Noll cites similarities in a 1929 Franz Hessel text about the same spot, revealing the capacity for soundscapes, and the human routine that informs them, to endure beyond their associated landscapes – even in this city.

Review of Peter Cusack’s Berlin Sonic Places: A Brief Guide, published by Wolke Verlag, for The Wire #414 (August 2018).

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