One of the most striking things about medieval stone cathedrals is the massive volume of air that is encased in their naves. Upon entering one of these cathedrals, you feel the air pressure enveloping you with a stunningly present stillness. Any sound adds to this feeling, as you become increasingly aware of the physical parameters of the space as the sounds reverberate around it.
Thomas Tilly & Jean-Luc Guionnet set out to measure the sonic detail and reverberance of the Cathédrale St. Pierre in Poitiers, France, paying particular attention to the standing waves that the long parallel walls of the nave generate. They used only the sound of the organ, a white-noise and sine-wave generator, and the natural echo of the space as their instrumentation, and set about mapping the sound of the space from various points around the cathedral.
The first track is a simple control measure, with the organ and white-noise generator spaced far from each other, and recordings taken from each support column of the church, as each instrument blasts simultaneously. The following three tracks become a more lyrical series of soundings, focusing more on the standing waves inside the church as sonic elements fade away, to be carefully replaced by another organ chord or sine wave. As dry and abstract as the original project sounds, the resulting recording is subtly beautiful, benefitting from being heard through the best and loudest speakers you can play it on.