Piece Comment

Review of City X

In this mini-documentary Jonathan Mitchell brings his keen talent for creating rich soundscapes to bear on a subject which has been cornerstone to the American economy for decades--the regional mall.

Jonathan's work, tends to be considerably different then the average public radio fare, and in my opinion, therein lies the special magic of this piece.

For exactly 22 minutes and 32 seconds the listener experiences a wild ride of ambient sounds, music and voices from the mall. Some of the voices are commentary, others are expressions of glee or dismay...One wonders if Jonathan might actually be hiding behind a rack of gap jeans with a microphone.

Listening to this piece is almost like riding one of those educational roller-coasters at Epcot center. Through sound, the listerer is taken back in time to hear from the architect who designed the modern day Mall system. We also travel around the mall looking for parking, into the food court, into the perfume department, we even get our fortune read from a "Zoltar Machine". By the time it is all over I actually found myself feeling a little overwhelmed, which I think is part of the point.

Throuth a variety voices a narritive is created which tells a story of a town that has changed and continues to change based on the influence of their mall

I think this work deserves to be recognized as a highly creative approach to a a very important topic. In this work, Jonathan does not preach to the listener. His subjects speak volumes about what is good, bad, sad, and ridiculous about malls. In the end, we are left with our own thoughts and opinions. "City X" is a marvelous piece of documentary storytelling!