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Aston Spirits record the machine that helped end WW2

Category : Events

We love hearing stories of the more unusual challenges Aston mics sometimes face out in the real world, but we were particularly proud to hear a couple of Spirits had been used to quite literally record a piece of history...

The founder of a decade-long project commemorating the participation of Poles in breaking the codes of the Nazis’ Enigma machines in the second world war has used a pair of Aston Spirit microphones to capture the sound of the legendary cipher devices.

Patryk Piłasiewicz is a double bass player, conductor, award-winning composer and Assistant Professor at the Academy of Music in Poznań, Poland. He runs the CSE Open Lab, a creative hub based in the Enigma Cypher Center in Poznań for collaborations ‘on the border of art and other fields.

He was granted access to the headquarters of the Polish Internal Security Agency, where there are three Enigmas, for the unique and historic recording session:

“It was adventurous and demanding: the place itself was mysterious. Nobody is allowed to record anything there, visitors have to leave their phones at the entrance. No cameras, no microphones.” Patryk told us.

“As a musician, researcher and composer I’ve found whole story of breaking Enigma codes very interesting. While the historical aspect needed to be examined deeply the idea of Enigma as a music machine seemed to be the most exciting part of the whole research process.”

“One of the machines, from 1936, is fully working, in great condition. We decided to take a pair of Aston Spirits as a main set. They did a great job. If I have another occasion to record Enigma, I would do the same. As resident artist in the Enigma Cipher Center I worked with students with the recorded material and it was fantastic.”

Aston Spirits - Enigma
Some of the sounds of the 1936 Enigma
Polish mathematicians Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki, who were based at the Bletchley Park facility in the UK, are now considered central to the eventual breaking of the Enigma codes, a success which contributed significantly to the outcome of the war.

During Patryk’s research he met Henryk Zygalski’s relatives, who gave him access to relevant family archive material. He was also introduced to Sir Dermot Turing, nephew of Alan Turing, the Bletchley Park mathematician characterised in the 2014 film ‘The Imitation Game’.

Our thanks to Patryk Piłasiewicz for sharing his unusual and fascinating story with us.

Aston Spirits - Enigma
Some of the sounds of the 1936 Enigma

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