Eric La Casa + Eamon Sprod ‎– Friche : Transition (CD album)

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Eric La Casa + Eamon Sprod ‎– Friche : Transition (CD album)

For an album built entirely out of field recordings, the most surprising quality of “Friche: Transition” is how industrial it sounds. “Friche: Transition” was assembled out of field recordings taken at the outer edges of Paris over the course of a week, “on waste grounds… spaces which are somehow both inside yet apart from the city; waiting spaces from which to listen to the threshold of the city.”  A series of photographs and hand-written notes bring the spaces to life; looking at them as you listen certainly colours how the sounds are understood by tying them to specific environments. For me, that actually made the music more evocative. If I’d only read that these were urban field
recordings from the outer edges of Paris, I might not have really known what was meant. I’d
imagine auto repair shops and highways. The images show a variety of locations and acoustic
spaces that both La Casa and Sprod explored with microphones and digital recorders.

That these guys would work together so seamlessly is no surprise. Both composers deal with
field recordings in a similarly hands-on manner; not as objective documentary, but as poetic raw
material for extremely detailed and dramatic music. The locations’ peculiar character remains
legible throughout, but “Friche: Transition” is ultimately music and not ecological exercise. To
listen to this all the way through is wonderfully unnerving; just when you’re lulled by the static
metallic rumble, sharp cuts and clanks leap across the stereo field and jolt out in sharp-angled
jump-scares. Listening to a big city from its ignored edges means capturing the menacing
acoustics of tunnels, the drone of distant traffic and faraway voices, active trash-heap clatter,
threatening low-frequency drops, oncoming trains, cell phone interference. The lengthiest
section, part 3, bashes rocks around at a steadily rolling density while skittering plastic and water
attack from all sides until flurries of activity in discrete channels give an impression of
overwhelming movement that constantly speeds up, stops, switches to something entirely
different… bends plastic in your ear then throws you down a well, only to instantly teleport you
to the centre of an auto scrap yard and then plunge you back underground. So much is happening
each second that a single listen doesn’t do it justice. I’ve experienced “Friche: Transition” intently
all the way through on headphones about six times so far, and have come away with latching on
to new details each time. This album is exhilarating and thrillingly exhausting. (Vital by Howard D Stelzer)