Eric La Casa + Eamon Sprod | Friche: Transition
Borders, frontiers, boundaries. These words have gained a certain relevance in today’s western society. With a fearsome diffusion of nationalist movements and sovereign ideologies, the medieval sense of fixed land division obstructs the path towards liquidity and permeability and towards the establishment of a real global village.
But the mistake of believing in such a crystalized model of political geography, despite how convenient it might be for some people, is guilty of deliberately ignoring that a border – if there is one – is not just a black line on a map but a much wider strip in which gradients of different languages, architectures, beliefs, foods, uses and traditions overlap generating an incredibly rich and ever changing mixture – and clash – of cultures of which the problematic aspect is also the interesting one, the juicy fruit, the aesthetic factor and for us the means to question the world and build an awareness.
The work from Eric La Casa and Eamon Sprod is quite an iconic one in this sense, starting from the title “Friche: Transition” – where Friche explains the setting, Transition gives us a perception of its role – it dives into a deep investigation of modern borders. As in contemporary Europe and how the level of urbanisation increases together with gentrification pushing away the lower classes of society towards the most peripheral areas of the big cities, the big difference in terms of life costs, behaviours, and lifestyles is now intrinsic of conurbations and not between countries anymore.
This is the gap that the artists here are sonically interested in: how is sound inside this juncture? How does it change from the centre of the city to the rural surroundings?
The soundscape they present appears sonically diverse and very dense. The gathered materials are not strongly edited or heavily transformed, their sonic qualities, their identity is still clear and well recognisable, yet what we listen to is not just field recording. All the gestures deriving from the interactions of the humans with the space, are isolated and rearranged, exploited with an outstanding compositional taste.
To enhance the sense of truth in what we hear is the presence – for good or bad – of everyday common technology in the sonic panorama. The interference of mobile phone signals against the recording device, the magnification of small sound objects happening inside the headphones and its awareness in technological listening, the musical use of recording artefacts as compositional elements follow the steps of uncompromising post-GRM French tape music.
Left and right channels are cut and discretely operated. The composers jump from large materials that occupy the full width of the stereo field, establishing the setting within a severe distinction of mono sources fired straight into both channels.
The sensation we have then is of a total lack of any aprioristic concept, each choice Is strongly dependent only the nature of the material and driven only by its sonic qualities, in observance of the purest ex-post tradition of “musique concrète” where listening is the only true rule
Due to such approach, the album itself then becomes the border between an inner perception of space and an outer perception, and somehow it would make a lot of sense to bring the listening experience outside the walls of a living room, in a field, in a bar, on an explorative walk in some areas of your city, affording a leakage of the soundscape surrounding us into our headphones and experiencing a personal transition.