ERIC LA CASA Intérieurs (CD by Swarming)

Eric La Casa reminds us that the urban spaces we travel through and frequent constitute a personal ecosystem of the city – a world unto itself – and that every architectural space contains, on a human scale, a part of reality. What is such a reality made of, this reality that conditions life in specific spaces? What relationships do they establish with space and with these internal environments? Intérieurs tries to answer these questions by analysing the resonance of certain rooms, in search of a liminal sonic dimension of everyday life, based on the belief that every architectural space contains its own materiality and its own acoustics. The result is remarkable, even if the spaces with which the author regularly interacts refer us to more abstract and celestial atmospheres than everyday, placing the emphasis on generally ignored and even imperceptible sounds, for example the sounds of ventilation systems and of unidentifiable machines, sounds coming from outside, strange electric or hydraulic hums and creaks. La Casa chooses a different setting for each of the three compositions presented; in the first the sound samples come from his Parisian apartment, in the second it is Michaél-Andréa Schatt’s art studio in Montreuil, in the third the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Each environment expresses its own unique character, gradually moving from private to public. La Casa stresses how much more time he spends indoors rather than outdoors and this also elicits a certain claustrophobic atmosphere, however splendid and poetic in its outcome, rich in musical nuances and meticulous orchestrations. Each space contains redundant and milder elements in its own way and is full of many small sources of noise; it is their vivid interaction that creates the overall impression. Here the microphone is a kind of measuring instrument as well as a musical instrument, a medium of knowledge that records the manifest and the inaudible. Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural magazine (Italy),, March 2021

Insider Art
Latest release from French sound artist Éric La Casa is called simply Intérieurs (SWARMING 013), and comprises field recordings he made inside various rooms and interior spaces in and around his Paris home.
It might be my imagination, but is his work getting progressively more reduced and quieter with each new release? We previously heard him teaming up with Eamon Sprod for Friche, recordings based on ideas of reprocessed junk and garbage, but today’s item is perhaps closer in spirit to Paris Quotidien which we heard in 2018. The basic proposition of today’s record is simple enough; La Casa declares that he spends most of his life indoors, and lists various locations around Paris where he’s often to be found (including public places like the shopping mall, library or cinema as well as his own apartment). He wants to investigate them and their meaning in some way, as he ponders on the meaning of architecture and how it places him inside his own “personal ecosystem of the city”. What’s interesting is that he sees this as slightly problematic, something that’s in need of investigation and interrogation. He does it with documentary recordings, asking himself the question “what is this reality made of?”
One key word – whose meaning I had to look up – in these investigations is “liminal”, which can have several applications depending on the context, but I suspect the meaning most fitting to this case is to do with “standing on the threshold”, suggestive of passing from the outside to the inside or hovering around in the doorway, wondering what events may await us as we weigh up the situation. For this record, he’s divided the task into three zones – his own apartment, the atelier or studio of Michaele-Andrea Schatt in Montreuil, and the Louis Vuitton Museum in Paris. Further, each track represents I think a quote or a reworking of previous recordings he has made and published, from 2011 to 2018. For instance, the ‘Atelier’ piece references Low Velocity Zone from 2011 and Everyday Unknown from 2019. As noted with Paris Quotidien, what stands out is that La Casa isn’t especially preoccupied with unusual or “interesting” sound recordings, and in fact most of his subject matter can, on the surface, appear extremely banal and even boring.
It is this very quality however which gives his recent work its power, its tension; my sense is that the tension arises from the context in which he’s making the work, all of which is founded on the crucial relationship between himself and his surroundings. This isn’t to say that to fully appreciate this record, you have to “become” Éric La Casa; but you may need to participate somehow, conducting your own investigation of these surroundings, and ponder your own relationship with these blank walls, these empty settings. Yes, he is not afraid of “the void”, and indeed he actively wishes to face up to it, try his luck and answer the riddles of the Sphinx as he looks the oracle in the eye. All of this puts La Casa in quite a different place to Francisco López, mnortham, Slawek Kwi or indeed any phonographer who has documented an interior space (and there are several of them). The difference is that they are mostly looking for a beautiful texture, audio event, or sound world which may have been overlooked and which they wish to frame and re-present for our aesthetic enjoyment, be that an air-conditioning unit, the motors of a lift shaft, or the background hum of traffic in the city. Conversely, La Casa is in pursuit of something much less tangible, where the most important element is not necessarily the sound being made, but the context in which it’s heard and understood.
This takes us beyond mere phonography and sound art, into some more abstruse, quasi-philosophical realm, to do with the contemplation of emptiness; a record alone might not succeed in carrying or delivering all of this meaning, but you have to admit he’s aiming high. From 25th June 2020.
Ed Pinsent,

In a classic case of nomen omen, “La Casa” means “The House” in several Latin languages. It therefore seems logical that the inaugural chapter of this CDshould begin with the composer walking us through the sections of his apartment. At first simply listing them, only escorted by a pregnant hush. Later, extracting from each of them a sound halfway between amplified hum and slight distortion of unidentified signals, with the occasional addition of rhythmic/mechanical components.
However, in this outstanding work it is not so much “what” that matters, but “how we relate to it”. Eric La Casa has based his existence as an artist on the investigation of what he calls “infra-ordinary”, preferably within the environment we live in. In fact, the whole of Interieurs revolves around the issue of an individual’s interiority inside the small ecosystem made up of buildings and rooms he/she inhabits. In such a context, there is no longer even a precise geographical or temporal location. Practically speaking, a perceptual human being learns to make explicit the countless inherent “charges” that provide an acoustic potential to a given habitat.
Besides his home, for this project La Casa also explored the larger spaces of Michaële-Andréa Schatt’s Atelier in Montreuil and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. What’s heard in the tracks recorded in those places include echoes of a more intense activity, and camouflaged traces of what sounds like external field recordings (which probably is not true). The sonic matter warrants identical efficiency on the intuitive part of the psyche, connecting us to an alternative dimension of interpretation where familiarity and mystery blend with elegance. Although, on rare occasions, we can somehow imagine the source, the analytical aspect takes second place to the mute satisfaction of realizing once again how genuine awareness resides in the maximized folds of apparent silence. It’s an extremely useful training to ascertain the uselessness of “studying” and “teaching” if one does not learn to listen prior to opening the mouth. Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes december


Eric La Casa introduces his new album with the prophetic text: “I spend more time inside than outside”. Of course, once Covid-19 hit, people all over the world suddenly/independently got the same idea that La Casa did and we all began examining our own indoor spaces. “Interieurs” was composed long before the pandemic, though, so it’s a mere coincidence that “Interieurs” is so timely right now. As the title makes clear, the album is built from recordings of inside spaces… though as can be expected from La Casa, he transforms seemingly prosaic ideas into sonic poetry and rich drama. He organizes the album by breaking “inside” into three sections: his apartment, work space, and gallery/museum space. This isn’t the first time that La Casa has created work that digs into interior urban environments: “Air.Ratio” captured the sounds of rushing air, “Metro Pre. St Gervais” explored a specific Paris subway station (aided by Dan Warburton and Jean-luc Guionnet), and so on. But this album is different in that it’s explicitly autobiographical, based on La Casa’s own “personal ecosystem”. The first and longest section is the most opaque of the three; La Casa narrates the piece by telling us where in his apartment he’s recording, then we hear some of the sounds captured there. It reminds of me tac’s “Objects”, which also had the artist speaking directly to the listener, telling us exactly what the source is of the sounds we’re about to hear, and then letting us hear them. La Casa is not interested in objects, though. What he captures is the acoustic properties of seemingly-silent spaces. He walks us around his apartment, giving the listener an audio tour of his urban home. The vestibule, kitchen, bedroom, the toilet and so on. The sounds here are minimal: aside from La Casa’s voice, we can hear open air, electric buzz, voices subtly bleeding in from adjacent apartments… and, most interestingly, the silences that change in different size rooms, different materials on the walls, perhaps different insulation or possible openings to other rooms. The section works best on headphones in a silent listening environment, as the subtleties get lost otherwise. Moving to the workspace, La Casa stops narrating and the music becomes more abstracted from its source elements with the artist taking a more hands-on compositional approach. Tumbling motion and different densities of sonic material are spliced rapidly against one another in dramatic jolts. Footfalls cut abruptly into the deep boom of a cavernous hallway, which slams against close-mic’d water bubbling. Compared to the linearity of the first piece, this one has vertical depth with layers of sounds in conversation with one another. Same for the museum/gallery sounds in the third piece, which buzzes with electricity and resonant hums. Of the three pieces, this is the most static… elements are allowed to linger for a few minutes, shifting sideways to develop rather than cutting away to a new texture so often. Chances are, you’ve heard a lot of experimental-type musicians making work that explores their inside spaces within the past several months, but Eric La Casa’s voice and sense of dramatic urgency is unique and worth experiencing. Howard Stelzer, Vital Weekly

I continue to be astounded by the work of sound artist Eric La Casa, whose latest album "Interiuers" (Interiors) on the Swarming label is an investigation into spaces that he regularly interacts with. How he achieves these recordings is through capturing the sounds of each interior space, from the sparse ambiance to the generally ignored and even imperceptible sounds that can be heard if one pays attention. These might include the sounds of ventilation, distant machinery, exterior sounds that bleed through the glass, the hum from a light bulb, extraneous sounds from a toilet, the sound emanationg from a piece of furniture, &c. .
With impeccable and pristine technique in his recording, La Casa organizes them into remarkably dramatic sound works. If you did not know the sources for each sound you would rightly consider these to be profound acousmatic compositiosn. But knowing the sources and kinds of sounds that he works with adds to the wonder of each work, invoking a sense of mystery in the very room you might be sitting in as you read this review.
La Casa explains that he spends more time inside than out, which is the impetus for his fascination and creation of these pieces. The three locations he chose for these compositions are La Casa's own apartment in Paris; at the workshop of Michaél-Andréa Schatt in Montreuil; and at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Each brings its own unique characteristics, informing the character and momentum of each composition. The results are exemplary, on par with the work of Bayle, Ferrari, or Parmegiani in creating captivating works that contain compelling and even thrilling moments in sound.
A stunning exploration of interior architecture through recordings of the elements of three spaces including La Casa's own apartment, finding micro and macro-scopic sound in common elements that he uses to create fascinating compositions reflecting both the captivating fullness and stillness of each space, as the composer questions his relationship with each space.
Phil, SquidCo Blog, July 2020 -