An excellent diptych of sound topogragraphy from the reliably great Eric La Casa. Both of the pieces presented on this album were multi-channel commissions and appear now as stereo mixes. Bees are the source material for "Zone Sensible 2" with recordings of tumble and buzz mixed in near equal dose to heavily processed versions of those same sounds, the fields of static and pulse having a powerful digital crunch. The second piece has an almost dada humour, beginning with a field recording of La Casa in a Dundee garage being interviewed about his activities. Huge reverberations and massive low end frequencies surface in these collaged recordings culled from the city, with the interjections of the human voice (a rarity for La Casa) paralleling Nurse with wound's exquisite tape manipulations. The wire

On se rappelle avec émotion comment Jean-Jacques Perrey pour sa reprise du vol du Bourdon de Rimski-Korsakov. Le compositeur Eric La Casa fait un pas de plus vers nos butineuses en voie de disparition et leur consacre la moitié de ce très beau disque. Mêlant des captations minutieuses dans une ruche à Saint-Denis à des fréquences de synthèse calées sur celles des abeille, il bien plus qu'oeuvre d'archivage : il nous propose en réalité rien de moins que de danser à leurs côtés. O.L., Chronicart, Mars 2010

Two new works by Eric LaCasa, the active composer of musique concrete. By now he has a long list of releases under his belt, and on this CD he presents two new works. 'Dundee 2' is in three parts, while 'Zone Sensible 2' is one work. That one was commissioned by Les Instants Chavires (France) for a festival and uses solely the sounds of bees, recorded in a beehive. It starts out with the sound of bees, but soon starts to move about in some electronic after life. Or so it seems. Until now I always thought, but perhaps wrongly, that LaCasa only works with pure sound, always recorded in the fields (agricultural and urban), and never used that much sound processing, but perhaps I was wrong. Here its a much more electronic work that depicts the chaos of the beehive very well. Buzzing with life, sounds crawl about and its hard to figure out what is going on - except of course if you are a bee yourself. A work full of life.
'Dundee' was commissioned by Arika for 'Kill Your Timid Notion in 2007 and uses sounds of that Scottish city, which was played back on a six channel system, devised along with Ken Jacobs, an American film maker. Here we have the 'empty' spaces that resonates, sometimes interrupted by voices ('what are you doing in the parking, recording spaces'?, or station announcements) or by events we can longer trace back to its origin. Here it seems to me LaCasa uses no electronic processing, but the pure sound phenomena as captured on tape. A powerful work, even if you don't know the city of Dundee (at least I don't). What sets LaCasa aside from his colleagues in the same field, is that he composes with the material, rather than presenting them (for instance works like this on the German Gruenrekorder label), and that makes them all the more engaging to hear. I am not sure why 'Dundee 2' has been cut into three separate pieces, but like 'Zone Sensible 2', these are excellent pieces. LaCasa is one of the true masters of working with field recordings. Frans de Ward, Vital (january 2010)

French composer and sound recordist Eric La Casa has built a reputation as one of the country’s most accomplished purveyors of contemporary musique-concrete. Whilst turning his ear to various everyday phenomena, he expounds sound-worlds so dense, so vast and so immersive that it’s almost impossible to believe that their source material is occurring right beneath our earlobes. This body of work sees La Casa formulate some of his most engaging, downright beguiling work yet. The interwoven drones and buzzing netherworld of the 26-minute Zone Sensible 2 is composed entirely from recordings lifted from beehives. The three-part Dundee 2 is an unnerving study of city space. Enthralling stuff. Music Australia Guide #73, Dan Rule, February 2010

J’aime beaucoup le travail d’Éric La Casa, un artiste de field recording sensible et créatif. Ce disque propose deux œuvres mises côte à côte, deux projets in situ pour espaces publics. “Zone sensible 2” tourne autour des ruches d’un certain Olivier Darné, en banlieue de Paris, une œuvre étourdissante, fascinante dans ses agencements et traitements de bourdonnements. Beaucoup de vie dans cette pièce. “Dundee 2” s’intéresse à la ville de Dundee (Écosse), à travers l’agencement de regards scrutateurs sur ses éléments constituants (lieux, objets, machines, habitants). La Casa ne tombe jamais dans le narratif, laissant les sons parler d’eux-mêmes plutôt que leur imposer une structure linéaire et unidirectionnelle. Superbe travail.
I am very fond of Éric La Casa’s work. He is a sensity and creative field recordist. This CD features two works put side by side, two site-specific projects for public spaces. “Zone sensible 2” revolves around the bee hives of one Olivier Darné, near Paris. It’s a dizzying piece with fascinating layerings of sounds and buzz treatments. Lots of life in this one. “Dundee 2” focuses on the two of Dundee (Scotland), through arrangements of scrutinizing looks at its constituents (places, objects, machines, and people). La Casa never falls for the narrative, letting the sounds speak for themselves instead of imposing a linear, unidirectional structure to them. Splendid work.
François Couture, (january 2010)

Consisting of two distinct conceptual pieces spread across a total of four tracks, La Casa creates sound based upon the disparate concepts of both nature and urban sprawl, utilizing field recordings in each case both in their untouched and heavily treated states. The complex result is simultaneously warm and inviting, yet cold and detached, exactly as the source material would lead one to expect.
The opening piece, "Zone Sensible 2," is nearly a half hour of recordings based on beehives near Paris. The opening moments of the piece are unsurprising: the expected buzzes and hums of bees are present and grow in complexity, either as La Casa began to record closer to the hive, or via multi-track recording. Once the swarm arrives at the full level of intensity, it suddenly drops off via processing to near nothing, leaving only the most fragmented of sounds crackling away, the bees reappear again heavily under the influence of signal processing, covering everything in a shiny digital static sheen. The high frequency static coalesces with deep, undulating pulses before the untreated bees appear again, in concert with their digital counterparts. The processing brings out the pure tonal elements of the insects, creating warm tones light years away from the harsh textures of bee wings. The tones meld to create warm ambient electronic music, with insect interference coming in like static over radio transmissions. Eventually the bees take control, leaving the mix purely under the control of their wings before pulling away and allowing the subtle processed sounds to remain.
The remaining three tracks make up distinct segments of the "Dundee 2" piece, a collection of field recordings made around the city of Dundee, initially for use as a multitrack soundtrack to Ken Jacob’s "nervous magic lantern" film. The opening moments of the first piece are simply the clicking sounds of walking in an open parking garage. For me, this went from assumed to known the moment a booming voice cuts in, asking La Casa what he’s doing in the garage. The response, "I’m just recording space" is an honest one, but is still humorous to the befuddled guard, signaling a transition from the pure recordings to treated ones, leaving in bird songs over a low register hum and glitchy microsound delays shaped into a shrill rattle. Passages of echoing, open field sounds mix with the harmonic tones and digital stuttering, mixing both the natural world with the synthetic one.
The second segment is more forceful in its approach, with metallic rattling noises and heavy wind dominating the otherwise subtle sounds. Metal percussion like elements stick around, clashing against the otherwise complex subtlety, the heady mix ends with a surprising pastiche of church organ. The final segment goes even farther, with dense industrial clanging covering the bulk of the mix, with only the occasional voice from a field recording giving a human element to an otherwise mechanical track. The final two thirds retreat to a pensive ambience that contrasts the earlier intense noise.
While this disc joins two very different pieces, the fact that the two come from entirely different sound sources is irrelevant. La Casa utilizes the tonal qualities of both to conceptually highlight the inherent themes, but his adept hand at structure and composition gives them a coherent quality that both act as a microcosmic study of nature and society, but also a sonically compelling album that would stand high even without any sort of theme present.
Brainwashed by Creaig Dunton, 07 February 2010

Bzzzz bzzzzz… Pour une fois, on peut vraiment parler d'une démarche "entomologiste sonore". Connu pour ses travaux basés sur des field recordings (Secousses Panoramiques, Air.ratio, Quelque Chose De Cela - Le Désert) et ses expérimentations / improvisations bruitistes et "concrètes", Éric La Casa a laissé traîné ses micros aux alentours d'une ruche nichée en Saint Denis, chez Olivier Damé, plasticien et "pollinisateur urbain" de son état ! Autant filer métaphore, ce chasseur de sons a fait son miel avec les bourdonnements des abeilles qu'il met en scène dans une longue pièce (26'30"), avec des drones et autres "variations" électroniques. Un document qui a été commissionné par Les Instants Chavirés dans le cadre de l'exposition Lieux Communs, en 2007. Trois autres séquences viennent compléter ce disque, mais il s'agit cette fois de "dérives" (chères aux situationnistes) au travers de la petite ville écossaise de Dundee. Des captations (escalators, piscines, annonces publiques, sirènes, sermon, vent, fréquences radio) ensuite recomposées ou décomposées (c'est selon…) pour être utilisés en interaction avec les images du "para-cinéaste" Ken Jacobs lors de "l'étrange festival" Kill Your Timid Notion, également en 2007. mcd n°57, musiques et cultures digitales, mars/avril 2010,

As you can tell from the title, the Eric La Casa disc features two distinct sections. Each is composed of sounds from one of two site-specific recordings, one made in Paris, and one in the Paris of the North: erm, Dundee. The first is all about bees. Bees seem to be a recurring theme in some of the music I’ve been listening to recently, from BJ Nilsen’s Invisible City, to Marcus Davidson’s Bee Symphony. And, listening to this, you can hear why these creatures are in such demand by those with a strong interest in the qualities of sound itself. The second half of the piece “Zone Sensible 2″ features layers of overlapping bee-sourced frequencies, focusing in in such detail that you feel like you could be riding on the back of one of them. They sound like bees, obviously, but at times they sound like helicopters, and eventually they sound like tiny little oscillators. From within the chaos of the hive there comes order, the sounds gradually forming into pure sine waves by the end of “Do You Speak Bees?“. The Dundee pieces are less structured, being a musique concrete collage of sounds found on the streets of that fair(ish) city. There definitely seems to be an urge to capture large spaces used by people, as opposed to the prettier aspects of the city; it can seem a little threatening at times – although I must confess that I found the sound of someone in a car park with a microphone being challenged by a hostile attendant most amusing (“What are you doing in the car park?” “Errrrrr…I’m recording space”). Being an ex-resident from the north east of Scotland, I used to watch football matches in Dens Park and Tannadice quite regularly, so I’m particularly pleased to hear that one of the places La Casa choose to take his microphone was to the “fitba”. I never went to the bingo though, yet the most moving moment of the piece is hearing the doleful calling of numbers in the hall fading into soft church organ and choral tones. The second half of this “side” knits the recordings into a dark and oppressive drone piece which is unlikely to convince anyone of Dundee’s charms. Other then sound artists armed with microphones. 30/01/2010

It is difficult to think of two types of music more revealing of the nature of human perception than field recordings and Musique Concréte. We are both unaware of what an enormous amount of our perceptions are dictated by sound within an environment, and on another level, beyond what we define as our self, extremely aware of that environment, so that it affects us without our knowing it; one reason Robert Bresson's films are so life-like, for example, lies in his attention to details within a film's soundtrack, and the unconscious body language of his actors, which we do not necessarily notice while watching his films, but which lend them an air of naturalness. What is so important about this examination of the space around us is that it casts into relief how much we are able to ignore, and how little we know about, our own lives.
Two commissioned Musique Concréte projects, recorded in urban settings by Éric La Casa, are presented here, and they push the listener to consider limits of their own perception. The first includes variations on recordings from artist Olivier Darné's urban beehive in the Saint Denis suburb of Paris; the second is a recording of sounds recorded around the city of Dundee, Scotland. "Zone Sensible 2," the recording of bee activity, immerses the listener in a highly-structured animal society (since the hives exist in a city, it is therefore a miniature society within a human society) which causes us to consider the extent to which the way that we categorize the world determines our perception of it: the idea that highly-centered societies exist outside of and within our own society, and go about their business with no awareness of and giving no importance to our own society, is a concept almost foreign to the human mind, and one which undermines the way that we rationalize our existence: in other words, if we cannot provide ourselves with the myth that we are perceived, that our society and our lives are the center of the universe, will we not feel simply obliterated by the time and space surrounding us? By examining this contrast between types of perception (both human and animal), La Casa is perhaps intending for the listener to reflect back on what they understand about their own lives and how they unconsciously exist as a part of society, and how this connection to society is reinforced.
"Dundee 2," and "Dundee 2 Variations/Movement" are also captivating and dark recordings. We hear at times cars is the distance, a storm, a train running along tracks, objects being thrown on the ground, a crowd cheering, among other subjects. Above everything the mechanical and industrial structure of the surroundings within the city, with the elements of nature in the distance beyond and sometimes interacting with this structure, are brought into focus. Individual sounds within the recording are looped and played against one another to great effect; there is even a reflective, harmonic quality as a distant, beautiful church organ and choir seamlessly come into focus at the end of "Dundee 2," reasserting the musical quality of La Casa's project. The album is also excellently packaged by the Room40 label, with detailed liner notes and a even a glossary of beekeeping terms. 10/10 -- Jordan Anderson (24 March, 2010)

The work of French sound artist Eric La Casa, either alone or with his frequent partner in crime Jean-Luc Guionnet, has never failed to impress me (though I should, as they say, declare an interest, having had the pleasure of recording with both of them), but this latest outing on Lawrence English's Room40 imprint could just be his best yet. It's also rather atypical, in that the balance tips firmly towards "traditional" musique concrète in Zone Sensible 2 (even if there's always been manipulation of the field recordings in La Casa's work, most of it so subtle you'd have a hard time noticing the compositional sleight of hand at all). Originally commissioned as an installation by Les Instants Chavirés for 2007's Lieux Communs festival in Montreuil, this 25-minute piece takes as its source material the sounds of bees recorded in a hive on a rooftop in the Parisian suburbs, subjecting them to detailed spectral analysis – the "calibration" stage of La Casa's work is always of critical importance – and using digital tools to create electronic "analogies". The result is a truly thrilling journey from the recognisable into the abstract, beautifully crafted and (it goes without saying) spectacularly well recorded.
Anyone with enough ready cash to invest in a good set of microphones and some halfway decent music software can make a convincing album of field recording based music, right? Wrong, matey. Recent years have seen a whole slew of them come my way, and while many are perfectly delightful as aural holiday snapshots, very few stand the test of time as pieces of music. Eric La Casa's do though, even if, oddly enough, many of them started out as mixed media projects: installations, collaborations with writers, painters, sculptors and, in the case of Dundee 2, legendary underground American filmmaker Ken Jacobs, whose images accompanied La Casa's sound walk through the Scottish city, home to the Kill Your Timid Notion festival which commissioned the work.
Magical moments abound in Dundee 2, from typically La Casa-esque explorations of enclosed spaces – lifts, refrigerators and radiators (I do hope David Lynch is reading this) – to the specific local colour of shopping malls, churches and that most bizarre of shrines to contemporary insanity, the bingo hall, but my favourite occurs shortly after the beginning of the first of the piece's three tracks. Fascinated by the Reich-like phasing of ventilator fans in an underground car park, La Casa is confronted by a curious security guard. "Hey, can I help you?" As La Casa turns to face him, we hear the stereo picture change, with the guard's voice crossing to the left channel. "What are you doing in the carpark?" "I'm just recording space," Eric replies. There's a slight pause, and just a hint of a suppressed giggle. "Recording space..?" It's a beautiful moment, and a wonderfully concise description of La Casa's work. Charlie Parker once described singer Sheila Jordan as having "million dollar ears" – listening to this fabulous album yet again, I'd say the same is true of Eric La Casa. Bingo! – Derek Walmsley july2010

This record presents natural and artificial events; brittle audio emergencies that seem conditioned by the same sound frequency registries. In Zone Sensible 2, only apparently converging oscillations, digital swarms with hybrid features and a a frantic microcosm that is very exposed and reactive are carefully crafted to permeate environments. Modular presences, synthetic and granular, and recordings of bees in their hives (made in the suburb of Saint Denis, Paris) form the epiphenomenon of a reality already teeming with effects, vitality and energy. In contrast to these ambiguous echoes, Dundee was made during Eric La Casa’s stay at the museum of contemporary arts in the Scottish city of the same name, using microphones and field recordings, in collaboration with the experimental underground filmmaker Ken Jacobs. From these recordings, La Casa extracts movements and variations that interact in a dual composition, poised between real elements and abstract scores. A cryptic puzzle of concrete music, interlocking gloomy and obsessive drones, the poetry of everyday life is still unraveled with great power.
Aurelio Cianciotta sept11 2010


‘Zone Sensible 2 / Dundee 2’ brings together two lengthy, rewarding and creative pieces of sound art and electro texturing from Frenchman Éric La Casa- who’s become one of most respected figures in modern Musique Concréte and sound art composition.
The album opens with ‘Zone Sensible 2’ which starts out with a slowly fading-in & building of layers of bee buzzing tones. And just when you think it’s all becoming too overwhelming and almost wall-like in it's buzzing thickness, La Casa suddenly cuts to silence at around the two mintue mark. This silence is pretty soon filled with nicely growing and lightly static cut electro drone matter that’s underfeed by a Bullroarer like wind revolution. Then by the five minute mark the bees are once more buzzing and landing around you in waves of buzzing and feast tone swells, with the drone and bullroarer tones still present mixing with more electronic texturing and morphed/melted bee sound texture. The rest of the just under twenty seven minute track nicely raises and falls through a mixture of bee sound, drone textures & drilling at times quite noisy electronics- all giving this quite surreal yet leisurely sonic rollercoaster feel.
Up next is the three parts of ‘Dundee two’- the first track starts up with a slowly coming into sonic view low-level electro tube buzz, and at around the minute and a half point a rather bemused Scottish voice asks “what are you doing in the carpark” to which La Casa retorts “ I’m recording space”. Then we jump into louder more swirled and dipping drone texture maps, which are marked with more electro feed whirring and wind whistling tones -I presume are taken from modified recordings of the car park.
‘Dundee two’ second track attacks you straight off with a wind battering sound recording that is left to echo off after 30 seconds or so, then we have near silence for a minute or so before once more we’re attacked by another wind battering and clanking field recording that mixed with water textures and steel structure settle and rush. The rest of this thirteen minute track nicely and at times quite jarring switchers between sudden noisy layers of field recording mixers that take in: a bingo caller, clunking steel structures, accelerating cars and seagull chatter. And near silence or settle drone matter, or ebbing out field recordings.
The third part of ‘Dundee two’ slowly fades in or drifts into you listening space with a ticking low down carpark like drone. At the minute and a half mark we get a female voice saying “I’am alive again”, before we get sudden jarring mechanically texture that sounds like lift mechanism drone 'n' clunk . The rest of eleven minute track builds another quite jarring, and often surprising textured mix of: up 'n' down ride of mechanical drones, car engine ticking’s, distant sport commentators talk, distant train line judder, etc. It's again another very rewarding, though at times quite jumpily creative mix of subtle electronics, manipulated field recordings and very clever over laying and sequence of textures.
All told ‘Zone Sensible 2 / Dundee 2’ is a very rewarding, at times jarring mix of soundart, electro drone textures and seared electronic tones. So if you dig your soundart with a bit of a noisy and unhinging edge to it this is very worth tracking down. Another great release that blurs the lines between music, drone and field recordings. Roger Batty


‘Zone Sensible 2 / Dundee 2’ brings together two lengthy, rewarding and creative pieces of sound art and electro texturing from Frenchman Éric La Casa- who’s become one of most respected figures in modern Musique Concréte and sound art composition. Musique Machine Reviews, june 28th 2010