Inscape lille.flandre

Much more information, in English, can be found on the release by Inscape, the duo of Eric LaCasa and Jean-Luc Guionnet. As Inscape they deal with 'site-specific listening installations', 'principally on the notion of 'background noise'. The review of their CD can never really deal with all the implications of their project (otherwise I'd be retyping the entire booklet), but they more or less scan the environment where a project is by means of audio and video, which are used in a live concert or an installation piece. 'Lille-Flanders' was made in 2004 at a disused postal sorting office, now a cultural space and a list of sounds is in the booklet. Best is to sit back and let the music just roll about. Cars passing, trains, water meter, the rain falling, incidental music from the nearby train station etc. Its all there. Other than LaCasa's solo work, this is more a collage like approach on sounds, with a bit more rapid mixing than in his solo work. It makes a small, but significant difference and it makes a beautiful piece of music. A very fine and solid work of field recordings.
Frans de Waard [Vital Weekly, #658, 22.12.2008]

Loin de lui ôter son mystère, un brin d'explication préalable sur l'élaboration de cette pièce guidera sans doute l'écoute et aidera peut être à en saisir les dimensions multiples. Le terme «inscape» a plusieurs significations selon l'angle d'où on le considère; quel qu'il soit, on tourne autour de l'idée d'un espace topologique intrinsèque, d'un paysage intérieur susceptible de s'exprimer de différentes manières : visuelle, littéraire ou... sonore comme le démontrent ici Eric La Casa et Jean-Luc Guionnet. Le premier sait où positionner ses micros pour pénétrer la substance environnementale, le second (qui délaisse ici l'approche instrumentale pour laquelle on le connait mieux) se tourne vers des outils similaires et revêt son casque d'électroacousticien. Travaillant sur ce projet depuis 2003, les deux preneurs de sons ont développé un système d'enregistrements multiples et simultanés (audio et vidéo) grâce à des capteurs placés à différents endroits stratégiques d'un site défini : ici la gare de Lille-Flandres. Au point de ralliement des nombreux câblages, les deux opérateurs centralisent l'information en temps réel et reconstituent un panorama sonore hautement subjectif de l'endroit ausculté. La description acoustique de Lille-Flandres et de ses environs reflète ainsi tout autant les choix et les questionnements de La Casa et Guionnet : valeur du bruit de fond et interactions entre activité humaine et environnement. Ce soundscape très personnel joue sur les échelles et les distances à l'aide d'éléments simples : grincement des essieux en mouvement, souffle des moteurs à l'arrêt, lointaines résonances de clocher, jingle de la SNCF dans la salle des pas-perdus, ruissellements divers, etc. Le concept demeure quand même plus adapté à l'installation sonore spatialisée qu'au figement sur support discographique.
Jean-Claude Gevrey [Octopus, 2009]

La Casa and Guionnet's ongoing Inscape projects, which grew out of their work with Eric Cordier in Afflux, are onsite installations in which microphones are strategically placed in and around a chosen location and live field recordings are mixed in real time to create a complex sound sculpture. For Inscape Lille Flandres they set up shop in and around the railway station of the same name, but apart from the occasional platform announcement, many of the sounds they harvested from a dozen or more places are as inscrutable as the accompanying liner notes.
Dan Warburton [Paris Transatlantic, May 2009]

Inscape, the duo of Eric La Casa and Jean-Luc Guionnet, have worked together regularly since 1998. Here they offer various views of an installation set up in a disused postal sorting office situated behind an old railway station, a part of the Audioframes Festival held in Lille in 2004. They set up many microphones and video cameras and ran everything into a central "listening point", mixing the various inputs live. The excerpts supplied here are akin to an electro-acoustic improvisation; indeed it could be a couple of guys with laptops full of field recording files, though I suppose that's not the point.
It is at the very least an intriguing way of working with sound, transforming an environment, or drawing a participants' attention to the details of a space or set of spaces. As a recorded document, it's a fascinating collection of sounds, ably mixed and sequenced. We hear environmental sounds like traffic or duct work air-flow, crowds and weather, processed building ambience and occasional music. The sound flits back and forth between far-off rumbles and washes to very close-up mechanical sounds or rain on windows and pavement. The changes are quick and the pair doesn't seem to stay on any one aspect for long. It kept my ears focused for the entirety of it's 53 minute running time. I only wonder what the video component consisted of. How about a DVD next time guys? Jeph Jerman [The Squid's Ear, 29.12.2009]


While I thoroughly admire La Casa and Guionnet’s attempt of rationalizing their research in the sector of location recording – they persevere with the detailed justifications in the liner notes of this superb CD – there’s nothing a man can do to get near the complexity and intensity of the sensations given by a definite acoustic incident, especially when unanticipated and/or materializing amidst a temporal reality completely extraneous to that of our own formation. In short, the inner reaction to a vibrational phenomenon cannot be expressed by words (which contradicts what this writer has been doing for almost 20 years now). Truth is always unforgiving.
So we’re left with the “listen in solitude” option and, if you’re sensible enough, different sorts of gratification will accompany the experience. Inscape. Lille-Flandres – the partial soundtrack of a site-specific event realized in 2004 for Lille’s Audioframes Festival – stands among the preeminent works in this area, the reasons being various. On the one hand the faultless displaying of every occurrence, according to a musical sense that becomes quite evident in the pulsating activity and structural diversity characterizing these 53 minutes. Not a mere accumulation of episodes, but a coherent statement designed to enhance the qualities of normal life that make sympathetic individuals quiver in front of apparently regular junctures. On the other, the composers’ talent in placing sudden openings of glowing harmony – resulting from the effect of the music that was surrounding the installation, captured by the mass of then-utilized microphones – in between the concrete aspects of the piece. All the more noteworthy, as demonstrated by the wish of avoiding what they call “grotesque manipulation” (namely, excess of processing: everything here sounds as natural as if you were looking outside your very window).
Every source is important, weighing the same in the album’s economy: disembodied voices from external speakers, echoes of trains from the nearby station, cars, pieces of furniture, muffled reverberations of uncertain origin. Familiarity and surprise are successfully matched in this great release, which should be used as a paradigm for this type of action: artistically consistent, musically significant, rich in emotional traits. A milestone of the genre, melting human, mechanical and environmental features in a single soul. massimo Ricci [Touchingextremes April 24th 201]1