ÉRIC LA CASA / SLAVEK KWI: Fonderie.Paccard
Collectif & Compagnie | MTS 04 | CD

If anything can be said about this collaboration between Éric La Casa and Slavek Kwi, it's this: Fonderie.Paccard is as much about process as it is about the end result. In the summer of 2000, French sound explorer Éric La Casa made ten hours of stereophonic and multiphonic recordings at the Paccard bell foundry. With this sound material at his disposal, he created a work in three parts. He then sends the remaining, unused sound material to Slavek Kwi, aka Artificial Memory Trace, who creates his own unique work without any sort of "geophonic" context, as La Casa would describe it. Kwi creates a work in two parts. Now it is his turn to return to La Casa his unused sound material, with which La Casa then begins a new work, which is in turn reworked by Kwi, until finally the two get together to perform their works in the foundry in the presence of the workers there.
Whether we can really make heads or tails out of the process is a matter of little consequence, however, since our experience of these pieces is limited exclusively to the end result. The disc features 7 tracks in total; 4 by La Casa, 2 by Kwi, and one in collaboration. La Casa's contributions seem to preserve the integrity of the original recordings. Although I'm sure the sounds have been isolated, rearranged and layered in various ways in order to create the pieces we have here, the sounds themselves seem to have remained as pure field recordings. There are quiet moments, where La Casa seems to have captured the foundry in its most tranquil hour (perhaps in the evening when all work has stopped), and still others where you can here traces of the bells tolling, metal scraping, machines roaring. Slavek Kwi works much differently, heavily processing and editing the sounds down to the most minute fragments, or transforming them into electronic sounds, pulses, tones and textures that seem in large part divorced from their original sources, then arranging them into the pieces we have here. Each of these pieces, whether by La Casa or Kwi, or in their collaborative finale, create their own unique and fascinating sound space. They simultaneously build and take apart a bridge between the concrete and acousmatic, between location recordings and decontextualized sound, between what is real, what we perceive as real, and what can only be imagined.

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