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remf: biosphere vs. pierre bastien

What a contrast, at the Rotterdam Electronic Music Festival, between the performances of Geir Jenssen (Biosphere) and Pierre Bastien.

The one, Jenssen, bent over his laptop mixing his familiar deep Polar soundscapes on a darkened stage without any visual additions. This is of course fairly typical for electronic music performances, where you're left in the dark as to what exactly is being performed, how 'live' it really is.

The other, Bastien, needs to be see to be believed. Using intricate contraptions built with Meccano, which are shown on a large screen, he creates a variety of mechanical instruments. Short bass and drum loops, keyboard melodies and record player scratches form the basis for songs, which he then adds live playing to on trumpet and exotic string instruments. The result sounds a bit like Tom Waits trapped in a music box.

But all the while, every element of the music is visible, providing a continuous source of fascination. Compared to this, Geir Jenssen's laptop remains a black box, however rich the music he / it produces. Ironically, Pierre Bastien's mechanical music feels much more 'live'.


iffr: terry riley

Closing event of the Rotterdam Film Festival 's Exploding Cinema -- otherwise of, ehm, varied quality this year -- was a rare European concert by the 69 year old founding father of minimal music Terry Riley . Accompanied by grainy … Read the full post »

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