DIEstinguished in VIDY
La Ribot’s tentacular dance work DIEstinguished makes a stop at the Theatre de VIDY, during a week of events celebrating the reopening of the theater after renovations. Performing the music partially onstage, La Ribot’s dancers will be joined by 6 local performers to complete the cast.
“With a mobile phone in their hands, the performers are “body operators” as La Ribot says: they do not film the movement, the image is the movement. We dive with them into the labile energy of their dance, following the show simultaneously from our seats and on our own phones. The dance, the subjectivity of each moment, the humor and the latent sensuality recall the mutations of desires and possibilities in a present that cannot be contained.”
Official VIdy annoucement here
NEW WORK FOR 4tet
Currently working on a new work for 4 musicians. This collaboration features Basel based musicians Anne Katherin Klein, Sinforosa Petralia, Miguel Angel Garcia and Roberto Maqueda. After a first two days-working phase, a piece for inside piano and eight hands with the significant help of a mechanic lightning system will be brought to stage for its premiere in Basel in the next season.
VENICE FINAL EVENTS #2
The second night of the closing events of the swiss Pavilion at the 59th Venice Art Biennial, curated by the artistic team of Latifa Echakhch, Francesco Stocchi and Alexandre Babel featured three concerts in two locations.
Babel’s solo work “Asphalte” in collaboration with swiss artist Florian Bach opened the evening in the heart of the Pavilion itself, allowing the drumset covered with bitumen to take advantage of the scenic situation offered by Latifa Echakhch’s monumental sculptures.
Later, at the spectacular venue Cosmo in la Giudeca, Kassel Jaeger delivered a new electroacoustic set, followed by Kali Malone’s “Does spring hide its joy” featuring Stephen O’Malley and Lucy Railton.
VENICE FINAL EVENTS #1
The Swiss pavilion at the 59th Venice Art Biennial closes its doors on November 27th after nine months of what has been the most visited biennial ever. After a period of nearly two and a half years since the beginning of the collaboration with artist Latifa Echakhch, curator Francesco Stocchi and light designer Anne Weckström on the pavilion exhibition “The Concert”, it was time to celebrate with proper decibels. Two nights of music held in the Serenissima, with special guests whose works and sounds have directly or indirectly accompanied the making of this project.
The first night of this programm curated by the artistic team of the pavilion featured three sets held at the Palazzo Trevisan: a solo by American legend Alvin Curran, a serie of chamber music pieces by John Cage, Annea Lockwook and Pauline Oliveros interpreted by Rebecca Lenton, Theo Nabicht, Corentin Marillier, Dorian Fretto, Louis Delignon, and as a grand finale, an appearance by french composer and performer Felicia Atkinson.
20 YEARS BUTTERCUP METAL POLISH
“On November 12, 2002, a new Geneva duo, BUTTERCUP METAL POLISH, emerged from the depths of Geneva’s Cave12, at the time still under the fire of the squat Rhino. This exploratory-hyper_nervous encounter of two drummers generated a mass of rich and thrilling percussive frequencies that could, at any moment, transform into a furiously encompassing maelstrom of joyfully knocking and stunning bludgeoning!” (Fernando Sixto, Cave12)
twenty years later, Nicolas Field and Alexandre Babel join forces again to celebrate the duo’s 20th anniversary. This time they are joined by four special guests: vocalist and performers Joke Lanz, Fritz Welch, Maarten Seeghers and Catherine Travelleti for a one night only performance at the Cave 12.
concert announcement here
EKLEKTO / LAST CONCERT
After 9 vears as the artistic director of the Geneva based percussion ensemble Eklekto, my long term collaboration with this unique musical organization is coming to an end, after a final concert for 15 percussionist with a new piece by Anthony Pateras. The journey started back in 2001 as I worked for the first time as a percussionist for Eklekto. It was followed by a number of collaborations over the following 20 years, including the creation of the biennial festival Batteries! which focused on drumset-based music.
I can’t thank enough my collaborators at Eklekto who made this amazing chapter possible, and contributed to push the boundaries of contemporary percussion music.
NEW WORK WITH ANTHONY PATERAS
The commission of a new work by pianist, electronic musican and prolific Melbourne-based composer Anthony Pateras has been a dream for years. It is now a reality through the rather ambitious project of staging 15 percussionists through a room for a 45 minutes ensemble piece without conductor. “Grace/or/echo” is an evening long masterpiece dedicated to Eklekto and which I conducted for its premiere on September 30th.
After numerous working residencies in Geneva, La Chaux de Fonds, Lausanne over the course of the summer, The music for Spanish Choregrapher La Ribot’s new major work DIEstinghished is now ready to take the stage! The final result is made of live performed voice and percussive sounds surrounded by a recorded track made from the voices of the performers.
Premiere on September 28th at the TPR in la Chaux de Fonds
, further performances at La Comédie de Genève, Théatre VIDY Lausanne, Théatre les Halles, Sierre
COLLABORATING WITH LA RIBOT
The extraordinaire artist and choregrapher La Ribot, winner of Golden Lion at the Venice Dance Biennale 2020 announces a new major work to be premiered in September 2022. I will be working with the dancers to create a live performed stage music, that involves voice sounds, percussive hits, and fast movements. The premiere is planned at the TPR in la Chaux de FOnds, further performances at La Comédie de Genève, Théatre VIDY Lausanne, Théatre les Halles, Sierre
more infos here
CASA DEGLI ARTISTI RESIDENCY
After a week of residency at the Casa degli artisti in Milan, where I was able to intensively work with contemporary Milano-based pianist Silvia Giliberto, we delivered a residecy-reddition concert for a formidable crowd of experimental music enthusiasts. Based on complementary sound articulations between piano and drums, the piece taht I presented here serves as basis for further production to be anounced in 2023!
Many thanks to the Casa Degli Artisti for their fantastic welcome and outstanding working conditions in the middle of the italian metropolis.
VENICE BIENNALE PREVIEW
The opening ofthe 59th Venice Art Biennale wil be preceded by a preview including press conference, official opening and VIP previews. Latifa Echakhch’s exhibition “The Concert” at the Swiss Pavillion, co-curated by Francesco Stocchi and Alexandre Babel, in close collaboration with finish lightning designer Anne Weckström will be part of it with a live streamed press conference on the 20th at 2pm, to be seen online here
“THE CONCERT” – RECORDING IN PROCESS
The recording sessions have started at Jazzanova Studio in Berlin for an upcoming release on shelter-press. The Concert is a digital and vinyl release composed by Alexandre Babel in close collaboration with artist Latifa Echakhch. It features significant contributions from the berlin based musicians Rebecca Lenton, Theo Nabicht, Jon Heilbron and Nikki Schlierf. The record is meant to accompany the exhibition at the swiss pavilion of the 59th Venice Art Biennale.
Digital release available through the exhibition catalog on sternberg press, and Vinyl release will be available from november 2022!
JAN PUSTJENS FOCUS DAY
I had the honor to be invited as the master of the Jan Pustjens Focus Day 2022. The Focus Day is a unique opportunity for percussion students from all the conservatories in the Netherlands to meet and present their work. An semi-online version adapted to the pandemic realities was beautifully organized by the Jan Pustjens Foundation, and I had the pleasure to listen and work with the percussion groups from Rotterdam, Tilburg, Den Haag, Maastricht, Groningen, Zwolle, with a great finale by the students from Amsterdam who printed Gerhard Stäbler’s graphical score on t-shirts!
NEWS FROM SUDDEN INFANT
Post-noise-industrial-dada-power trio Sudden Infant (Joke Lanz, Christian Weber, Alexandre Babel) is spending two weeks in the remote cultural center Wiesenburg in Wedding, Berlin, to prepare what will become the third album of the trio-incarnation of Joke Lanz’s three decades running project Sudden Infant. Due for a release on fourth dimension records in spring 2022, this serie of new compositions promises to explore a wide variety of loud and intricate audio and text materials coming from the three musicians, Stay tuned!
SWISS MUSIC PRIZE LAUREATE 2021
The annual Swiss Music Prize have been revealed! Alexandre Babel is a laureate of this years edition! The swiss music prize “show snapshots of Switzerland’s current musical creativity. But the winners create timeless music, set impulses in the diverse, globally networked music scenes and, as cultural ambassadors, present an open-minded Switzerland at home and abroad. of a swiss music prize 2021”
ONLINE DAMAGE CONTROL
Alexandre Babel’s new piece, “Damage Control”, will be performed for the very first time on two upcoming occasions: on April 23rd, 2021 at Kunstraum Walcheturm, Zürich and on a date that will soon be revealed at BNU (Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire), Strasbourg, as part of the collective lovemusic’s online programme “Fractales”.
The idea for this Franco-Swiss programme came from lovemusic’s wish to collaborate with Alexandre Babel on a new piece, specially written for the collective. Within these online events, lovemusic aims to explore different techniques of stage performance and to encourage the audience to have another perspective on live music…
NEW WORK FOR QUINTET
WORK IN PROGRESS – Working on a new work commissioned by the Strasbourg-based collective lovemusic. The piece will be presented as part of their Franco-Swiss programme entitled “Fractales”. Under the title “Damage Control” this collaborative composition for 5tet is using string and wind instruments as percussive objects, and is constructed around the structures of communication flows.
RECORDING TRISTAN PERICH
The recording of Tristan’s Perich’s 50 minutes piece for 3 vibraphones and 1-bit electronics entitled « Open Symmetry » took place at the OARA (Office Artistique de la Région Nouvelle Aquitaine) in Bordeaux, France. The team was complete! Stéphane Garin, Julien Garin, Alexandre Babel as the vibraphone trio, Lucas Pizzini, as the sound engineer. A production by ensemble 0 and Eklekto Percussion, kindly supported by Bergerault.
LES AMPLITUDES #5 – DÉBORDEMENTS
To close the festival, Alexandre Babel performed his piece « Asphalte », a new drum solo in collaboration with artist and lighting designer Florian Bach. The drum set found itself propelled into the role of soloist to create an eventful discourse between rhythms, impacts, sound textures and resonances.
Alexandre Babel at L’Heure Bleue, La Chaux de Fonds
LES AMPLITUDES #4 – OBSTINATIONS
Four ensemble pieces, three composers and a shared taste for rhythm and repetitive music. At La Chaux de Fonds’ Temple Allemand, the musicians of the NEC ensemble, together with the percussionists of Eklekto, unveiled works that evoke electronic music, urban palpitations or even the murmur of a passing train.
Pieces by Thomas Meadowcroft, Annette Schmucki and Alexandre Babel
LES AMPLITUDES #3 – CARTOGRAPHIES
On the third day of the festival, the minimal and scenographical universe of the collective Radial met the acoustic works of the Japanese master of digital art Ryoji Ikeda for the first time. An evening at the Temple Allemand, which was placed under the sign of musical essence.
Performers: Radial, Eklekto Percussion
LES AMPLITUDES #2 – DÉFERLEMENTS
During the second day of the festival, 50 percussionists took possession of the impressive Usine Électrique of La Chaux-de-Fonds to perform simultaneously the same piece for snare drum: “Field Drum Monument”, by Mio Chareteau. The audience was invited to follow the resonating sound of the drum sticks.
The second half of the opening concert of les Amplitudes festival featured the world premiere of a duo collaboration with australien pianist and composer Anthony Pateras. Pateras and Babel had crossed paths in a number of occasions in the past, but had never shared the stage as a duo unit.
LES AMPLITUDES #1 ÉCLATS
Entitled ÉCLATS, the first day of the festival was devoted to acoustic works for percussion, cello and piano that explore rhythm and sound colours. The composition « Chœur Mixte », written by Alexandre Babel for 15 snare drums, was one of the opening concerts, which took place at the Théâtre L’Heure Bleue.
Performers: Eklekto Percussion, Till Lingenberg, Duo Orion
LES AMPLITUDES October 21-25, 2020
Amplify the music, make it audible, perceptible and tangible. It is now, and perhaps more than ever, time to awaken, to reveal oneself and to resonate. This is the whole intention of this new edition of the Amplitudes Festival in La Chaux-de-Fonds, CH.
Alexandre Babel has elaborated a program including the creations of musicians and composers Caspar Brötzmann, Ryoji Ikeda, Wojtek Blecharz, Mio Chareteau, Thomas Meadowcroft, Radial, Sudden Infant, Annette Schmuki and Anthony Pateras; the screening of animated films by director Delia Hess; the installations by artist and lighting designer Florian Bach; and the interventions of composer and theorist François J. Bonnet aka Kassel Jaeger and visual artist Latifa Echakhch.
Check out the detailed programme here.
SNARE DRUM 4tet
The Amplitudes Festival in la Chaux-de-Fonds will focus this year on Alexandre Babel’s works and compositions. Two brand new works will be presented, one of which is a snare drum quartet to be performed by the Swiss based percussion group Eklekto. It will be part of a concert with Eklekto and le NEC, featuring exclusive works by Thomas Meadowcroft and Annette Schmucki. The composition process has started, in the inspiring Wiesenburg Studio in Berlin.
RYOJI IKEDA / NEW COLLABORATION
The internationally acclaimed electronic composer and artist Ryoji Ikeda is creating 8 new works for acoustic percussion instruments, in collaboration with the percussionists and performers Stéphane Garin, Amélie Grould and Alexandre Babel. The rehearsals have just started this week in Strasbourg and the premiere is due for September 2020 at the Festival Musica Strasbourg. After “Music for percussion 1” (photo) commissioned by Eklekto Percussion and premiered in 2016 at the Bâtie-Festival de Genève, Ikeda is bringing “Music for percussion 2”, an unexpected journey into the sonic possibilities of small percussion instruments, which draw a contrast with his usual large scale video and electronic installations. Stay tuned!
Covid-19 strikes again, La Biennale di Venezia has revealed new dates for the Architecture Biennale as well as for the Art Biennale. While the architectural event will be taking place from May 22nd to November 21st 2021, the Biennale Arte will be held from April 23rd to November 27th 2022. These are major changes but we won’t be discouraged! Swiss artist Latifa Echakhch and her two collaborators, curator Francesco Stocchi and percussionist Alexandre Babel, will hence be more than ready to take you on an acoustic & spatial journey at the Swiss Pavilion of the 59th International Art Exhibition in 2022.
The coronavirus containment measures still allow creation processes for future projects to happen! The working residency #1 for a new solo work with light design by swiss artist Florian Bach has begun in Berlin. This new work, to be premiered on october 25th at the Amplitudes festival, draws a line between acoustic and light articulations.
The difficult times we are all experiencing is highly touching the performing arts. Many events have been canceled or postponed, it might only be the beginning. These times are a good opportunity to question our practices, and the possible future of adventurous music.
Stay healthy, and listen to music at home!
The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has chosen to entrust the Swiss Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia to the artist Latifa Echakhch. The artist herself has asked curator Francesco Stocchi and percussionist Alexandre Babel to join her for the realisation of the exhibition. Together they intend to offer visitors of the Biennale a rhythm-based experience with visual, acoustic and spatial effects.
News from les Amplitudes Festival!
Alexandre Babel will be the invited artist of the 2020 edition of the monographic contemporary music festival held in the city of La Chaux de Fonds in Switzerland focusses on the work of one musician. Babel will present 5 days of concerts, art exhibitions, lectures and performances from October 21st to 25th. Stay tuned!
More infos here:
NEWS FROM HAT HUT
The trio consisting of pianist Hildegard Kleeb, trombone player Roland Dahinden and Alexandre Babel has released a new opus on the newly created label ezz-tetcis! The legendary experimental jazz and contemporary music label Hat Hut is back, in the form of this new series, created by label owner Werner X. Uehlinger. 10 original tracks beautifully recorded by Rainer Robben in Berlin and mixed by Micha de kanter. Liner Notes by Andy Hamilton!