"You can imagine this music accompanying a masked performance of sound poetry in a Zurich cafe at some point between the wars, but after a while you find yourself settling into something mesmeric and hypnotic, because Banabila merges aspects of sound design and collaged samples with Bastien's Don Cherry-esque improvisations into a true fusion of the ambient and glitchy." (The Wire)
Two visionary maestros, Pierre Bastien and Michel Banabila, unite in their first collaborative album, Baba Soirée. The veterans of electronic music bring their unique expertise to the table, resulting in a captivating fusion of experimental styles. Bastien’s mechanical loops and fantastic instrumental setups merge seamlessly with Banabila's sound design and impeccable skills of sampling collages. It's not a dance party, nor is it an avant-garde intervention. It's a soirée: a cultivated evening of sonic alchemy hosted by these two charismatic gentlemen.
Pierre Bastien is a composer and multi-instrumentalist with a background in French literature. He has spent decades crafting an idiosyncratic world of experimental sound with his self-built mechanical orchestra Mecanium. It was most notably showcased in audiovisual releases on Aphex Twin's Rephlex label. Bastien's creations are a mesmerizing combination of traditional instruments (he has a vast collection) and mechanical automatons. The violin in the track Rotomotor, for example, is physically played by one of his machines. In Baba Soirée, Bastien also plays a prepared cornet (Slow Dance, Banbas Aura), infusing the recordings with a breathy, dreamy dimension.
Michel Banabila, a sound artist, composer and producer, possesses an eclectic musical repertoire that defies genres. His blend of minimal electronica, tribal ambient, and neo-classical influences has earned him a prominent place in the world of experimental music, and an impressive discography (Knekelhuis, Bureau B, Séance Centre, a.o.). Banabila serves as the creative sampling editor for Baba Soirée, expertly weaving together the recordings to craft an evocative sonic tapestry.
The two share a curiosity for traditional instruments from various cultures. The instruments used in the recordings are shown in the cover artwork. A mutual admiration for each other's work paved the way for this fruitful artistic partnership of the Rotterdam-based artists: Collaborating on a single as a fundraiser for Yemen in 2022 set the stage for the creation of Baba Soirée.
For Pierre Bastien, Dada, Fluxus and International Situationism have played a significant role in shaping his artistic vision. The title Baba Soirée is an homage to Kurt Schwitters and Theo van Doesburg's "Kleine Dada Soirée" collaboration which took place exactly a century ago. There's an unmistakable stoicism and an anarchic not-giving-a-f*** attitude in these recordings by Bastien & Banabila, which resonates in the light of this Dada reference.
released October 27, 2023
All music composed by Pierre Bastien and Michel Banabila
Recorded in Rotterdam and Valencia
Produced by Michel Banabila
RotoMotor (Erbil Mix) featuring Salar Asid
Mastering and vinyl cut by Kassian Troyer at Dubplates & Mastering
Cover photos by the artists
Cover design by TEOTH
(c) & (p) 2023 Pingipung
Not the oddest jazz experiments I've ever heard, but definitely among the most listenable and satisfying. Just turn this on for a bit and ignore it in the corner, within no time the bizarrely syncopated machinery will have your head nodding in ways it never has. Be sure to stretch first. Lost Tribe Sound