Pierre Bastien : home
"Pierre Bastien uses several tiny cameras to project his Meccano-driven contraptions onto a large screen. Although we can see little wheels depressing organ keys, on the screen it seems we are in some giant factory, where machines of unguessable size perform cumbersome operations to pluck at hawsers or vibrate great flapping sheets - in reality rubber bands and strips of paper. Bastien's non-synched looping machines naturally have non-human quality, like an off-kilter African drum ensemble, and this strangeness is further magnified by his carefully layered visual projections. Over the top he plays pocket trumpet phrases drawn from the earliest days of jazz, as if King Oliver is muttering in his ear. But the trumpet is often masked: somehow it plays a baseline like a tuba, or else the mute is jammed into a beaker of bubbling water. On the screen the monochrome Fritz Lang world of relentless Meccano is invaded by a beautiful fountain of blue bubbles. Like a blend of Philip Jeck's heartbreaking turntables and Max Eastley's lost-in-space musical sculptures, Bastien has created an elegant display of genuine musical surrealism. He has been refining his approach for over two decades - ten years ago Aphex Twin released Mecanoid on his Rephlex label, and this show made it clear why Richard D James was so mesmerized. Bastien wound down his mechanical mysteries after 45 minutes, but I could have happily watched for hours."

Clive Bell, The Wire - Dec. 2010

Paper Organ - video
[ Live in Indianapolis - Vimeo]






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