Monthly Archives: July 2016

PIERRE BASTIEN  (born Paris, 1953) post-graduated in eighteenth-century French literature at University Paris-Sorbonne. In 1977 he built his first musical machinery. For the next ten years he has been composing for dance companies and playing with Pascal Comelade. In the meantime he was constantly developing his mechanical orchestra. Since 1987 he concentrates on it through solo performances, sound installations, recordings and collaborations with such artists as Pierrick Sorin, Karel Doing, Jean Weinfeld, Robert Wyatt or Issey Miyake.

The French composer and multi-instrumentalist Pierre Bastien played first in some collective bands (Operation Rhino, Nu Creative Methods, Effectifs de Profil), and with the Dominique Bagouet Dance Company.

Around 1986 he started participating in Pascal Comelade’s Bel Canto Orquesta. At the same time he created – and literally built – his own orchestra called Mecanium : an ensemble of musical automatons constructed from meccano parts and activated by electro-motors, that are playing on acoustic instruments from all over the world.

” A composer’s dream : a fail-safe orchestra at one’s fingertips obeying ever so gently to his every command : a timeless sounding orchestra, both futuristic and slightly dada, conjuring ancient traditions in its surprisingly sensuous music. This is, in a nutshell what Pierre Bastien’s “Mecanium” is all about, a daydream of sorts that he has successfully pursued since 1976. The musicians of his orchestra are machines. And the idea behind it is simple, efficient and poetic : to have traditional instruments (Chinese lute, Morrocan bendir, Javanese saron, koto, violin, sanza, etc.) played by a mechanical instrument made of meccano pieces and recycled turntable motors. These hybrid and self-playing sound sculptures perform a series of short pieces, charming and hypnotic. ” (Michel F.)

In the nineties the mechanical orchestra developed up to 80 elements. It took part in music festivals and art exhibitions in Norway (World Music Days’90), Australia (Tisea’92), Japan (Artec’95), Canada (Fimav’95, Sound Symposium’98), Poland (Warsaw Autumn’95), United States (Flea Festival’96)

In the recent years, Pierre Bastien and his machines collaborated with video artist Pierrick Sorin, fashion designer Issey Miyake, British singer and composer Robert Wyatt, Trottola circus company, musicians Alexei Aigi, Steve Arguelles and Phonophani. The most recent compositions were released on Western Vinyl and Rephlex.




DALE GORFINKEL is a multi-instrumentalist, improvisor, instrument builder, installation artist and educator. He is interested in finding fresh ways of presenting and making music. These include outdoors, across artforms, and inter-cultural and inter-generational contexts. He brings creative communities together & shifts perceived boundaries of scenes, styles & artforms. Dale’s work reflects an awareness of the dynamic nature of culture & the value of listening as mode of knowing people & places.

Dale enjoys building automated sonic contraptions and modifying other instruments, especially the vibraphone. He creates wondrous sonorities using continuous bowed inventions on aluminium bars, swinging tin resonators and bouncing ping-pong balls that create random rhythms. He has also developed a quirky approach to the trumpet, using additional plastic tubing, footpumps, shower roses, balloons, and various mouthpieces that create unpredictable sounds. He also plays balafon (African xylophone), drums and saxophone.

In 2013, 2009 & 2007 he was awarded Australia Council grants to develop new instruments & installations of automated kinetic sound sculptures and record new works. He employs common materials to create unexpectedly wondrous & immersive sonic environments. Some installations seek to reframe technology through the intersection of electro & acoustic, new & old mediums, such as his use of data projectors & spinning styrofoam causing quasi-holographics. Other installations illuminate acoustic phenomena, some are affected by solar & wind activity, and many seek a tactile interactivity especially popular with children. Play is an important part of the creative process whether it is improvising with sounds or experimenting with materials to create instruments & sculptures.

In 2011, he founded Out Hear to encourage a culture of listening, soundwalks & performances in non-conventional spaces. These events in urban, bush & odd in-between spaces aim to address issues of ecological awareness, well-being & accessibility. The contextual shifts allow for the exploration of new audience-performer-environment relationships.

Dale is an active member of Australia’s creative sound communities including improvised music, electronic arts, jazz and African musics. He graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium in 2004 specializing in jazz vibraphone which he began playing at the age of 14. He has performed throughout Australia as well as in Europe, Africa, USA and New Zealand.

Dale is currently a recipient of an Emerging Artist Creative Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts.

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