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.

Home Dale


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Been a long while since my last public performance. And I have been preparing for this the past few days as I have not touched my synth this last few months. Here are a few things that I was able to come up with this morning.

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I have been obsessing about self- generating patches after browsing thru the Allen Strange book about synthesis. And have read up a few more helpful tips in this thread down at Muffs:
I will be exploring in this direction a bit more further.

After three solo gigs in my belt, I have a few things that I have learned.
1. More Control leads to a more comfortable performance- I had issue on the PA on my first two stints. The signal for the Modular is considerably hot and this leads to problems receiving it in the PA. On the last gig in Subflex I was able to buy a small Mixer so that I can attenuate my signal before going to the PA. In the future I am also thinking of getting a Bass Amplifier and microphones so that the output is more controlled on my end.
2. Timing is important- On my third stint, I thought about using the timer in my phone. With it, I was able to come up with a more clearer story and I am not rushing or taking my time because I know my Time and more conscious of it. Moral of the story, bring my own clock.
3. Pre-Planning and Practice is important- One year into Modular Synthesis I am still finding ways and searching for my voice. I am still as uncomfortable when I was starting out as I am today one year down the line. The modular with it’s uneven temperament lends to an adventure in itself. Every patch/set is a journey which is hard to go back to. But it is always important for me to be able to practice and set a direction for each gig, so that I get more comfortable in my patching. Though the result will be different, at least the direction will be the same.
4. You have to suck for you to be good- I still have a long way to go and I am still not that good and still suck at times. But I am working towards a more tight and concise approach to my set. Hurrah for the local scene and it’s purveyors to let artists ( I still feel a bit uncomfortable calling myself an artist) like me a platform to release and perform my music.
5. Visuals will help in a big way to connect with the audience- More often than not, the audience wont be able to relate on what I am doing and what I am trying to accomplish on stage. A visual accompaniment on the waveforms will be a great plus so that the audience can easily identify and follow the ebb and flow of the set. This will be a few months down the road as I will work to acquire a oscilloscope for this purpose.
6. I need to record my set- This is more for me to review my set and hopefully to post in this blog.

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I was able to squirrel my way into this gig, after a few local gigs I am able to get a more solid footing and being more confident leads to a bit more controlled patching.Thanks to Calip8 for letting me play on this particular set. Hope to be able to play in the next few Subflex gigs.

SUBFLEX by Jeck Manliquez

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