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Klimperei & Pierre Bastien — Mécanologie Portative
(Prikosnovénie PRIK023, 1998, CD)

by Dean Suzuki, Published 1999-11-01

Mécanologie Portative Cover art

Here are a couple of musicians who are as idiosyncratic as you are likely to find. Klimperei, who released an album on AYAA a few years back, plays a kind of naive music, with minimalist tendencies using toys, keyboards, guitar, mallet instruments, and flutes. Bastien performs his own music on instruments of his own design and construction (including his so-called mecanium, a mechanized, self-playing “orchestra"), as well as brass (one of them a “prepared” trumpet). He has also performed in Pascal Comelade’s Bel Canto Orchestra and also collaborated with Jac Berrocal. As you might expect, the music is quite close to that of Comelade, who, like Klimperei, uses plenty of toys, including many toy instruments. If you are not familiar with Comelade’s music, the next best point of reference is the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, as well as Erik Satie. Of course, too many composers and musicians have been compared to Satie, all to often overlooking the French composer’s aesthetic and simply comparing sweet, elementary (mostly piano) music to the first “Gymnopédie.” Such is not the case here. Like Satie, Klimperei and Bastien care not one whit about the conventions of high art, rather they use unconventional means to create their simple yet unconventional music. There is a kind of cafe / music hall air about the music, which is guileless, yet not without its own degree of sophistication, even elegance. Still, there is something quite earthy, rustic, even crude about this music, with its plain yet attractive melodies, limited harmonic vocabulary and love of pulse (though the instruments are not always in sync). This is music and these are sounds full of invention, charm, and wit.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 18, 1998 releases

Related artist(s): Klimperei, Pierre Bastien


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