At this year’s three-day Borderline festival, we’ll get to see an enfant terrible of the New York no wave scene of the late 70s, Ikue Mori (of DNA) sharing a stage with the American harpist Zeena Parkins, with whom the entire avant garde has either worked with or would like to; three leading Greek improvisers–Coti, Veliotis & ILIOS– in a collaboration rendered prophetic by the grace of the name that inspired it (Mohammad); the Italian guitarist and composer Giuseppe Ielasi performing with the French-Swiss composer and electroacoustic musician Kassel Jaeger; two Greeks who divide their time between Pelion and Berlin (Thymios Atzakas and Antonis Anissegos, aka SOMA) in a collaboration with the visual artist, bestbefore; in the best futurist tradition, the Canadians Martin Messier and Nicolas Bernier presenting a performance of electronic music that has been shown at many prestigious festivals all over the world; the Berlin-based Japanese Ryoichi Kurokawa in an avant-garde audio-visual work; the guru Elliott Sharp deconstructing jazz with the German multi-instrumentalist Reinhold Friedl; and a very interesting Greek duo who call themselves Acte Vide.
Friday 26 April
Acte Vide (GR) / Kassel Jaeger (CH/FR) & Giuseppe Ielasi (IT) / Ryoichi Kurokawa (JAP)
Saturday 27 April
SOMA + bestbefore (GR) / Bernier & Messier (CAN) / Ikue Mori (JAP) & Zeena Parkins (USA)
Sunday 28 April
Mohammad (GR) / Reinhold Friedl (GER) & Elliott Sharp (USA)
• Acte Vide
is the improvisatory vehicle of Yannis Kotsonis (aka Sister Overdrive
) and Danae Stefanou
. Their live appearances usually combine piano and electronics, and occasionaly extend to amplified objects and other resources. Stefanou, a musician and musicologist, is a key figure on the Athenian music scene, both as a live performer with a range of different collaborators, and as an academic researcher. The duo has also set up the Knot Gallery culture centre, which hosts theatrical and musical events of an experimental nature. (MySpace
• Kassel Jaeger
is a member of the Groupe des Recherches Musicales, which was founded in France in 1958 and has boasted such pioneering musicians as Luc Ferrari, Pierre Schaeffer and Iannis Xenakis among its ranks. Jaeger processes ‘field recordings’ and improvises on various acoustic instruments to create low-key, abstract, almost empty soundscapes for the listener to wander through. Recently, his sound has become more intense and dynamic as his range of electronic sources has widened.
has been a key figure on the contemporary electronic music and improvisation scene for years. Having started out playing the guitar and collaborating within improvisatory frameworks (with Renato Rinaldi and Michel Doneda, among others), he now focuses on solo projects.
Although the guitar remains at the epicenter of his work, it is now combined with electronic media and an awareness of the interaction between sound and space. He has released a series of personal CDs which could be described as abstractedly melodic, and is currently fascinated with mechanical timbres and rhythmic possibilities in his music.
Recently, Mego editions released Jaeger and Ielasi’s first collaboration; entitled Parallel/Grayscale
, it combines the current directions of their respective work.
• One of the seminal figures taking part in this year’s festival, Ikue Mori
was born in Tokyo, where her interest in music was fired by the punk explosion. Settling in New York, she learned to play the drums and joined forces with Arto Lindsay to form DNA, a band that would influence the music scene in both the UK and US for decades. She dedicated herself to experimental music following the break-up of the band.
• Zeena Parkins
was born in Detroit, but moved to the Big Apple in 1984, where she found herself at the epicenter of developments in experimental music. She has worked with virtually everyone, from Bjork to Lee Ranaldo, Fred Firth, Yoko Ono, Anthony Braxton, Matmos and John Zorn.
• What have Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins and Elliott Sharp got in common? They are all fixtures on the New York experimental music scene—in fact, they form two concentric circles, one around John Zorn, the other around Sonic Youth (Moore, Ranaldo, Gordon, O’Rourke).
• Ryoichi Kurokawa
was born in Japan in 1978, but has been based in Berlin for many years. Kurokawaʼs works take on multiple forms such as installation works, recordings, and concert pieces. He composes the time sculpture with the field recordings and the digital generated structures, and reconstructs architecturally the audiovisual phenomenon. In recent years, his works are shown at international festivals and museums including Tate Modern (UK), Venice Biennale (IT), Transmediale (DE) and Sonar (ES]). In 2010, he was awarded the Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica in the Digital Musics & Sound Art category. His performances are impressive, primarily because of their unpredictable visual results. In Athens, he will be performing "Syn".
• In the best futurist tradition, Martin Messier
and Nicolas Bernier
present a performance of electronic music
which they have created based on their own interpretation of the legendary intonarumori
, the noise machines dreamt up by Italian futurist Luigi Russolo, the father of all noisists. These instruments have been purpose-built for this performance, and consist of cogs, levers and all types of mechanical and electronic parts, and explore the territory where the synthetic and the acoustic fields overlap. The work was premiered at Mutek Festival in Montreal in 2010, has since been presented at Sonar (Barcelona + Chicago) and Transmediale (Berlin) festivals. It was awarded a special mention prize at prestigious 2011 Ars Electronica and was a jury selected work for the Japan Media Arts Awards 2011.
Unclassifiable, Nicolas Bernier is joyfully flowing between musique concrète, video art, installation and performance. His vividness quickly brought him international recognition, cumulating distinctions like at Prix Ars Electronica (Austria, 2009, 2011), Visionaria Festival (Italia, 2004, 2005) and Chicago Motion Graphic Festival (USA, 2004) to name a few. In the midst of this eclecticism, his artistic concerns remain constant: the balance between the cerebral and the sensual, and between organic sound sources and digital processing.
Quebec composer, performer and new media/video artist Martin Messier’s esthetic can be defined as a complex, left field and happily strange sound and rhythm amalgam, constantly playing with construction and deconstruction. His audio performance, live electronics, installation, videomusic, music for dance and theatre have been presented in national and international festivals such as Mutek (Canada), Festival TransAmériques (Montreal), Bang on a Can (NY), Transmediale (Berlin) and Sonar (Barcelona, Chicago).
formed in Berlin in 2005, although the two musicians behind it are among the most active on the Greek contemporary music scene. Antonis Anissegos
(piano) has appeared at the OCC alongside his siblings in another of his projects, the Trio IAMA
. In turn, Thymios Atzakas (oud, guitars) is one of the musical souls behind the Musical Village
(in Agios Lavrentios on Mountain Pelion), whose activities will also be presented to us at the OCC this season. On this occasion, the duo will be appearing with the visual artist, Andreas Karaoulanis
is home to three leading names on the Greek experimental scene. Coti
(double bass) made his name as the musical mind behind Stereo Nova, the ground-breaking Greek electronica group of the Nineties, although he played bass in a number of Greek rock bands before that and would go on to pioneer ambient music in Greece. He is now also a sought-after producer. Nikos Veliotis
(cello) entered the limelight through his collaboration with Giannis Aggelakas and his other artistic partnerships, but he also has roots in rock, having played with In Trance 95. Finally, ILIOS
has been collaborating in a range of media for two decades. The group they form together
is a distillation of their personal musical evolutions.
• Elliott Sharp
is perhaps the most emblematic performer at this year’s Borderline. An amazing multi-instrumentalist, he is equally at home on the guitar (he sometimes plays a double-neck bass), saxophone, clarinet and eight-string bass. Since the Seventies, he has worked with almost everyone on the New York experimental scene, and has released a hundred or so albums (from jazz and blues to no wave, noise and techno). The first person to use a laptop on stage, he often uses algorithms and Fibonacci sequences in his compositions (click here for more
). In this concert, he will be appearing alongside the outstanding German pianist, Reinhold Friedl