Search Results for: Julian Sartorius

Julian Sartorius en mode random

On l‘a vu un peu partout ces derniers mois, en solo ou auprès de Merz ou Colin Vallon, dans les club de jazz, les galeries d’art contemporain ou à l’affiche de festivals indie, le jeune batteur bernois Julian Sartorius ouvre ce soir le 32ème CullyJazz Festival avant Avishai Cohen et Rusconi sous un chapiteau sold out.

ImageFriand d’atmosphères intimistes, la batterie à même le sol pour être au plus proche du public, on l’a vu plusieurs fois émouvoir et faire se lever les foules. A Cully, le dispositif sera tout différent : 900 personnes en rang d’oignon, lui bien loin, sur un large piédestal et sous un gros logo jaune. Il est curieux de voir ce que cela va donner. Le jazz ? Une formation aux conservatoires de Berne puis Lucerne. « J’aime Coltrane, Monk, ce qui a du spirit. » Avant de rajouter gaiement dans l’immense sourire qui le caractérise « Mais j’aime autant Schubert que Madlib ! », et citer encore Awesome tapes from Africa ou le label Sublime Frequencies.

Beat diary

Julian Sartorius est un chercheur, et c’est grâce à un travail titanesque, son « Beat Diary », qu’il a véritablement développé son jeu : pendant une année, il s’est donné pour contrainte de produire et prendre en photo un beat par jour afin de le publier sur un blog, devenu un livre album. « La contrainte est toujours un procédé créatif intéressant, où tu peux aller au fond des choses. Regarde par exemple la gravité, et comme les gens ont été inventifs pour tenter d’y échapper, de l’escalade au base-jump… J’aime les règles, comme dans un jeu. Si elles sont bonnes, il y a beaucoup de fun. Attention, je ne dis pas que la musique juste est un jeu, mais qu’il faut jouer avec les limites. »

“Les nuances sont infinies…”

Ce qui étonne et éblouit dans son solo, c’est la gamme d’harmonies qu’il parvient à faire sortir de son instrument, l’inventivité de sa proposition, et un groove toujours en mouvement. « J’essaie de garder les jambes dans la pulsation et de faire aller mes mains ailleurs. Quand tu arrives à faire bouger les choses tout en restant dans le tempo, cela donne quelque chose de très fort. Et puis les nuances que tu peux apporter selon comment tu touches les choses sont infinies. »

“J’adore quand je ne sais pas ce qui va arriver”

S’il écrit la musique, des plans plutôt que des partitions, il aime se laisser surprendre et s’inspirer de tout ce qui l’entoure : nature, animaux, machine à laver, frottement des vêtements, tout ce qui peut produire un rythme, qu’il soit régulier ou non. « J’ai toujours des images dans la tête, c’est très narratif, et souvent j’entends des synthétiseurs ». Il a lu John Cage qui lui a « ouvert l’esprit », et a peu à peu développé un élan vers le random, l’imprévisible : « J’adore quand je ne sais pas ce qui va arriver, quand il se passe des choses qu’on ne peut pas penser. Cela me rend vraiment heureux ! »

A l’automne, il sort un album du solo, parce qu’on lui l’a souvent demandé, et un autre album fait de duo entre lui et un train, un frigo, ou une caisse à la Migros. Et puis encore un single 7’’ avec des beats dessus. Dans l’intervalle, il réfléchit à comment optimiser les sous qu’il vient de recevoir pour sa nomination au premier Prix de Musique Suisse. Les idées ne manquent pas.

Le site de Julian Sartorius

Dernier disque en date: Merz, “No Compass Will Find Home” (Julian Sartorius drum and vocal renditions), Everest records

Sartorius @NODE Festival, Lausanne, 25/01/14

20130303_ch_bern_bee-flat_juliansartoriusdrperc_breite800px_72dpi_scb8286I’m tempted to describe Julian Sartorius as an OBE (no, not an Order of the British Empire, even though he’s very gentlemanly), but an Olympic Beat Explorer: boldly going into any environment, natural or urban, and discovering the potential percussive sound habitat that lies therein. Well-known in his hometown of Bern as the nutty guy who goes around banging on stuff – and has done since the age of 2.

Sound Forager

Calling himself a ‘Sound Forager’, as well as an artist, musician and composer, Sartorius began his quest into the world of alternative sound over 10 years ago when intrigued by the aesthetics of electronic music he wanted to imitate the sound accoustically. Often on tour without his drum kit in the day, he began using whatever he could get his hands on to make beats: ashtrays, small bells, electric toothbrushes, walls, sides of rocks, etc…,hugely inspired by the varied likes of JDilla, Madlib, Aphex Twins, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams.

Pure, improvised, minimalist

Known for his collaborations with Merz, Sophie Hunger, Dimlite and many more, Julian’s most talked about project has been last year’s ‘Beat Diary’ on Everest Records. 12 12inch vinyl records containing a total of 365 analogue beats, all real sounds played by him, a beat a day accompanied 365 images (because Sartorius is as visual as he is aural). A true indication of his musical penchant : pure, improvised, minimalist, pushing boundaries.

Tonight, he’s kicking off the Saturday evening session of the innovative NODE Festival, a yearly gathering in Lausanne featuring workshops and concerts to expand your listening habits. Theremin of all shapes and sizes, circuit bending, Gameboy music and electronic toys all form part of this ‘unusual sound’ event.

Like a baby throwing its rattle out of the pram…

Sartorius and his drum kit are on a rug in the audience pit surrounded by a vast array of sound accesories. For a moment you could think you’re at a car boot sale, but it doesn’t take long to realise that actually you’re in a subtly woven beat infrastructure full of richly differing tempos and textures.

Dexterous playing of the cymbals creates a wall of sound from which the only way is up. It’s a fast and frantic climb atop hard sounds with very little let-up. Julian’s physical agilty is a sight to behold, moving with such feline economy and using every inch of his kit – what could be considered just messing around has never been such an art form or spectacle. A variety of props magic themselves onto the kit (Ikea hot plates, kitchen towels, broken off bits of xylophone, bowls and bells) momentarily adding depth and texture to the soundtrack to then quickly get chucked away like a baby throwing its rattle out of the pram.

Exciting atmosphere of new sounds being created

Sticks are used in every way imaginable: hitting, tapping, scraping, prodding. Not all sounds are easy on the ear, some vary from resembling big drops of rain on a tin roof to a dying walrus or a rusty train pulling into a station, yet all contribute to the rich, exciting atmosphere of new sounds being created in this room.

In fact what we’ve just heard is the main body of his forthcoming album due out later on this year. A solo drum project full of carefully crafted live sounds, no overdubs, no processing, no collaborations, just the simple fruit of all his experimentation in sound. For more intriguing examples of his daily beats and images, go to the ‘morph’ section on the Julian Sartorius website and also visit the Raun No-15 exhibition in Bern which features his installation till 22nd Feb 2014.

Forthcoming live dates:

Julian Sartorius Solo:
8.2.2014 Netwerk, Aalst (B)
21.2.2014 Dampfzentrale, Bern
21.3.2014 Naturhistorisches Museum, Bern
30.3.2014 Kunstmuseum, Thun
4.4.2014 Cully Jazz Festival, Cully

Merz feat. Sartorius Drum Ensemble:
30.1.2014 Étage St. Gervais, Biel / Bienne
31.1.2014 Sedel, Luzern
1.2.2014 Festival Antigel, Genève
27.2.2014 Bad Bonn, Düdingen

How Did They Do? Jazzahead! report


Photo: Michael Hornung

It’s a strange beast: the jazz trade fair. There’s networking, business talks and sets of exactly 30 minutes, with audiences legging it from one hall to another to catch as much music as they want. It’s pretty intense. Wisely, Erika Stucky, with Marc Unternährer and Lucas Niggli, had been invited to open Jazzahead – not only is she an anarchic ‘force of nature’ but she embodies a side of the Swiss spirit I like: bohemian, gifted and pushing music as far as they can (see video of her in the men’s toilets at Jazzahead below).

Erika Stucky with Lucas Niggli and Marc Unternährer, filmed by Chris Philips of Jazz FM.

“I see what you mean about the drummer.”
Generally, the Swiss night was one of super-quality, despite most bands starting nervously. The better musicians were able to get drawn into their own sound and so, lead the audience into places where magic can happen. I wrote of Elina Duni‘s voice before and it rang clear and true in this gig with her quartet – I wasn’t the only one whose neck hairs were electrified when she sang ‘Fëllënza’. I’d pointed out to a UK promoter how wonderful Norbert Pfammatter is in the band, his playing is so sensitive it’s as if there is no drummer but a sweeping landscape in which Elina stands. During the gig this promoter leant over and said, “I see what you mean about the drummer.” From the audience’s response to Elina they were equally captivated. In the future, whatever context she performs in, I want to see her going places.

Maybe the most obviously successful act was Julian Sartorius’ drum solo
Someone else who made their mark was Christoph Irniger, warming into Pilgrim‘s set and launching a cracking sax solo that blew the cobwebs away. His time in New York came


Plaistow. Photo: Ingo Wagner

through in the attack he gave it. I was holding my breath at the start of Plaistow‘s gig because like so many bands they are an experience that needs time and a concentrated atmosphere – not what you get in a showcase. However, their narcotic concept with it’s fascinating rhythms had a booker for a big London club tell me they were the most engaging band of the night. Another, and maybe the most obviously successful act was Julian Sartorius‘ drum solo. It was a big ‘wow’ and my mate, Jez Nelson, a key jazz radio presenter said, “It’s hard to do something like that, but he was genuinely inventive.” Elisabeth Stoudman gives a wonderful in-depth review below.

Next year I expect to see more Swiss women onstage
Julian is also part of the Colin Vallon Trio – another artist I expect much of. His set was not only elegant but so assured; it showed the quality of Swiss musicianship. Luca Sisera’s Roofer played a more traditional style well, whilst pommelHORSE had more character but were also left wanting. To be fair they’d been delivered a bit of a blow when key member, Lukas Roos, left the band two weeks before this gig. I see a nugget of some possibility, especially with Olivier Zurkirchen on keys and one UK programmer said the band brought a narrative to their music he liked. Weird Beard looked more comfortable on stage than they did last year and delivered their ideas clearly with Martina Berther on bass. Next year I expect to see more Swiss women onstage – and that’s an order…

Thomy Jordi nearly blew my hair off
It was a pleasure to attend the Gala Concert at Die Glöcke with Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin and Hildegard Lernt Fliegen because this is where some of the showcase bands could be heading: a high level of recognition with audiences delighting in their music. Both received genuine standing ovations. Ronin’s music and lighting design isn’t messing. It delivers punch after punch, even when Sha is at his most sublimely subtle with his saxophone becoming a hoarse and whispering human voice, or when Nik delivers a melody so painfully sweet that it’s a beautiful surprise. Kaspar Rast is equally imaginative on drums and Thomy Jordi nearly blew my hair off with some electric bass notes worthy of Goldie’s Metalheadz label.


Hildegard Lernt Fliegen. Photo: Ingo Wagner

Such a touching ending
Hildegard’s show was a superbly staged bonanza of ingenious ideas with Andreas Schaerer even conducting the band in an improv – pretty risky in such a context. You may think a vocalist sounding a muted horn or beatboxing whilst singing isn’t your thing, but I would challenge anyone not to fall under his spell. The highlight was how the band brought it right down to such a touching ending. In the encore they sat with their legs dangling off the front of the stage, looking like a bunch of kids playing a charming round on blockflutes. It was a rip-roaring success. Schaerer has driven himself hard since I first saw Hildegard play in 2012 and he’s showing how Swiss music can make a big impact on the world out there. Boom!

Julian Sartorius @ jazzahead! 2016 by Elisabeth Stoudmann


Julian Sartorius

Unlike Colin Vallon or Elina Duni who are already well known on the European jazz scene, Julian Sartorius is the new boy at Jazzahead! Although his solo project is not constrained by any genre barrier, he’s been considered before, part of alternative rock circuit. Backstage, Julian is tense: he’s coming down with the flu and fears this will hinder him. The Bernese drummer comes on stage, as always, aloof and a little shy. Had he not been announced, one could almost have mistaken him for the technician come to do one last check before the set. He sits down and turns instantly into a one-man band.

The audience holds its breath…
Sartorius puts on an impressive show. As expected, there are rhythms that interlock with each other like pearls in a necklace. Some sequences are set up in advance, others are totally improvised. His pockets brimming with drumsticks, Julian Sartorius stays unperturbed throughout. He can drop the sticks at any second to suddenly strike a percussion with his hand or place a felt mat on a cymbal. He then puts odd objects on his snare drum: percussive bits and pieces that he strokes, rubs and strikes with amazing feeling. Tension mounts in a jubilant crescendo. The audience holds its breath, captivated, when without warning, Julian Sartorius stops everything. Time’s up. The thirty minute showcase – that only felt like five – has passed. The audience is galvanized, excited, happy. We can only hope that Julian Sartorius has the flu before every gig. It seemed to serve him well!

Videos of bands at jazzahead!

Arte TV
Elina Duni Quartet

Luca Sisera’s Roofer


Weird Beard



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