Search Results for: Julian Sartorius

Swiss bands at jazzahead 2016!

One night: eight showcase-acts: the Swiss Night on April 21 will be a highlight of this year’s live program at Jazzahead!  Find out more about the eight Swiss bands below. You can also listen to a track of each band selected at jazzahead! here. If you are not attending jazzahead! this year, Arte Concert is streaming the concerts played at Kulturzentrum Schlachthof live there. Alternatively you can also watch all videos of the showcases the next day on In other words, you have no excuse not to follow those guys  live or on Internet!


Plaistow_pic_LDLast week the editor of a UK jazz magazine said how much the office had got into Plaistow’s album Titan. I think they are something special. Plaistow is an acoustic piano trio driven by experimental dance musics, ancient drones and a desire to distill their sound to its most ‘alcoholic’, most potent. Plaistow make for a thrilling listen. At first I wasn’t sure of Geneva-based Cyril Bondi’s drumming style, it seemed to lack swing, bashing the air out of a beat, but at a sweaty, rammed Berlin Jazz Festival club last November, he was brilliant. Unique and aggressive with an engaging, rhythmic sensibility – perfectly coupled with the imaginings of pianist Johann Bourquenez. Irritating, repetitive notes hypnotise under his touch and at other times he sweeps you off your feet with a sweet melody as in ‘Enceladus’ – it has me in a whirl. Johann’s music is so fresh. Growing in confidence is Vincent Ruiz on bass. His sensitivity connects and subtly reflects the band’s ambitions.
To learn more about Plaistow, read our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!



Colin Vallon

@Mehdi Benkler

@Mehdi Benkler

I’ve never seen Colin‘s own trio and am curious, especially as I felt his last ECM album, Le Vent (2014) fell into the ‘contemplative hole’ that undoes many an artist exploring prepared or experimental piano. I suspect Colin is currently going through a time of musical reflection about his direction. His trio is a pretty high-powered crew with drummer Julian Sartorius (who impressed London’s Cafe Oto in March) and Patrice Moret on bass and his appearance at jazzahead! will be a chance to discover where he is now – and what he wants to say.
To learn more about Colin Vallon, read our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!



Elina Duni

© Blerta Kambo

© Blerta Kambo

Seeing Elina playing solo at Cully Jazz last year elevated her even more in my estimation. That woman can sing! She’s been performing since she was five years of age in her native Albania and although she moved to Switzerland when she was ten, you can almost taste her culture and country when she sings. Her experience comes through too – she moves an audience, but is never cloyingly sentimental. I think the drummer Norbert Pfammatter is key to the band, almost the yin to her yang (yes, that way round), responsive to her and tuned in, whilst Colin Vallon leads the music into imaginative landscapes, provoking her to stretch her ideas. The recent addition of Lukas Traxel on bass adds a sparkling energy as I saw when they played the EFG London Jazz Festival last year. I’ve spoken before about Elina evoking universal goosebumps with her emotive expression and that sold-out gig was no exception.

To learn more about Elina Duni, read our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!



Christoph Irniger Pilgrim

ChristophIrnigerPilgrim includes Stefan Aeby on keyboards and Michi Stulz on drums – I know their work as part of Tobias Preisig’s quartet and both were crucial to the innovation of Preisig’s album, Drifting. In Pilgrim, Aeby draws on his ability to play an evocative jazz, informed by artists such as Bill Evans in order to echo Irniger‘s direction. Stulz walks an intelligent line between the past and the now and his interplay with Irniger, Aeby and bassist Raffaele Bossard, makes the band something special.

I like Irniger’s choice of electric guitar and Dave Gisler is a highlight of the track ‘Italian Circus Story’ from the album of the same name. Here, Christoph almost whispers in evocative drawls on the saxophone; he tells his tales in a spacious and thoughtful style. Along with the Christoph Irniger Trio and other projects with New York-based artists, he uses trips to the US to immerse himself in the heritage of jazz whilst carefully searching for his own expression.

To learn more about Christoph Irniger read our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!




PommelHORSE ©Simon Letellier

PommelHORSE ©Simon Letellier

This confident and original Bernese quintet are a refreshing flight of fancy on the Swiss jazz scene. They inhabit a surreal terrain somewhere between mutant jazz, prog rock and synthy ambiant rhythms. Cleverly creating a story and atmosphere in each track, they juggle an abundance of patterns and ideas always leaving room for improvisation, tempo changes and general dashing about. With tracks entitled ‘Drunk on Christmas eve’ and ‘The circus is closed and all the animals have gone wild’, it’s impossible to resist their playful attitude and experimental forms, both dark and light. Very popular on the live circuit, PommelHORSE are currently working on their third LP.

To learn more about PommelHORSE read our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!


Weird Beard

Weird_Beard_2_A5_RGB_PHOTO_RALPH_KUEHNERepresenting the exciting non-conformity of the contemporary Swiss jazz scene, Weird Beard is a quartet led by saxophonist Florian Egli, featuring guitar, electric bass and drums. The weirdness of their beards is less a facial hair reference, more a hallmark of their musical individuality. A band rooted in the jazz tradition in terms of improvisation and composition, but sonically pulled towards trashy metal, punk riffs and quirky noise. Both lyrical and totally unpredictable, their elegant, laconic sound designs can go off in all directions. ‘Everything Moves’ is their second LP just out on Intakt Records and comes warmly championed by Bugge Wesseltoft who describes the group as having ”musical ideas and inspirations merged into a very fresh and new sound.”

Weird Beard, Everything Moves, Intakt Records


Julian Sartorius

@Reto Camenisch

@Reto Camenisch

The Swiss musical ecosystem is a richer place because of drummer Julian Sartorius. What David Attenborough is to nature wildlife documentaries, Sartorius is to the world of sound: a beat explorer, a sound forager, a sonic researcher. His gigs are a masterclass in bashing, crashing and smashing – not just the ordinary drum skin or commonplace cowbell, but squeaky toys, handcrafted gongs, hairdryers, electric toothbrushes. Can he hit it? Yes he can.

Agile in pushing boundaries of the percussive sound from hip-hop to abstract electronica, Sartorius opens up endless possibilities and range. His latest video features cymbals rolling along a studio space, poetically crashing about at will. Previous works include a 12 LP box set called ‘Beat Diary’ composed of 365 analogue beats, each one painstakenly researched and accompanied by its own visual. A true artist in every sense of the word, a national treasure.

To learn more about Julian Sartorius read  our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!


Luca Sisera ROOFER

roofer_01Luca Sisera is a well­ seasoned Swiss double bass player whose ROOFER quintet describe their sound as “contemporary, liberated jazz music”. Negotiating the fine line between improvisation and composition, the five elements come apart and then reunite in equal measures. There’s a theatrical edge to their music thanks to the horn section adding a lovely big band swing to the complex equation. One minute groovy, sexy, full of bump and grind ­the next angular, frenetic, swarming around one another like agile birds. The interplay between the musicians is extremely confident and general mood leans towards the playful. An exciting band to watch live because of their warm, busy and inventive approach.

Text by Debra Richards and Beatrice Venturini


Bad Bonn @ Cafe Oto

BBSB_Cover_final_23-2-16_simuliertThe day after the successful launch event at Rough Trade East, the celebration of the publication of the“The Bad Bonn Song Book”  continues. Bad Bonn crew moved North to Dalston for a celebratory Kilbi night at the legendary avant-garde/jazz/folk venue Cafe Oto. Another sizeable and appreciative crowd was served a diverse programme of Swiss artists that showed off Bad Bonn´s sense of adventure to good effect.

First off was Strotter Inst., aka Christoph Hess. Operating in a border area between noise and conventional music with a pair of “treated” old record players and a series of similarly adapted vinyl records, Strotter Inst produced a minimalist and yet richly textured drone that somehow pulsated with rhythm and held the audience´s attention with remarkable ease.

Next came percussionist Julian Sartorius who, judging by the conversations afterwards, was perhaps the biggest success of the evening. Playful and yet precise, subtle and yet powerful, his uninterrupted half-hour performance was a master class of innovative and controlled solo percussion. In sharp musical contrast, the synth duo Papiro reconnected the audience with early Krautrock history with their slowly shape-shifting take on dreamy Ash Ra-Temple-type sounds.


The evening was rounded off sweatily by Camilla Sparksss, Barbara Lehnhoff’s fiery electro outfit, consisting of just herself and a dancer. Combining punky vocals with minimalist electro rhythms and melodies, her short, sharp bursts of high-octane songs were completely different from everything else that had been heard before then, and all the better for it.

Contributing greatly to the success of the night were the DJs Andy Votel and Doug Shipton whose selection of records was perfectly in tune with the spirit of Bad Bonn. In short – the two Bad Bonn nights in London turned out to be an unqualified success.

Louis Schild, « Qu’il Vive »

Portrait de Louis Schild revisité par le photographe Michel Bonvin!

Portrait de Louis Schild revisité par le photographe Michel Bonvin

Sur la scène du Théâtre 2.21 à Lausanne, samedi 17 janvier, un grand barbu armé d’une basse et d’une trompette qui ressemble à un jouet dirige un drôle d’orchestre. Pierre Audétat (Stade, Piano Seven) s’agite entre un piano à queue et des samplers, Flo Stoffner, assis se balance hypnotiquement sur sa guitare. Quant à Lionel Friedli, il frotte, frappe et fait voltiger les baguettes de sa batterie comme si sa mission était de déclencher un feu d’artifices de rythmes.

Qu’il Vive

 « Il y a des feuilles, beaucoup de feuilles sur les arbres de mon pays. Les branches sont libres de ne pas avoir de fruits. » écrivait René Char dans le poème “Qu’il Vive“ en 1968. C’est à ce court texte que Louis Schild rend hommage pendant un peu plus d’une heure. « “Qu’il Vive“ parle d’un pays. C’est un vœu de l’esprit, une utopie, un pays qu’on a en nous. Cette idée m’a accompagné tout au long du processus de création. » Qui s’achève en décembre 2014, le jour où Louis Schild remet à ses comparses les copies de son travail de composition.

En ce samedi soir de janvier, je ne cherche d’ailleurs pas vraiment à comprendre où se situe le blues, le rock ou le jazz dans ces long morceaux, dans ce processus d’improvisation collective. Je préfère apprécier l’incroyable énergie qui se dégage l’ensemble et se transmet au public encore plus jeune que le leader de la formation.

Quelques jours plus tard, dans un café du centre ville, les questions affluent. « Je n’ai pas seulement emprunté au jazz, mais aussi aux musiques folkloriques d’Afrique de l’Est, aux musiques populaires italiennes des années 60 et à celles du Proche-Orient » explique le jeune autodidacte de 23 ans, éperdument curieux. « Je me suis beaucoup intéressé aux musiques de l’Empire Ottoman, aux rhapsodies. On dit d’ailleurs que dans les rhapsodies, les thèmes sont cousus ensemble. Cette idée m’a beaucoup parlé».


LEON Louis Schild (à gauche) et Raphaël Ortis (à droite)

Louis Schild (à gauche) et Raphaël Ortis (à droite)

Quand il n’est pas en train de donner son interprétation musicale de poésie résistante, Louis Schild est la moitié du binôme LEON. Né en 2011 d’une rencontre avec Raphaël Ortis (bassiste et explorateur de sons ) à la Reithalle de Berne, LEON a choisi comme mode opérationnel l’improvisation pure. Le travail du groupe repose sur quelques idées discutées en amont et une complicité à toute épreuve. Aujourd’hui. Parce qu’il se sent irrésistiblement attiré par le rock, LEON aime inviter d’autres musiciens et tend à se fixer en quartet avec encore Antoine Läng (voix et électronique) et David Meier (batterie).

Parfois encore LEON collabore avec Kasper T. Toeplitz, le compositeur franco-polonais, également un homme de basse, mais aussi d’ordinateurs, bien connu dans les milieux de la noise music. Un enregistrement de leurs recherches sonores va d’ailleurs bientôt paraître sur le label et distributeur de disques fous Metamkine.

Travailleur du son et de l’espace, Louis Schild est aussi l’ardent défenseur d’une autre façon de vivre. Une forme de résistance ou plutôt d’« insurrection de consciences » pour reprendre les termes de de l’intellectuel Jean Ziegler. Louis Schild a choisi la vie en communauté, à la maison comme dans ses nombreuses activités. Avec Alain Wolff, il s’occupe de l’Espace Echallens13 à Lausanne.

Il se prépare à lancer Les éditions collectives La Maraude dont l’une des premières parutions devrait être un livre de dessins de Julian Sartorius. La carte blanche que lui a donné pendant 4 soirs le théâtre 2 :21 à Lausanne a été l’occasion de faire le point sur son travail. Enrichissant et stimulant.




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