Bandiera Di Carta
“Bandiera Di Carta” represents the ongoing collaboration between instrument builder and composer Pierre Bastien and the
London based experimental duo Tomaga (Valentina Magaletti and Tom Relleen).
Bastien has been called a “mad musical scientist with a celebrity following” by The Guardian (UK) having collaborated with the
likes of filmmaker Pierrick Sorin, fashion designer Issey Miyake, singer and composer Robert Wyatt as well as Aphex Twin,
who released three of his albums on his label Rephlex.
Tomaga have made more than a dozen records since forming in 2014, pursuing a path of fearless experimentation and sonic
brinksmanship that has won them fans and plaudits from far and wide, including Thurston Moore, with whom they collaborated
on the CAN Project with Malcolm Mooney, Deb Goodge and others in 2017, as well as Wire, Silver Apples and Stereolab, with
whom they toured extensively in summer 2019.
The artistic collaboration between Pierre and Tomaga began with two commissions: from Fructose Festival in Dunkirk and the
revered underground festival Supersonic in Birmingham UK. Recording initially at a studio in the industrial port of Dunkirk, the
uneasy bond between borders and states seems to have been a theoretical motor to the collaborative sessions, as well as the
bleak landscape of the seaport frontier. This inspiration found further manifestation in the cover image for ‘Bandiera Di Carta’.
Resembling a white paper flag, it is, in fact, a photograph of Bastien’s paper and air sound machine installed on stage at
Teatro Carignano in Turin as part of the trio’s performance there. This charged, ambivalent image of a blank flag evokes the
transcendence of the national, a prescient visual motif that meditates on the contemporary uncertainty around notions of
national identity and borders but perhaps also a ‘carte blanche’ for the artists involved, in which they can deviate from the
confines of their usual practice into new and strange territories.
For each piece, Bastien’s unique sonic style: by turns his kinetic mechanoid motors, capriciously arrhythmic pipes, or the
peculiar susurrus of paper, creates a world in which Tomaga introduce their musical palette. Magaletti’s percussion anchors
these sometimes chaotic forces into beguiling syncopations, with Relleen’s synthesizer and organ work creating harmonic
counterpoints and interruptive provocations, to which Bastien responds with lyrical turns on prepared trumpet, rubber band, tin
foil and bass ocarina.
The results are curiously evocative of free jazz by the likes of Sun Ra or Art Ensemble of Chicago paired with the percussive
sound worlds of artists like Francis Bebey or Muslimgauze along with unique and sometimes bizarrely exotic tonal landscapes
of composers like Catherine Christer Hennix, Carl Stone, or Egisto Macchi. All three musicians seem to find space to bloom in
ways that are markedly different from their individual work and the resulting album is a strikingly original and powerfully bold
affirmation of what can happen when venturing beyond the normal in pursuit of the other.All tracks written & produced by Tomaga (Tom Relleen & Valentina Magaletti) & Pierre Bastien.
Mixed and mastered by Rashad Becker.