Belgian composer Ben Bertrand uses the bass clarinet and a plethora of machines to create hypnotic pools of sound that dilate time and space. His last two albums ‘Ngc 1999’ and ‘Manes’ were released on Les Albums Claus and Stroom, and Bertrand just released a new LP, ‘Dokkaebi’, on Les Albums Claus in October 2021. The music reflects the versatility and character of the clarinet, an instrument that can refract a spectrum of colors in just a single note. Bertrand funnels the sound through his selection of effects to create unusual soundscapes that dance in and out of our perception, sounding both electronic and acoustic at once.
Bertrand will be a part of our MADEIRADiG Festival, where the paradise-on-earth Portuguese island transforms into a hotbed of digital art and culture for a week in December (02.12 – 07.21).
1. In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid.
2. In human physiology and psychology, sound is the reception of such waves and their perception by the brain.
3. Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Trying to show that our passage on earth is more that our daily matters.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
My parents listened a lot of music at home and I began to make music during my childhood.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Gavin Bryars – The Sinking of the Titanic
John Surman – Upon Reflection
Terry Riley – A Rainbow in Curved Air
Jon Hassel – Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics
Pan American – Quiet City
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
The hooded crows and the reverb of the radar dome of the former Teufelsberg listening station.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Les ateliers claus, a concert place in Brussels.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Fortunately, the music exists.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Ana Roxanne – Because of a Flower
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Terry Riley, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Midori Takada.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
A Jan Garbarek concert that I saw when I was 10 years old.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
As I mainly use a bass clarinet and electronics to compose music, technology is as important to me as a tool is important to a worker.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have a brother. He is a real music lover. He makes me discover a lot of music and he supports me.
Photo © Julie Calbert