Tomoko Sauvage

Musique Hydromantique is the second solo album by Tomoko Sauvage archiving many years of her performance-based practice on the waterbowls – the natural synthesizer of her invention, composed with porcelain bowls filled with water and amplified via hydrophones (underwater microphones). While her first album Ombrophilia (released on and/OAR in 2009) was studio-recorded/composed work, «Musique Hydromantique» is about experimentation and improvisation with the environment – acoustics affected by the architecture, temperature, humidity and the human presence. For more than ten years, Sauvage has been investigating the sound and visual properties of water in different states, as well as those of ceramics, combined with electronics. Water drops, waves and bubbles are some of the elements she has been playing with to generate the fluid timbre. Since around 2010, hydrophonic feedback has been an obsession for the musician – an acoustic phenomenon that requires fine tuning depending on the amount of water, a subtle volume control and interaction with the acoustic space.

Hydromancy is a method of divination by means of water. Unpredictable bubbles and water ripples become oracles. Evaporation and acoustic space constantly play a chance operation. Through primordial materials and ritualistic yet playful gestures, Musique Hydromantique questions contemporary divination. All the tracks are live-recorded without electronic effects or editing. They were recorded during the night or very early in the morning and the whole album is to be listened to during that period of a day.


1: Japanese like eating raw fish except oysters.
2: French love raw oysters.
3: It’s oyster season and I like fried oysters.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
It’s more about state of mind – there are times I’m more inspired than other times. And if I’m inspired, I can connect many things (I read, see, listen to, feel..) and make them into a big inspiration.

2. How and when did you get into making music?
I was always singing and playing the piano at the very young age like 3 and I think I was really into it. But for the kind of things I do now, I started about 10 – 15 years ago when I was a frustrated pianist. I found my instrument via indian music.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
Akiko Yano – Tadaima
Thelonious Monk – Alone In San Francisco
Joao Gilberto – Joao Gilberto
Terry Riley – Shri Camel

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Jardin alpin

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I don’t know…

7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Don Cherry – Organic Music Society

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’m happy with my existing projects and it’s already a lot to have work done !

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As performer, a couple of concerts I did recently in very resonant spaces – Le Magasin in Grenoble, Eglise Saint Merry in Paris..
As spectator, Alice Coltrane’s last concert in Paris (I think it was in 2005)

10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It hasn’t been so important but it’s becoming so. I’m in a new creative phase and I have a growing list of gears to buy and new things to learn.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have a sister who works as a freelance designer and it’s really inspiring to talk with her about work. We’re very different and don’t always get along but professionally we have mutual respect and understand ings.

To Listen:

She will perform at 3hd Festival: Whatever You Thought, Think Again, 25th of November