Pierre Bastien

Born 1953.

Biography

Pierre Bastien (born 1953 in Paris) is a French musician, composer, and experimental musical instrument builder. He began building mechanical-based musical instruments at an early age, using items such as metronomes, cymbals, and pulleys. In 1977 he began collaborating with Pascal Comelade and composing music for dance companies. He performed in ensembles such as Operation Rhino, Nu Creative Methods, and Effectifs de Profil.

In 1986 he formed his own orchestra, Mecanium, composed of Meccano machines which play various instruments, such as Chinese lute, Moroccan bendir, Javanese saron, koto, and violin. These machines were often driven by the rotation of old turntables. By the 1990s Mecanium consisted of up to 80 machine 'musicians', and toured various art and music festivals, including events in Norway, Australia, Japan, Canada, Poland, and the United States.

Bastien has collaborated with artists such as Robert Wyatt, Jac Berrocal, Jaki Liebezeit, Pierrick Sorin, Lukas Simonis and Issey Miyake. He has released material on record labels such as Lowlands, Rephlex, Tigersushi, and Alga Marghen. He has also completed a doctorate on 18th century French literature, his thesis being on pre-surrealist Raymond Roussel.

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