Electric Totems


It is a duo project of “two men orchestra” (Pierre Bastien and Dr. Truna), based on two electric totems. Mechanics and electroacoustics are combined with expanded classical instruments and other inventions.

Pierre Bastien of French origin, born in 1953, he builds his own machinery, somewhere between music and visual art, which mixes live trumpet sounds with screen projections of mechanical sound sculptures in situ in a very poetic way. His work is described as “a timeless, yet futuristic and slightly Dada-sounding orchestra, evoking ancient traditions in its strikingly sensual music.” Bastien has been called a “mad musical scientist with a celebrity following” by The Guardian. He has collaborated in the past with filmmaker Pierrick Sorin, fashion designer Issey Miyake, singer-songwriter Robert Wyatt and Aphex Twin (who released three of his albums on his Rephlex label), to name just a few, and is one of the most influential experimental musicians working. In 1986 he formed his own one-man orchestra, Mecanium, and recorded more than 20 albums over the years. “I like to combine a cello or viola with a Nigerien godje and a Javanese rabab,” says Bastien. “It’s like in a city, where all the different cultures mix together: you get a richer palette of sounds.” Bastien puts this interaction into practice with his Mecanium, a Heath Robinson-like contraption that plays all kinds of instruments at once: its bows, drumsticks, and plectrums can play an African drum or an Indonesian gamelan, play a thumb piano, kora and a harmonium, and bow a violin, while activating an entire string quartet. The mechanism that drives it is based on simple principles: intricate constructions built with Meccano parts and powered by motors taken from old record players that activate the bows and sticks through gears and pulleys. However, Bastien’s strange contraption is more than just a hodgepodge of seemingly incompatible instruments: despite its apparent lack of sophistication, a performance of Mecanium is a complex and emotionally charged affair. This fragile homemade orchestra plays elaborate and strangely moving symphonies, while miniature pulleys and levers cast gigantic shadows on the wall behind them, and Bastien himself sits among his mechanized instruments, accompanying them with trombone, violin or musical saw. .- Rahma Khazam in The Wire magazine

Dr. Truna (Valencia 1965) is the pseudonym of Andrés Blasco Ramos, musician, composer and builder of new electroacoustic instruments. His training is in photography, film, radio technician, film dubbing, violin studies at a conservatory and double bass at jazz schools. He is also a sound art student at the University of Valencia (UPV) and is part of the Spanish Electroacoustic Music Association (AMEE). In 1983 he began his activity as a musician-composer in Valencia with the group Carmina Burana (post-rock) and the duo Fitzcarraldo (experimental rock) until 1994 he made several editions on record labels in Madrid, Valencia and England. From 1995 to 1999 he will live in Liege (Belgium), a city in which he will intensely develop his own sound universe, build sound sculptures with recycled materials and perform his first sound actions in public spaces. In 2000, he returned to reside in Valencia and focused on his work as a man-orchestra and sound art, creating a hybrid between image and sound, his own universe, impregnated with retro futurism, pataphysics and dada. In 2010 he began working with choreographers and theater directors, participating as a composer and stage musician. He also founds different groups and duos always based in Valencia: OICOP, MERP, Antorcha Amable, Dadá Quartet. He is also very active in free improvisation with other artists: One Man Nation (23 Shades of Amnesia), Bartolomé Ferrando (JOP), Mike Cooper, Llorenç Barber, Cabo San Roque or Pierre Bastien. In 2016 he founded Trío Truna (TX3), his group performed live with two video projectors that project two clones that manipulate sound sculptures.