Pierre Bastien & Lukas Simonis, Mots d'Heures :
Catalog reference number: IPS 0402.
CD release date: April, 2002. Out of print.
Available on Qobuz, Itunes, Deezer, Spotify, 7digital, musicMe,
Tidal, Google play.
Pierre Bastien develops since several years his very personnal
music based on the building of musical machines made of Mecano.
His orchestra "Mecanium" plays for him on the records and
on stage. A machinery music, delicate and full of tenderness,
with emotions which rapidly touched Pascal Comelade. Pierre
Bastien not only builds machines, but also a real musical
route between artistic installations and music, a sounding
and visual univers with great modesty and sincerity. After
some interesting collaborations with the DJ music of Aphew
Twin, Pierre Bastien comes back with this new "oulipien" project,
accompanied by Lukas Simonis (AA-Kismet, Dull Schiksall) who
affords a "rock & schnops" touch. A new novelty, which
is rare !
1 Cock Lock
2 Ee Diedle Diedle
5 Dissolu Typique
6 Tan Q
7 Little Mess Mohfat
8 Mondaa Chaal
9Un Petit D'un Petit
12 Ola Kile Kohl
13 Myades Sounds Turkish
14 Ecoutee lah
16 Peter Peter
A short history of the
At the ARTEC opening I have a long talk with British art critic
Nicholas Wadley, about some literary games: palindromes, tautograms,
lipograms, homophonism, S+7 method etc...
Nicholas sends a photocopy of a short poem in French. A strange
French indeed: "Un petit d'un petit / S'étonne aux Halles
/ Un petit d'un petit / Ah! Degrés te fallent [...]". After
a few days thinking about it, I open Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland
and read: "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall / Humpty Dumpty had a great
fall [...]". This is it! The curious French poem was just a phonetic
transcription of some English nursery rhymes!
While participating in the Symposium of Shadows every night for
one week, I spend my daytime in the bookshops until I discover,
in The Faber Book of Nonsense Verse, the same poem again with a
few others and the author's name: Luis d'Antin Van Rooten (1906-1973).
While representing Holland at the Flea Festival (Dortmund/Ghent/New-York/Eindhoven)
I spend again most of my time in the bookshops, until I find the
book Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames by Luis d'Antin Van Rooten
(Penguin Books, 1980; first published by Grossman Publishers, 1967).
When asked, the bookseller says that he did not know he still had
a copy of it. He thought the book had been out of print for many
Immediately I start researching the original English poems corresponding
to their weird French transcriptions.
5-The Hague, 1997
The Dutch magazine Bzzlletin is preparing an issue about the French
writers Raymond Roussel, Raymond Queneau and Georges Pérec,
related to the Oulipo event organized by CBK Rotterdam at Boymans
Museum. Asked to collaborate, I write an article about Mots d'Heures:
Gousses, Rames. The title is Tweetaligheid: toi et ta lyre
aident (Bzzlletin N°243, Feb.1997).
Denis Tagu is the director of a very peculiar audio label called
InPolySons. His catalogue includes new music based on specific themes
such as art brut, Lewis Carroll's books, Robert Wyatt's compositions,
Alfred Jarry's Ubu etc... He proposes me to release a new album
on a subject I would choose, after my previous InPolySons cd based
on Queneau's Exercices de Style [Eggs Air Sister Steel, IPS1094].
At the flee market I buy the original Volland Edition of Mother
Goose. Back home I open it and find the following handwritten inscription:
"Dear Pierre, Look Count them, Fix them right here on these pages,
Enjoy Mother Goose[...]". Then, written by the same enigmatic person,
a list entitled "Mots d'Heures Gousses Rames" with the forty transcriptions
and their original English titles. Only two poems are missing on
the list (eight were missing on my own list).
A net of amateurs is now trying to come through the last secrets
of the book. When we finally succeed, Denis Tagu, Lukas Simonis
and me decide to start working on an album based on the French poems.
Lukas Simonis records very different people from different nationalities,
who recite the poems. They are Australian, Spanish, Swiss, Austrian,
British, Scottish, Finnish... Then we spend a few months composing
and recording the music together, until the Master is ready and
the producer enthusiastic. Then we decide to have a live version
of the result. The work is still in progress!