stochastic activation: Basler Trommeln


For the occasion of Creative Time’s 2018 Basilea project for Art Basel on the Messeplatz, Isabel Lewis invited Colin Hacklander (of LABOUR) who introduced an original score made for multiple Basel drum “cliques,” engaging the centuries-old tradition of Swiss Rudimental Drumming and its unique Basel-born iteration.

At the closing of each day, fifteen drummers spread throughout the area in specific locations, envicing the specific sonic identities of the Messeplatz within a composition utilising techniques of stochastic distribution by producing single hits at precise times; this approach simultaneously presented a mode of rhythmic instability through shifting densities (non-grid-time) across a large physical area, and highlighted specific unique instances of acoustic space by articulating depth, distance, reverberation, and other forms of sonic interaction unique to the layout and architecture of Basel’s Messeplatz.  The tension created in what amounted to a disruption of their traditional practice was restored to expected confidence and strength as the groups would reconvene to present certain music from their repertoire to close the work, leaving the listener a heightened awareness of acoustic space and sense of active listening.


composition  Colin Hacklander (of LABOUR)
Basel drum groups  Schnurebegge, Naarebaschi and Muggedatscher
thanks to Isabel Lewis, Creative Time, Art Basel