My first contact with the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat was at an exhibition of the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, Switzerland. It was overwhelming - powerful, expressive, rich in colours and drama, full of serial and aleatoric components, motives, improvisation, and numerous references to Bebop and Hip Hop.
It took me almost a year to translate Basquiat's work Untitled into music. I applied the twenty-six letters of the alphabet to the tonal range of the baritone saxophone, in order to generate melodies out of the countless words I found in the picture. I composed musical fragments on selected elements of the painting, collected information about Howard Hughes, bought Charlie Parker records and an old tape recorder, tried to find the original soundtrack of the comic hero Human Torch and looked for ways to integrate genius and madness, life and death in a piece of music.
The result is Untitled Part I, a suite of musical events that can last nineteen to ninety minutes; recorded live at Shedhalle Zug in March 2017. More info...
1. Untitled Part I - Eroica 05:36
2. Untitled Part I - Nothing To Be Gained Here 06:02
3. Untitled Part I - Receiver 04:10
4. Untitled Part I - Billie's Ear Wax 05:28
5. Untitled Part I - Codine vs. Morphine 01:57
6. Untitled Part I - Howard Hughes 07:00
7. Untitled Part I - Sky 03:10
8. Untitled Part I - Black Teeth 04:11
9. Untitled Part I - Brown Head 01:19
10. Untitled Part I - Words 01:07
11. Untitled Part I - The Human Torch 06:03
12. Untitled Part II - Mark Rothko 03:59
13. Untitled Part II - Jackson Pollock 03:51
14. Untitled Part II - Friedensreich Hundertwasser 04:16
15. Untitled Part II - Rolf Winnewisser 06:29
Yves Theiler piano
Raffaele Bossard bass
Alex Huber drums