Badminton in Tehran, new release by Zwerm!


Zwerm has a new album! “Badminton in Tehran” will be officially released with a live concert in deSingel in Antwerp on thursday 29/11. Get your tickets here! You can already pre-order a copy on bandcamp.

Check out the official clip for the song “Leftovers”:

Zwerm has never strived for a one-sided artistic profile. During the past ten years the quartet dallied between pure noise-impro, English renaissance music and contemporary composed music. The common denominator being not so much a particular stylistic view but rather a shared curiosity, Zwerms projects typically start with the question: 'what would happen if …' 
Badminton in Tehran started with the question: 'what would happen if we would worked with grooves for a few months?' After that, anything was allowed. We created an online space where each one of us could drop our personal demos, which could then be used freely by the others. Within a few months a primordial soup of beats and grooves and little snippets of text was created. And once we started the recording sessions with producer Rudy Trouvé this served as the raw material out of which 10 new songs were crafted. Badminton in Tehran is the first record in which all tracks are composed by Zwerm and it grooves like a Rube Goldberg-machine – DIY and slightly irregular. 

Johannes, Toon, Kobe & Bruno about Badminton In Tehran: 

A Wednesday or Thursday afternoon, sitting on a bench in a park in Tehran. Kids run on the grass in between the trees; two girls are having a conversation sitting on a bench across from us; a man and a woman are playing badminton on the path - like people do in parks. 
'Badminton in Tehran?' someone suggests. 
Since at this moment every second sentence we utter is potentially the name of our new record, we all know it's a title. 
'Why not...' 
It's a nice park. The constant noise of traffic is slightly reduced and there's more oxygen in the air. (Johannes) 

What got to me the most in the captivating documentary, “Beats Of The Antonov,” is the spontaneous and natural way the local people of South Sudan were making music. There’s no stage, no separation between audience and performer - There are people and they make music. It’s this spontaneity that might have unconsciously inspired me when making “Badminton in Tehran.” A musical spontaneity without predefined concepts that, for Zwerm, feels like something new. (Toon) 

It reminds me of how a former guitar teacher of mine, and avid collector of rare and bizarre instruments, once told me that whenever he's touring he'd often pass by the local guitar shop and ask the owner if he has a 'backroom' where he keeps his weird stuff. Often they do and he would complement his collection with, say, a rusty tuba mouthpiece, a jew's harp, or a stroh-violin, for example. This new Zwerm album feels like a kind of musical equivalent of this 'backroom' full of weirdness and rarities: a sinter, a saz, an old drum with torn skin, a dusty Fender Rhodes, some home made electronic devices and sound effects... The music maybe doesn't have the coherence (and predictability) you would expect from the shiny stratocasters hanging in the front window of the shop, but it grooves quite nicely. And if the word 'groovy' once meant 'having a tendency to routine', Zwerm paradoxically seems to be the least groovy band in the country... (Kobe) 

“Badminton in Tehran,” rebellion at its most frivolous, light resistance on a heavy spot, der Groove or Ethio endlessness, moving along with the waves or mabok laut, let me float or let me crawl. (Bruno) 

more of No [More] Pussyfooting

My solo rendition of the music of Fripp & Eno is touring again this month! I’m very happy to perform this set again. First stop is the GAS Festival in Göteborg, Sweden on friday 05/10.

Then on wedensday 17/10 I’m invited to play at the Merhspur Musikklub in Zürich as part of the Generator concert series organised by the ICST.

I’m very much looking forward to both concerts, hope to see you there!

Echo - Premiere in deSingel, Antwerp

(c) Stijn Grüpping

(c) Stijn Grüpping

”Everything bounces everywhere with almost no loss.” (Al Swanson) 

Echo is the first collaboration between Post uit Hessdalen and Zwerm. The two companies share an adventurous and elusive approach of their artistic disciplines. They bumped into two age-old mythological figures, Echo and Narcissus, which mirror beautifully their own preferences for image and sound. In coproduction with deSingel / Klarafestival they transform this cursed love story into bold music theatre. 

What strikes us in this myth? How is it that a century-old Greek story echoes today? Punished for her dissoluteness, Echo is torn apart and scattered like seeds all over the world, where she forever echoes her heartfelt cry in mountains, gullies and caves. Our present virtual identity, self-constructed and thoughtlessly put online, has similar consequences: we convict ourselves to an eternal live, saved as bytes on one of the millions of data servers worldwide. And never again we can silence our own digital seeds, despite the recent judgement by the EC Court regarding ‘the right to be forgotten’. Echo examines this new way of virtual remembrance, and how we can deal with it. 

The modern Narcissus is easy to recognize, as he gazes no longer into a pool of water but rather into the ‘black mirror’ of his smartphone. In this unlimited era, his name - derived from a paralyzing poison - may symbolize our intellectual immobility and fossilized principles.

In Echo both music and video are presented live on stage, thus immersing the audience. As a modern nymph, dancer Charlotte Goesaert guides the spectator through a sensory trip. Echo will premiere on Wednesday the 14 th and Thursday the 15 th of March 2018 at 20h in deSingel (Antwerp, Belgium). We hope to welcome you!
 Concept & creation Stijn Grupping, Ine Van Baelen, Lucas Van Haesbroeck & ZWERM Live muziek ZWERM -Toon Callier, Kobe Van Cauwenberghe, Johannes Westendorp & Bruno Nelissen Dance Charlotte Goesaert Soundengineer Johan Vandermaelen Costumes Linse Van Gool Coach movement Karolien Verlinden Coproduction deSingel / Klarafestival Thanks to wpZimmer, LOD, De Grote Post & Walpurgis With the support of Vlaamse Overheid, Provincie Antwerpen en Stad Antwerpen

Première wednesday March 14th 2018 at 20:00 in deSingel (Antwerp, Belgium), as part of the Klarafestival.
Performances March 15th 2018 at 20:00 in deSingel & April 21st at 20:15 in Handelsbeurs (Ghent, Belgium) as part of Opera XXI. Next season in Kortrijk, Rotterdam, Amsterdam...
Contact & booking via via Sarah Rombouts at Vincent Company
+32 (0)494 81 69 79

New Oh Mensch Album!

My guitar duo Oh Mensch with guitarist Matthias Koole just released it's first album!

The album contains five microtonal pieces for two guitars by Christopher Trapani, Turgut Erçetin, Arthur Kampela, Brian Ferneyhough and Larry Polansky. It is released on the Brazilian label Seminal Records and can be bought here.
The CD is a result of our residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude and includes wonderful contributions by co-Schloss Solitude Fellows Maja Markovic (artwork) and Dan Boehl (poem). Also huge thanks to Paulo Dantas (mixing and mastering) and Jan De Wulf (layout).


I had a great experience playing No [more] Pussyfooting for a full house at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival! It turned out to be a great evening and a very enthusiastic crowd, it felt almost like the music of Fripp and Eno finally returned home :) Some reactions on twitter: