Sun 14.10.18

Tonus - Dirk Serries

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Dirk Serries just turned 50 and we mark the occasion with a TONUS performance

Ensemble TONUS came about during the preparation of Dirk Serries’ jazzcase residence in 2017. For the occasion, he assembled a sextet to create a composition around one of Martina Verhoeven’s piano motifs. Tonus literally means ‘muscular strength’, while in the musical context it denotes the space between each played note. Both definitions are relevant here, as the music is an exercise in discipline and anticipation, while the clarity of every note played demands the utmost concentration and control. Tonus Ensemble is the platform via which the exploration of minimal music is further developed.


For this concert in ABsalon, the TONUS Ensemble plays a free improvisation based upon a graphic score by Dirk Serries.


DIRK SERRIES is not your everyday improviser. Although he is very passionate about the classic free jazz of the sixties, seventies and the current generation, his talents originate far from this faction. Masterful in structures, he has managed to perfect his technique over the last 30 years (under the pseudonyms Vidna Obmana, Fear Falls Burning, Microphonics, in collaborations and more recently under his own name), always involved in the rather abstract and sound-conscious part of the experimental music scene. Serries no longer bases himself entirely on his characteristic effects, repetitive structures and loops. Almost entirely stripped down, his guitar speaks a spare language that is founded upon introvert phrasing, pointillism, deliberate manipulation and occasional energetic and rapid eruption. Dirk Serries is also the driving artistic force behind the A New Wave Of Jazz label, known for their limited-edition releases on vinyl and cassette.


BENEDICT TAYLOR. Prize-winning composer and solo violin performer. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and Goldsmiths College and is a leading figure within modern composition. He is also enormously active in British free improvisation, with concerts and his own CRAM collective.


MARTINA VERHOEVEN. Photographer known for the abstract, organic photography in which she has immersed herself for more than 15 years now, but equally known for her album covers. As musician, over the years she has focused upon the electric bass (with 3 Seconds Of Air) and on the contrabass (in the quartet FANTOOM with René Aquarius, Otto Knokke and Dirk Serries, CYCLE with Karen Willems & Dirk Serries and in several groups formed with Colin Webster, John Dikeman, Andrew Lisle, George Hadow and Luis Vicente, amongst others). Her influences: Salvador Dalí, Morton Feldman.


NILS VERMEULEN is a musician from Ghent, a researcher and a builder of instruments. He studied at the School of Arts and was taught by the likes of Hein van de Geyn, Frank Coppieters, Stefan Lievestro, Janos Bruneel, Yannick Peeters and Nicolas Thys. Nils Vermeulen is intrigued by vibrations, producing and manipulating sound and the associated aesthetic. This expresses itself directly in his etudes for solo contrabass. He is currently active in quite a few different projects, such as KABAS, Jukwaa, Uma Chine, frame trio, Lamoral, and Laughing Bastards. 


COLIN WEBSTER. The saxophonist from London is one of the most prominent musicians of the new European avant-garde scene. Known for his diverse collaborations – such as those with Graham Dunning, Andrew Lisle, Mark Holub, Dead Neanderthals, David Birchall, Andrew Cheetham, Otto Willberg - and in bands like KODIAN TRIO, KTHXBYE. Webster specialises in extreme tone-configurations, from minimal to abstract and dynamic. He also leads the fascinating Raw Tonk Records.


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