ensemble ɛkstʁaktə is a Berlin-based ensemble for artistic music research. We want to experiment with new approaches to trans-cultural and trans-traditional musicking and investigate their potential for new sonic and musical aesthetics.
We are driven by our desire to question western concepts of “the concert”, “the score” and “the piece”, we want to explore new social roles for music, new forms of notation and the role of emerging technologies both in making and in listening to music.
Every aspect of our work is informed by perspectives stemming from a variety of of traditions and genres, but equally enriched by conceptual ideas from traditional and contemporary poetry, visual traditions and body-centered art forms from around the globe.”Extracts” from these, inserted into unusual musical contexts and forming unexpected combinations, shall then become a new kind of music – a musicking moving in the contact zones between different musical heritages, yet far from exotistic clichés and naïve world music.
What happens when we improvise within the formal constraints of Dhrupad, but using playing techniques from BeBop in a Slendro scale ? Or when an interactive computer score shows musicians only the overtones they are expected to produce at any given moment, regardless of the instrument they play ? What happens if we do not standardize the different tunings of traditional instruments but use these to build a microtonal scale – and then create rhythmically complex polyphonic music from it, using ensemble techniques gleaned from African Banda-Linda or Aka choirs ?
The musicians of ensemble ɛkstʁaktə all come from a rich background both in one particular tradition – and have many years of experience in working across traditional genres and aesthetics.
They all share a unusual blend of individual mastery, aesthetic openness and mutual trust that allow them to creatively question their own traditional background (and for us the eurological so-called New Music is just one tradition among many).
Musicking at is all about process: the ensemble ɛkstʁaktə does usually not play compositions or pieces that were not developed – or at least re-made – during one of our intense research workshops. It does not issue standard commissions, but it will from time to time invite artist-researchers from different backgrounds and genres to lead and shape our creative research for a specific project.
One important aspect of our work is an artistic panel consisting of renowned musicians, composers, theoreticians and curators. They are regularly invited to assess, accompany, evaluate and inspire our workshops and our public presentations.
EXTRAKTE – eine neue Arbeitsweise und Betrachtungsweise interkultureller Musik (PDF)
Nina Polaschegg: Interview mit Sandeep Bhagwati – faithful 2014 zum Ensemble Extrakte Veröffentlicht in Nutida Music Magazine Sweden, geführt im November 2014