Pierre Bastien


Pierre Bastien
Pierre Bastien performing live.
Pierre Bastien performing live.
Background information
Born1953 (age 68–69)
Paris, France
Years active1977–present

Pierre Bastien (born 1953 in Paris) is a French musician, composer, and experimental musical instrument builder.

Life and career

Bastien began building mechanical-based musical instruments at an early age, using items such as metronomes, cymbals, and pulleys. In 1977, he began collaborating with Pascal Comelade and composing music for dance companies. He performed in ensembles such as Operation Rhino, Nu Creative Methods, and Effectifs de Profil.

In 1986, he formed his own orchestra, Mecanium, composed of Meccano machines which play various instruments, such as Chinese lute, Moroccan bendir, Javanese saron, koto, and violin. These machines were often driven by the rotation of old turntables. By the 1990s, Mecanium consisted of up to 80 machine 'musicians', and toured various art and music festivals, including events in Norway, Australia, Japan, Canada, Poland, and the United States.

Bastien has collaborated with artists such as Robert Wyatt, Jac Berrocal, Emmanuelle Parrenin, Jaki Liebezeit, Pierrick Sorin, Lukas Simonis and Issey Miyake. He has released material on record labels such as Lowlands, Rephlex, Tigersushi, and Alga Marghen. He has also completed a doctorate on 18th century French literature, his thesis being on pre-surrealist Raymond Roussel.

In 2001, Bastien released an album, Mecanoid, on Rephlex Records.[1] In 2008, he released an album, Visions of Doing, on Western Vinyl.[2] In 2014, he made installations with paper as the main sound source. In 2015, he came up with a new project called Silent motors, two frames with wheels and gears that are beamed on a screen with an overhead projector. In 2016 Bastien had a big exhibition of his mecanoids at November Music Festival in The Netherlands.


  • Nu Jungle Dances (1978) (with Bernard Pruvost, as Nu Creative Methods)
  • Le Marchand De Calicots (1981) (with Bernard Pruvost, as Nu Creative Methods)
  • Superstitions (1984) (with Bernard Pruvost, as Nu Creative Methods)
  • Hommage à Jean Raine (1988) (with Peter Bastiaan and Bernard Pruvost)
  • Mecanium (1988)
  • Musiques Machinales (1993)
  • Eggs Air Sister Steel (1996)
  • Oblique Sessions (1997) (with Pascal Comelade, Jac Berrocal, and Jaki Liebezeit)
  • Mécanologie Portative (1998) (with Klimperei)
  • Neuf Jouets Optiques (1999) (with Karel Doing)
  • Musiques Paralloïdres (1999)
  • Mecanoid (2001)
  • Musique Cyrillique (2001) (with Alexei Aigui)
  • Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames (2002) (with Lukas Simonis)
  • Pop (2005)
  • Sé Verla al Revés (2005)
  • Téléconcerts (2005)
  • Les Premières Machines: 1968-1988 (2007)
  • Visions of Doing (2008)
  • Rag-Time Vol. 2 (2008) (with Dominique Grimaud)
  • Machinations (2012)
  • Blue as an Orange (2015)
  • Suspicious Moon (2022) (with David Fenech)
  • XVII La Estrella (1993)
  • Automatic Music (2010)
  • Among the Skulls (2010)


  1. ^ Pecoraro, David M. (January 27, 2002). "Pierre Bastien: Mecanoid". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  2. ^ Gabriele, Timothy (February 3, 2009). "Pierre Bastien: Visions of Doing". PopMatters. Retrieved April 24, 2017.

Further reading

  • Huggett, Stuart (October 1, 2010). "Mechanics Made Easy: Pierre Bastien Interviewed". The Quietus.
  • Wyse, Pascal (October 18, 2010). "Pierre Bastien: the man who makes Meccano sing". The Guardian.
  • "RWM Son(i)a: Interview with Pierre Bastien, conductor of mechanical orchestras consisting of self-playing sound sculptures". Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.

External links

  • Official website
  • Pierre Bastien at AllMusic
  • Pierre Bastien discography at Discogs