This is the fourth edition of the new artistic director of Météo, Matthew Schoenal, and 39 since the establishment of the festival. The 2023 edition promises to be special. Meanwhile, here, at Motoco (More To Come), the place where most of the festival takes place, all is well. After several formats and several venues, before and during the pandemic, the festival will now appear in an industrial wasteland in artistic re-transformation.
Motoco is located in one of several buildings in the DMC (Dollfus-Mieg et Compagnie Textile Factory) area that formed (some of which are still in operation) a quasi-city within the city. Here, venues fit into an open festival, without division. Everyone meets artists, volunteers and the public. Only access to chests and food is reserved. A temporary radio studio is installed in the middle of the large room where there is also a corner of record stores, a bar with natural wines and exclusively handcrafted beers, and something to rest.
- MoToCo audience © Alicia Gardès / Météo Festival
Outside, thanks to the skillful scenography, between the water-retaining basin and the brick facade, a kind of biergarten allows you to drink, eat, enjoy a lounger and wait for concerts. Food trucks come in the evening to supply the public. You might be tempted to spend your evening in a Motoco, and the atmosphere (and weather, real) is very relaxing. In fact, that’s what we do.
The festival opens with a concert that was announced as a surprise. It’s about Zebra Street Band, an Amsterdam-born band among the international musicians’ community. A group with two percussionists, one trombone player and two saxophonists, including the excellent John Dickman. This “wild brass band” welcomes the audience outside at the start of the evening.
Then, in a very full room (approximately 250 people), the trio consists of Vincent Courtois (cello), Daniel Erdmann (Tenor Sax) and Robin Finker (Tenor saxes and clarinets) they embark on an hour-long improvisation, without a net, but with a decade of complicity behind them. The knot of action and listening that makes up this unique sound, shaped like a stone with three equal faces, that makes them play without interruption a constant pulse, like the lubricated engine of a great locomotive.
- Kim Myhr Sympathetic Magic © Alicia Gardès / Weather Festival
In the second part of the evening, the wonderful project Sympathetic Magic for the guitarist Kim Mir. This concert, the first in France, marks the disc version on the Hubro. The guitarist imagined a semi-symphonic work, very written and very rich (there are nine of them on stage) with long tracks all stretched out in layers of saturation and/or volume. The ceremony is illustrated by a projection at the back of the stage. They play loudly, really loudly, and the high-ceilinged hall entirely made of concrete reverberates sympathetically, adding to the confusion. It is, however, a sophisticated orchestra, with the couple from Moscus Anya Lovdahl On keyboards and drums Hans Holbeckmo Among other things. However, the landscape, very dense, does not leave indifferent.
With a total budget of approximately three hundred and twenty thousand euros, the festival has the means to program and influence the territory. This big event is largely supported by the city of Mulhouse (up to one hundred and fifty thousand euros) and the DRAC and the Region are also involved. This is why the Météo Festival is held in the city to diversify the audience.
In the morning, for example, the kids have an appointment with Robin Fincker for their first Bambin Bamboche session, a free mini-concert at the Grand’Rue Library.
In 2021, the American saxophonist Chris Petciokos Came to do a workshop with musicians during the Météo Festival. The work was so fruitful that musicians of different nationalities decided to train in it Mulhouse Orchestra And to create a repertoire with a saxophonist. They had the opportunity to play it at the Novara Jazz Festival before it was presented here, at the Mulhouse Conservatory. This very colorful orchestra, thanks to the original format (orchestra, electronics, drums, double bass, guitar, vibraphone, piano, voice and saxophone) is played leaving great circulation among the performers. The berries are clear and the narration follows a fairly straightforward plot. The balance between “classical” drums (double bass, piano, drums, etc.) and “original” is the power of the music, both organic and improvised. The sudden spoken/loud intervention of a vibraphone at the end of the concert is etched in our memory.
- Liz Barcas and Maria Laurent | © Alicia Gardès / Météo Festival
Later in the day, we meet at Le Séchoir, an old building active in a brick production line. At the top of this venue which houses a group of artists and a gallery, the festival is hosted in a scenic flat space. There, two of the duo would follow each other for two very impromptu sessions. Liz Barcas (v-to-r) and Maria Lawrence (Electric) Open the ball. The hurdy-gurdy is a regional player and her highly improvised style relies on sour and stinging sounds. Music stretches into one piece, gaining volume and height. It is fluid and continuous. Tezia Zimmermann (acc) and Pablo Lenhard (synth mod) It comes from Switzerland and then offers a noise ride in pure bells and without harmonics. The synthesizer emits sharp, continuous sounds that converge with the whistles of an accordion, with a similarity sometimes so strong that one hears the shifting beats. Little by little, sound after sound, a floating structure, made of glass and steel, fragile and transparent, formed.
After restricting two organs, we listen to another accordion, the Norwegian accordion Callie Moberg Who improvises full light with two subjects of the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of Britain Philip Wassman (v) and Paul Leighton (D) So as not to spoil anything! In front of a full house, all attention is focused on their improvisation and the subtlety of their interventions. The Punk and the Gaffers as they call themselves: The name can lead to confusion if one has not decided which of the three is punk. The competition is tough. Moberg tries to do some impromptu escapes on his own, but is quickly overtaken by the two musicians who let nothing pass. Beautiful Hitch also releases a record on Kamo Records.
- Audrey Chen | © Alicia Gardès / Weather Festival
Since we’re in a trio of pure improvisation, the program drives the point home with the meeting (formerly created at Jazz à Poitiers) Julian Bodard (synth) with Audrey Chen (voice) and Thomas Goband (D, Burke). The rumby trio refers to this thousand-year-old instrument whose trance sound accompanies the progression of music in this line. The vegetal and metallic Toma Goband drums are naturally suited to shamanic sounds, even the most modern sounds. Audrey Chen knows how to turn any word with her voice into a magical spell. With the voices of the standard synthesizer, Julian Bodart takes everyone on board in this epic. The Earth appears to open up as it passes. The three musicians are the center of the audience and are facing each other. The heat is everywhere, in the room as well as on the stage from which spring springs forth. It’s a good vent, in the evening. 
In the process, the ghost trio comes to live in a zombie audience. By offering repetitive music, mixed with Afro influences, which leads to euphoric dizziness, the three musicians (Johann Bertlingspace saver Andreas Wehrlind who are part of the Swedish trio Fire!, and Australian guitarist Oren Ambarchi) invented an overlapping literary genre between Pink Floyd (Syd Barrett period) and Tinariwen…
- Tashi Dorje © Alicia Gardès / Weather Festival
The next day, the guitarist from Bhutan was at the Kunsthalle Foundry Tashi Dorje I’m going to play alone. Under the action of a hanging bomb, ready to fall but held by hundreds of wires, the guitarist blasts off his acoustic guitar in a solo full of rustle and bells. He uses the metal items he slides on his fingers to get different attacks. The guitarist also plays the chord keys to obtain the effects of tension and relaxation of the strings. Poetic and highly lively, this strip-fitted solo guitar plays the repetition of periodic and resonant patterns. The glass and concrete room is the perfect setting.
Later in the day, there will be a cellist Lucy Railton Solo, just like a guitarist Julian Despres. Subsequently, cellist Anil Iraslan, trumpeter Rob Mazurik, the duo Railton – Kate Downs, the trio Mobket … In short, the most adventurous program.
Météo Festival, these are 5 days of improvised music and great fun. It is also one of the rare, if not the only, festivals in France to be on the international tour map of European bands and musicians. In Mulhouse you can see the great set of Kim Myhr (otherwise, you have to go to Ljubljana or Oslo), the Mopcut trio, the Railton-Downes duo, Tashi Dorji, etc…
Matthew Schoenal knows his stuff and knows how to find tomorrow’s bands by snooping on the internet, listening to musicians’ advice, and going where tomorrow’s issues are at stake.
The Météo Festival is also a political approach that ranges from serving local food, from natural wine to public transportation, including salvaged furniture, dismantling spaces, and collaborations with Frequence Météo radio stations, workshops, and the Météo Campagne offering tours of the department To a few groups between July and September, conducive to meetings. It’s all in Mulhouse, at the crossroads of Switzerland and Germany, a region brewed by trade.
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