MK Orchestrin

… interesting pieces of work, and worth taking a listen to… Space City Rock, USA

L’architecture de cette vingtaine de pièces offre des images variées, souvent fortement contrastées, dont l’écoute se révèle passionante. Revue & Corrigée, France

This solo album by Italian drummer Mirko Sabatini is the climax of his in-depth exploration of the instrument’s sound and mechanics: the subtle interplay between improvisation and chance.


  • Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 080 / 2000
  • UCC 771028108022
  • Total duration: 46:37
  • 128 mm × 128 mm × 5 mm
  • 30 g

In the press

Artist’s Recordings: New Sound Spaces

André-Louis Paré, Espace sculpture, no. 59, March 1, 2002

In the tradition of soundeffect music, here are some recordings by artists who use sound as material to be sculpted. In Jean-Pierre Gauthier’s recording, Machines consentantes and Hachures (1999/2000), we hear the sound of mech" anized drums, automated flutes and decoys, vibrating garage sheet metal and quite audible radio interference. This sculptor of homemade instruments occasionally works in tandem with Mirko Sabatini. The Italian drummer plays solo on his CD titled MK. Orchestrin, the fruit of Sabatini’s lengthy research on sound and the workings of his instrument. Michel Tétreault is another sound artist often present in the visual art milieu. One of his many recordings was produced with Japanese artist Yoshihide Otomo. In 21 situations (AM 069), they manipulated turnta" bles in a different way than DJs, creating unusual sounds. Lastly, Jocelyn Robert gives us a genuine sound performance with his recording 20 moments blancs lents created for the twentieth anniversary of Chambre blanche in Quebec City. Here the artist attempts to translate the gallery’s time into sound.


Luca Pagani, All About Jazz Italy, June 6, 2001

Assolutamente necessario per cogliere appieno le sottigliezze di questo disco è l’ascolto in cuffia. La diffusione tramite altoparlanti non permette infatti di udire i sottili effetti sonori di marchingegni e motorini. Oggetti meccanici che Mirko Sabatini ha applicato direttamente alle pelli e alle strutture di un comune set di batteria.

Due sono le coordinate essenziali che si (ri)scontrano: lo spazio e il tempo del suono. Un unico ambiente le cui risonanze naturali sono rispettate e valorizzate dalle scelte tecniche di registrazione e di missaggio e un suono che viene mantenuto in una perenne e costante evoluzione. Lo strumento percussivo di Sabatini permette allo stesso suono intensità e durate sempre differenti, fino alla possibilità di creare risonanze e drones dalle lunghezze praticamente infinite.

- 28 + alieni, registrato nell’inverno del 1999 a Saint-Jovite (Québec) - ad oggi il primo ed unico album solista di Mirko Sabatini - si avvale dell’apporto tecnico in fase di registrazione e missaggio di quel Vincenzo Vasi che al basso elettrico è impegnato con il musicista in questione anche nel duo Gastronauti [per leggere la recensione del loro disco Mosche Mutanti clicca qui]. Apporto sicuramente logico e fondamentale se si pensa che tutto il lavoro è concentrato sulla forma del suono e sui suoi significati immediati. Sembra che Mirko Sabatini voglia lasciare correre lo strumento per i fatti suoi - come se non ne avesse un esatto controllo. In realtà, il musicista possiede capacità tecniche tali - come accade in alcuni dei migliori contesti di musica improvvisata - da celare intuizioni immediate, in realtà frutto di virtuosismi. Difficile spiegare, ma è proprio come se la musica fluisse attraverso proprie meccaniche spontanee. Questa batteria è uno strumento ai cui Sabatini è legato materialmente e affettivamente e che “partorisce" dal silenzio i suoi ticchettii, sottili sfrigolii, impennate sui rullanti, stick. Non dimenticando le esperienze nell’arte figurativa (scultura) di Sabatini, riscontriamo questa sua attività in veri e propri disegni sonori: nei minuscoli tratteggi di Notte con grilli ed altro, nelle immagini tremolanti di - 28 + alieni, negli schizzi da action paiting di Sassi fitti. Un disco da ascoltare perché proprio nei momenti in cui sembra che niente si muova, accade qualcosa di significativo. Valutazione: * * * * *

Music reviews

Doug Dillaman, Space City Rock, no. 4, June 1, 2001

So this is really confusing — two CD’s from Québec, both consisting of short avant-garde pieces, borth in this really strange cardboard packaging (apparently the Opak box — imagine if a jewel box was made of cardboard and opened like a matchbox and you’re getting there), but different labels. But the same street address. Odd. I guess I should have kept the press kit.

Of the two, I think I prefer the Ambiances Magnétiques collection. Focused on composers and performers, it gives you an opportunity to sample the works of nine different Québec composers, working in different idioms (from jazz-ish to classical to turntablism). It doesn’t all make sense to me, but it’s intriguing and varied, kind of like listening to a good avant-garde radio show.

The Miniatures Concrètes, meanwhile, is a collection of short musique concrète pieces. If you have no idea what that means well, basically, it s all assemblage and processing of found sounds, with the results typically sounding like somebody threw 100 source tapes in a blender and spliced them together arbitrarily. For those looking for sounds to expand their ears, this is a good place to find it. For those whose ears have alteady been expanded, there may not be a whole lot of new ground covered here. Which is not so much criticism of the artists as of the genre: for me, musique concrète is kind of a dead-end genre after a while, for reasons that I dont feel like getting into here, since 99% of you wont care and 1% will virulently disagree and never be convinced otherwise.

Regardless, both of these records are interesting pieces of work, and worth taking a listen to if you get the chance.

… interesting pieces of work, and worth taking a listen to…


Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 45, September 1, 2000

Les deux premiers enregistrements ont un point commun: ils émanent de batteurs. Le premier est dû à l’ltalien Mirko Sabatini, lié au collectif organisateur du festival Angelica. Le second a été enregistré et produit par le batteur d’origine américaine, résident suisse et partenaire de Toshimaru Nakamura au sein de Repeat.

Mirko Sabatini ne limite pas en fait son propos à la simple percussion; il use aussi de divers objets, genre moteurs ou ressorts, pour mieux explorer les sonorités interactives entre sa batterie et, précisément, ces objets. En d’autres termes, son instrument ici, tient de la notion de “batterie préparée". Quelquefois déroutante par certains grincements par exemple, l’architecture de la (presque) vingtaine de pièces de ce recueil offre des images varié.

L’architecture de cette vingtaine de pièces offre des images variées, souvent fortement contrastées, dont l’écoute se révèle passionante.


Nick Mott, Audion, no. 43, September 1, 2000

MK. Orchestrin presents the best of the recent batch. This is presented in a weird sleeve featuring unique use of Velcro buttons! It’s by one Mirko Sabatini, an obscure unknown drummer aka MK. Orchestrin, titled -28+ALIEN! (AM 080 CD) and it’s pretty much the type of thing we’d have expected if Chris Cutler had done a fragmented series of drum excursions in the Art Bears days, making use of motors, plates, springs, rubber bands and the likes, it amounts to that scrap-yard drum-set sound, teetering on the edge of the avant-garde yet never falling over.


George Zahora, Splendid E-Zine, June 19, 2000

Drummer Mirko Sabatini is apparently a pioneering percussionist, attempting to convey the abilities and potential of his instrument. This isn’t, however, some sort of horrifying “drum circle” album; the disc’s jacket lists motors, plates, springs and rubber bands in Sabatini’s sonic palette. Unfortunately, a lot of -28+Alieni sounds like someone rummaging through a darkened kitchen — it’s a series of isolated bangs, pings and knocks. A curious disparity in recording levels comes to a head on Eventi, which features the aforementioned motors. If you’ve turned your stereo up loud enough to hear the rest of the disc, Eventi will be absolutely deafening. People will ask you what you’re doing running an industrial grinder, and you’ll be forced to wave -28+Alieni in their faces and stammer effusively. Ultimately, though it has some moments of aurally interesting moments, the disc fails to live up to the intangible promise of the lurid, angular fish painted on its cover. Put it in the “needs a visual component” pile.