Debacker / Zwißler / Hübsch / Nillesen – live at moers festival ’20


Dear friends,

A new release on IMPAKT Records: Debacker | Zwißler | Hübsch | Nillesen “Live at mœrs festival ’20” with Marlies Debacker (Piano, Clavinet), Florian Zwißler (Synthesizer), Carl Ludwig Hübsch (Tuba, Objects) and myself (Snare Drum).

Available on CD (E-Mail me or check and on all digital channels (eg Spotify or Youtube).

“Improvised music dressed as contemporary electronic music!
The musicians use their instrument as a pseudo-electronic sound generator that is “regulated” rather than played. Gradual changes in textures, frequencies and patterns create a multitude of subtle microtonal beatings, rhythmically complex structures and seemingly endless layers of glissandi – in this way, an extraterrestrial soundscape with its own poetry is created.
Nevertheless, the music is always spontaneous and does not back away from everyday sounds, speech and emotional outbursts.
The constellation of prepared tuba, extended snare drum, analogue synth, piano and clavinet creates a kind of “meta-instrument” that enables a complex and versatile orchestration.
Together, the musicians explore the architecture of the music, create sculptures and manipulate them.”



We are working hard on the next T.ON project that is coming up! We have some amazing people that each make a piece for us to play (with). The pieces are recorded beforehand and will be used as a tape that is played through extra horns connected to our instruments with tubes + the use of talkboxes and transducers. We will perform the pieces later this year in, at least, 4 different churches in NRW, Germany, designed by the architect Gottfried Böhm.

All concerts will be recorded and the music that comes out of that will be released as our 2nd album!

The pieces are improvisations and/or compositions by Sam Pluta, Madison Greenstone, Anne La Berge and Nate Wooley. Sam already made his piece (which sounds amazing) and the others will make theirs in the next couple of months. Very excited!

More on the exact concertdates soon!

T.ON / Matthias Muche, Constantin Herzog, Etienne Nillesen

Livestream winterjazz 2021


If you have not been able to see the concert live on the livestream or want to see it again, here is a link to youtube where you can see all concerts! What a pleasure it was to be able to play with these amazing musicians and friends at this great festival on the first concert of this year!

Our concert starts at 1:04:06 (recorded by WDR)

Ignaz Schick – turntables, sampler, comp
Elisabeth Coudoux – cello
Marlies Debacker – piano
Etienne Nillesen – snare drum
Melvyn Poore – tuba

First concert 2021 at Winterjazz Köln


Very excited to start the year with a concert at Stadtgarten in Cologne at the WinterJazz Festival with these amazing musicians:

Ignaz Schick – turntables, sampler, comp
Elisabeth Coudoux – cello
Marlies Debacker – piano
Etienne Nillesen – extended snare drum
Melvyn Poore – tuba

Friday, January 8th 2021 / livestream:

For more info and complete line-up/ program:

Matthias Muche of T.ON got the WDR Jazzpreis 2021


Tromboneplayer Matthias Muche of T.ON got the WDR Jazzpreis 2021 for Improvisation! We will play a small concert with T.ON at WDR that will be broadcasted on January 30th 2021 as part of the price ceremony!

More info on the broadcast as soon as a link is available!

Check out our album ‘T.ON plays Matthias Muche’ with Matthias on trombone, Constantin Herzog on double bass and myself on extended snare drum.

This is what the jury had to say about Matthias (in German only):

Ein Mann in seinem Labor, in seiner Werkstatt, dort wo die Posaune steht, sein Instrument. Matthias Muche ist ein Forscher, ein ausgewiesener Virtuose der Improvisation, der beharrlich daran arbeitet, neue Türen aufzuschließen und sein instrumentales Können aus wechselnden Perspektiven zu reflektieren.

Ein Posaunist, der in immer wieder neuen Begegnungen mit Fachkollegen den Fokus seiner Forschungsarbeit auf die vielfältigen Potentiale dieses Instruments richtet, das der menschlichen Stimme möglicherweise näher kommt als andere. Sei es in der zarten Intimität eines Posaunen-Duos oder auf der großen Leinwand von Bonecrusher, wo drei Posaunisten als Solisten sich auf einem Klanggrund bewegen, den 3 x 3 = 9 Posaunisten im Zusammenspiel mit zwei Perkussionisten legen: Matthias Muche versteht es, die Posaune in Szene zu setzen. Und damit auch sich selbst und die Wandlungsfähigkeit und Innovationshöhe seiner musikalischen Intuition.—wdr-jazzpreistraeger-improvisation-100.html

1972 ist Matthias Muche in Bielefeld geboren, er studierte sein Instrument am Conservatorium van Amsterdam, am Rotterdams Conservatorium und an der Hochschule für Musik und Tanz und an der Kunsthochschule für Medien in Köln. Dort war er schon bald gefragt als ein Improvisator, der auf der Basis virtuosen Könnens und einer enorm physischen Bühnenpräsenz die Grenzen konventioneller Jazzperformance durchbricht und jenseits eingetretener Pfade immer wieder neue Forschungsabenteuer in Sachen Klang sucht.

Ein Meilenstein dieser Suche war die Gründung von Zeitkunst, einer Plattform zur „Förderung und Vermittlung audiovisueller Kunst“ und des Festivals „Frischzelle“ im Jahr 2004, bei dem die Trennung zwischen klassischen und elektronischen Instrumenten aufgelöst ist.

Our Hearts as Thieves: What the Wildflower Witnessed (release January 3rd 2021)

Cover art by Jeffrey Lipsky: “Demon of Thieves” (Mixed Media on 3 x 3 ft. Canvas)


Eliot Cardinaux: pianos, voice, poetry
Jonas Engel: alto saxophone, clarinet, modified pTrumpet
Etienne Nillesen: extended snare drum
Asger Thomsen: double bass, objects

Album will be released on January 3rd 2021 and available here:

Liner Notes:

Poet & theorist Cathy Park Hong, in her essay “Against Witness,” writes, in the context of the work of Doris Salcedo, that “installation art is an immersive somatic experience, engaging all our perceptual planes — the spatial, the aural — and not just the optical.” Poetry, if I may say, lies within the same realm to me, in that my poetry is installed, more often than not, as the one and only “formal” component, within the framework of a shared practice of improvisation, rather than existing solely on the page. The experience, I hope, is immersive in a similar sense.

The poetry on this recording is based in great part on the work of two poets, one of whose phrases scatter the titles of Doris Salcedo’s works, & whom Cathy Park Hong writes about, rightly, in the same essay. 

The first, aforementioned, is Paul Celan, a poet who survived both his parents and the holocaust in which both of their lives were taken, who wrote in German; not only in the language his mother spoke to him as a child, but also in the language of her & his father’s killers.

The second is Osip Mandelstam, a Russian poet who lived & died under Stalin — whose work survived in great part — astonishingly, as the poems alone number roughly 400 — in he & his wife’s long-term memory, due to the fact that any written manuscript of the work was subject to confiscation by authorities, & therefore endangered both Mandelstam & his wife by its very presence.

There is a third poet, however, whose poems have left an indelible mark on this music: the Syrian poet Adonis, whose exile & virtual invention of modern Arabic poetry have still not been fully recognized throughout the Western world. His influence on my poetry is clear, mostly in our second set (“A Present History of Air”).

I recently brought the poems I’ve mentioned — which are collected alongside others under the title Around the Faded Sun (Bodily Press, 2020) — into the midst of this recorded improvisation, which you are reading about now — with a group of musicians I am lucky to be a part of, going by the name Our Hearts as Thieves. 

Jonas, Asger, Etienne, & I met for a day of recording & a concert in January of 2020, shortly before the Coronavirus took hold. It was only the second time we had met as a full ensemble. The result was captured on recording by Stefan Deistler, & I was able to render & produce an album out of the raw material. I hope it brings out, in relative detail, a semblance of the energy of these 70+ minutes of music. 

With the exception of the two shorter tracks, which were the only things kept out of several hours of music recorded privately during the day, this album was recorded live, uninterrupted, in two sets, in front of a small & attentive audience at Loft in Cologne.

Bringing any of my poetry into the midst of improvisation has always been, to me — & in this case, I personally feel, quite happily, if you can say that nowadays — a genuine, experimental risk. Any reward I have taken from the experience, as I always hope will be the case, is due to the skill & dedication of the musicians on the gig. 

—Eliot Cardinaux