photos from the el nicho festival – mexico city, may 2016

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Mazen Kerbaj

Over the last week I was lucky enough to attend the El Nicho festival, which took place across a number of venues in Mexico city. Those readers in London might remember the festival’s founder Eric Namour from the killer gigs he put on in the days before Cafe Oto, and before his departure to Mexico. El Nicho is a festival of avant-garde music, now in its sixth season, which brings together a diverse group of cross-disciplinary practitioners from across the globe, placing them in close collaboration with each other and with peers and audiences from Mexico. Stretching over five days (many of which had more than one event), its ambition was staggering. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that was ready to collapse as the final day wound down.

The “headliners” were The Thing (Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (NO), Mats Gustafsson (SE), and Paal Nilssen-Love (NO)), Arashi (Akira Sakata (JP) Johan Berthling (SE), Paal Nilssen-Love), Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling, Mazen Kerbaj (LB), Lori Goldston (US), Mike Cooper (GB), Aimee Theriot (MX), Akira Sakata, Leafcutter John (GB), Ignaz Schich (DE), Greg Pope (GB), John Hegre (NO), Kassell Jaeger (FR), Moniek Darge (BE), Francoise Vanhecke (BE), Eko Eko Azarak (US), Alexander Bruck (DE/MX), Ensemble Liminar, and Juan Sebastian Lach, among others.

The festival was a stunning success – both in terms of the remarkable bar of performances, and attendance, as well as in each event’s execution. What I found particularly refreshing was the constant collaborations between artists. One moment you would find them solo, the next in an unexpected duo, and again in an ensemble – many of which were mind-blowing.  Particular favorites of mine were Mazen Kerbaj, Lori Goldston, Mike Cooper. Everything the three touched turned to gold. Francois Bonnet, current director of Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) in Paris, gave an amazing acusmátic presentation of historic works from the studio on an eight channel speaker system surrounding the audience, before issuing a staggering performance under his moniker Kassell Jaeger. I adored the performance of Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie I Darío Bernal Villegas, Alejandro Castaños, Ramón del Buey, Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo, Carlos Iturralde, and Iván Manzanilla. There were also a number of brilliant performances of works by James Tenney by Alexander Bruck, Ensemble Liminar, and Juan Sebastian Lach, which I couldn’t get enough of.

The diversity of the week was wonderful, ranging from historic electronic works, 20th century avant-garde Classical, Free-Jazz, and improvisations by many of today’s best practitioners. Who could ask for more. I took a number of photos over the week and thought I would share them. The only give a small window into what occurred, but I hope you enjoy them all the same.

 

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Francois Bonnet, Tito Rivas, and Eric Namour discuss the history of Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM)

 

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Francois Bonnet

 

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Darío Bernal Villegas in duo with Mazen Kerbaj

 

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Mazen Kerbaj in duo with Darío Bernal Villegas

 

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Mazen Kerbaj / Darío Bernal Villegas duo

 

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Mazen Kerbaj in duo with Darío Bernal Villegas

 

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Ignaz Schick in duo with Carlos Alegra

 

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Ignaz Schick in duo with Carlos Alegre

 

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Carlos Alegre in duo with Ignaz Schick

 

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Ignaz Schick in duo with Carlos Alegra

 

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Carlos Alegre in duo with Ignaz Schick

 

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Carlos Alegre in duo with Ignaz Schick

 

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Carlos Alegre in duo with Ignaz Schick

 

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Carlos Alegre in duo with Ignaz Schick

 

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Ignaz Schick / Carlos Alegre duo 

 

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Mazen Kerbaj / Ignaz Schick / Carlos Alegre / Darío Bernal Villegas

 

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Mazen Kerbaj / Ignaz Schick / Carlos Alegre / Darío Bernal Villegas

 

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Mazen Kerbaj / Ignaz Schick ( with Carlos Alegre / Darío Bernal Villegas)

 

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Carlos Alegre (with Mazen Kerbaj / Ignaz Schick / Darío Bernal Villegas)

 

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Darío Bernal Villegas (with Carlos Alegre / Mazen Kerbaj / Ignaz Schick)

 

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Mazen Kerbaj / Ignaz Schick ( with Carlos Alegre / Darío Bernal Villegas)

 

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Mazen Kerbaj / Ignaz Schick ( with Carlos Alegre / Darío Bernal Villegas)

 

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Mazen Kerbaj / Ignaz Schick ( with Carlos Alegre / Darío Bernal Villegas)

 

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Moniek Darge

 

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Francoise Vanhecke

 

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Moniek Darge

 

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Moniek Darge and Francoise Vanhecke

 

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Eco Eco Azarak

 

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Eco Eco Azarak

 

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Carlos Alegre

 

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Carlos Alegre

 

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Mazen Kerbaj

 

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Mazen Kerbaj

 

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Mazen Kerbaj

 

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Mazen Kerbaj

 

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Mike Cooper

 

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Mike Cooper

 

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Mike Cooper

 

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Moniek Darge and Francoise Vanhecke

 

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Moniek Darge and Francoise Vanhecke

 

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John Hegre

 

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Johan Berthling (with Arashi)

 

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Johan Berthling (with Arashi)

 

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Akira Sakata (with Arashi)

 

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Akira Sakata (with Arashi)

 

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Akira Sakata / Johan Berthling (with Arashi)

 

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Arashi

 

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Arashi

 

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Paal Nilssen Love (with Arashi)

 

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Akira Sakata (with Arashi)

 

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Johan Berthling (with Arashi)

 

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Paal Nilssen Love (with Arashi)

 

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Akira Sakata (with Arashi)

 

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Paal Nilssen Love (with Arashi)

 

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Paal Nilssen Love (with Arashi)

 

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Akira Sakata

 

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Akira Sakata

 

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Akira Sakata, Ignaz Schick, and Ingebrigt Haken Flatten

 

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Akira Sakata, Ignaz Schick, and Ingebrigt Haken Flatten

 

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Ingebrigt Haken Flatten (with Akira Sakata, and Ignaz Schick)

 

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Ignaz Schick (with Akira Sakata and Ingebrigt Haken Flatten)

 

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Ingebrigt Haken Flatten (with Akira Sakata, and Ignaz Schick)

 

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Ingebrigt Haken Flatten (with Akira Sakata, and Ignaz Schick)

 

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Ingebrigt Haken Flatten / Akira Sakata (with Ignaz Schick)

 

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Ingebrigt Haken Flatten / Ignaz Schick (with Akira Sakata)

 

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Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie I performed by Darío Bernal Villegas, Alejandro Castaños, Ramón del Buey, Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo, Carlos Iturralde, and Iván Manzanilla.

 

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Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie I performed by Darío Bernal Villegas, Alejandro Castaños, Ramón del Buey, Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo, Carlos Iturralde, and Iván Manzanilla.

 

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Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie I performed by Darío Bernal Villegas, Alejandro Castaños, Ramón del Buey, Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo, Carlos Iturralde, and Iván Manzanilla.

 

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Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie I performed by Darío Bernal Villegas, Alejandro Castaños, Ramón del Buey, Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo, Carlos Iturralde, and Iván Manzanilla.

 

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Lori Goldston

 

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Lori Goldston

 

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The Thing

 

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The Thing

 

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Ingebrigt Haken Flatten (with The Thing)

 

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Ingebrigt Haken Flatten (with The Thing)

 

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Paal Nilssen Love (with The Thing)

 

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Moniek Darge

 

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Moniek Darge and Rolando Hernandez

 

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Johan Berthling

 

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Johan Berthling

 

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Johan Berthling

 

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Ceiling at Ex Teresa Arte Actual 

 

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Lori Goldston Ingebrigt Haken Flatten, Mazen Kerbaj

 

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Lori Goldston and Ingebrigt Haken Flatten (with Mazen Kerbaj)

 

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Lori Goldston (with Ingebrigt Haken Flatten and Mazen Kerbaj)

 

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Lori Goldston (with Ingebrigt Haken Flatten and Mazen Kerbaj)

 

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Ingebrigt Haken Flatten and Mazen Kerbaj (with Lori Goldston)

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Mazen Kerbaj (with Ingebrigt Haken Flatten and Lori Goldston)

 

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Mats Gustafsson

 

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Mats Gustafsson

 

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Mats Gustafsson

 

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Mats Gustafsson

 

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François Bonnet / Kassel Jaeger

 

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François Bonnet / Kassel Jaeger

 

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Alexander Bruck performing James Tenney’s Koan

 

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Aimee Theriot with ensemble Liminar performing James Tenney’s In a Large Reverberant Space

 

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Alexander Bruck with ensemble Liminar performing James Tenney’s In a Large Reverberant Space

 

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Lori Goldston with ensemble Liminar performing James Tenney’s In a Large Reverberant Space

 

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Mike Cooper (with Mazen Kerbaj)

 

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Mike Cooper and Mazen Kerbaj

 

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Mazen Kerbaj (with Mike Cooper)

 

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Mazen Kerbaj (with Mike Cooper)

 

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Mike Cooper and Mazen Kerbaj

 

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Mazen Kerbaj (with Mike Cooper)

 

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Mike Cooper (with Mazen Kerbaj)

 

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Mike Cooper and Mazen Kerbaj

 

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Mazen Kerbaj (with Mike Cooper)

 

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Mike Cooper (with Mazen Kerbaj)

 

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Lori Goldston (with Aimee Theriot)

 

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Aimee Theriot (with Lori Goldston)

 

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Aimee Theriot and Lori Goldston

 

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Akira Sakata  (with German Bringas)

 

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German Bringas (with Akira Sakata

 

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Akira Sakata and German Bringas

 

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German Bringas (with Akira Sakata)

 

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