Michel Banabila

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About this artist

Dutch composer and sound artist Michel Banabila has produced a vast discography of music encompassing tape loops, Fourth World fusions, found sound experiments, and neo-classical pieces in addition to film and theatrical work. Since the release of his first LP, Marilli, in 1983, he’s issued dozens of recordings, including collaborations with Robin Rimbaud (Scanner), Machinefabriek, Bill Laswell, Jeff Greinke, and many others. The more groove-based VoizNoiz: Urban Sound Scapes (1999) represented some of his most accessible work, and was followed by two sequels, including a collaboration with Dutch jazz artist Eric Vloeimans. Since 2005, much of Banabila’s music has appeared on his own Tapu Records, though releases have also appeared on Bureau B, Knekelhuis, and other labels. Several collaborations and stand-alone pieces were collected on Singles (2020-2022).
Michel Banabila’s first album, Marilli, appeared in 1983, and featured a variety of acoustic and electric instruments, electronic effects, and sampled voices from around the world. Banabila began working on projects for video and film installations. A trio of Des Traces Retrouvees albums appeared, as well as several self-issued cassettes, from tribal ambient recordings to compositions for piano, harmonium, and guitar. Several releases with multi-instrumentalist Yaşar Saka appeared during the ’90s, and Banabila additionally worked with Hanyo van Oosterom as part of the world music project Byzantium.
In 1999, Banabila released a more beat-based, occasionally funky album titled VoizNoiz: Urban Sound Scapes on Dutch label Steamin’ Soundworks. It was then re-released on U.K. downtempo label Pork Recordings and American imprint Tone Casualties, and earned positive press. VoizNoiz 2 and Spherics both appeared in 2001, and further sequels arrived in 2003, with VoizNoiz 3 featuring trumpet player Eric Vloeimans. Solo effort Hilarious Expedition was released as a double CD-R in 2005, launching Banabila’s Tapu Records. Traces: Music for Films & Documentaries appeared in 2007, and Steamin’ Soundworks released the two-CD compilation Precious Images: DataFiles 1999-2008.
Banabila’s numerous 2010 releases included a further compilation of music for films and plays (Changing Structures), studio works such as 0+1+0+1+0+1+0+1+0+, and a remix EP with Scanner. The 2011 release Fields of Flowers featured Vloeimans and saxophonist Mete Erker; the latter also worked with Banabila on the album Route Planner. Banabila also released an album of electronic explorations titled The Latest Research from the Department of Electrical Engineering and the more drifting, textural In Other Words. The first of several Banabila collaborations with Machinefabriek appeared in 2012, as well as the solo albums Sum Dark 12 and Gardening. 2013′s 47 Vocal Loops was pure vocal-based drone, while ZoomWorld flirted with electro/IDM. More Research from the Same Dept. appeared in 2014. He collaborated with Oene van Geel for two volumes of Music for Viola and Electronics, in addition to work as part of Cloud Ensemble.
Banabila continued issuing live recordings, collaborations, and solo works mainly through his own label, rounding up his prolific output on Tapu Sampler 2016. German label Bureau B compiled some of Banabila’s recordings from the ’80s on Early Works: Things Popping Up from the Past. In 2017, Seance Centre released Trepassing/Marilli, a double LP containing Banabila’s debut album as well as other early material. Solo works such as Everywhere Else Is Just Right Here and Stop Motion (Sound for Videos by Gerco de Ruijter) appeared in 2018, as well as collaborations with Willem Cramer and Gareth Davis, among others. 2019′s Entropia, with Machinefabriek, was one of the last releases on limited-edition imprint Eilean Rec. during its final year of operation.
Banabila’s 2020 release schedule included Spherics III, Movements: Music for Dance, and the collaboration-heavy All Connected. Wah-Wah Whispers, a compilation of more contemporary work, was released by Bureau B in 2021. The full-length Echo Transformations was released by Knekelhuis at the end of the year. Monochromes was released in 2022, and Singles (2020-2022) gathered some of Banabila’s many non-album pieces and collaborations from the time period. BanBas Aura, a two-track single with Pierre Bastien, appeared in early 2023. ~ Paul Simpson