The epic tale of Aufgang starts with the new century in the star city of the New World. Rami Khalifé and Francesco Tristano met in the year 2000 in New York where they were both studying the piano at the very prestigious Juilliard School. Being almost as assiduous in their clubbing than in their studies, the two began a passionate affair with electronic music on the side of their classical training, focussing on House Music, New York being one of its hotspot. They soon began playing together, creating from the start an explosive mix of genres transcending any possible musical bigotry.
Things started shaping-up in 2001 when Aymeric Westrich, a musician (former drummer) from the same school as Rami, went to New York and, guided by his two friends, immersed himself in electronic music. Thus the three boys sealed their union under the auspices of a common attraction for limitless experimentation.
The band was put on the back burner for a time while they each pursued their individual projects. The son of a famous Lebanese composer, Rami played numerous concerts across the world, alongside his father and with other bands, published two classical albums and worked for films and dance. Aymeric, operating on the Hip Hop scene as a producer and a composer, also expressed his talent as a drummer with Cassius in the full swing of the French Touch euphoria.
Considered one of the most talented pianists of his generation, Francesco published several well-noticed recordings (including Bach’s Goldberg Variations in 2001) and was rewarded with a multitude of prizes. His career took a new turn in 2007 with the release of Not For Piano: post-produced by Fernando Corona (aka Murcof), this record transcended the musical genres and contained three striking covers of electronic music classic tracks (including The Bells by Jeff Mills). Pursuing his investigations, Francesco teamed-up with Moritz von Oswald – the legendary Berlin sound sorcerer – to create Auricle Bio/On, a captivating singular album, released by InFiné in November 2008, consisting of two 20 minute tracks.
Aufgang’s official date of birth is June 2005 when they played at Barcelona’s famous Sonar Festival. The circumstances leading to their playing this concert are worth mentioning: Francesco was playing a recital at an event in an art gallery in Barcelona when Jeff Mills turned-up with the booker for the Sonar Festival. At the end of the show, Rami joined Francesco for an unbridled interpretation of The Bells. Jeff Mills loved it and the Sonar Festival booker got to work… On the day of the show and after rehearsing non-stop for five nights the trio delivered an explosive performance and won over the crowd of connoisseurs. The adventure continued from then on.
Fired-up by this initial show, Francesco, Rami and Aymeric concentrated on structuring their songs and forging an original language, at the crossroads of acoustic and electronic. Their music is fuelled by different influences and nourished by an impetuous flow of improvisation. It absolutely refuses to be labelled: it wants above all to vibrate and move people.
“It is neither acoustic techno nor electronically seasoned classical music, like Wendy Carlos”, stipulates Francesco who, keeping Fluxus in mind, reminds us that “the piano is also a machine: it’s a big box with a mechanism inside”. By using his pianos like machines and confronting them to other machines, starting with drums, Aufgang manages to generate a music that is as surprising as it is powerful.
This music is deeply organic and reveals itself fully on stage where it can create chaos, as in the Transmusicales Festival of 2007 and the Venio Festival (Holland) in 2008, where the crowd of thousands responded immediately.
Listening to Aufgang collectively or individually, on a dancefloor or in a living-room is an ever evolving experience: a track can go through many different stages, having many different layers. Once it has been recorded and pressed it continues to live and breathe. This talent for improvisation and reinvention clearly transpires on Aufgang’s debut album coming out in early June on InFiné/Discograph. This record, mixed by François Baurin (really the fourth member of the band), follows their impressive EP Sonar, released earlier this year, that includes two lethal remixes by Spitzer et Krazy Baldhead. This album is the product of a long maturation process – almost four years – and reflects perfectly this trio’s creativity and complete osmosis.
Filled with multiple nuances – from contemporary music to electro and post-rock – this album reflects exalting audacity and playful freedom, and can be compared to The Battles, another kamikaze band that emerged in the last few years. Where will these youngsters stop? One thing is for sure: as soon as you hear Channel 7, first track and manic reminder of the classic Jaguar by Rolando, you just know that this stairway (Aufgang in German) will take you high up…