“Stemming from free jazz, contemporary and experimental music, our artistic worlds are fused together by bringing our experiences as composers and improvisers to the ensemble. We explore and create extended performance techniques to explore new textures and timbres. While playing our instruments beyond the ‘traditional’ way, we connect our sound together like an extension of the other. The music we create comes from very abstract ideas, such as metaphors, up to very concrete concepts related to time, energy, and density. Inside these concepts, we explore repetition and variation as well as gestural and textural transformations.”
Whim Ensemble – Ofer Pelz, Preston Beebe, Stéphane Diamantakiou
On the verge of composed and improvised music, Whim ensemble (Ofer Pelz, prepared piano, Preston Beebe, percussion and since 2021 Stéphane Diamantakiou, double bass) creates percussive landscapes by inventing instrument modifications and techniques to build an unusually rich sound world since 2015. They place found objects on their instruments to explore complex timbres, textures, and harmonies. Inspired by electroacoustic music, they generate sound through motion to create musical gestures which resonate to sound as one. Acting as an extension of the other, a motif develops to provide a framework to build a piece.
The ensemble has performed and broadcasted in Canada, US, France, and Israel. As a duo they have released two albums which were praised by several reviews. Their debut album “Whim” (2016) released by Kohlenstoff records, and the second album “pre-fall” (2019), was released by Ambiances Magnetiques. They are working these days with Stéphane Diamantakiou on their third album “trees” to be released by Parma recordings later this year.
From free jazz to contemporary experimental music, Whim ensemble is a genre-bending group. Their experience as composers and improvisers are fused into an ensemble that seeks to spark imagination and curiosity.
“The avant-garde duo of pianist Ofer Pelz and percussionist Preston Beebe just released Pre-Fall, an amalgamation of various experiments in the spontaneous synchronicity of the two performers here. While the recorded output is a fantastic experience in its own right, there is something truly mesmerizing in witnessing such performance being played live, as I had the chance to. Hopefully, you’ll get to do the same, but in the meantime, let this incredible release engulf you whole.”
Dæv Tremblay, Can this even be called music?
“Although the duo achieve a very specific sound aesthetic from the beginning of the record, they somehow find varying ways to re-interpret themselves making for a very encapsulating experience from beginning to end.”
Donovan Burtan, posityvelyunderground.
“…the two focus on time, texture, space, and ambiance through seven fascinating improvisations…both players ebb and swell in response to the other player, with intense concentration and profoundly creative intent.”
“…chaque performance révèle son propre souffle, sa façon de se tendre et se détendre à travers les mouvements prévus et les passages improvisés. Le dialogue entre le piano préparé et le rythme est surprenant, et peut passer de deux jazzmen qui jouent «tight» à des vibrations expérimentales réverbérées.”
Philippe Dejardins, Le Canal Auditif.
“Our artistic worlds are fused into one. Some pieces sound more free jazzy, others more contemporary classical. Most are just a blend of everything because of our mixed cultures and musical backgrounds.” – From Kohlenstoff interview.
“Combinant piano préparé et percussions, les deux musiciens jouent avec cette frontière qui sépare composition et improvisation afin de créer des oeuvres uniques en musique actuelle.”
Vincent Pruel, Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec.
Ofer Pelz composes music for diverse combinations of instruments and electroacoustic media, he is also an active improviser. He is the co-founder of Whim Ensemble together with Preston Beebe. He has studied composition, music theory, and music technology at Jerusalem, Paris, and Montreal. The work of Ofer Pelz has been recognized by the reception of many international prizes including two ACUM awards and the Ernst Von Siemens Grant. Meitar Ensemble, Cairn Ensemble, Ardeo String Quartet, The Israel Contemporary Players, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Quasar Quartet, Architek Percussion, Geneva Camerata, and Neue Vocalsolisten are among the ensembles that played Pelz’s music. Pelz has collaborated with several dance choreographers and his music is played regularly in Europe, USA, Canada and Israel at La Biennale di Venezia and Manifeste IRCAM/Pompidou among others.
Preston Beebe is a composer and percussionist who uses technology at the forefront of his work. His artistic approach involves audio feature extraction, organic processes, microscopic and invisible elements and how they interact in space and time. Spanning chamber, live-electronic, acousmatic, art installation, improvisation, and site-specific performances, his work has been performed in France, Spain, England, Greece, Canada, and the USA.
Preston is the recipient of the 2012-2014 CIRMMT Award to develop a digital percussion instrument using audio feature extraction and to compose a series of works for it. From 2014-2015, he attended CURSUS 1 at IRCAM, and composed a work for baritone saxophone. Preston holds a masters in music composition from McGill University; bachelors in music composition, electronic music, and percussion performance from the University of South Florida.
Stéphane Diamantakiou deploys his music in improvisation and interpretation contexts, both in jazz circles and in new music. He builds a personal repertoire with innovative timbre research mixed with different tuning possibilities. His solo performances unfolds in dialogue, with the acoustic space in which he is located and with encounters that are like so many resonant handles found during navigation. With ensembles, his sprawling research inspires him innovative compositions with daring hybridizations.
Stéphane is the recipient of the François Marcaurelle Prize from the 2019 OFF Jazz Festival, the Conseil des Arts de Montréal and the Canada Council for the Arts.