Alex Buess

Last updated
Alex Buess
Buessport at wolf281A.jpg
Background information
Origin Basel, Switzerland
Genres Experimental, Noise, Improvised music, Contemporary classical music
Occupation(s)Musician, Composer, Producer
Associated acts 16-17, ICE, CORTEX, GOD, PHANTOM CITY

Alex Buess is a Swiss composer, saxophone player, producer and sound artist born in 1954 in Basel (CH).

Composer person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition

A composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.

Saxophone type of musical instrument of the woodwind family

The saxophone is a family of woodwind instruments. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. Although most saxophones are made from brass, they are categorized as woodwind instruments, because sound is produced by an oscillating reed, traditionally made out of woody cane, rather than lips vibrating in a mouthpiece cup as with the brass instrument family. As with the other woodwinds, the pitch of the note being played is controlled by covering holes in the body tube to control the resonant frequency of the air column by changing the effective length of the tube.

Basel Place in Basel-Stadt, Switzerland

Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river Rhine. Basel is Switzerland's third-most-populous city with about 180,000 inhabitants.


At the JOLT Festival 2011 LX JOLT FESTIVAL2011B.jpg
At the JOLT Festival 2011
At the JOLT Festival 2011 LX JOLT FESTIVAL2011A.jpg
At the JOLT Festival 2011


He collaborates (has collaborated) with Stephan Wittwer, Paul Schütze, Kevin Martin, Peter Brötzmann, William Parker, Raoul Björkenheim, Toshinori Kondo, Bill Laswell, Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine), [1] Tim Hodgkinson, Michael Wertmüller, Daniel Buess and many other musicians in the wide field of improvisation, electronics, electroacoustic music and composition. He plays/played in the groups ICE, God, Phantom City, [2] The Bug, [3] Sprawl, [4] Cortex [5] and his own group 16-17

Paul Schütze Australian musician

Paul Schütze is an Australian artist resident in London. Over thirty years his work has spanned composition, performance, installation, video, printmaking and photography.

Kevin Martin (British musician) English dubstep musician

Kevin Martin is a musician, record producer and journalist, often known under his recording alias The Bug from England, UK. Martin moved from Weymouth to London around 1990 and is now currently based in Berlin, Germany. He has been active for over two decades, in the genres of dub, jazzcore, industrial hip hop, dancehall, and dubstep.

Peter Brötzmann German saxophonist

Peter Brötzmann is a German free jazz saxophonist and clarinetist.

Buess has written compositions for various contemporary music ensembles such as e. g. the Ensemble Modern, the Xasax Saxophone Quartett Paris or the Ensemble Phoenix Basel and also works as a producer and sound engineer. His compositions are performed in Europe and throughout the world. Several of his works have been commissioned by well known music festivals.

Ensemble Modern is an international ensemble dedicated to performing and promoting the music of modern composers. Formed in 1980, the group is based in Frankfurt, Germany and made up variously of about twenty members from numerous countries.

Buess`s compositions are characterized by dense layers of sound, polyrhythmic and microrhythmic structures. He has a penchant for using acoustic instruments as well as electroacoustic tools to amplify and alienate the original sounds resulting in compositions characterized by textural density and huge impact

Alex Buess has received various prizes and sabbatical years including those offered by the Musikkreditkommission of Basel City in 1992 and the Robert Thyll-Dürr Foundation in 1998. His studies include electronics, acoustics, musicology, phonetics, semantics and composition.

Electronics physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter

Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. The identification of the electron in 1897, along with the invention of the vacuum tube, which could amplify and rectify small electrical signals, inaugurated the field of electronics and the electron age.

Acoustics science that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound

Acoustics is the branch of physics that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including topics such as vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientist who works in the field of acoustics is an acoustician while someone working in the field of acoustics technology may be called an acoustical engineer. The application of acoustics is present in almost all aspects of modern society with the most obvious being the audio and noise control industries.

Musicology Scientific discipline whose content is the practical and theoretical study of music

Musicology is the scholarly analysis and research-based study of music. Musicology departments traditionally belong to the humanities, although music research is often more scientific in focus. A scholar who participates in musical research is a musicologist.

He has appeared at various international festivals including Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (England), Rostrum for Electroacoustic Music (Austrian / Swiss contribution 1997 Radio DRS 2), Tampere Festival (Finland), Musique Action Vandœuvres-les-Nancy (France), Taktlos 1993/95/96/2003 (CH), Tonart Festival 2000 (CH), Festival de Musica Contemporanea in Quito (Ecuador), and the Encuentro de Compositores Bolivianos in Sucre (Bolivia), Lucerne Festival (2005), Warsaw Autumn (2006), Donaueschingen Music Festival (2007), Tage für Neue Musik Zürich(2013) and various concerts and festivals in Japan, Australia and China.

The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is a new music festival held annually in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. Since its foundation in 1978, it has featured major international figures of experimental and avant garde music, including guest composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Louis Andriessen, Terry Riley, Brian Eno, John Cage, Steve Reich, Jonathan Harvey, Helmut Lachenmann and Sir Harrison Birtwistle. Its programme also includes improvisation, installation, sound sculptures, happenings, new technology and free jazz.

The Tampere Music Festivals organises three music events in the city of Tampere, Finland.

The Lucerne Festival is a series of classical music festivals based in Lucerne, Switzerland. Founded in 1938, it currently produces three festivals per year, attracting some 110,000 visitors annually taking place since 2004 primarily at the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre (KKL) designed by Jean Nouvel. Each festival features resident orchestras and soloists alongside guest performances from international ensembles and artists, in 2017 including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Emanuel Ax, Martha Argerich and Maxim Vengerov.

Buess’s work reflects his experience with electronic technology, written contemporary music, film music, new mixing and production techniques and computer music.

Computer music is the application of computing technology in music composition, to help human composers create new music or to have computers independently create music, such as with algorithmic composition programs. It includes the theory and application of new and existing computer software technologies and basic aspects of music, such as sound synthesis, digital signal processing, sound design, sonic diffusion, acoustics, and psychoacoustics. The field of computer music can trace its roots back to the origins of electronic music, and the very first experiments and innovations with electronic instruments at the turn of the 20th century.

Discography (selection)

Chamber music scores (selection)


  1. "The Untold Story of My Bloody Valentine".
  2. "Phantom City". Discogs (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  3. "The Bug - Tapping The Conversation". Discogs (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  4. "Sprawl (5) - Sprawl". Discogs (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  5. "Cortex (14)". Discogs (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  6. "16-17 - Gyatso".
  7. "The Bug - Tapping The Conversation".
  8. "United Phoenix Records - Repulsion".
  9. "Ata-7 [Musikmanuskript] : [für Saxophon, Elektronik und Perkussion] / Alex Buess". (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  10. "Khat [Musikmanuskript] : Bass-Flöte, Perkussion & Live-Electronics / Alex Buess". (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  11. "Parallaxe A [Musikmanuskript] : für grosses Ensemble & 5-Kanalband / Alex Buess". (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  12. "X_Syn_Drome_1 [Musikmanuskript] : Sopran, Perkussion Live-Elektronik & Band / Alex Buess". (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  13. "Metatron's cube [Musikmanuskript] : [f. Klarinette, Posaune, E-Violine, E-Cello, AMP-K-Bass & Perkussion] / Alex Buess". (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  14. "Phylum [Musikmanuskript] : für Solo-Perkussion, Solo-Elektronik, Ensemble & Live-Elektronik / Alex Buess". (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  15. "Ghosts of schizophonia [Musikmanuskript] : (Phylum 2) / Alex Buess". (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-28.

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