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Moses in Switzerland

Post No. 2 in Norient's swiss week: In the philosophical DJ-Set «The B Side of Switzerland» and the radio Podcast «Stranger than caribbean music: My swiss roots» the swiss-australian artist Moses Iten travelles through Switzerland and back to his own swiss past. Based in Melbourne he is gaining an international reputation as a DJ and producer with the Cumbia Cosmonauts – a fresh outlook to search for remains and revivals of «real» Swiss folk music.

Moses Iten 2012

The B Side of Switzerland

Swiss-Australian artist Moses Iten recently travelled around the tiny nation of Switzerland by bus, train, plane and steamship, along the way digging in record stores for forgotten classics, cult jewels, experimental gems, and interviewing some of the artists behind music Made in Switzerland. Moses introduces us to the likes of a man who spent ten years recording the sounds of steamboats; a spaghetti western soundtrack composer; a son of yodellers who is a well-known dancehall producer; and a duo of like-minded sonic explorers sharing some of their insights.

This road trip through the sonic landscape of Switzerland is the B-Side to a documentary Moses produced for Into The Music [1], which explored his quest as a musician of how to best produce contemporary music that is representative of his birth country. In this B-Side version, Switzerland and its music is ripped apart and put together again without paying much attention to tradition or history, but sense of place remains all-important in this philosophical DJ set. It wouldn’t be complete without some musings, as Moses reads from his travel notebook throughout the story.

Podcast [49']

> Listen here [2].

Stranger than Caribbean Music: My Swiss Roots

Moses Iten 1989

Once upon a time Swiss herdsmen would call their cows home with a yodel or by blowing a horn—well this is actually still the case today. But if you start looking for recordings of traditional music made in Switzerland you are likely to be drowned in an avalanche of cliches manufactured for tourists, before finding the real deal.

This story documents the musical journey of Swiss-émigré artists Moses Iten and Christoph H. Mueller to find their own roots, and ultimately their quest to collaborate in creating a distinctly Swiss sound the rest of the world would want to hear.

Moses and Christoph emigrated from Switzerland 20 years ago, and are now best known for popularising exotic Latin American music for a global audience. Paris-based Christoph created a sensation as part of multi-platinum selling electronic tango outfit Gotan Project [3].

For Into The Music, Moses travelled back in time to his parents’ Swiss-style farm in Tasmania, and around German-speaking Switzerland partaking in ancient Alpine rituals, digging in city record stores, meeting musical heroes and, along the way, discovering «real» Swiss folk music has been lost and found again several times.

Podcast [54']

See tracklist/transcript here [4]

Rees Gwerder 2009

Hansjoerg Iten – Moses Iten’s father milking a cow

Cyrill Schlaepfer – on set of UR Musig 1992

Musician Ueli Stoeckli, first on right

Swiss Jazz singer, yodeller and instrumentalist Erika Stucky

Bruno Spoerri in his studio 1985

Program Participants and Interviewees:

Ueli Stoeckli (Graphic Designer / St. Nicholas Parade ritual participant)
Moses Iten (DJ [5] / Musician & Producer with Cumbia Cosmonauts [6] / The Swiss Conspiracy)
Christoph H. Mueller [7] (Musician & Producer with Gotan Project / Touch El Arab / The Swiss Conspiracy)
Hansjoerg Iten (Farmer / Swiss immigrant / Father of Moses Iten)
Erika Stucky [8] (Musician)
Bruno Spoerri [9](Jazz / Electronic Musician and Pioneer / Author)
Cyrill Schlaepfer (Film Director / Musician / Author / CSR Records Label Owner & Publisher)
Rees Gwerder (Swiss Accordion – Musician / Legend / born 1911 – died 1998) – voice of Rees Gwerder and Edmund Amstad from archival recording,
(English voice-overs by Michael Shirrefs and Roger Broadbent)
Daniel Haeusler [10] (Clarinette – Musician with Hujaessler, Pareglisch, Gupfbuebae etc etc)
Markus Flueckiger [10] (Swiss accordion – Musician with Max Laesser, Hujaessler, Pareglisch etc etc)

Supporting Information
Radiokijada: http://www.radiokijada.com/
March Music (Label): http://soundcloud.com/march-music

These podcast are produced for the australian ABC Radio National [11]:
B-Side [12]
Stranger than Caribbean [13]