“Oriental Space” was formed in late 2003 by Austrian trumpet player Franz Hautzinger following his two visits to Lebanon, the first to play traditional quartertone trumpet with Palestinian folk singer Marwan Abado, and the second to work and perform with Mazen Kerbaj in the frame of the “Irtijal” festival for experimental and improvised music. The quartet came as an enhancement of his ongoing duo work with Mazen Kerbaj, both bringing in their most regular partners: Helge Hinteregger and Sharif Sehnaoui. Hautzinger and Hinteregger have both been central figures of the prolific Viennese contemporary and improvised music scene, taking part in the extreme minimalist tendency of the 90s as well as electronic music. Recently their style has diversified and they may take part in various projects ranging a wide variety of styles both with their own groups: Regenorchester, Zeitkratzer, Comforts of Madness… or in collaboration with artists such as Radu Malfatti, Otomo Yoshihide, Phil Niblock, John Tilbury, Lou Reed, Luc Ex or Roger Turner to name but a few.
Kerbaj and Sehnaoui have been two of the main boosts for the burgeonin Lebanese improvised music scene that they contributed to launch in the year 2000, both by creating the “Irtijal” festival and “Al Maslakh” label. Their style has primarily focused on dense textural improvisation based on an extreme hijacking of their respective instrument by means of extended and prepared techniques. They have widely performed around the globe both in duo and with their main groups: “A” Trio, Moukhtabar Ensemble, Rouba3i… or in collaboration with musicians such as Michael Zerang, Stéphane Rives, Lê Quan Ninh, Axel Dörner or David Stackenäs among many others.
Franz Hautzinger’s “Oriental Space” is the opening of an undetermined subjective space that does not correspond or refer to any specific style of music but rather to Hautzinger’s unique inner experience of the orient that he tries to share with both his partners and the audience.