Pressefoto // Klick für Druckauflösung // Credit: Hanse Song Festival
Mario Batkovic is a Swiss virtuoso solo accordion player born in Bosnia. His playing can be challenging and experimental, yet it maintains a masterfully beautiful quality. He scratches every nuance out of the instrument, integrating scratches and clicks into the arrangements and making a feature of the kind of tonal scars and birthmarks which are usually eradicated from recordings and live performances.
At times the playing sounds like low end distorted feedback, at other times like an obscure analogue synthesiser. But the common thread running throughout is the quality in the writing and arrangement, and Batkovic’s mastery of this instrument.
When Batkovic was in his teens, he spent several years experimenting with his instrument, on its own, without any effects. Through these experiments he learnt how to listen to one tone, realising that in this one tone can be found a world of music. In the end he chose the harder path, understanding there was nothing which could make the sound of the instrument as good as the instrument alone.
He now sees his mission as an advancement in the sonic possibilities available to the instrument, and in the communication of these sounds. Batkovic leans on no styles of music, and is not comparable to any one style, instead connecting different musical worlds and distilling them into one unique concentrated sound. As an artist he has had to play as many different styles as possible throughout his life to enable him to find his own sound.
He is a fully established artist in Switzerland, working for many different musicians as a producer, as well as being involved in many bands and projects. Batkovic was awarded the Artist Recognition Award from the Capital in Canton Bern where he has his own studio and runs his own record label. He is also highly regarded as a film score composer, with many of the projects he has worked on being nominated for and winning various awards.
Batkovic studied under Prof. Elspeth Moser at the renowned HochschulefürMusik and Theatre in Hannover, Germany, and went on to graduate as a Master of Arts in Chamber Music Improvisation in the MusikAkademie of Basel, Switzerland. He was always in opposition. At the music school he missed the anarchic side of playing in bands, and when playing in bands he missed the classical perfectionism of the HochschulefürMusik.
After having his music introduced to Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, Batkovic was invited to support Beak on their 2015 UK tour. On the strength of these performances, Barrow then signed him to his record label, Invada and subsequently worked with Batkovic, writing several tracks with him that feature on the album.