Australian double bass player of Polish origin, living in Berlin for many years. He composes, improvises, explores sound and time as a performer, composer, and organizer, both solo and in numerous collective projects.
Mike Majkowski is one of the most interesting musicians on the improvised scene. Over the years he has consistently built his radically minimalistic style based on drones, silence, and repetition. It is built by subtle colour changes over time, realized by means of purely acoustic double bass ("Why Is There Something Instead of Nothing?") or with the addition of electronics ("Days And Other Days"). Majkowski’s trance pieces, in which the musician utilizes different articulation techniques, reveal his instrumental mastery. One can clearly see here the evolution from his early works ("ink on the paper", "Tremolo"). In the medium of electronics, the musician also willingly uses psychoacoustic phenomena such as differential tones and beats ("Between Seasons") or masking and reverberation ("Swimming in Light"). Although Majkowski’s music stems from the DNA aesthetics (drone/noise/ambient), it exceeds it, progressing towards installation character, creatively using microphones and space, which is clearly influenced by Alvin Lucier, Éliane Radigue, and Konrad Smoleński. In group projects, the double bassist often goes beyond his style, heading towards free improvisation.
Majkowski was born in 1983. As a teenager, he played bass guitar until he accidentally found Charles Mingus’s album at home. The album inspired him to enrol for the double bass class at the Sydney Music Conservatory. He simultaneously studied traditional and free jazz, played in The Splinter Orchestra, and attended classes with the first double bass player of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. While still in Australia, he came into contact with inspiring musicians (Jom Denley, Crhos Abrahams) and composers (Kraig Grady, Hollis Taylor).
After coming to Europe and settling in Berlin, Majkowski collaborates with the elite of world musicians (Alexander von Schlippenbach, Axel Dörner, Frank Paul Schubert, Hailu Mergiu) and Polish musicians: Lotto (Łukasz Rychlicki and Paweł Szpura), Mikołaj Trzaska, Robert Piotrowicz. He can often be seen on the stage of the Warsaw Pardon To Tu and Spatif, as well as the XXXX in Berlin.
His love for reductionism connected him with the artists from the Wandelweiser circle (Konzert Minimal band and the Illogical Harmonies duo with Johnny Chang) and The Necks (Roil with Chris Abrahams and James Waples). Other collective projects include Blip (with Jim Denley) and Strike (with Clayton Thomas and Jon Rose).
- In on Paper (CD, Creative Sources, 2010)
- Tremolo (CD-R, Avant Whatever 2012)
- Why Is There Something Instead of Nothing? (LP, Bocian Records, 2014)
- Bright Astonishment of the Night (CD, Bocian Records, 2015)
- neighbouring objects (MC/LP, Monofonus Press / Astral Spirits, 2015)
- Swimming in the Light (LP, Entr’acte, 2016)
- Days And Other Days (MC/LP, Monofonus Press / Astral Spirits 2017)
- Between Seasons (MC/LP, Endless Happiness, 2019)
Selected collective albums:
- The Splinter Orchestra, (CD, Spiltrec, 2006)
- Petir Meaning, in: Roil (CD, Rufus Records, 2009)
- Calibrated, in: Blip (CD, Spiltrec, 2010)
- Dead Space, in: Blip (CD, Bocian Records, 2010)
- Frost Frost in: Roil (CD, Bo’Weavil Recordings, 2012)
- Trailbrazer + Synchronized Brilliance + Perceptions At 227 Hamburg-Altona, in: Gunter Hampel European-New York Quinter (CDR, Birth Records, 2012)
- Murmurs, with: Frank Paul Schubert, Yorgos Dimitriadis (LP, NoBusiness Records, 2013)
- Wood, Wire & Sparks, in: Strike (CD, Mono
- Red Dhal Sextet, with Hillary Jeffery Frank Paul Schubert, Paul Dunmall, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Yorgos Dimitriadis (CD, CFMR Records, 2013)
- Ask the Dust, in: Lotto (CD, Lado ABC 2014)
- Raft of the Meadows, in: Roil (LP, NoBusiness Records 2014)
- Nature Moves, in: Wacław Zimpel To Tu Orchestra (CD, For Tune, 2014)
- Tschirtner Tunings for Twelve, with: Antoine Beuger and Konzert Minimal (Another Timbre, 2014)
- Elite Feline, in: Lotto (CD, Instant Classic, 2016)
- Volume, in: Illogical Harmonies (CD, Another Timbre, 2016)
- VV, in: Lotto (CD, Instant Classic, 2017)
- Mem, Aleph, Lassis, with Cyril Bondi & D’incise (MC, Monofonus Press / Astral Spirits, 2018)
- Circuit, in: Illogical Harmonies (CD, Ftarri 2019)
Originally written in Polish by Jan Topolski. Translated by Marcin Gozdanek, December 2019.