The Astronomical Unit


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The Astronomical Unit

Matthias Müller – trombone
Clayton Thomas – bass
Christian Marien – drums


The Astronomical Unit was formed in 2007, when Clayton Thomas moved from Australia to Berlin. At that point Matthias Müller and Christian Marien had already worked as a duo for several years. The duos density and Thomas‘ distinctive way of playing was the starting point from which the trio quickly developed an independant contemporary approach to improvised music: „The Astronomical Unit“ perform music, that almost sounds composed. They channelize the free musical flow into formal and structural clearness. One can tell that they are conscious of the tradition of American freejazz and European improvisation, but „The Astronomical Unit“ keep reinventing themselves and question musical agreements. Their debut CD „Relativity“ was released on „Jazzwerkstatt“ in 2010. The second CD “Super Earth” was released on “Gligg Records” in 2013.
Matthias Müller has been living in Berlin since 2004, playing regularly with internationally recognised improvisers such as John Edwards, Mark Sanders, Johannes Bauer, Tobias Delius, Olaf Rupp, Burkhard Beins, Frank Paul Schubert, Michael Vorfeld, Axel Dörner, and many more. He can be heard on more than twenty releases, and his CD „Bhavan“ (2004) was produced by Chicago-based musician and journalist John Corbett. Müller is a member of the 24-piece improvising ensemble “Splitter Orchester“, and was also a member of the “German-French Jazzensemble“, under the direction of Albert Mangelsdorff. In addition, he is also active in the field of contemporary music.
Clayton Thomas is a bassist who has dedicated himself wholly to the pursuit of improvisation, studying with master bassists Wilber Morris and Henry Grimes in New York and Peter Kowald in Germany. He has performed around the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand with three generations of improvisers – including Alexander von Schlippenbach, Axel Dörner, Johannes Bauer, Sonny Simmons, Marilyn Crispell, Jon Rose, Jim Denley, Newton Armstrong, Tim O’Dwyer, Sabir Mateen, Daniel Carter, Mike Pride, Mary Halvorson, Tony Buck and Makigami Koichi amongst many others. His use of extended techniques and extreme physicality give his music unexpected dimension. He is also an active grass roots organiser, founding the „now now festival“ of improvised music and the regular concert series „if you like improvised music, we like you“ as well as the 30-piece electro-acoustic ensemble „The splinter orchestra“. Clayton lived in Berlin from 2007 to 2014.
Christian Marien moved to Berlin in 2000, where he quickly established a reputation in the Jazz scene as a co-founder of groups including „Olaf Ton“ and „Stereo Lisa“. More and more he turned towards free improvised music, and has since collaborated with a multitude of leading improvisers, including Frank Gratkowski, Johannes Bauer, and Gebhard Ullmann, Jürgen Kupke. His interest in other forms of artistic expression has lead to collaborations with visual artists (Thomas Bratzke, Philip Wiegard), actors (Judith Strößenreuter) and dancers (Hans-Werner Klohe, Kadir “Amigo” Memis, Julyen Hamilton), and the project „Ritsche, Zast & Marien“ (which combines improvisation in music and painting) curates regular exhibitions and performances.



Cover_Relativity SUPER EARTH COVER1



02.02.2019 AU-Canberra, Sound Out Festival
25.01.2019 AU-Sydney, The Now Now Festival
30.08.2018 Berlin, Sowieso, feat. Tobias Delius (ts/cl)
29.08.2018 Berlin, Sowieso, feat. Biliana Voutchkova (vl), Julia Reidy (git), Michael Thieke (as) & Chris Heenan (ts)
19.07.2017 Berlin, Sowieso, feat. Tobias Delius (ts/cl)
17.11.2015 Bielefeld, Bunker Ulmenwall
15.11.2015 Dresden, Atelierkonzert
14.11.2015 CZ-Prague, Alternativa Festival
13.11.2015 Berlin, Aufsturz
03.06.2014 Berlin, Ausland/”If you leave me, can I come too?”, feat. Liz Allbee (tp)
05.10.2013 Berlin, Miss Hecker
03.10.2013 CZ-Prague, Skolska 28
02.10.2013 AT-Vienna, Blue Tomato, plus Christof Kurzmann (laptop), Susanna Gartmayer (bcl), Bernadette Zeilinger (rec), DD Kern (dr), Hannes Loeschel (keys)
01.10.2013 AT-Vienna, Blue Tomato
29.09.2013 AT-Heiligenkreuz im Lafnitztal, Chilli Jazz Festival
28.09.2013 AT-Heiligenkreuz im Lafnitztal, Chilli Jazz Festival
18.03.2012 Hofheim, Jazzkeller
17.03.2012 BE-Gent
16.03.2012 Saarbrücken, Ini-Art/Theater im Viertel
09.12.2011 Münster, Landesmuseum
18.10.2011 Berlin, Bflat
15.10.2011 RO-Sibiu, Jazz & More Festival, feat. Matthias Schubert (ts), Jean-Luc Guionnet (as), Tom Arthurs (tp) & Will Guthrie (dr)
13.10.2011 München, Offene Ohren
16.10.2010 RO-Sibiu, Jazz & More Festival
25.06.2010 Berlin, 48h Neukölln
30.04.2010 AT-Ulrichsberg, Kaleidophon-Festival
29.04.2010 Schorndorf, Manufaktur
28.04.2010 Berlin, Sowieso
13.03.2010 Berlin, Jazzwerkstatt Shop
24.05.2009 Berlin, Aufsturz, feat. Peter Evans, tp
23.05.2009 Ludwigsburg, Max.Experimentell
21.05.2009 Karlsruhe, KOHI-Kulturraum e.V.
20.05.2009 CH-Altbüron, Schaerholzbau
19.05.2009 CH-Zurich, WIM
04.02.2009 Frankfurt, Theaterhaus
03.12.2008 Berlin, Theaterkapelle
16.11.2008 Köln, Loft
15.11.2008 Essen, Folkwang Hochschule, Novembermusic Festival
02.03.2008 Berlin, Rebirth @ Lovelite
21.10.2007 Berlin, Miss Hecker
05.10.2007 Berlin, Hinterzimmer


photo Cristina Marx/photomusix