Joel Grip makes music with transforming character. His main instrument is the double bass, but every now and then he plays the cello. All is considered as useful input signals in the, most often instant, making of his music. Let’s call it improvisation. It is, for him, not only about timing and sound; about when you do what, and about questioning and making use of knowledge (ideas, habits, traditions, experience, deliberation and intuition), but also about how to become music or maybe more like dissapear in the act of making, through handcraft gestures in the realms of beyondsense.
When performing, Joel Grip plays with the idea of positioning himself on a musical swing in-between balance and no balance at all. To do so, individual and collective listening and trust are implicit. He is experimenting with forms in which collision, confusion and reiteration are given room. How to surrender and resist simultaneously in the pluck of a tone? His music is also celebratory, not excluding humor and risk-taking.
In order to make music in a transformative way, it benefits from the regular confrontation of an audience. Joel Grip has always been active in initiating collective efforts of organising social and functional environments for music-makers as well as listeners. This has enabled a reverberant learning process in which musical ideas are continuously developed, executed, and rehearsed in an inclusive, direct and communal atmosphere. The particularities of most groups Joel Grip is involved in have been developed (and is being developed) in this way.
After studies in Sweden and Baltimore, USA (with Michael Formanek), Joel Grip relocated to Paris where he in 2007 opened up for Umlaut Records (established in Stockholm 2004) to become an artist run label and festival organiser. Ever since the collective work spread to Berlin in 2009, Umlaut Records have had important impact on the pan-european scenes of creative musics. Joel Grip is/was the cofounder and main producer of festival Hagenfesten in Dala-Floda (since 2003), NGO Public Health Music (2005-2008), and film production company Umlicht (since 2014). Since 2019 he is collectively organising weekly series of music, as well as productions like Marsmusik, under the name of Au Topsi Pohl and Topsi Unter Haltung in Berlin. Apart from his musical activities, Joel Grip makes films and drawings/paintings.
Active in groups Topsi Unter Haltung, Oúat, Herr Borelgrip, اسم [ism], أحمد [ahmed], Klub Demboh, Tribute to Sheep, duos with Tristan Honsinger, Seymour Wright and Takako Suzuki, Blythill, three trios with Sven-Åke Johansson (with Bertrand Denzler - Neuköllner Modelle, with Rüdiger Carl - In early November - and with Niklas Fite - Erinnerungen and Litfass), PTEE and Peeping Tom.