Happy New Year! December SPIL was a blast with musicians from Taiwan, we’re welcoming more international musicians in town to celebrate the new year 2023 together! Come join us on Saturday, 7 January, with Dirk Wachtelaer (percussion) from Belgium and Singapore-based Dirk Johan Stromberg with a mysterious yet-to-name musical instrument! Also on the bill are Kuala Lumpur-based John T.R. Long (saxophones), Richard Allan Bates (guitar/bass), Ong Mayyi (zhong ruan) and Kok Siew-Wai (voice). See you at the SPIL 073!

Date: 7th January 2023 (Sat)
Time: Door opens @ 8pm
Venue: @Percussion Store
Add: No. 6, 2nd floor, Jalan Panggong, 50000 Kuala Lumpur.
Admission by donation: RM30
For Reservation, WhatsApp: 012 919 8031
Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/20Ny0tvbx

* Only fully vaccinated individuals.

Design: Aixin Choo

Founded in May 2014, SERIOUS PLAY IMPROV LAB (SPIL) is a monthly music series of KLEX Festival. It is an art laboratory focusing on music experimentation and improvisation. SPIL provides a platform for musicians from various backgrounds to collaborate and present a new collective expression through improvisation. Over the years, many local and international artists have initiated experimentations and collaborated in the SPIL series, enriching the experimental and improvised music scene in the region.


Dirk Johan Stromberg is a improviser, music technologist, and composer. His body of work explores the dynamic interaction between performer, technology and performance practice. Designing both hardware and software has led to the development of a variety of interfaces, synthesis techniques, installation works, electro-acoustic instruments, and interdisciplinary production works and most notably his work with new musical instruments. Current projects include Redspills a trio of DMIs working on VR telematic work in residency at La Sat in Montreal, a number of commissions for new DMIs and the creation and performance of collaborative works in Belgium, Canada, US and in South East Asia. His touring has led to a number of performances in Asia, North America and Europe including Moers Festival (Moers Germany), KLEX Festival (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Map Festival (Melaka, Malaysia), Choppa Festival (Singapore), Open Waters Festival (Halifax Canada), Duong Dai Festival (HCMC and Hanoi, Vietnam), M1 Fringe Festival (Singapore) and Dear Himalaya From Chiang Mai (Chiang Mai, Thailand).

Dirk Wachtelaer has been playing drums for over 35 years. As a sideman he has played in numerous groups in all possible styles, as a leader he founded the ensemble Vanishing Pictures in 1999, with performances at home and abroad and 4 CD recordings. In addition to drums, he has also experimented with electronics for many years. The common thread running through his trajectory is improvisation. He was most in the spotlight as a drummer with Paul Schutze’s ensemble Phantom City, including Bill Laswell on bass, with rave reviews from the international press (including from the renowned magazine Wire). He has worked extensively with Japanese trumpeter Toshinori Kondo with whom he has done a tour of Japan in addition to CD recordings. Other long-term collaborations were with Stevie Wishart (duo, Transient) and with the Belgian Pablo’s Eye. In Belgium he has collaborated numerous times with Luc Mishalle, mainly in ensembles with African musicians. He has also been active in music theater, among others as musical director and performer in Midsummer Night’s Dream by theater Froe Froe for which he put together an ensemble with Chinese musicians, and as a member of Cro Magnon together with Chris Lomme (Zoon, Braakland). Currently, Dirk Wachtelaer focuses exclusively on improvisation, in various ad hoc ensembles but also with dance and/or image. Regular partners in crime are guitarist Alec Ilyine, electronics wizard Jürgen de Blonde (in duo and the trio The Begotten, together with Brecht Ameels) and of course the American instrument builder Dirk Johan Stromberg with whom he recorded 2 CDs as a duo.
Besides music Dirk Wachtelaer is also creating videos.

John T.R. Long is a highly experienced performer, composer/arranger, and educator. As a performer he has played in many venues around the world including the Royal Albert Hall, Tokyo Dome and Carnegie Hall. As an educator he has led many youth bands and ensembles with great success: an impressive number of his individual students have gone on to study at the most prestigious colleges of music leading to successful musical careers of their own. John is British born but has been a resident of Malaysia for many years, currently residing in Kuala Lumpur. Some of John’s recent projects include arranging and performing on Zahid Ahmad’s Tuk Tak album and also performing in the horn section for Edd Rahze on his Soul Sisters concert series. John has just completed working with SIEL on their forthcoming album.

Kok Siew-Wai started out as a video artist, now active as a vocal improviser and artist-curator/organizer. She has shown her videos, curatorial video programmes and performed in Asia, Europe, Australia, Canada and USA, including allEars Improvised Music Festival (Norway), Asian Meeting Festival (Japan), CTM Festival (Germany), Hanoi New Music Festival (Vietnam), Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival, Nusasonic (Indonesia) amongst others. Siew-Wai is interested in improvisation and the exploration of expressions with the human voice.

Malaysian Ruan musician, Ong May Yi graduated from the China Conservatory of Music, Beijing, where she majored in Ruan Performance, under the tutelage of Professor Wei Wei. Ong is actively involved in Ruan education and awareness throughout Malaysia. As an effort to develop and promote Ruan music, Ong has joined forces with fellow Ruan musicians across Malaysia and has organised the ‘Four Dialogues With The Ruan’ concert series and also the recently formed ‘Malaysia Homy Ruan Ensemble’. In 2009, Ong began venturing into contemporary music, and was a guest performer for the inaugural Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival with the German chamber group Ensemble Mosaik, debuting the world premier of Ruan and Strings quintet piece ‘Cursive’. Since then, Ong has been collaborating with different Eastern and Western music and cultures and often participates in live stage performances. She is keen to use Ruan to collide with other music cultures, and use the sound of Ruan to touch people’s heart. Using different approaches to spread and promote Chinese music in Malaysia.

Richard Allan Bates plays guitar, bass and electronics. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he’s also lived in the UK, Cambodia and the Philippines, and now resides in Malaysia. Richard has played in a number of musical projects and collaborations, bridging a range of genres from jazz to electronics to psych-rock. Rooted in free jazz and improv, he takes a mosaic approach to music with a focus on playing both structured and unstructured free improvisation.