COSMOS (Not Enough)

Space for your own cosmos [...] With Cosmos, Sascha Ley offers a more universal and, to a certain extent, more mature view of the female body. She reflects on her own being in various forms, phases and subjective memories. In her one-hour performance, she sheds her identities like a caterpillar that transforms over time.

I want You by Lennon and McCartney plays at the beginning; the audience looks at an egg-shaped swivel chair, a grass-green carpet, a stool and a screen on which the scribbles from a diary can be seen: loose entries consisting of words and illustrations. A transparent dress dangles from a chain from the side of the stage. The music changes to an off-stage voice naming the stars surrounding the earth and their distances. 

The human being is just a spark in the infinite cosmos, our existence a brief flicker.

In her solo performance Cosmos (Not Enough) , Sascha Ley mixes dance, movement and song and supplements these with video recordings from the very beginning. She tells a story about love and lust, based on her version and her song lyrics(Love Say Abbreviate, Once Heart, This Thing About Memory). In collaboration with the German light artist Krischan Kriesten, Ley has created a sensual, interdisciplinary performance.

She successively weaves associative spaces, starting from her own cosmos and consistently questioning herself: What is a word? How do we communicate? Do we even know ourselves? What is the (female) body? What is female desire? Are our bodies mere projection surfaces for the desires of others...? "Imagine reconstructing the female body and mind!"

Ley begins her performance in a man’s suit and will gradually remove her clothes. Almost naked, she will feel her body and explore limbs and (sexual) organs: breasts, nipples, vagina. What makes a person human? What is hidden behind?

There are three loose storylines that are introduced via video projection: The first tells a love story, the second investigates (pseudo-)scientifically how the female body is constructed, in the third, women talk about their sexual (violent) fantasies. In the film, Ley plays the role of various women and a man who all talk about different sexual experiences, or are they the same experiences perceived differently? How true is a love story in retrospect, what remains in our selective perception and what do we ignore? Everyone has their own subjective perception of themselves and the world - based on their [emotional] baggage.

In her stream of consciousness, Ley playfully, mockingly and at times pensively reflects on the different perceptions, and plays with heteronormative gender roles or rolls on the carpet in abandon. The performance is linguistically witty, beguiling in its singing and coherent in its choreography, yet does not pose any overly difficult questions.

When a sparkler burns out at the end, the artist casually looks back on her own life plans and invites the audience to reflect on their own experiences. Those who get involved in the sensual performance can experience their own journey through their "cosmos". Those who do not succed, can allow the sensory smoke to take effect and enjoy. It is a powerful solo performance that lives from the facets of Ley's strong stage presence, the songs sung with her smoky, jazzy voice and the recorded video clips.

At the end is the beginning: a diary with collage-like sketches like a Pixi notebook that documents the associative journey through her own consciousness. More of this! Anina Valle Thiele, Land 5.4.24 

On stage, Sascha Ley embodies love, desire and the experience of space.

“COSMOS - Not Enough”, in which you will applaud the artist Sascha Ley for her exceptional performance. Sascha is alone on stage, exuberant and full of strength, and she brilliantly embodies this All, this Cosmos. She is the author and performer of this highly visual show, which gives pride of place to poetry that is spoken and proclaimed with brilliance. On stage, Sascha alone embodies the entire feminine Cosmos.

She constructs, deconstructs and reconstructs it. She provokes a lot of thought in the audience. What is woman, what is femininity, is it different from man, from masculinity, or do the genders intersect and diminish in infinity, in the Cosmos, ad infinitum?

As a conqueror of words, expressions and territories, Sascha Ley penetrates the innermost recesses of our consciousness, our collective memory and reality. On stage, she leads a kind of solo debate on relationships, desire, lust, love, polarity, erotic attraction and the experience of space and time, perhaps even of spaces and times.

Based on a project involving lyrical prose, collages and illustrations, the show’s creator and designer has developed a powerful contemporary project. Cosmos is an interdisciplinary performance combining narrative images, sound, music and movement.

Obviously, we’re in experimental territory here, but Sascha has concocted an experience that has done us a lot of good. And not just for us, as the audience gave her a big round of applause. Sascha’s work is a little provocative, but the most important thing is that it provokes debate, questions and challenges. Michel Schroeder, Lëtzebuerger Land 03/24          

I was lucky enough to attend the opening night and it has left a lasting impression!  Immediately afterward I said I felt like I needed a cigarette even though I don’t smoke and that I was glad I didn’t have to review it overnight for publication. It’s the Cosmos!  A lot to take in, to absorb and to reflect on.  It’s poetic and provocative, visually stunning, brave, honest, and humorous in parts too.  I can still see Sascha rotating slowly in the pivotal chair, talking to the audience intimately as if it were a one-to-one.  And I can still see her in a gossamer gown, a solitary planet, looking up at the whirling stars.  As you know, she’s a gifted singer and composer - there may be no sound in space but there are galaxies of captivating sounds on stage.  Don’t take up smoking and don’t take young children, but do go and see what you discover about life, art and yourself in this fascinating voyage.
Wendy Winn,Radio ARA/Writer 03/24

Unveiling the Cosmos Within: A Unique Journey Through Perception and Reality 

Dive into the immersive world of 'Cosmos (Not Enough)' at Théâtre National du Luxembourg, where art and experience intertwine to challenge perceptions, explore gender dynamics, and reflect on the complexities of human existence. 

Themes That Resonate on a Universal Level. The themes of 'Cosmos (Not Enough)' are as varied as they are profound. From the unequal perceptions that shape our understanding of the world to the memories that define our reality, the performance is a mirror reflecting the complexities of human existence. It also critically examines the dynamics of gender and relationships, presenting them not as mere social constructs but as elemental forces that drive our deepest passions and desires. This rich tapestry of ideas is presented in a language that is both accessible and engaging, making it a thought-provoking experience for a diverse audience.

A unique exploration of the human condition... a testament to the power of interdisciplinary art to challenge, inspire, and transform. In a world where the quest for understanding and connection is more important than ever, this performance offers a beacon of hope and a reminder of the boundless potential that lies within the cosmos of human experience. Salman Khan, Bnnbreaking.com 02/24

 

Exacting language explores passion in premiere of ‘Cosmos (Not Enough)’
Intimacy on a grand scale as Sascha Ley reflects on human desires against the backdrop of a world that keeps on turning 

What a performance it is. Through the spoken word – both live on stage, pre-recorded and on screen, and using dance, movement and song – she begins to tell a story about us as humans, and about love, passion and lust. 

The programme says Cosmos (Not Enough) “is a stream of consciousness”, but her words are not just incoherent sentences, they are carefully chosen and delivered with Ley’s trademark deep, sometimes husky, voice. 

Ley has based Cosmos (Not Enough) on a lyrical prose project, word collages and illustrations, and it combines her storytelling narrative, sound, music and movement, in collaboration with light, video and sound artist Krischan Kriesten. 

It showcases Ley’s many talents, not just for abstract poetry, but her soulful singing voice, her toned dancer’s body. She is quite a force to be reckoned with on stage, and yet she has an impish smile and proffers a wink here and there, as she lets us in on her joke. 

Ley gives a more mature take on love, and reflects in her many guises on the different memories she has built in her lifetime, against the backdrop of time and the universe. It’s a fascinating concept that prompts you to revisit your own journey, your own experiences and your own version of events. Sarita Rao, Luxembourg Times 02/24

 

I saw her in the English-language solo piece Cosmos (Not Enough), which she wrote herself – text, performance, video, sound: Sascha Ley – and was thrilled. A tour de force of acting, singing and dancing. She acts, she sings, she composes, she writes, she dances ... To call Sascha Ley a multidisciplinary artist would almost be an understatement. 

Pascal Steinwachs Journal 03/24

AXIS MUNDI 

Another great cd from the brilliant vocalist Sascha Ley and her wonderful musician collaborators.
Shelley Hirsch, NY

 
The symbiotic relationship between voice and instruments is captivating; how Sascha Ley, Laurent Payfert (double bass), Murat Öztürk (piano) and Jean Pascal Boffo (live sound processing) exchange ideas across a broad spectrum of emotions and how a wide variety of musical eras and styles flash across a long arc of tension. The centrepiece is Ley's almost magical vocal artistry - it includes the spoken word (in this case self-penned) and is a sign of self-confident femininity.
Stefan Uhrmacher,
Saarbrücker Zeitung DE 02/24

Axis Mundi is more than a mere musical reflection. Whether progressive or experimental, cosmic or Avant-Garde Jazz, this music mingles with Sascha Ley’s vocal performance, at times both sensual and raw, pure and alluring. 
Jacques Prouvost, BE


The Laughter of the Red Moon 

 ... it's worth indulging in this completely unsentimental, extremely fresh new discovery. 

Wolfgang Gratzer JAZZ PODIUM 12/23|1/24 

Jazzalbum of the week! Michael Laages Radio NDR 10-11/23

An album not only for friends of vocal experiments. Great music, we are thrilled! Jacek Brun, Jazz-Fun 10/23

To call Ley a singer who interprets melodies, in no way does justice to the sound experience [..] The music takes the listener along and it surprises. At times because of its energy, at times through daring twists or rhythmic finesses.
Thomas Bugert JAZZTHETIK 11-12/23
 
This homage is highly recommended to lovers of contemporary, barrier-free jazz. Beyond the relaxed togetherness, its strongest asset is Ley's extraordinary virtuoso vocal artistry: she has more to offer than just spectacular indigenous singing techniques and gets to the heart of the expression, whether singing parody or speaking forcefully - and in explosive improvisation anyway. Even wistful schlager dreams don't slip into sticky pathos. Magnificent.

Stefan Uhrmacher - Saarbrücker Zeitung - 18.11. 2023SAARBRÜCKEN (uhr)



In Between

Sascha Ley's sources of inspiration are majestic. She literally feeds the audience with her deep songs, her voice carries, carries away. Her melodies are ethereal and ghostly, her singing is haunting. Michel Schroeder, Zeitung vum Lëtzebuerger Vollek 01/23 LU

Singing "Lush Life" stripped to the bone like this is something you first have to dare to do. Sascha Ley, singer and performance artist from Luxembourg, dares and wins all along the line. Behind her, chunks of sound fall from the synthesizer, while her voice asserts itself in every line, each of Ley's words is intelligible. Later Ley will set to music - "Love In Outer Space" by Sun Ra, - besides the Strayhorn it is the only foreign material - far from the unpredictability of the Archestra, but still endowed with its mental states. In between, Ley tries things out, communicating nonverbally, layering different soundtracks of her voice. It occasionally reminds of the Vocal Summit band of the seventies, which, except for Bobby McFerrin, consisted of all women, but at times also of the exploratory urge of a Laurie Anderson, although Ley has no amplified violin at hand, but "only" micro synth & gadgets. On five of the seventeen numbers, which may be only two minutes long, Ley asks Jean Pascal Boffo to join her for the live sound processing. She creates a world with its own parameters, based primarily on reduction and pure accuracy of expression. "In Between" : One indeed lands in an in-between realm. It is an exciting place.

Susanne Müller, Jazz Podium (DE) 12/22 | 1/23

Hard to believe what this woman can do with her voice: This is the first impression when listening to the album "In Between" (JazzHausMusik), the solo debut of the internationally sought-after German-Luxembourg artist Sascha Ley. "In Between" ("Dazwischen") seems to be the life motto of the Saarbrücken-born artist: As a singer, pianist, actress, poet, composer and performer, Ley moves between all categories, and stylistically her vocal art can hardly be labeled either - she permanently crosses the borders between jazz, contemporary classical music, free improvisation, stylized folklore, sound experiments, rap or electronic tinkering. When Ley coos, whispers, recites in several languages; when we imagine ourselves in a radio play situation in the face of her technically multiplied voice, or when Ley imitates the archaic tongue-beat with a strong sound, it never remains superficial vocal acrobatics. Rather, her "songs", stories and sound collages are like chapters of an emotional diary - parts of a dramaturgical synthesis of the arts, which Jean P. Boffo seems to finally beam into cosmic-spacious expanses by means of "sound-processing". Stephan Uhrmacher, SZ (DE) 12/22 (DE)

Her first solo reveals a unique multi-layered lyrical world interspersed with experimental songs.
Hiroki Sugita, Portrait in Jazz (JP) 12/22

A truly impressive voice. A remarkable CD.
Michael  van Gee, Radio Dreyeckland (DE) 12/22

A singular artist. "In Between" is a whole work, a choreography, almost a conductor's score, of an incredible intensity, with different and very rich atmospheres. Her art is impressive. A singer who bewitches you. A voice that fills the space. One is well there.

Alain Duret, Danielle et Gérard Dugelay, Radio RCF (FR) 11/22


I've been fascinated by the singer's universe for a long time. Sascha Ley is not afraid to draw us into our own subconscious. The vibrations that resonate and clash get under your skin and into your cortex. The singer has a sense of nuance and narration. She masters her effects. The sensual song of a mermaid mixes with that of an opera singer or a frightened child. Sascha unsettles and amazes us. The whole concert (like the record) is a journey, an experience and a reflection on life, society, the place of women, and memories. It's class. It is very personal and quite unique. It's a concert (a performance) to be experienced. Jacques Prouvost Jazzques (BE) 11/22

Sascha Ley’s new album In Between was released on 12 October and has already garnered critical acclaim. The jazz vocalist has expanded her sonic landscape by using loop stations, synths and a variety of instrumentation to explore a world of abstract vocals, narrative songs and onomatopoeia. The album veers between the experimental and the accessible, the dreamlike and the nostalgic as Sascha deals with loss and love and desire and intellect.
Duncan Roberts, Delano (LU)  11/22

Dazzlingly, the singer, musician and actress Sascha Ley musically opened the well-attended evening [...] impressed with her singing and vocal artistry. Of course, Ley can also sing classical jazz, which shows through when she switches from synthesizer to piano. 

There is dangerous cooing, heavy panting, energetic shouting of "Eo!" like a shepherdess across the vast steppe, and this is then layered on top of each other by means of a loop station to form complex structures that are always unique and never become a mannerism. Effortlessly Ley masters the throat singing technique of the Inuit, sometimes reminding of the African world music of "Zap Mama" and in her free spirit of the great old Meredith Monk. But her titles never seem epigonal, she always transforms the material into something of her own.
Silvia Buss, Saarbrücker Zeitung (DE) 10/22


Journey into the in-between. The triple threat artist, whose achievements would be enough to fill two pages of this newspaper, presents her new solo album In Between at the Neimënster. The 17-song experimental album is tailor-made for the stage. Sascha Ley plays her voice like a violin whose playing hands she mimes. She cradles her invisible instrument. We speak of memory and oblivion, [...] of that particular space to which Sascha Ley always returns [...] an indeterminate space. With In Between, Sascha Ley makes easily accessible what is not easily accessible. Mixing frankly crazy bravura pieces and warmer songs (all proportion kept), In Between definitely hits the bull's eye. 
Kévin Kroczek, D’Land (LU) 10/22

 

Piano, synth sounds, voice, noises and effects - these are the ingredients that vocalist, actress and performer Sascha Ley uses to create 17 experimental tracks on her first solo album. She explores what can be done with the voice - and that's a lot! She improvises, shouts, trills, growls, pants and sings, holds a dialogue with herself, explores different resonances. There are spacey soundscapes and vocal acrobatics ("Playground," "Circe Sings") that get by without words, somewhere between Zap Mama, Björk, Pygmy and Joik chants. But she's also a great storyteller, reciting her thoughts and feelings as if from a personal notebook, dealing with presentness and nostalgia, dreams and desires, open spaces and finitude, intuition and change.
Mane Stelzer, Melodiva (DE) 10/22


The various elements of this music come to life as they emerge and interact with each other. After a while it is impossible to distinguish what was originally a draft, a sketch, and what was a detail that only emerged in the course of editing. With her musical concept, Sascha Ley seems to me to be a personality who stands somewhat apart from the so-called jazz scene and is very interesting not only for that reason. 
Jazz-Fun Magazine (DE) 10/22

Sascha Ley continues to explore her sonic territory. Her new album, "In Between", is an astonishing collage of voices, improvisations and little stories. Discovery.

This time supported by a piano, a micro-synthesizer and other devices that seem like everyday objects, the singer is radical and singular, juggling with words, language and vocalisms.  Even better, as if to remind us of her enthusiasm for improvisation and avant-garde music, she combines, in 17 crazy but catchy songs, sound loops, vocoder, noises and whistles. Her way of affirming that she doesn't fit into any  category. 
Grégory Cimatti, Le Quotidien (LU) 10/2022 


The singer, performer, poet SASCHA LEY shows her skills kaleidoscopically in 17 parts, five of them with live sound processing by Jean Pascal Boffo. […] Curious sound structures, which she creates with Satie or Cage piano, micro synth & gimmicks, with multi-tracked interlocked rap, beatboxing, vocoder-singing à la 'O Superman', whimsical vocalizing, loud-necked folkloric mannerisms, whispers, tongue-twisters and little stories in the tone of Hirsch. But with undeniably its own charm and wit, as she juggles there with prose, poetry, glossolalia and droning waves and also whistling, conjuring up a very peculiar mono-musical.
Badalchemy (DE) 09/22 

Reviews/Interviews/Portraits

Interviews

“I am and will always be an explorer”Le Quotidien

You have always navigated between theater, film, dance and music. Which artist are you?
The entire interview


"Sot emol" (Tell Me) on Radio 100,7

Sascha Ley: feeling at home in free improvised music 

The entire interview

"Papercut" Mierscher Kulturhaus

I would describe myself as a kind of story teller who uses different and altered forms of expression and who likes to read between the lines and to play with perception as well – with both my own and that of the audience – to find open spaces of thought processes, feelings, opinions and habits and possibly turn them upside down in order to experience new considerations. I always try to find a universality that appeals to both the intellect and the senses in order to transmit this. As a passionate observer of the human genius and drama, of creation, art, nature and the world, my creations as well as my life have become a permanent research.
The entire interview

Reviews

STAGE

Papercut

Faber and her cast of Sascha Ley and Andrea Hall create a spellbinding drama that asks universal questions about courage, commitment, ethics, loyalty, patriarchy and the whole rotten system. Delano digital 25.1.22 || read all

When Sascha Ley screams "I was burning inside!", one can more than empathize with the whistleblower's anger, disappointment, inner turmoil and disillusionment. The effervescent dialogues between the two female figures, which later turn out to be two versions of one and the same personality, become an immersive, intense experience. An excellent performance by both actresses. Tageblatt 01/22

(MI FRIDA) Always changing, always new, always surprising. Who is the dancer, who is the singer, who is the actress? The boundaries are blurred. (...) Sometimes there is also a tinge of absurdity. (...) At the end the songs are sad, the fight becomes a dance of death. And yet we see no victim, but both a strong and desperate woman. Even in these terms, the performance is incontestable. Strong. Trierischer Volksfreund (D)

 

No doubt, Sascha Ley is a genuine multi-talent; after all, she is not just a songwriter, composer and interpreter but works as an actress and a director as well… What remains unchanged, however, is the seductive mood, the poetry of it all, which has become Sascha’s trademark. Le Quotidien (L)

 

A brilliant actress. Sonntagsnachrichten (D)

 

The powerful Sascha Ley. Deutschlandfunk (D)

Divine … simply captivating, enchanting, marvelously vulgar and full of magic charisma. Süddeutsche Zeitung (D)

MUSIC

Sascha Ley. … does raise the vocal bar some artists have been limboing under for years. (…) a new way of looking at vocal jazz.  Critical Jazz (USA)

Sascha Ley moves between improvisation, as well as regular singing, chanting or pure sound accompanying intonations, being an artist of a rare profile. She works in the fields of music, theater, film and dance, and all on an exceptional level. JazzZeitung (D)

Sascha Ley is and will remain a thoroughbred artist. She has been admired as a fascinating interpreter of songs by Kurt Weill and Georg Kreisler, a femme fatale in [various projects], and is certainly indispensable from Luxembourg’s musical life as a jazz icon. D'Land (L)

   

Sascha Ley carries a whole universe of voices. Galaxies full of music. Jazz Podium (D) 

 

Sascha Ley has created her own musical identity. Melodiva (D)