Coup double on The Bridge #2.5

Zutique Productions, Un Singe en Hiver, Dijon, July 2nd 2020

Thursday is low-free. At Un Singe en Hiver, we revive the AMM atmosphere, made of in the DIY way and with transistors that go haywire. On the left, Sam Pluta is sitting at his table, playing electronics and flooding the eardrums with his wave gadgets. On the right, Pascal Niggenkemper, peaceful, drowns the listener with his plethoric and destructured bass lines. In the center, Ben Lamar Gay intrudes and slices through the mechanical web of sound with his wah-wahified and drum-alike trumpet blasts. In these two pieces, the band builds an industrial soundscape, largely architected by Sam Pluta. The only human presence is Ben Lamar’s voice at the end of the second piece, in a scratched record or in Call and response way with the man who holds the joystick. It gives you impression of a big frontal wave, without ever been submerged. Nothing ever explodes, everything sinks slowly and the crashing stops by itself.

Lucas Le Texier

Never enough of monkey business. Sorry Chuck Berry, you can never have enough of that kind of gig in that kind of place. This one is a French brasserie, with a deluxe mezzanine floor plan which means classy, intimate and overt experiences. The kind of place where you can spot a transatlantic ship within four walls. E la nave va. Transtlantic, The Bridge is fundamentally so. It is even the principle of the meeting imagined by Alexandre Pierrepont to connect the Chicago jazz-impro scene to the French one. Two Americans and two Frenchies have to debate, frolic and reshuffle the cards of the improvisers’ gesture. And thus, to invent small utopias, small musical republics. One and indivisible. E la #2.5 version va. Sam Pluta and Ben Lamar Gay, on the US side, Pascal Niggenkemper and Sophie Agnel, on the French one. No increased piano for this date in Dijon, this version will play in trio. A trio where the bodies enhance as the bodies are enhanced in a sprint downhill at the Tour de France. With the joy and the desire to reach and flirt with the limits. Resonator made of bowls for Pascal Niggenkemper, stretched screens for Ben Lamar Gay. What is neat in this 2.5 is the humanity that drills into the material, in the obsession, too. With bare hands. Groove on drone, minimal protest. Shamaneries hardly fractioned. To be listened to with closed eyes.
Here, each one accepts to put the sound he creates in the hands of another player, here the humanity pranks. Beyond oneself, preconceived ideas and habits. Magnificent as everything is put back at stake. Or rather in question. In all conscience, in perfect knowledge of its own fragility. And in this debate of trilliums led by Sam Pluta, small alerts are born, impavid phases, semblance of standing still, promontories of humanities even older of character than a Cavendish back on the sprints. This is how the men in this trio live, through obstinacy. Just like Pascal Niggenkemper’s downhill and uphill runs, which are hardly contradicted, or just perfectly contradicted by Ban Lamar Gay’s ‘pop’ voice. That’s not very very far from Loussier’s shots on his Pulsion. Laid on the foundations of the Free forged by the first militants of the AACM. Sam Pluta is Plutonian. The other two are in Mercury. Hot as hell. The other two with the pyromaniac touch. Together, it sounds the alarm. The urgency to pick up. Where things had been left before the obliteration of any live culture for the last 15 months. Long enough to want, with a certain class, to play monkey business.

Guillaume Malvoisin
photos © Boris Masson