Egopusher @ tHBBC, Cully

EgopusherPreisig plays like an anti-violinist with a violin

I have never seen a drum and violin duo before and, despite a set up of delay and reverb pedals, a mini Moog bass synth and samples, Alessandro Giannelli and Tobias Preisig focused on their actual instruments. These are clearly accomplished musicians.

Preisig plays like an anti-violinist with a violin. He attacks his strings with rhythmic stabs and warped slides, sawing his bow across his instrument as if a maniac cutting off his own leg. Notes get higher and higher, searching for an exit for the impending explosion. Such a moment had my spine-tingling, the music slipping and warped as it ascended; it was faintly erotic.

“It gives me energy”

Preisig describes this band as a chance for ‘controlled vomiting’, getting stuff out of his system in the least contrived way possible. He can be more immediate and free than with his quartet purely because the logistics of a duo are simpler. He can also explore influences from rock and electronica. ‘It gives me energy,’ he told me.

Giannelli’s physique (I wouldn’t want to pick a fight with him) gives a clue to his sound. He’s a workhorse who can bang a drum with such force I thought he might gash the skin. But he wasn’t thrashing, his sound was controlled and clean. I could sense him tuning into Preisig and he was able to shape-shift between smashing out a rock line, feeling the funk or neatly tap dancing on a drum rim.

This was only their eighth live appearance

Occasionally Preisig would fall in with the rhythm of the drum to make a powerful coupling, or allow a scrap of melody to emerge before repeating it until he flogged into silence. Sometimes I was even reminded of the melancholic fury of ’80s New Wave bands like Magazine, and I wanted more of that.

This was only their eighth live appearance so these are early days especially in terms of use of sound effects and samples. My note of caution would be that whilst ‘spewing’ is probably fun there could still be space for the exquisite aesthetic the violin is capable of. Preisig does not need to be ‘hard’ or loud to engage a different audience; true power always lies in being open, revealing vulnerability. He could take a note from Giannelli’s seamless moves through texture and colour.

Egopusher played as part of the I Ha Nüt festival at tHBBC in Cully. This club is a one-off. Firstly, there are pebbles (stones) on the floor! It is one of the friendliest venues I’ve been to and most importantly it’s a place where musicians can ‘get down’ – let themselves go, try out new projects. The fact that 15 people make it feel crowded also helps. If you live anywhere nearby, I order you to visit and say hi to the sparkling hosts – Gilliane and Nicolas Rosazza.

Egopusher website
tHBBC website

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6.11.14   Kurzfilmtage, Winterthur
6.11.14   Zukunft, Zurich
8.11.14   Up State, Zürich (Vernissage Marianne Müller)
21.12.14 Trabant Echo LP Release, Hive Zurich


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