The Treichler-Pizzi-Trontin Experience @ tHBBC (Cully Jazz Festival)

Described as “a laboratory of ideas, where you will assist the birth of creation live and direct, public jam sessions, pure sound research”, there’s a sense of anticipation in the air as I wait for The Treichler-Pizzi-Trontin Experience to take to the small stage at the Hundred Blue Bottle Club. It’s the last night of their OFF festival residency in Cully and a tightly-packed crowd of loyal Young Gods fans of all ages are giving off the distinct impression that something thrilling and unique is about the take place. It’s the coming together of well-seasoned, deeply-connected musical partners still capable of enthralling their audience with new ideas and aural concepts. The three musicians share a musical history of almost 30 years, yet everybody present knows that old school nostalgia is not on the menu tonight.

A tight whirlwind of gripping sound

Indeed, for those not familiar with the three-decade towering inferno that are Treichler and company, it might be a surprising sight to see men over 50 producing such a tight, trancy, experimental, head-nodding wall of sound. From the get-go there is a sense of journey, like being yanked onto a rhythmic train moving with pleasant urgency from station to station, hypnotising you with varying degress of intensity and volume along the way. Rhythms are created slowly, electro beats taking their time before coming at you like a whip and ensnarling you into a tight whirlwind of gripping sound.

 It’s a technological playground for bedroom rockers

Franz Treichler, the archetypal gum-chewing rock legend, weaves his often unintelligeble vocals in and out of the soundscape tapestry. His words are at times irrelevant and haphasard but serve to add a darker edge to the swirling, dubby rhythms. Interesting effects are used to create echo, reverb, loops and playback – it’s a technological playground for bedroom rockers who like their soundtrack trippy, hypnotic and just that little bit sinister. When things get a little too bouncy, Treichler comes in with a good dose of tough-love guitar to remind us there is beauty in light and shade. However, for me, the greatest of props go to drummer, Bernard Trontin, who steers a tight ship full of funky breakbeats and unparalleled rhythmic structure. Watching his dexterity and joy behind the drumkit is a rare delight.

Four questions to Franz Treichler
What was your reasoning behind “a laboratory of ideas”?

Franz Treichler: We were invited to do a residency at the Hundred Blue Bottle Club as part of the OFF festival at Cully Jazz. It seemed a perfect occasion to try out new ideas without the pressure of having to play Young Gods material. The OFF festival attracts a very open-minded audience at Cully, the atmosphere on stage is very free, basically ‘anything goes’. This felt appropriate for the band. Some ideas were born in the afternoon and played out the same night. Tracks changed every evening. I played guitar in a style I don’t normally use for The Young Gods, the same for my vocals – I couldn’t really call it singing, it was more sound improvisation and throwing things into the mix. There weren’t even any track titles, each piece was considered a session, a one off.

Why didn’t you bill yourselves as The Young Gods?

Franz Treichler: This would have changed the expectations of the audience and would have limited our freedom to experiment. We really wanted to create a mysterious vibe during the residency, encourage the listeners to be curious and progressive with us. Expect the unexpected.

What was happening on stage from a technical point of view?

Franz Treichler: Cesare and I both had computers loaded with programmes that activate sound, sequencing, loops and pitch. Our computers were synchronised so that I could affect what he was playing and vice versa whilst keeping in rhythm. It was a very free and interactive process, although I must admit that there were times when it was hard to know who was doing what! What we set out to create was a sound of elevation, (music doing the job of the drugs!)

Is this in some way the future sound of The Young Gods?

Franz Treichler: We’d like to do something for the next album that’s in a similar vein, by that I mean not totally sequenced. We’ve always been categorised somewhere between rock and electronic music. It would be good to expand our experimental ambiant side, something less structured, more free.

Band line up:

Franz Treichler – vocals, guitar
Cesare Pizzi – keyboard, sample
Bernard Trontin – drums

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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