From Squarepusher to Reich: Swiss Post-Jazz Trio Plaistow

edited January 2018 in Jazz
Johann Bourquenez, Vincent Ruiz and Cyril Bondi
A group whose members take it for granted that each individual operates on an equal creative level, Plaistow – who took their name, which is that of a district of London, from a track on a Squarepusher LP – are among the most compelling of the many piano trios to have sprung up in the wake of Brad Mehldau, Esbjörn Svensson and the Necks[/. More than 300 concerts on tour in Europe, Russia, Japan and India have allowed them to develop an authentic and even stubborn individuality, using inspiration from many sources but focusing all their influences (including certain elements of jazz and minimalism) down to a clearly defined identity, one that is, in Duke Ellington’s phrase, beyond category.

In these live performances they explore new dimensions of four pieces from Titan, their previous album, whose 14 tracks were inspired by and named after the moons of Saturn. Carefully calibrated but with no shortage of human emotion, the compositions range from the pulsating dynamism of “Hyperion” to the patient understatement of “Helene”, whose typically luminous ending sums up their gift for drama and surprise. This is a great time for piano trios, but there really isn’t another one quite like Plaistow.



  • edited June 2013
    - And on Insubordinations from 2010

    - "It’s taken almost three years from the founding of the band to releasing the first long play album. Three years and a great many concerts, rehearsals – experiments really – and always with the axiomatic will to listen, to give, share and receive attention. On these bases, themes were formed, melodies and returning motifs, written six-handed. Pieces that ended up forming solid compositions, and that’s what “the crow” is really all about."
  • edited April 2013
    - And their new album from 2012, also on Insubordinations:

    - "These three young musicians of French and Swiss origin play a music style which is hard to define. Thinking one is listening to jazz, the music suddenly mutates into semi-electro. One just managed to filter out a melody when it disintegrates into coarse, metalic splitters. Rock on the one side, on the other minimalism
  • Thanks BN, I'll follow up. I wonder what Jonah thinks of terms like ' post-jazz' !
  • edited January 2018
    - Oooops, and this one from their Website:
    Live at Le Zoo, l’Usine, Genève – 4 june 2009
    Front engineer: Bou
    Video projection: Delphine Depres
    Recorded and mixed by Antoine Petroff, mastered by Philippe Teissier Du Cros
    Camera: Fabrizio Dörig, Ismail Ozturk, Vania Jaikin Miyazaki
    Video editing by Vania Jaikin Miyazaki
    Artwork by Thomas Perrodin

    Released by Plaistow, 18 october 2009
  • Wow. Listening to Lacrimosa. Wow.

    Very nice find, BN. Thank you.
  • Some excellent stuff here. I've had "The Crow" going a few times through and has some great experimentation while being intimately listenable. Almost a rarity.
  • edited June 2013
    - Just in case anyone should have missed this:

    ETA: gooogle translate says "Recycled Criminals In Bus Drivers" . . . Hmmm ?
  • edited June 2013
    Here's a lovely new single from Plaistow:
    Released 06 November 2012
    music by Plaistow, texts by Arm

    Johann Bourquenez, piano
    Vincent Ruiz, doublebass
    Cyril Bondi, drums
    Arm, voice

    recorded by Renaud Millet-Lacombe at Studio de la Fonderie, Fribourg (CH), august 2012
    mixed by Renaud Millet-Lacombe at Hush Sound Studio, Geneva
    masterized by Philippe Teissier Du Cros, Paris
  • edited February 2017
    jay !

    - "The world turns. The pendulum swings. Night gives way to day. Good stuff comes out of bad situations. Good situations turn sour and cynical. There may be something in our brains, or maybe there is just something out there in ‘the real’ that makes us think in terms of oppositions, cycles, balances, pairs, light and dark twins. This is what we call ‘dualist’ thinking. There is a God and there is a Devil. There is matter and there is spirit. Another version of dualist thinking is more obviously tailor-made for orthodoxy. For musical dogmatists, the kind of people who only listen to one kind of stuff and dismiss the rest, there is a jazz and there is not-jazz, or heavy metal and soggy rubbish, or ‘pure’ folk and hopelessly compromised commercial music. For those who regard cultural dogma with suspicion, these distinctions don’t seem to matter.

    Someone asked me the other day what Plaistow’s music ‘was’. I’m not usually lost for a word but I had to pass on this one. Jazz is very much at the heart of it, and with Citadelle jazz has come through with a new and growing authority, but there are other things going on as well, procedures that come from electronica (even if the specific sounds do not), from the neo-tonality of contemporary classical music (whether the guys consciously listen to these composers or not) and from a huge reservoir of central European vernaculars, where the musical cultures of East and West collide on a daily basis, on the radio, on television commercials, on piped music in bars, on ringtones.

    The very best thing about fast food (apart from creating spaces where you can both taste and hear all that crazy syncretistic stuff going on) is that it has also, inevitably, spawned a slow food movement. The very best thing about Easy Listening is that adds a new and different value to not-so-easy listening. Plaistow play not-so-easy music. The harmonies on Citadelle are not Bill Evans harmonies. The bass lead on ‘Chicago’ is more reminiscent of the Paul Bley group of the early 70s, with Kent Carter, and there is an angularity to the piano playing that points away from Evans’s lonely romanticism. Johann Bourquenez says he thought Lacrimosa, the group’s previous album, was the first to be conceived ‘without too much randomness’. It’s an interesting choice of word and slightly enigmatic. He will put his own construction on it, but for me this is a record that is very much more than a collection of tracks. It has direction, trajectory, what the philosophers call ‘intentionality’. It seems to be going somewhere and somewhere definite.
    ‘Randomness’ is the heat-death that awaits free music performed without absolute concentration and fellow-feeling. Machine-tooled predictability is the fate that awaits music played with too much control. Like The Necks, who they somewhat resemble, Plaistow always manage to create a music whose repetitions and (algo)rhythmic structures generate surprise rather than ennui. Who would have expected ‘Dub Step’ from them? What a consummately clever appropriation of a genre whose usual procedures are a million miles from piano trio jazz!

    There’s no obvious narrative to this music. It has the abstract beauty of that glorious, ambiguous swirl on the cover, which might be a chrysanthemum or the trace of some mysterious fractal from the microscopic world, or might be feather. I wondered if ‘EOTW’ referred to ‘End of the World’, in which case that piece has a quietly reassuring quality. It suggests that the ‘post-apocalyptic’ might not be so scary after all, just a quiet throb of rays and dying echos. And at the end of the process – ce qu’il reste a dire – what is there left to say? Simply that this is among the most exciting groups around just now, a unit that can comfortably work with a rapper (and just as comfortably decide that the outcome, while fascinating, doesn’t belong here except as a ghost track), or incorporate dubstep, or a sequence that might hint at Olivier Messiaen (and it isn’t on ‘Oiseau’, either), and that has the confidence to realise that sudden, dramatic stylistic change is more often a sign of creative insecurity than of creative abandon. Plaistow evolves. Its music evolves. Your hearing of it will evolve, from record to record, from track to track, from moment to moment within a tracks. A citadel is a fortress within a city, a place of safety for the citizenry. Plaistow are not defending a position, though. They are merely content, for the moment, to work within the strong walls of harmony, mass, slowly accreting rhythm. Here more than ever, they make Plaistow music."

    - Brian Morton, april 2013

    (album out on Two Gentlemen Records, april 12th)
  • edited April 2013
    I have just replaced some of the dysfunctional links with links from their website where there's Flac files available.
    - Well worth the effort replacing them - me thinks . . . .
  • edited June 2013
    Plaistow with rap:

    Mobydick & Plaistow - Tariel EP
    Released: April 2009

    Mobydick: rap (fran
  • edited September 2015
    releases 06 October 2015 on Bandcamp:

    Plaistow - Titan 

    ETA, Another thread that got screwed up in the transition.
  • edited March 2016

    Plaistow - 'Cube', live at Band on the Wall

  •  httpsf4bcbitscomimga2660373207_14jpg 
    releases February 7, 2017  

  •  Two excellent piano tracks released March 28, 2016:

    Johann Bourquenez - Aurorae Chaos

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