Sous Le Pont "Et Là C'est Quoi?"
Own Label, 2015
This music is hard to describe or categorize. Perhaps that explains the CD title. Trombone and xylophone is an unusual combination, and the addition of accordion and guitar gives Sous Le Pont an air of gypsy or circus music. The material on Et Là C'est Quoi? is mostly gentle, slightly jazzy, surprising without jarring, and loosely related to the French tradition. I would say this is closer to Paris café orchestras than rustic Perigord artisans, but there is enough of a folk feel to keep me happy.
Each piece here is a mélange of musical styles. Spiky modern melodies, middle-eastern modes, percussive rhythms and smooth jazz compete with each other to define the overall character. Little is resolved, and Sous Le Pont keep us guessing as to what is coming next. Slow floaty airs alternate with brass band boldness. melody lines move round each other like dancers in a cramped disco, or clowns trying to catch their teetering comrades. The only constant is the hypnotic repetition of simple melodies, often short themes which are layered into a larger piece. The low growl of the trombone and the high tinkling of the xylophone work very well at both ends of the sound spectrum, giving a wide range of textures across this album. Et Là C'est Quoi? somehow reminds me of the dolls in Barbarella - sharp, attractive in a brittle way, varied yet uniform, and strangely persistent. Try the online samples.
© Alex Monaghan