Dead Dead Gang – Press


Revue & Corrigé – juin 2023 / Claude Colpaert

Pour composer Dead Dead Gang, le batteur Peter Orins sest souvenu du roman Jérusalem, écrit par Alan Moore et paru en 2016. Un pavé de plus de 1 200 pages interrogeant le réel, la mort et l’au-delà. La musique s’est mise en place en 2022 lors d’une résidence à La Malterie, grâce à la participation d’autres membres du collectif Muzzix, à savoir Maryline Pruvost, à la voix et à l’harmonium indien, Barbara Dang au piano, et Gordon Pym à l’électronique et objets amplifiés – qui tout en faisant appel à l’improvisation, ont bien compris la volonté du leader : jouer dans une sorte d’état second. La voix de Maryline est tour à tour plaintive, spectrale ou récitante. La percussion se fait manipulation d’objets, le piano préparé alterne le poids des notes sur le clavier et les frottements sur les cordes, la résonance profonde de la grosse caisse et les battements électroniques créent un climat collectif dystopique, étrange et fascinant.

Vital Weekly / Mark Daelmans-Sikkel

Four pieces in just under 45 minutes with a monumental novel -Jerusalem by Alan Moore- and lyrics from the book with permission by Mr. Moore. ‘Watchmen’, ‘V for Vendetta’, ‘Swamp Thing,’ and ‘From Hell’ are a few of his graphic novels. Jerusalem is his second novel. Monumental not only due to its length (over 1000 pages) but also in scope: several centuries. After listening to this release, I put this on my reading list. Peter Orins, a drummer based in Lille, has his label (Circum-Disc) and is an artistic board member of Muzzixx, a (jazz) musician’s collective based in Lille. He wanted to make music based on the book. The music on this release is performed and co-created by Peter Orins on drums, Maryline Pruvost (Indian harmonium and voice), Barbara Dang (piano) – all three participate in the Muzixx collective and Gordon Pym (pseudonym of Yanik Miossec). Since I haven’t read the book (yet), I can only say something about the music. It’s beautiful, weird in a vital weekly way and wrapped in the disguise of a radio play at some points. The sound design is spacious, brooding with meaning, with hints of melody in some parts. Pruvost has a charming (mezzo) soprano voice, with some extended techniques and no vibrato. And since she’s from France, she has a lovely French accent in the English lyrics. Prélude Infini is a minimalist, sparse piano piece with voice with added voice box elements by Gordon Pym that changes into a ritualistic piece; the thumping bass drum is quite scary and metallic percussion sounds. Dang plucks the lower piano strings as if it’s a double bass. These four musicians have made excellent music, and all elements are clearly heard in the mix. All in all a delightful 45 minutes to listen to.

Spontaneous Music Tribune / Andrzej Nowak

April’s news from French Circum-Disc surprises! First, a quartet led by our favorite musician from France, who composed an improvised story inspired by literature. In addition, he chose a set of far unusual instruments for the quartet’s instrumentation. On the one hand, Orins describes Dead Dead Gang (great name!) as a uniquely alternative version of … pop music, while on the other hand, in the practice of implementation, he gets charmingly bogged down in electro-acoustic, heavily pre-defined improvisations. The effect in its initial phase seems to delight us, but the later part of the recording lacks the more elaborate drama and emotion typical of free improvisation.
The aura of a filigree opening story, full of sonic subtleties, is created here by Orins’ typical percussion preparations (class!), patches of inside piano, female filigree singing and male whispers, also a pinch of harmonium and electro-acoustic background. The narrative moves along in an exceedingly lazy manner, but has its own rhythm, as well as a certain dramatic repetitiveness. The latter feature becomes the foundation of the subsequent parts of the album, and the almost conceptual minimalism in the creation of the stage action is also a candidate for this title. The axis of the second part seems to be harmonium, but the flow is not linear, it is formed by incidental clusters of sounds. The whole resembles a cooled, dead march in an unknown direction. The album gains some vigor in the third part, but this does not happen immediately. The beginning of the piece is supported by a radio voice from offstage, while the ending is successfully decorated with a certain fleeting but rather dark aura, including inside piano phrases and recitations. The final exposition returns to the minimalist formula. Orins suggests a fine rhythm, the electro-acoustic background works well, and the singer serves us … vulgarisms in Shakespeare’s language. A kind of twisted song in protest.

Jazz Mania / Eric Therer

Infatigable, insatiable Peter Orins. Depuis sa Malterie de Lille où il tient laboratoire et observatoire, il planifie et coordonne moult opérations, actions, contractions avec un nombre impressionnant de musiciens, de musiciennes. Nous nous en faisons occasionnellement l’écho dans nos pages. Ce nouveau projet le trouve aux côtés de Maryline Pruvost qui prête sa voix et joue de l’harmonium indien, de Barbara Dang au piano et de Gordon Pym à l’électronique et aux objets amplifiés. A quatre, ils mettent en sons et en rythmes une pièce musicale composée par Orins, mais construite lors d’une résidence collective inspirée de l’épique roman « Jérusalem » (1.300 pages…) de l’écrivain britannique Alan Moore. Le disque se décline en quatre longues plages qui sont ponctuées à la fois par la rythmique régnante, aventureuse d’Orins et par la voix scandante, mobilisante de Pruvost. Il ne faut pas chercher dans « Dead Dead Gang » la retranscription musicale du roman, mais plutôt y voir son anamorphose, dès lors que le livre comporte en son sein sa part de musicalité. Celle évoquée, imaginée, des rues de la ville sainte et des différents langages qui y circulent, mais aussi des rites qui les accompagnent. « Up the Pub », qui clôture l’album, prend une tournure étouffante, anxiogène. Pruvost suggère un micro-drame dont on ne sait au juste s’il est sur le point d’éclater ou s’il a déjà eu lieu. A l’image peut-être du devenir de Jérusalem…

The Viking of Wilderness

French artist Peter Orins is out with the album “Dead Dead Gang”, and experimental music is what we are provided with on this production. The material here really defies any normal conventions, but I guess the approach borrow some ideals from free form jazz. The landscapes traversed here are minimalist in nature, heavily revolving around rhythm elements, with a gentle searching feel running through all of the four compositions. Spoken words and vocals come and go to a lesser or greater extent, with fragmented melody details making occasional appearances alongside effects of various kinds. Everything is gentle and fairly relaxed, without noticeable fixed patterns or any elongated explorations of specific landscapes present, and the compositions comes across as improvised rather than composed in nature. Those with an interest in minimalist, gentle excursions into experimental landscapes with a free form inspired execution should find this production to be an interesting one I imagine.

Diskorycheion / Phontas Troussas

This album, which belongs to the field of abstract improvisation, is based on a literary work, the novel “Jerusalem” (2016) by the British writer Alan Moore. The book is probably not available in Greek, and as we read on the wiki it is set entirely in and around the English city of Northampton (the author’s birthplace), combining historical and fictional elements and drawing on various writing styles. Anyway, the Dead Dead Gang, which gives the title to Peter Orins’ album, is mentioned there, and texts from “Jerusalem” are heard on the CD, read by Maryline Pruvost, in her own way.
I don’t know if the music heard here, all composed by Peter Orins, conveys something of the atmosphere and style of the book, however, and in any case, what is heard on “Dead Dead Gang” is quite sharp and evocative, in the sense that it “holds you” narratively, through this unruly and largely spontaneous music, which may well tread on some “rails”, but, in practice, sounds quite “backwards” and iconoclastic.
Many strange timbres are recorded here, with the contribution of all instruments, especially piano and percussion, with the voice and Indian harmonium adding a sense of jazz + poetry, and with the brass instruments also chopping up the asymmetrical sound canvases through transversal interventions.
A not easy listening, aimed at initiated and practiced listeners of an improv-jazz that moves, too often, outside the boundaries.

Bad Alchemy (119) / Rigobert Dittmann

PETER ORINS can be sure of my sympathy just by the fact that he draws on Alan Moore’s novel of the century “Jerusalem” with his music for Dead Dead Gang (LX019/TDB900061cd). Together with Maryline Pruvost (Voice, Indian Harmonium), Barbara Dang (Piano) and Gordon Pym (Electronics, Amplified Objects), the drummer unfolds in Lille the four chapters ‘Le fond du bruit normal de la vie’, ‘Le piccolo des grossièretés’, ‘Prélude infini’ and ‘Up the pub’. Pruvost has been heard with her voice or flute on Vazytouille and Muzzix, and has sung songs by Michael Pisaro under Dang’s leadership on “Tombstones.” Dang is an important part of the Circum scene, as she has shown with Orins on “Lescence / Gmatique” and as part of Adoct. Gordon Pym wants to remain a mystery. Together they take you to the hidden side of Northampton or better probably ‘Moorehampton’, to the omnipresence of the past and the spirit world ‘Mansoul’, where the Archangel Michael wrestles with the demon Asmodeus. On the trail of the Dead Dead Gang, Moore’s counterpart to Thomas Pynchon’s Chums of Chance in Against the Day. A musical anchor in this romp with visionaries like William Blake, a Pilgrim 810, Charlie Chaplin 1909, painter Alma Warren (as Moore’s alter ego), the Warren/Vernall family, drunks, midwives & morticians could be Malcolm Arnold, were he not in St Andrews Hospital (like Lucia Joyce). A different tone might emanate from Dusty Springfield, were she not off her rocker as a lesbian outcast. It begins in rain and storm before Pruvost with girl’s voice quasi as Phyllis Painter becomes audible between only ominously or immediately demonically pawing, crackling, scratching, rattling or picked from the inner piano, but also pianistically beaded sounds. Singsong, small-loud calls, heartbeats, EVP whispering, babbling are interspersed with click-clacking and tocking blows on metal and on wood, which Orins condenses into a clattering beat. In the sinfully seething ‘Pub’ chapter, Pruvost is the drug-addicted fuck-me Marla who, in typical Moore fashion, will transform from ‘harlot of Jerusalem’ to healer and helper. And maybe it’s the Saints that Orins marches in there last. Or the brutal antithesis to his Beckettization of Moore’s pathos.