PLY - Rends-toi-Julie 1. PLY - Rends-toi-Julie
PLY - Rends-toi-Trinklied 2. PLY - Rends-toi-Trinklied
About Rends-toi & Cluzel by David Sanson.
As exemplified by Gainsbourg, «spoken-word», is one of the most effective ways to make French sound good, or even just «palatable» in «rock» idiom, in the broadest sense of the term. In this domain, however, it can be as tricky to free oneself from the influence of such a tutelary figure as to escape the easy route..
What strikes us when discovering the work of PLY, however, is both a density and a rawness of sound and meaning, a radical and singular approach, rubbing together language and music to articulate them through disarticulation, to unite them trough intercourse rather than marriage. This can be heard in both records, respectively made of 4 and 6 songs, the EP being a possible miror version of the LP.
Like two facets of a symbiotic duo, to say the least... one perhaps a little sunnier and more bucolic than the other – traversed by sounds of nature, the rustling of cicadas or the chirping of crickets, extra small choirs and African kalimbas, the Cluzel EP was recorded during one summer in the Aveyron countryside (southern France).
This dense matter, this singularity, this sound that cannot be reduced to a single current undoubtedly result from the sum of influences as much as the extremely rich and cunningly polymorphic paths of Mathias Delplanque and Guillaume Ollendorff. The former grew up in Africa, studied at the Cergy Art School (near Paris) and simultaneously operated in the fields of sound creation, electroacoustic music and club scenes, sometimes under the «Lena» moniker. The latter, based in Berlin, has made two records as Tse (including La Ralentie, on which he sang texts by Henri Michaux and covered Einstürzende Neubauten), played with Colder, and published two essays on music (Berlin Sampler and Chaosphonies) under the Théo Lessour pseudonym, thus demonstrating an equal love for Berlin cabaret and Jamaican dub.
This is what can be found, either disjointed or disclosed, in these two records where, over a backdrop of a dark and spectral dub, both damp and cold, or urban environments reminiscent of the appeased but abrasive late Neubauten (Rends-toi), the suave and deep voice of Guillaume Ollendorff utters in a breath, a kind of clammy dread, a form of decadent poetry and cold-wave as close to Gainsbourg’s Hôtel particulier (especially the Rappelle-moi /Julie rock diptych) as to its possible role model, Des Esseintes in Huysman’s À rebours.
Both records are striking in their organic scope, in every sense of the term, as much in their music as in their lyrics – there are bodies and matter, flesh and tissues, in these sagacious and salacious texts, expressing desire and joy, dizziness and addiction, ecstasy and stupor. Two albums that could have been recorded on an obviously cult cargo between Ouagadougou and Berlin, whose tracks unfold like tiny and static journeys, as if one was reading through a devilishly addictive cosmic strip...
Side A : 1.Le roi gouré / 2.Rappelle-moi / 3.Julie
Side B : 1.Rends-toi / 2.Trinklied / 3.Et puis…
Rends-toi was recorded and mixed in Nantes and La Boissière between february and august 2017.
Mathias Delplanque : Bass, electronics, various instruments, editing, mixing.
Guillaume Ollendorff : Lyrics, voices, noises, editing.
With Alice Dourlen aka Chicaloyoh (voice on Le roi gouré, Rappelle-moi and Rends-toi), Pierre Bouglé (drums on Rappelle-moi), and Anne-Laure Bourget (daf sample on Rappelle-moi).
Mastering : Norscq
Cover photography : Aëla Labbé
Back in Vital Weekly 1055 I reviewed Ply’s first release, ‘Sans Cesse’, now it’s time for a follow-up that is one LP and one mini CD (twenty seven minutes, so perhaps not that mini?). The duo of Mathias Delplanque and Guillaume Ollendorff return with new pieces and various guests. Delplanque is responsible for most of the instruments, and Ollendorff for lyrics, voices, noises and editing (the latter in collaboration with Delplanque of course). According to Serge Gainsbourg ‘spoken word’ is one of the most effective ways to make French sound good (sayeth the information that came with the release actually), and true that is. If you are in France try and whisper the street names like Etant Donnes do their poetry and you’ll see it makes beautiful sense. As before the music by Ply is about text and it’s a beautiful language, but it’s a bit hard to understand what it is about if you have no idea what these texts means. For all I know it could be “Jesus Christ is our saviour”, “satan is a great guy” or “vital weekly is a rag”. Judging by the slow, jazzy beats, spacious guitar and sparse keyboards tell me that it’s probably none of that, but then what it is? I don’t know. It sounds like sitting in a cafe in Paris, in the mid 50s, a place filled with smoke, drink and jazz. And all is in black and white and throughout there is a mysterious atmosphere with some odd sounds appearing in this bar. Ollendorf’s voice is deep and has a great narrative quality, Delplanque’s music is equally like a story, sparse most of the time, but very much there, I should think. There is not much difference in approaches for the LP and the CD, I think, and perhaps it’s a bit that the CD is only this long. I would not have minded a few more. (Frans de Waard)
After Sans Cesse in 2016 and Cluzel in 2018, Mathias Delplanque and Guillaume Ollendorff release a new album under the name Ply, as the last one produced by the label Warm. Listening to the first of the album six tracks, “Le roi gouré”, we immediately perceive an author’s approach, textual and dramaturgical, including some poetical loops full of romanticism, bohemian atmospheres and elegiac songs. A Gainsbourgh-style voice lies behind the sound waves, that are very accurate and sometimes violently conquer the scene (see for example the title track “Rends-toi”). In other passages an elegant and downtempo electronics lead the stylized narration across a double path. From one side, there is a delicate and melodic pleasure, thanks to the presence of electroacoustics elements, as in previous works; on the other side, a contrast, with experimental and gently noises arrangements. A composer, performer and music critic, Delplanque has in the past made releases with labels such as Low Impedance, Cronica e Baskaru. Here he keeps the tension constantly high, with the use of some western style aria, on the edge of post-rock, or with very indirect references to a specific orchestral classic tradition. Following Ravel’s Bolero, in “Rappelle-moi” Ply develop a sort of “composition for orchestra without music”, where the insisting sound choreography leads the weave movement. Maybe their previous experience as “spectral music” musicians influence some passages. The authors focus on analysing the sound’s physical phenomena that occur to create the atmospheres. They also reconsider the importance of the time factor, with their work on the pauses and the reprises, the geometrical caesura and the dilated spaces. Better known as Tsé, Guillaume Ollendorff is always on point. His voice is always searching for a balance between the different parts, a balance that might be erotic too. His attitude is very experimental, but also very chanson française. There are many different influences in the duo and the results are eclectic: elegant, enjoyable from different sides and also coherent and abstract.