Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp

Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp. Photo provided

PUTNEY, Vt. – The Next Stage Bandwagon Summer Series presents genre-bending ensemble Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp (OTPMD) on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 5 p.m., at the Putney Inn, 57 Putney Landing Road in Putney, Vt. Mixing free jazz, post-punk, highlife, brass band, symphonic mixtures, and kraut rock, OTPMD’s sound only goes beyond the limits of genre.

“Their first U.S. tour, and we were able to route them through this area,” says Keith Marks, executive director of Next Stage Arts. “Of all the concerts we’re hosting this summer for the Bandwagon Series, Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp’s music is easily the most adventurous, daring, and worth listening to. We hope this is the beginning of being able to host them when they tour the U.S.”

Founded in 2006 by Vincent Bertholet (Hyperculte), the Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp is a large-scale project. Designed as a real orchestra, the size of the ensemble has varied over time. Now with 12 members, 14 in the past, or six at the beginning, the ensemble has scoured the stages of Europe to demonstrate that the formula “the more the merrier” has never been more true than on stage.

Whether in prestigious festivals (Paléo Festival de Nyon, Fusion Festival, Incubate, Womad, Bad Bonn Kilbi, Jazz à la Vilette) or on the four albums released since its launch, the group shows an incredible fluidity. The Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp (a mischievous title in homage to traditional African groups – Orchestre Tout Puissant Konono No1, Orchestre Tout Puissant Polyrytmo, etc. – and to one of the greatest dynamizers of 20th century art) embraces the forms of its musicians while pushing them to their limits. The result is a powerful, experimental, unstable, and terribly alive, organic sound.

These characteristics can be found on “We’re OK. But We’re Lost Anyway,” the fifth opus of the band. Built around 12 musicians, extirpated from their respective biotope, it develops a repetitive musicality which, deployed in successive waves, creates a feeling of trance. Transcendental, almost ritualistic, the music is coupled with powerful lyrics, declaimed in rage against a world that is falling apart. Adorcist, hypnotic and post-syncratic, the Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp, far from Tzara’s manifesto, is somewhere between Hugo Ball’s phonetic psalms, a Sufi procession that turns into a brawl, and a voodoo ritual, but always with a precision proper to the monomania of an asperger.

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