HELL’S KITCHEN stehen für originellen High-Energy-Blues mit Schmackes, Herzblut, mächtigem Spielspaß, viel Gefühl und absolut null Langeweile. Die regelrecht surrealistischen Schweizer sind unangepasst, eigenwillig, dickköpfig und entpuppen sich doch umgehend als toll! Ihr werdet begeistert sein!
Rural roots, urban rock and tribal trance are the main ingredients of the new blues recipe brewed by Hell’s Kitchen, with a little help from Rodolphe Burger —former leader of legendary European underground band Kat Onoma, no less. The surrealistic Swiss group fuses post-industrial influences and gutbucket blues with primal, hypnotic energy, light years away from the bland politically correct sounds of FM radio, from the creative vacuum of soulless virtuosity. Regardless of its non-EU origins, Hell’s Kitchen proudly boasts European roots and American influences on this mindboggling piece of recording.
Hell’s Kitchen is Bernard Monney on vocals and guitar, Cédric Taillefert on drumcussion (as this musical blacksmith calls his idiosyncratic drum kit) and Christophe Ryser on the double bass. In addition to their respective instruments, the three compadres are likely to be heard beating on ventilation ducts, mauling dry pasta, throwing objects, pounding on dustbin lids, rubbing washboards, and grating washing machine tumblers while screaming, howling and stomping their feet. “Dress to Dig,” the title track from the album, is a perfect example of the group’s frenzy as they can be heard torturing a frying pan, a glass, a garden chair…
The fourth musketeer rounding up this unlikely trio played a leading role in the making of this recording: Rodolphe Burger, with a slew of experimental projects to his credit, has worked in the past with artists as diverse as French rockstars Jacques Higelin and Alain Bashung, free jazz and blues guitarist James Blood Ulmer, and others. Burger added his own production touch as the mixing sessions of Dress to Dig were in the making, the members of the group recall: “For six straight days, he gave us the very best of his talent and inventiveness! He was the one who really picked up the raw meat we had on our plates and cut it up into pieces, spiced it and grilled it to perfect tenderness.”
This encounter of the third kind between the young Swiss group and the seasoned underground rock star is not as surprising as it may seem, Hell’s Kitchen bringing strong European flavors to the most American of New World musical idioms with a flair and spunk lacking most blues devotees outside of the US. Much like reggae and bossa nova, karate or yoga, blues has become an international commodity, and glory be to those, outside of the African-American community, who manage to grace it with a dose of their own culture and experience.
Shying away from smooth vocals and guitar heroics, the members of Hell’s Kitchen see themselves as musical pioneers, modern-day sorcerers feeling free to innovate in the lab. Their ultimate goal, far from the polished and aseptic blues sounds currently produced today, is to give the genre back its original relevance, entrancing spirit, and vibrant energy.
Yet Hell’s Kitchen doesn’t limit its repertoire to blues. In addition to Rodolphe Burger, other artists have expressed their interest for their vision, including singer guitarist Tété, who has appeared on stage with the group. A recording project with Bashung was also in the works, unfortunately interrupted by the latter’s death.
For the past few years, Hell’s Kitchen has been burning up European highways, making weel-received appearances in Russia, England, Italy, or Portugal at festivals like Eurockéennes and Paléo. The trio has been offered to perform at the Deep Blues Festival near Minneapolis—the king of neo trash blues events—on two occasions, and intends to keep on preaching its special brand of blues across the planet in the near future. Let there be no doubt, Hell’s Kitchen’s nostalgia-laden echoes and contemporary sounds are here to stay!