PascAli is a contrabass duo featuring Sean Ali and Pascal Niggenkemper that is dedicated to exploring the terra incognita of music, sound and improvisation. The “prepared” bass is a central theme and method of PascAli’s music. Augmenting their instruments with kitchenware, aluminum cans, balloons, mallets, lampshades, and almost any other kind of found object imaginable, PascAli creates entire worlds and soundscapes out of the noises their basses produce in this altered state. This unique bass duo, unique even among the tiny world of bass duos, makes music that ranges from serene contemplation to manic frenzy, invoking the sounds of space and stillness on the one hand and visceral percussiveness on the other. Liberating the bass from its traditional role as an accompaniment instrument, PascAli brings the bass into the foreground with a tireless mission of discovering and unlocking new vistas of sonic and aural experience.

PascAli Sean Ali  & Pascal Niggenkemper - prepared basses

CD reviews ‘suspicious activity’ creative sources 2012

..."the CD is an intelligent introduction to two innovative bassists approach to expanding the double bass soundworld"...

D. Barbiero -Avant Music News read full article

..."That’s why I feel like saying that PascAli is indeed a group more than a duo"...

P. Casertano Freejazz-blogspot read full article

..."When both bassists are bowing those low end groans/drones together, it is as if some giant is snoring in the enchanted woods... It is strange that some of this sounds electronic or alien, just how are they doing that?!?... Most impressive!"...

B. Gallanther Downtown Music Gallery read full article

...”Frappant, sciant, fouettant, vrillant, Niggenkemper & Ali dépassent la simple tentative d'épuisement de la contrebasse : ouf !”... by Guillaume Tarche © Le son du grisli

...”Even if they avoid any kind of processing, effects and electronics, they manages to keep their sound genuinely acoustic and impressively descriptive, so that you don't really need a review to understand what you're going to listen to!... ...The mere listening of a CD could deprive the listener of the pleasure of their bizarre ways for the transfiguration of double-bass, as I'm pretty sure you'll wonder about the techniques and objects they used to turn their musical instruments into squawking chickens ("Chicken Talk"), shredders... ...I'll leave you the pleasure to explore the remaining sketches of pure sonic camouflage”... by Vito Camarretta in Chain D.L.K. read full article

...”Un duo de contrebasses préparées avec une grande diversité de propositions sonores souvent surprenantes et contrastées...   Absence de phrases « contrebasse » même free et aucun de ces sons boisés caractéristiques. Froissements et accidents sonores et jeux expressifs entre bruitisme et construction musicale qu’ils superposent à tout va et qu’ils ont l’art de conclure avec un relâchement absolu dès que l’oreille se met à suivre le déroulement. Moins un dialogue qu’un jouer ensemble avec une connivence totale : qui joue quoi ? Ces bruissements inventifs nous font découvrir des sons très souvent inusités qui revisitent créativement les duos de contrebasses des Kowald, Léandre et Barre Phillips... A écouter”... by Jean-Michel van Schouwburg in Orynx read full article

...’With Suspicious Activity, he has teamed with fellow bassist, Sean Ali, to craft twelve short sets of improvised yet well structured pieces for prepared bass. The results are intense and superbly performed.

...I'm really wondering if its this that is creating the sound or not. But either way it's very interesting to see what they have chosen to do with it. It's an opening piece that describes the creative spirit on display over the next 40 minutes...

Suspicious Activity is an intense session. It's the album that only you might enjoy. It's the album that will annoy the neighbors, eliminate the bad people from your party and influence people. Suspicious Activity is the beautiful document of the vocabulary of sound and space.Highly Recommended.”... by S. Moore in JazzWrap read full article

...”Suspicious Activity propose 22 vignettes musicales explorant diverses combinaisons de préparations et de techniques étendues. Toutefois, on n’a pas l’impression d’un catalogue: l’album se tient bien, l’écoute nous transportant d’une atmosphère à l’autre. Les titres imagés (“buzzing bees”, “mating whales”) dirigent trop l’écoute, mais c’est ma seule critique. Pour le reste, c’est un disque brillant”... by François Couture in Monsieur Délire

...”the triumph of this CD’s program is how many unexpected textures the two can produce acoustically without interest or ideas flagging. With the re-jigged bass strings allowing them to use extended techniques in a unique fashion, at points the warm woodiness of the basses is almost completely absent. Instead string friction, scrubs and stretches expose canine-like yelps and barks, aviary-like squeaks and squeals, car motor grinds, log-sawing and what could be throat-clearing.

On “Witch Tricks”, for instance, one man’s bass screams as if screws are being driven into its body as the other player outputs narrow snarls that could come from an English horn. On “Chicken Talk” the parallel, though never harmonious, string stops take on altissimo properties usually associated with reed instruments. Mallet blows suggest pick-axe patterns from one bull fiddler as the other sympathetically strums and twangs on “Japanese Garden”. Narratives may also involve quirks such as Ali and Niggenkemper sounding col legno strokes from scroll to spike during “Mechanics at the Balloonparty” or tightening and loosening the strings while vibrating them on “Serene Moment”. Yet despite these mad-scientist-like experiments, there’s never a question that the properties of the acoustic double bass itself is the center of this research.

This focus is what makes Transatlantic and Suspicious Activity valuable, not only as listening experiences but as glimpses into the bass’ continuing musical evolution”...

by Ken Waxman in The New York City Jazz Record &

© Richard D Bergeron