Release Info: Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact (2011)
Brooklyn’s Gang Gang Dance first album for 4AD begins with the spoken words of "I can hear everything, it's everything time??�. It’s the remarkable 11 minute electronic apocalypse of Glass Jar a magnificent, spiralling, sprawling opener proving an early climax on this their category-defying 5th album. Unlike their recent output, 2005’s dark-ambient masterpiece God's Money or the grime world beat of 2008’s Saint Dymphna, Gang Gang Dance chose to undertake a more fully realised writing and recording process for Eye Contact to produce their highly original and distinctively percussive Eastern groove.
Recorded with new drummer Jesse Lee replacing founding member Tim DeWit, the album was written in the peaceful Californian desert and recorded in a spacious converted-church studio in upstate New York. The result: an album that plays like a voyage or single composition with twists and turns within gloriously maze-like arrangements. Although New Yorker's may talk about this band in the same breath as their good friends and spiritual brothers in the shadows of Animal Collective and Black Dice, that won't truly describe their sound. Wielding gigantically layered primal kaleidoscopic atmospherics, Gang Gang Dance are simply a little bit scary and a lot bit good. The electronic soul of Chinese High opens with a stuttering piece of spoken word sampling like a ghost talking to themselves underneath a refrain, but once it kicks off it’s well-structured, visionary stuff.
The band’s secret weapon is the ethereal alien vocals of Lizzi Bougastos. Like another instrument, her voice is the arc around which the melodies are intertwined, weaving in and out and over the propulsive genre-splattering jazz percussion. Songs build gradually celestial wonder and cosmic euphoria and the album flies by in a seductive m?lange of non-specific, non-Western influences, tribal drums, Frippertronic guitars and bass notes like a slugs melting after being salted. There are free-improvisational aspects (which Gang Gang Dance have become renowned in a live setting) and unpredictable within their sonicscapes remain, yet there is also a sense of well-defined structure throughout. While no commercial crossover will be gained from Eye Contact, Gang Gang Dance have released one of the most captivating albums of the year. Each song is different although as an album it’s cohesive, challenging but ultimately highly rewarding.