By: Nick Boeka
For the jazz musician, a signature sound or genre might not be enough to satiate the need for new outlets of expression. Boulder jazz notable Dominic Lalli (The Motet) and his latest endevour, Big Gigantic, look to push the electronic envelope and turn a few heads in the process. Teaming up with Jeremy Salken on live drums, and recently signing with 1320 Records, the freshman release, Fire It Up is certainly going to do more than just turn heads.
What is most noted throughout the entire album, available for free download, is the lack Lalli's primary instrument, saxophone. In fact, this intentional missing set of tones, which was traditionally a fundamental part of Lalli's sound, makes an immediate statement that it's the production he wants to showcase here. Salken's contributions are present throughout the process; strong drum and bass riffs coupled with ease and precision playing making for a polished sound. Salken is more of a presence in the live setting, where he's driven by Lalli's production and improvisations, than what's presented on Fire It Up.
As the title track takes hold, recent collaborations with Alex B (Pnuma Trio) and Eliot Lipp shine through in the mix. In fact, where Lalli puts down the sax, he replaces it with carefully crafted Lipp-esque synth lines comprised of classic modulated keyboard sounds. Even after the glitchy beginnings of "Get Your RowDY ON!", the chorus breaks way for a lead line that summons memories of old 8-bit Zelda melodies and epic conquests to come. There is cohesion to the sound here, solidifying ideas and concepts that have been being fostered in their live appearances since teaming up in late 2008. The final tracks indicate the direction Lalli is taking as he picks up a bit more grit along the way. The closing "All I Do" brings the listener through the rest of the musical journey. This year has already proved to be a big, no, gigantic leap into the electronic scene that has quickly taken hold of the Denver area, and at the next dance party you get down at don't be surprised to see Lalli and Salken leading the way.
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