Welcome back to JamBase's baker's dozen to the bright lights of the music world. Last time we heard from Antioquia.
Certain music seems beamed in from another world, a thing not in keeping with what the other Homo sapiens are laying down, and NYC’s Gang Gang Dance certainly proffer such otherness. But the band’s fifth album, Eye Contact (released May 10 on 4AD) does so with enveloping warmth, a pulsing, buzzing trundle hodgepodged from myriad instruments, free form jams, house music, Middle Eastern accents and more. While they might be filed under “indie rock” there’s almost nothing resembling the animal Elvis and Little Richard unleashed nor what most of their NYC kin are churning out today, even somewhat fellow travelers like Yeasayer.
Eye Contact finds the band savoring analog synths & sequencers and the pleasures of pure texture with cuts allowed to expand and explore for as much as 12 minutes. Language is a tool in their arsenal, employed more for its sound and feel than actual meaning, context everything with Gang Gang Dance. Not since Elizabeth Fraser and the Cocteau Twins fractured the English tongue has a band done more to move musical speech into the realm of original, abstract expression mingled with small clues at meaning and creative origin, some sections clear as a bell and others wonderfully obfuscated. All this may imply that this group and their latest record are a touch weighty, but much of Eye Contact is classic New Age effervescent – Jean Michelle Jarre is owed a thank you note - and World Beat friendly but never pandering to any constituency but welcoming all. (Dennis Cook)
Here's what GGD’s Brian DeGraw and Jahesse Leelay had to say to our inquiries.
Instrument(s) of choice:
| Gang Gang Dance|
Brian: Synths, electronic percussion, mixing board, effects, sampler, drum machine
Brian: Briggs, BDG, BeeDeeGee, Degrizzles
Jahesse: Illegal J
1. Great music rarely happens without…
Brian: Attempting to contact the spirit.
Jahesse: Great people to make it.
2. The first album I bought was…
Brian: A Beethoven piano sonata from Caldor's department store at age 5.
Jahesse: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s I’m The Rapper, He’s The DJ
3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
Brian: KLF's Chill Out
Jahesse: ...."Lifeeee Is Forever" by Traxman. It’s that Chicago juke shit - so soulful.
4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
Brian: A ventriloquist. A professional BMX'er. A cool guy detective.
Jahesse: What I am but better (butter).
5. My favorite sort of gig is…
Brian: One with a really tight sound system in a smallish room where people are open-minded and can dance to non-conventional dance music….or an outdoor gig at sunset , close to the beach so you can feel the breeze.
Jahesse: The ones where you trade deep vibes and thick sweat with the audience.
6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
Brian: I work really fuckin’ hard.
Jahesse: I don’t really wish for things like that.
7. I love the sound of…
Brian: My friends Aron's elevator in his Miami apartment building.
Jahesse: My girlfriend’s voice
8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
Brian: Phillip Glass' Einstein on the Beach, KLF's Chill Out, a Jim Lambie installation.
Jahesse: …the last one but better and different. Ha ha ha.
9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
Brian: The Pieminister food stand at Green Man Festival in Wales.
Jahesse: A beautiful little restaurant in Lisbon where the staff played Portuguese folk songs and the food was simple and fresh.
10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
Brian: Spain, Lisbon, Portland, Slovenia
Jahesse: Anywhere, anytime, especially when you'd least expect it.
11. The worst habit I've picked up being on the road all the time is…
Brian: Sighing too much.
Jahesse: I think I picked ‘em up well before I started touring, probably in middle school - sex, drugs etc.
12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
Brian: Not a fan of either. I guess i'd rather have seen Zeppelin tho’ cuz maybe it would have been pretty sweet to see live....but yeah...neither band really do anything for me.
13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
Brian: Tossup between standing on a reeeeallly high mountaintop in Hawaii and being able to look down at the clouds and this one time I saw a business guy in a suit have his briefcase full of hundreds of thousands of dollars fall open by accident on a very windy day. That shit was too funny. The money was blown hundreds of feet in every direction all over this shopping mall parking lot.
Jahesse: The sunset, sunrise.
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