The arc and trajectory on which Gang Gang Dance has propelled themselves since their inception can only be described in terms of evolution. Four individuals with strong ties to the art community and almost boundless creative energy orienting themselves into a musical collaboration whose direction is almost as unpredictable as it is focused.
Comprised of Lizzi Bougatsos, Brian Degraw, Josh Diamond and Jesse Lee, Gang Gang Dance formed in New York in the early part of the new century. Originating from the same experimental Brooklyn scene as Animal Collective and Black Dice, the bandâ€™s first recorded output was a string of records released on influential local label Social Registry. With the burgeoning arts community of which they were a part continually falling under the microscope of the wider world, Gang Gang Dance recorded second full length album Godâ€™s Money and in the process transcended all associations with their peers. Boldly forging their various avant garde influences into a coherent statement, Godâ€™s Money was wildly off kilter and out of sync with what was currently happening in the US underground.
Constructed from assorted fragments of Eastern scales, dub apexes and the inward looking gaze of noise aesthetics, Godâ€™s Money was Gang Gang Danceâ€™s first definitive document of their own voice. Grounded by Bougatsosâ€™ otherworldly vocals, the band cemented their position as purveyors of melodically stilted experimentations that aimed as much for the emotional as the cerebral.
If the more melodic elements of Godâ€™s Money suggested a wider audience was not beyond the band, it was three years later with fourth studio Saint Dymphna, that the band truly streamlined their tendency towards more outrĂ© influences into something approaching pop music. A mutant melting pot of Timbaland, The Pop Group, AR Rahman and elements of the UK underground (collaborating with Tinchy Stryder for the avant-grime of 'Princes'), Saint Dymphna cemented their status as one of the most essential and influential acts of their generation.
After touring Saint Dymphna for a few months, Tim DeWit decided to leave the band to concentrate on his producing career, which left the door open for Jesse Leeâ€™s entry as the drummer. With Jesse behind the kit, one may notice a tighter, more motorized beat; a tendency in-keeping with the bandâ€™s songwriting evolution. Now signed to 4AD, fifth album (inc. compilation album, Revival of the Shittest), Eye Contact arrived on 9th May 2011 and duly matched the incremental sonic progression Gang Gang Dance has made with each record. Leaning heavily on the melodicism hinted at on Saint Dymphna, Lizziâ€™s vocals guide the record throughout, embellished by typically intricate polyrhythms and unexpected influences. More so than before however, Eye Contact displays the bandâ€™s meticulous song craft. Indebted to dance culture, the pacing of the record is such that subtle passages and enigmatic samples give way to relentless locked-in grooves, very much shaping Eye Contact as a coherent statement of intent, defined by its purposeful construction and immaculate production.
In May, Gang Gang Dance released their first album for 4AD and fourth in total, Eye Contact. Recorded throughout 2010 with long-term collaborator Chris Coady (producer of Saint Dymphna and Rawwar EP, as well as recent releases by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Zola Jesus, Beach House and TV On The Radio), Eye Contact saw a new line-up subtly build upon the melodic aspects of their last album; the landmark Saint Dymphna.
Earlier this year, Gang Gang Dance released the mind-melding track 'MindKilla' as a double A-side 12" alongside 11-minute opus 'Glass Jar' (taken from the New York group's fifth studio album Eye Contact). Propelled by the tight pulsating beats from Jesse Lee, and eerie and ambient samples rising from the keyboards of Brian DeGraw and guitar of Josh Diamond, 'MindKilla' mixes lyrics borrowed from 'Hush Little Baby' and Lizzi Bougatsos' vocal delivery lends a deeply sinister edge to the usually...
To mark the release of fourth album Eye Contact, Brooklyn's Gang Gang Dance is the latest act to record a 4AD Session. Filmed in early April at Angelic Studios in the heart of rural England, the band convened in a purposefully built 20ft square mirrored room, encased by endless reflections of themselves.
Inspired by the so-called 'infinity rooms' of the seminal Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, the...