Big Brave (CAN)
Since their inception in 2012, Big|Brave have explored terrains of experimental rock with a clear focus on the key principles; space, volume, and raw emotion. The essence of Big|Brave’s magic has always been the way they balance these dynamics, and particularly how much sheer power comes from the beautifully quiet moments.
The same principles are the starting point for the new album, only the approach is different, beginning with the question “How do we take very little and make something bigger than what we actually have?” vocalist and guitarist Robin Wattie explains further “the biggest challenge was to not do what is easiest. i.e. what we knew worked for the last albums or what is, for us, easy to write. With A Gaze Among Them, Mathieu and I put ourselves through the ringer – I did not want to do what seemed to me to be a ‘logical next step’ in what we could do musically. I wanted to go back to our original concepts and work from there – space, tension, minimalism and voice (finding melody and musicality in pieces that consist of one note for longer than ten minutes, for example) were the primary concentrations I wanted to push.”
In the process of revisiting their early intentions, Big|Brave have boldly evolved, emerging with a thrilling new body of work that is all at once refreshingly new, explosively heavy, dynamically loud, beautifully minimal, carefully repetitive, and totally and utterly cathartic.
A Gaze Among Them features Robin Wattie (vocals, electric guitar, guitar amp, bass amp), Mathieu Ball (electric guitar, guitar amps) and Loel Campbell (drums) with guest appearances from Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt Zion) on Contrabass and Seth Manchester‘s synth overdubs.
The album was recorded with Seth Manchester at Machine with Magnets in Pawtucket Rhode Island. The beautiful image adorning the cover (created by Robin Wattie) further demonstrates that Big|Brave have blossomed.
The trio sound rejuvenateed and confident, and A Gaze Among Them is the sound of a band truly honing their craft, and feeling totally satisfied with it. Compelling. Necessary. Important.
The brand new album of Big|Brave will be out on Thrill Jockey in early 2024.
EROS & MY DISCO’s active ingredient Liam Andrews forges his solo path in industrial musics with a striking debut of panel-beat percussion and amorphous gloom for his patrons at Downwards.
Fresh from recent years’ acclaimed recordings with Boris Wilsdorf (Einstürzende Neubauten) and Karl O’Connor (Regis/CUB) as EROS, duties in his long-standing, Naarm-based band MY DISCO, and dark ambient side-project Ferenc Dezs?; Andrews mints the Aicher project as a stark reflection of time immured in a near-0º Copenhagen, channelling its Baltic Sea breeze bite and ascetic brutality in two bits of seasick percussive roil and jagged metallic sound sculpture certain to gnaw nerves of Downwards diehards.
Both parts betray Andrews input on the warehouse-like reverberations of Eros and recent MY DISCO exploits, with ‘Lack’ presenting what feels like a warehouse by the docks slowly submerging into icy waters, riders collapsing around one’s head while a chamber string quartet stubbornly play out its demise, leaving us exposed to ‘The West Retaining Wall’ where the string and buckling structure resemble The Haxan Cloak’s horror sound design or indeed the enduring influence of his sometime spar, Boris Wilsdorf’s work for Einstürzende Neubauten at the legendary Studio Baustelle in Berlin – understandable as Boris recorded and mixed the piece with particular attention to its subharmonic frequencies and cracked tone, which is fixed in space by Russell Haswell’s biting-point mastering.