Dusted Reviews

Gang Gang Dance - Rawwar

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Gang Gang Dance

Album: Rawwar

Label: The Social Registry

Review date: Sep. 13, 2007

The career trajectory of Gang Gang Dance seems anachronistic. The ethos of the band was born out of a profound boredom with the whole of the music and art they encountered. This drive to be other than has always been the ground note of the avant-garde, but it usually works in the other direction. Generally, an artist is unsatisfied with the norm and strikes out to find a new equilibrium. The very definition of avant-garde demands that an artist keep pushing outward. That said, Gang Gang Dance started pretty out there with collage material that resisted form and basked in the intrinsic pleasures of sound and noise. Their breakout record, God’s Money, saw them reining in the chaos and molding it into something that was as cerebral and immediate as it was strange.

On Rawwar, the band have taken yet another move toward shape and structure. The EP is slight but solid, the three songs just cracking the 20-minute mark. “Nicoman” opens with that Peruvian-flute sound the band likes so much and plays up a sort trans-European gypsy vibe from there. Tim Dewitt’s propulsive drum work pulls it together and is what ultimately separates the track from the references it makes.

One of the few analogues to this musical arc is Cornelius Cardew, who after a long and fruitful discipleship under Karlheinz Stockhausen and later John Cage, abandoned their conceptual practices as elitist and devoted himself to writing “songs for the people.” There is no reason to think that Gang Gang Dance have any explicit populist intention, but their music is getting easier to listen to. The real success here is that the band is doing so without seeming the least bit conservative.

The closing “The Earthquake that Frees Prisoners” is the most somber piece on a record that never aims to recapture the raucousness of prior recordings. Synths wash and ebb as Liz Bougatsos whimper-croons. The drums enter and enjoyably mimic machine-style beats. Lightly chopped vocals, cat meows, and field recordings enter and exit with frequency, gesturing towards the familiar GGD. Synths rub up to the boarder of atonality. The cuts, as if glued together by school children, somehow find a natural pulse.

Fans might balk initially at a given passage or riff (“Oxygen Demo Riddim” sort of conjures RPG video game music), but taken together, Rawwar is the work of a band that is pushing its music in the only apparent direction remaining. While this music may seem more conventional than previous work, as with Cardew, it’s the sort that can only be arrived at through a teeth-cutting journey into the experimental, and therefore it’s a necessary and natural development in the band’s progress into untapped musical territory.

By Brandon Kreitler

Other Reviews of Gang Gang Dance

Revival of the Shittest

Gang Gang Dance

God's Money

Retina Riddim

Saint Dymphna

Read More

View all articles by Brandon Kreitler

Find out more about The Social Registry

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.