Following a seven-year hiatus, one of New York’s most experimental and creative names are making a colossal comeback. Gang Gang Dance’s Kazuashita (Pronounced KAH-ZOO-AH-SHE-TAH) is vibrant, diverse and captures the very essence of what it takes to be creative in the modern world. This is one album which goes above and beyond expectation and could easily see the Gang Gang Dance trio reaching all new heights.
The shifting blend of electronic ambience within this ten-piece record is incredibly diverse and allows the band’s sound to flourish. Vocalist Lizzi Bougatsos’ tones are dreamy and air-infused throughout the duration of the record and create a blanket of cohesion which really pulls the convoluted sounds together in one package. At its core, Kazuashita feels like a protest album, it’s strong messages of naturalism, anti-establishment and beauty of all things natural shines through within almost every track, featuring some incredible samples of both angry protesting and natural live sound.
The record’s leading single ‘J-TREE’ is a perfect example of this, the immediate crashing of upbeat synth and colourful noise is instantly captivating and, as Lizzi brings forth her dreamy tones, the piece flourishes into an incredibly laid back track which you can really melt into. The level of emotion within the track can definitely be heard not only through the vocals, but the sheer intensity of the sound, it feels as though each note captures a slight piece of the very essence of humanity. Easily one of the best starts to any record I’ve heard in a long while. From here the listen twists and turns into a series of varying sounds. The contrasting grittiness from ‘Young Boy (Marika in Amerika)’ feels far more intense and caging and truly feels like a song which captures the hardships and confusing state of the American youth right now. Nonetheless, the diversity of the sound definitely gives further depth to the listen.
Perhaps my only real critique of the record comes from its three mid-song intermissions, following the sheer intensity of the other tracks, perhaps instead of ‘( birth canal )’ or ‘( novae terrae )’, it would have been nice to replace these with other colourful tracks which I’m sure the band have stashed away somewhere. However, for an album which is already doing so much, it’s understandable why they would like to break each track up respectively.
Yet another stand out for this record has to be its namesake, ‘Kazuashita’ is an eight-minute masterpiece which could easily sum up the entirety of Gang Gang Dance’s sound. The pure insanity of this track makes it an undoubted force to be reckoned with as it captures the beauty of nature, diversity of modern electronica and even lists a number of bizarre sounding colours which you’ll definitely want to add to your vocabulary. Once you really get into the meat of this track, it hits all the right kind of spots and feels like a tsunami of sound which you simply can’t produce any other way.
All in all, Kazuashita is more than an adequate return for Gang Gang Dance. Seven years has given this band enough time to refine, master and deepen their sound to unprecedented levels and the results more than pay off. If you are on the hunt for a band who are testing the limits of modern electronica whilst producing a product which you’ll quickly fall in love with, this is the New York trio for you!