Formed in only 2008, Dominic Lalli (saxophonist and producer) and Jeremy Salken (drummer) have crafted an undeniably extraordinary livetronica sound, so distinct that Big Gigantichas sky-rocketed in popularity thanks to their legendary live performances. Lalli and Salken’s impressive musicality and vast range of inspiration showcase their depth of musical emotion. Jazz is a genre that turns some people off, that feels difficult to appreciate at times, but Big Gigantic effortlessly harnesses elements of jazz and fuses those bits with hip-hop, funk, and at times dubstep and even house, to create danceable, high energy tracks that are layered with complexity yet easily accessible. While Big G is known for its clean yet funky hip-hop drum beats, infectious sax solos, futuristic, upbeat, and often unpredictable sound, no genre is off limits to this duo. Today Big Gigantic releases their newest and highly anticipated album The Night is Young, further illustrating their open-mindedness to many music styles. The Night Is Young incorporates a healthy amount of dubstep, heavy bass, and a touch of trap while still maintaining the fiery, fantastical, soulful sound that we all have come to know and love Big Gigantic for.
Blending warm sax, wobbly bass, heavy and intense drum buildups, and beginning elements of trap and dubstep, “Clvdbvrst” kicks off the album and shocks us full-force into Big G’s ever-growing musical universe. “Clvdbvrst” is the hyper-electrified, trap cousin of “High Life” from their 2009 EP Wide Awake, with more mixed elements of electro hip-hop, jazz, and funk. Anyone else hear that familiar voice and melody also sampled in Kanye West’s “Slow Jamz”? Both seem to be inspired by Luther Vandross’s version of “A House Is Not a Home” (originally by Dionne Warwick – Fun fact: she’s the second most charted female vocalist of all time in the United States, so you could say her music’s pretty inspirational). “Clvdbvrst” demands your attention from the downbeat and blasts you through to “Blue Dream”! I was lucky enough to catch this one live this past New Year’s Eve at Roseland Ballroom, and man, did it take me back to Nocturnal. And as any Big G fan knows, recordings never quite do this band justice despite valiant attempts.“Blue Dream” is almost like Big Gigantic’s faster-paced, harder-bassline answer to “Rise and Shine.” It feels familiar yet new, fresh, and funky. With a buzzing, pulsing bassline and siren-esque embellishments, Dominic Lalli blends in flowing sax solos, each packed with a brilliant, expressive punch. I can’t help but grin because his rich sax solos in this one really are killer, characteristically speeding up in pace and building up with the beat. Dom will hold you in his his every note, keep you wanting more and more through to the highly-charged finale.
Big Gigantic sometimes incorporates vocals in their tracks, but they tend to be muted and are usually an added enhancement rather than a centerpiece. Changing it up with title track “The Night is Young,” Big Gigantic features the audacious vocals of Cherub. Whatever Cherub touches seems to demand attention and is undeniably fun and danceable, and that remains true in “The Night Is Young.” The title says it all because it’s how the song makes you feel: full of possibility and excitement. Cherub’s catchy lyrics combined with Dom’s smooth and warm sax and a fast dance beat from Jeremy give this disco-inspired track the potential for fierce popularity. “The Night is Young” builds the listener up to the album climax: “Touch the Sky.”
“Touch the Sky” is in a word infectious. Released mid-December 2013, this cut captures Big Gigantic’s fervor for unpredictability. It’s their own spin on dubstep but still maintains their jazzy, energetic nature. Their use of dubstep is not too hard or overwhelming, and Jeremy’s drum beats are fused intricately with the deep pounding electro-dub bassline. “Touch the Sky” feels like a battle between dub and jazz, a constant push back and forth: the song introduces itself with an intense rhythmic, whompy bass that pulls back for Lalli’s blazing sax to roar to life. The thundering bass and sax effortlessly move into sync with one another, and a jazz/dub frenzy detonates into a series of hard drops, until we’re pulled back into a jazz and funk reverie. It’s pretty difficult to stand still for this one; you’ll quickly be stomping your feet and singing along with the subdued but crucial vocals.
“From Dusk Till Dawn” enters faintly, increasingly layering on the distinct Big G textured rises and shimmering, cosmic synths. Featuring Jeremy’s hard drumming, and it builds and intensifies to a drum and bass delirium, which ripples and undulates over the trancelike melody. This is about the time when I can see the band breaking out their crazy cats-shooting-lasers visuals as the exhilarating beat pushes forward with urgency. “Let’s Go!” energetically presents itself; the beat grows and escalates to a house and jazz synthesis. Dom gets extra jazzy and funky in this cut and it’s especially refreshing after a drum and bass focus in “From Dusk Till Dawn.” With a bang, “Just For the Thrill'” gushes in boasting a strong beat, melodic sax, and subtle splashes of muted vocals. It catches you in its wave, and over the tense dubby bass and machine-like accents, the sax kicks in, drawing the listener back to Dom’s distinctly funky and playful artistic voice in a series of lengthy, breathy riffs. The “Thrill” makes a powerful exit, as “Shooting Stars” faintly but immediately surrounds us with its jazzy mystery. It provides a meditative recovery from deep bass and heavy sax solo vibrations, but keeps the daydream alive. Closing out the album’s journey,”Shooting Stars” ignites a reflective auditory trip, teasing us with delicate, dazzling sax melodies that wander in and out of this enchanting, dream-like track.
The Night Is Young is a musical exploration for Big Gigantic and is a tribute to their unprejudiced attitude towards any given music style, their willingness to experiment with unexpected sounds. They continue to break boundaries, dabbling in their familiar realm of jazz, funk, and hip-hop-based beats, and less familiar realm of heavier hip-hop, trap, dubstep, and even disco. There isn’t one song on the track list that encompasses all of the sounds of the album, as each track partners Big G’s familiar sounds with something divergent and less familiar. Some favorites include: “Blue Dream,” “Let’s Go!,” and “Shooting Stars.” The Night Is Young is energetic, whimsical, and experimental as much as it is funky, dubby, and soulful; these elements combined push us further into the Big Gigantic galaxy of sound and show growth in the band’s range of influence, inspiration, and musicality.
Colorado has long been envied for being perpetually showered with thousands of amazing performances and collaborations from some truly talented artists every year, and after two long years without, fans ...
Jenny’s love affair with music, culture, and politics began many years ago, and she has always found that love best expressed through writing. A graduate of the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Political Science and Religion and a minor in Music, she is fascinated by what makes people tick, move, and behave. Heading straight to New York City after graduating, she works in marketing, communications, and advertising in addition to writing, editing, and geeking out on WordPress for Sensible Reason.