(Sensory Projects, April 2011)
Let me introduce you to maximalism, a term and sub-genre entirely appropriate for Brooklyn’s Aa (pronounced ‘Big A little a’). They’ve recently dropped their electrifying album mAate, comprising of tracks off their previous releases, gAame and Glossy EP, as well as two previously unreleased live recordings. The result is a chaotic array of energetic percussion awash with a tangle of experimental synth and samples, topped off with incoherent gang shouts and hollers.
The voice is utilised as an experimental instrument throughout mAate, especially on tracks such as ‘Manshake’, as energetic cries and shouts charge through the intense musical layering of percussion and synth, before dying down to a steady bass and synth beat. Similar elements are evident in ‘Flag Day’, which sees the alien-esque sample and synth intro climax into a manic frenzy of primal screams and tribal percussion. The most coherent vocals are evident midway in ‘Fingers to Fist’, a hypnotic track of tuned percussion and brief chants, accompanied by vocals reminiscent of African tribal works.
The inclusion of the previously unreleased live tracks ‘Mario’ and ‘Away Away’, both recorded at KFJC, outline that Aa are able to pull off their ‘intensely stylized DIY maximalism’ in a live setting, as they have been doing so in the lofts and clubs of New York since 2002.
While I have singled out a few tracks, mAate is best listened to as a whole, allowing the sonic chaos to invade your mind-space.
mAate’s “polyrhythmic post- post-punk digital landscape” will suck you in and surround you as you are lost amongst the vibrancy and intensity created by Aa as they unleash on their respective instruments. Whilst the experimental nature of mAate won’t cater for everyone’s tastes, it will undoubtedly turn heads and have you moving and sweating in no time.