BANG! BROS. – Big BANG! Theory (Part Two)

To be released on cassette on 4/26/19 and digitally on 5/3/19. C40 – orange tape with black imprints. Pro-dubbed at NAC on super ferric stock. 2-sided 3-panel J-Card with artwork from Sam Gas Can. Available as one tape or both parts as a bundle.

Since forming in Boston in 2012, BANG! BROS. have established themselves as trailblazing exponents of a fried strain of free jazz / noise improvisation built on the unpredictable live input of hands on drum machines and electronics. Big BANG! Theory lands on Hausu Mountain as a two-part set of tapes that follow 2016’s Food For Thoth (HAUSMO43), joining a catalog of nearly two dozen cassette releases and two LPs released on mainstay freak label Feeding Tube – one of which documented the band’s legendary (and still woefully under-acknowledged) world-record-breaking whirlwind of twelve shows in twelve different towns on 12/12/2012. The core duo of machine manglers Arkm Foam (based in Wendell, MA) and Mark Johnson (living in Brooklyn) evolves into some deranged conception of a jazz trio with the presence of saxophonist Andy Allen (ex-Guerilla Toss), whose horn alternately tethers BANG! BROS.’ freewheeling percussive jams to earth and sends them blasting off into overloaded climaxes of maniacal skronk.

In the context of their strictly live, improvised sessions, Foam and Johnson peer at each other over their individual rigs of pedals, tape decks, and analog drum machines whose individual pads have been worn down by eternal streams of manic button mashing and staccato fist slams. Despite the absence of physical drums, the performances of BANG! BROS. yield kinetic networks of bass drum bursts, cymbal splashes, and randomized snare work that bear the corporeal weight and complexity of full kit workouts. In addition to their palettes of percussion tones derived from preset banks or sampled from unknown provenances, their jams teem with one-off details of effect pedal abstractions, sounding off in sudden onsets of cavernous reverb or transfiguring trails of digital delay that warp single salvos into standing puddles of otherworldly texture. While Foam and Johnson lock into momentary shared grooves or butt heads like rams charging each other over the last scrap of food on the mountainside, Allen threads his saxophone through the mix in winding, off-kilter lead lines and moments of heavy-blown brass intensity. His playing channels the outer explorations of free jazz luminaries like Ornette Coleman and Roscoe Mitchell, while keeping one foot in the realm of smoky, noir-jazz melodicism.

Though BANG! BROS. frequently build up to overwhelming peaks of noise density in the context of their improvisations, their sessions remain far from the realm of pure and unhinged chaos. The narratives of Big BANG! Theory pass through diverse territories, including nearly empty passages where single warped tones pop through here and there in the silence, or syncopated kick/snare beats that sound like golden age hip hop production pounded out in a series of fluctuating real-time patterns. Animated as much by the mutant properties of their electronics as by the seemingly boundless extent of their physical dexterity, BANG! BROS. lay out their own unique incarnation of “free” music whose every moment bears the evidence of hands-on input, but whose composite sounds spiral off into unknown zones far beyond the corners of the extended DIY noise universe.