Big Gigantic provides more of the same on its new upbeat album

David Lee, Blogger

Although the songs on Big Gigantic’s latest offering, “The Night is Young,” are largely indistinguishable, the new material offers more of the group’s signature sound and more fodder for its legendary live performances.

For the uninitiated, Big Gigantic is a duo consisting of Dominic Lalli, a virtuosic saxophone player who provides the electronic production, and Jeremy Salken, who provides powerful drum beats.

My first introduction to the group was Governors Ball 2012, when the largely unknown duo electrified the crowd even though they were opening for more established acts. I had heard some of their music off of 2012’s “Nocturnal” and was blown away by how entertaining the music was. I thought it was just one guy standing behind a desk creating this music. When a drummer and a saxophonist came onstage, I was thrown for a loop. Yet their set was so much fun that I remember female concertgoers screaming praises like, “You guys should be headliners!” and “I wish I was that saxophone!”

And boy, does Lalli know his way around that saxophone. He graduated from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music with a master’s in jazz performance, after which he performed with an Afro-Cuban band called The Motet. 

Lalli channels all of his musical energy — of which there is an outrageous amount — into a unique, hardcore, energetic and pounding electronic sound.

The only real complaint I had was that after Big Gigantic walked off, I was exhausted. There was not a single break during the whole hour to stop jumping and catch my breath.

The off switch separates “The Night is Young” from its predecessors. The title track has a noticeably laid-back vibe to it, very reminiscent to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” “Shooting Stars” begins with a lengthy saxophone interlude. The band’s trademark banging drums don’t even enter for an entire minute and eight seconds.

But for the rest of the time, Big Gigantic is doing what they do best: making music to jump with. To be honest, the fast-paced songs blend into each other and remain indistinguishable. Only one such song is entitled “Let’s Go!,” but honestly, the album should really just be one track with that title. Big Gigantic is not in the business of creating songs, though. The group is crafting and perfecting a sound, and I will gladly listen to its innovative approach to electronic music.

The album is absolutely spectacular, perhaps Big Gigantic’s best work yet. And although they sound great on recordings because of Lalli’s on-point production, I am most excited to see them somehow blow the roof off of an outdoor stadium live. Now, when they come to Chicago for the 2014 Spring Awakening Festival, they won’t be relegated to middling status. They are headlining alongside big names such as Diplo, Kaskade and Tiesto. Steve Aoki is actually opening for Big Gigantic on the last night of the festival. 

So although this album is mostly more of the same, it serves as a coronation. Welcome to the big leagues, Big Gigantic. You absolutely deserve to be here.

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