27
Nov
09

Music Review: World

-by Devdutt Nawalkar

Artist – “Gigantic Brain”

Album – “World” (2009)

Back in the early days, Gigantic Brain used to be a ridiculously clumsy one-man project of a certain John Brown from Virgina, U.S. His music got labelled ‘cybergore’ or ‘cybergrind’ or something like that. What it really did sound like was a grind soundtrack to your favourite Atari game from twenty years ago, an evolutionary misstep caused by unethical breeding between the monster boss at the end of the Contra arcade games and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was lo-fi, sloppy as all fuck yet insanely catchy, fuzzed out drum-machine fueled goregrind probably done by a balding single guy with a protruding gut and a bong for best friend. But it did have its charms, not unlike those present in a particularly fat girlfriend. Sure, you emerge from a bout of fucking feeling silly and slightly repulsed, but it’s great while it lasts; there’s plenty to explore, grope and lose yourself in. And you can always ask for seconds since there’s so much to go around. Now imagine that the fat girlfriend is also a sci-fi nerd with a penchant for dressing up as Princess Leia though she really resembles Jabba The Hut and that she has a certified mean streak which sees her strapping and subjecting you to unmentionable trespasses. That, in essence, was the Gigantic Brain I remember from The Invasion Discography (2004).

The Gigantic Brain of today bears little resemblance to that entity. I’m not very familiar with the post-rock/metal genre so I won’t take any liberties in drawing references. But it does seem like Brown has whole-heartedly embraced the sparse, ambient ethic of that particular strain of music and made it his own. Gone are most of the crazy, binary-odes to video games and invading monsters from foreign dimensions. In their place are soothing, almost meditative yet somewhat melancholic, synth-driven instrumentals that seem to have a running thread through the album. This music would not sound unseemly as the score to movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, or, more recently, Moon. Or the upcoming Ubik, for that matter (I can’t wait to see how they screw it up. Fuck your eyes, Hollywood). There is an epicness about it, an almost requiem-like quality that laments the passing of a simpler time, and a hesitancy to see in a more impersonal, technologically-driven age.

All’s not lost for fans of the band’s earlier sound though. There are a few harkbacks to what brought Gigantic Brain to the party in the first place – short, lacerating bursts of grind designed to blow windows but these are almost always infused with the newfound contemplative aesthetic. It may have sounded disjointed in lesser hands but Brown’s improved songwriting sees it through and highlights the juxtapositions between past and future mentioned earlier.

Comparisons could be drawn to Devin Townsend’s solo work and the Ocean Machine album. There are also a fair few nods to industrial and techno, admittedly genres I’m not overly fond of. But Gigantic Brain incorporates it sparingly and only within the context of the album’s theme, much like how Alienation Mental used it on Ballspouter.

Gigantic Brain’s sound has changed drastically and old fans may find it a bit unpalatable if they’re expecting more of the same. While I love the earlier stuff, I find ‘World‘ a much more involving and, ultimately, enjoyable album. Check it out if you like pop, ambient, etc, and if you can stand to ignore a few minutes of metallic grinding.

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3 Responses to “Music Review: World”


  1. November 27, 2009 at 10:37

    “But it did have its charms, not unlike those present in a particularly fat girlfriend. Sure, you emerge from a bout of fucking feeling silly and slightly repulsed, but it’s great while it lasts; there’s plenty to explore, grope and lose yourself in.”

    Boy and girls, this is called brilliant writing.

    Like


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