“mAates” – Aa (Big A Little a)
A good album will make you warm inside. A great album will make you homesick for a place you’ve never been before. And the new album by Aa will make you question whether you are, in fact, on planet Earth at all.
Big A Little A is the musical project of Brooklyn-ites Aron Wahl, Josh Bonati and John Atkinson. This music is primal, tribal; but this tribe is not native to anywhere that a human being has ever stepped foot on. These men play drums as though they are extensions of themselves and are so excited about the fact that they are playing drums that the air is full of guttural yelps and nonsensical screams. These tunes would not be out of place in the jungle, the space jungle that is for the drums themselves are backed by an orchestra of synth and sci-fi zaps.
With track lengths ranging from less than a minute to tracks spanning a full ten it is, at times, hard to know when one frenzied track has finished and the other has begun. This is not easy listening. But if you persevere and listen to the album in it’s entirety (and you really have to listen track by track, no skipping here folks) you are rewarded with hidden moments that can be quite beautiful. Especially on stand out track Horse Steak, a track that is as delicious as it’s title. Concealed within six minutes of hurtling screams and snare seizures is a synth build up reminiscent of German electronica, but with slowly rising drums these guys come into their own and make an ethereal landscape to get lost in. This album is truly a mountain of sound.
If you like your music to be a thoughtful experience that you can enjoy in the background then this album probably isn’t the album for you. But if you love an album that can transport you to another world and make you want to dance in the rain screaming at the sky then you are in for an experience. For those intrepid listeners brave enough to embark on this quest for rhythm there is another land awaiting you; and this land is a loud one.
– Jonty Thompson