With ‘VoyAager,’ multi-drummer experimentalists Aa (“Big A little a”) – one of the quintessential house bands of Brooklyn’s mid-aughts loft party/DIY scene – have returned with their first US release since 2007. The heady new album, out on Northern Spy Records, expands dramatically on the band’s primordial polyrhythms + noise palette to embrace lush digital psychedelia, enveloping vocal textures, and unexpected explosions of pop melodicism. The thunderous live drums that have always been Aa’s hallmark are still very much in the foreground, and now frequently hybridized with electronic beats and percussive blasts.
While clearly in dialogue with contemporaries like Black Dice, Gang Gang Dance, Parts & Labor/Dan Friel, HEALTH, Dan Deacon, and others, Aa’s continuous evolution has mapped out an utterly singular course. ‘VoyAager’ spans diversely unique sonic worlds – from the ecstatic drum workouts of “Glow Wreath” and “Fish Phone,” to the menacing, post-industrial grind of “Mossy” and “Gowntower,” to the vividly atmospheric electropop of “Koosh” and “Eyebells,” and other previously uncharted territories.
Painstakingly produced by the band with long-time collaborator Billy Pavone and mastered by drummer Josh Bonati of Bonati Mastering, ‘VoyAager’ works both as deep headphone listening and as blisteringly loud, heavy-in-the-red avant-rock. Recorded over several years in Brooklyn, New Jersey, Los Angeles, and southern France, and following tours of Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the album vibrantly reaffirms the band as one of experimental rock’s one-of-a-kind institutions.