Most people relate the saxophone to the Weather Channel, high school band class and Lisa Simpson.
The powerful and vocal woodwind instrument, most commonly associated with jazz and big band, most certainly does not go hand in hand with electronic music. Big Gigantic would disagree.
Big Gigantic, a Boulder, Colo.-based duo consisting of saxophonist and producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken has been producing its anomalous brand of music since 2008. A mix of electronic, jazz and hip-hop, it's not an easy task determining just what kind of music Big Gigantic produces.
The moniker Big Gigantic fits them well. To be only a two-man group, Selken and Lalli must be required to make a considerable contribution to their product. Their final product is impressively thick and elaborate.
Big Gigantic released their sophomore effort, "A Place Behind the Moon," in September 2010. They belong to a growing roster of acts supported by 1320 Records, an independent label operated by a popular electronic band, Sound Tribe Sector 9.
In this collision of an instrument that dates back to the mid-1800s and noise created by computers, Big Gigantic makes a visionary statement. Dominic Lalli adapts his sax to fit into electronic music, or perhaps vice versa. Jeremy Salken provides the booming percussion consistent throughout the work.
"A Place Behind the Moon" is an all-instrumental album and plays like a soundtrack to a psychedelic space odyssey. Imagine existing on an alien planet where the only earthly instrument transported to this place is the saxophone. The sax is mixed with futuristic ambient and electronic noise to create what could pass as 24th century jams.
Looking at the "A Place Behind the Moon" album cover and the song titles is enough of an indication that Lalli and Salken imagined an intergalactic adventure for this work. "Looking Back" and "Sky High" easily represent a space craft take-off. Songs like "Shine" and "Cloud Nine" even contain what could be alien transmissions.
Even though time travel is physically impossible in present day, Big Gigantic succeeds in a mental transport of listeners on "A Place Behind the Moon." Electronic music has always had an advanced quality about it; Big Gigantic is focused on the forward-moving motion, but doing it unlike anyone else in the genre, putting a very non-industrial instrument at the forefront of their presentation.
With the saxophone, of course, comes a jazzy feel to many of the songs on "A Place Behind the Moon." The drums provide beats, resulting in the hip-hop feel of the album. "Lucid Dreams" and "High and Rising" are excellent examples of Big Gigantic's ability to merge these influences with post-modern sound.
"A Place Behind the Moon," the title-track, which is only included as a bonus with the album purchase, is the most organic song of the album. Featuring members of STS9, it has softer percussion, making the sax a bit more audible.
The complexity and heavy percussion of "A Place Behind the Moon" may cause a headache for some listeners. Those that like to get up and move will probably have a greater appreciation. And for listeners who are fans of hip-hop beats, but not the sometimes abrasive lyrics that come with them, Big Gigantic is a winning alternative.
Big Gigantic is very atypical, even when it comes to the electronic genre. "A Place Behind the Moon" is a trip worth taking, especially if your ears are progressively adept.
"A Place Behind the Moon" is available for free download at BigGigantic.net.