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Gang Gang Dance has an affinity for infinity, an immediately aspect of the New York band’s latest album, Eye Contact. Three of the 10 tracks are identified with infinity signs—-they’re segues that announce each theme and mood of the album.
The band, which performs tonight at Rock & Roll Hotel, took the idea of infinity even farther during a session it shot this past May as part of its label 4AD’s series of performance videos. Inspired by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and her “infinity rooms“, the band redesigned the space of Angelic Studioes in England, turning it into a 20-square-feet enclosure of mirrors. This effect creates a sense of infinity, and in the video, it multiplies the group’s reflection, creating an endless visual repetition and magnification of their surroundings. They also incorporated the use of prisms and light in the video, playing with refraction—-when a wave changes direction due to speed.
About waves: Gang Gang Dance uses an explosive range of sine waves in its music video “MindKilla,” directed by Shoji Goto of the Japanese experimental band Boredoms. That video is just one of many collaborations between Gang Gang Dance and Boredoms. The groups first met on tour in Australia. “We vibed so well, and connected beyond music,” says Gang Gang Dance’s Brian
Glasser DeGraw. Apparently: On August 8, 2008, at 8:08 p.m. EST, GGD conducted the Brooklyn performance of “Boardrums,” an 88-minute long drum-off with 88 drummers. Three hours later, in California, Boredoms began their West Coast performance of the same ritual. A year later, the two bands played together on a cosmic Japanese cruise in the middle of the ocean during a solar eclipse.
On its own, Gang Gang Dance is no less trippy. “The whole thing is a ritual,”
Glasser DeGraw says. “It’s not just rock ‘n’ roll where we hang out and write riffs. We never discuss what we do. We get together, and we don’t speak much, and that’s how we tap into a spiritual stream of consciousness.”
The band has invoked such themes for years. In a 2006 Identity Theory interview, DeGraw discussed how the death of bandmate Nathan Maddox—-he was struck by lightning—-pushed the band onward through some unconscious way. He also talked about the artwork from their album at the time, God’s Money, on which the collaged face of Maddox stares posthumously outward in an intense and observant manner. “Those eyes are just staring at people and burning themselves into their subconscious,” DeGraw said.
There’s no visual eyeball motif on Eye Contact, but it penetrates just as powerfully as Maddox’s captivating stare. The band performs with Bubbles tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Rock & Roll Hotel. $15.