on Blue Ice Vinyl
Aa (“Big A little a”), one of the quintessential house bands of Brooklyn’s mid-aughts loft party/DIY scene, has returned with their new full-length, ZebrAa. The album is both their rawest and most accessible to date, combining a live-tracked barrage of triple-drummer beats and polyrhythms with a cacophony of digital psychedelia and vocal hooks. Like DIY underground contemporaries such as Dan Deacon and Black Dice, this latest incarnation of Aa builds on a track record of restless experimentation within a sound that is unmistakably their own.
ZebrAa was written and recorded with a lineup of drummers that spans the band’s decade-long history. Mike Colin, a percussionist and psychiatrist, played in the band’s earliest incarnations from 2002 to 2005 and on its first LP, 2007’s gAame; Hank Shteamer, a writer for publications including Rolling Stone and Pitchfork as well as a drummer and vocalist in his band STATS, first performed with Aa from 2005 to 2006 and appeared on 2014’s LP voyAager; and Julian Bennett-Holmes, a composer of contemporary classical music, has played in Aa since 2013, in addition to being a member of Fiasco and Zulus . The fresh rhythmic chemistry of this trio – recorded live together at The Civil Defense studios in Brooklyn – is paired with vibrant electronic sounds and vocals courtesy of John Atkinson and Aron Wahl, the constants in the group throughout all of their full-length releases.