Studio Grooving with BIG Something

Howdy folks, and welcome to another salubrious Saturday Selection! Sorry I’ve been absent from your lives for the last couple weeks, I started a new job that takes up a lot of my time, but I’m trying not to let it slow me down.

This week I bring you the brand-spanking-new self-titled album from the funktastic jam band extravaganza known as BIG Something!

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You may remember BIG Something from when I wrote about their live album collection back in July. Well the groovy group of musical masterminds is at it again, this time with a full on studio album, which gives a distinctly different feel to their deep, expansive, tumultuous, and generally funkadelic sound.

For those of you who are pressed for time, the long and short of my opinion on this album (the TL;DR, as it were), is that while BIG Something is an excellent album, and the production/mixing on it are truly impressive, the highly-polished studio sound is missing something. There is some key ingredient, some Chemical X, that only seems to be brought on by the combination of BIG Something with a packed room full of hard-grooving, funky fans.

This lack isn’t something that is unique to BIG Something however, as I notice the same problem in pretty much every jam band studio album I’ve come across, from BIG S. to Phish to the Grateful Dead. It’s not that there is anything bad about jam bands in the studio, I always enjoy the albums, and BIG Something is no exception, it’s just that I find myself missing the raw, spontaneous, je-ne-sais quoi that comes with a jam band doing what they do best: grooving in front of a live audience.

That said, BIG Something is still a fucking dope album. The lack of live spontaneity is balanced (heh) by a truly masterful production/mixing job that manages to weave together the many varied levels and rhythms of BIG Something’s sound into a beautiful, totally cohesive whole.

For the best example of this beautiful cohesion, check out what is far and away my favorite song on BIG Something, “Good Man”.

While I love every tiny detail of this track, the thing that really gets me is the ridiculously funky, hip-hoppy synth rhythm that is at the root of the song. That, and the fucking insane EW (electronic wind instrument) solo that tears up the end of the track.

If you like this song, definitely check out the rest of the album, it’s available for 8 bucks on BIG Something’s bandcamp and is well worth the money. If you don’t like “Good Man”, well, I’m not really sure what to say to you, but you’re probably in the wrong place. Maybe you should go listen to Beyonce’s new album, or, I don’t know, Justin Beiber or something.

For those of you who ARE in the right place, I’m going to embed BIG Something’s live album down at the bottom here, just for shits and gigs. It is a truly incredible piece of work, and a total steal at only $7 on bandcamp. If I were closer to North Carolina I’d sell all my possessions and go follow BIG Something around on tour for a while.

That’s all for now kids, enjoy your weekend!

– Zev

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