Since the beginning, Big ‡ Brave has remained loyal to three fundamental beliefs: space, volume and repetition. The essence of BIG|BRAVE's sound has always lied in the way they balance these dynamics and, specifically, the pure power that comes from beautifully quiet moments. Robin Wattie (guitar, vocals), Louis-Alexandre Beauregard (drums), and Mathieu Bernard Ball (guitar) started playing together in 2010 and quickly moved toward a heavier sound over later recordings. Big ‡ Brave self-released its debut five-track EP, An Understanding Between People, in 2013 and their debut album, Feral Verdure in 2014. A year later, the trio signed with Southern Lord Recordings and released Au de La.
Over the course of four albums and long tours, Big ‡ Brave has proved that they aspire to more than staying anchored to the same sound digressions. The fourth chapter of their discography – and the third under Southern Lord Recordings –, A Gaze Among Them,presents a courageously evolved band, emerging with a strong body of new, heavy, dynamically loud, stunningly minimal, carefully repetitive, and totally cathartic work.
A Gaze Among Themis Big ‡ Brave’s most successful, effective and functioning album, that takes note of lessons learned from Au De La. Robin Wattie plays with her voice like never before and the result is enthralling and mesmerizing. The minimalist, experimental and hypnotic passages found onArdorare refined and expanded on this enthralling melancholic follow-up. Through five massive compositions and commanding soundscapes, A Gaze Among Themtakes the listener on a deep journey.
The biggest challenge for Wattie, guitarist Mathieu Ball, and drummer Loel Campbell was to stay true to the core of their sound while expanding beyond what they had already done on previous albums. “I wanted to go back to our original concepts and work from there — space, tension, minimalism and voice (finding melody and musicality in pieces that consist of one note for longer than 10 minutes, for example) were the primary concentrations I wanted to push," Wattie says. The result is a massive sound beyond comparison.
The band went back to their original concept while moving forward with what they learned during these last years on stage. There is a sense of maturity and growth in this album. The band took the knowledge they have gained and applied it to their original concepts from the start of the project. With the addiction of drummer Tasreen Hudson even the live sets sound more complete, solid and mature.
“With A Gaze Among Them, Mathieu and I put ourselves through the ringer — I did not want to do what seemed to me to be a ‘logical next step’ in what we could do musically,” Wattie admits.
This album sounds like a band that knows exactly what it is doing, that is truly refining its techniques and feeling totally satisfied with it.
WORDS: MARIKA ZORZI
PHOTOGRAPHY: A.F. CORTÉS
Live at Kingsland in Brooklyn.
“With A Gaze Among Them, Mathieu and I put ourselves through the ringer — I did not want to do what seemed to me to be a ‘logical next step’ in what we could do musically”