new music: chicago post-punk trio ganser’s ‘less ep’ is stunningly heavy #soundcheck

February 9, 2015

Ganser’s Less EP opens with a sample from a Nina Simone interview. “This is what compels me to compel them and I will do it by whatever means necessary.” The clip sums up the DIY mentality and drive, but the larger interview it’s taken from is more powerful than those few words:

Words by Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

“I think what you’re trying to ask is why am I so insistent upon… giving out to them that BLACK-ness, that BLACK-power, that BLACK pushing them to identify with black culture; I think that’s what you’re asking. I have no choice over it; in the first place, to me we are the most beautiful creatures in the whole world, black people. And I mean that in every sense, outside and inside. And to me we have a culture that is surpassed by no other civilization but we don’t know anything about it. So again, I think I’ve said this before in this same interview, I think at some time before. My job is to somehow make them curious enough or persuade them, by hook or crook, to get more aware of themselves and where they came from and what they are into and what is already there, and just to bring it out. This is what compels me to compel them and I will do it by whatever means necessary.” -Nina Simone

Where the clip might set up a fast paced rager, Ganser follows with an anxious post-punk drive that keeps the tension simmering underneath. Alicia G.’s dark bass line leads into a spacey guitar lead and menacing synth underneath co-lead singer Nadia G. “GOMER” teases a lot of tension and build from minimal pieces. “Sun Ghosts” leads with a haunting atmospheric synth. The band balances their contrasting instincts for atmosphere and drive well. “Sun Ghosts” finds Alicia G. behind the mic, an icy delivery juxtaposed against drummer and guitarist Maxwell G.’s anthemic tendencies. The song ends with a drum solo because conventional song structures are overrated.

On “Low Blow” the band crosses the line between post-punk and proto-goth, with Alicia G. switching from a cracked spoken verse to a screamed chorus. “Neue Menschen” meanwhile envelops Nadia G.’s vocals in a swirling mess or reverb and pre-verb. A dissonant guitar and synth line echo Kraut-rock tendencies. The band saves their most atmospheric moment for last; the glitchy stuttering “Black Box.” Distorted vocal samples, gitched out synths, and massive pads vie for space with Alicia and Maxwell’s pounding rhythm section. It’s epic, it’s tense, it’s disorienting, and it leaves you breathless.