While the sound of the Glendale-based duo Gangi — composed of Matt Gangi and Eric Chramosta — has been called psych rock, that doesn't do justice to their delicate arrangement of noises and tones. It's art really, or sonic architecture (as they call it). That term might sound pretentious, if what they were doing wasn't also really good.
Gangi's output is a highly specific arrangement of sounds and tones produced by an amalgamation of instruments, computers and random noises the guys hear coming through their windows during recording sessions. It's both loose and highly constructed, high and low art, analog and digital, the product of a thousand influences and a testament to making music in an era when most noises can be accessed by a few keystrokes.
“Any music that anyone is making these days, whether you're consciously or unconsciously sampling an idea, is recycling,” Chramosta says. “It's just how you arrange it. In that way, what we're doing is experimental.”
Gangi's method of recording is essentially a process of adding and subtracting such noises until the guys find that certain something they know is “it.” Sessions have found them running out into the street to capture the sound of a leaf blower. “Even something like that, if you put a few simple chords around it, it has emotional resonance,” Chramosta says. “Put in the right context it's very dynamic.”
Gangi and Chramosta have known each other “forever,” having grown up together in La Crescenta. After a six year stint in Brooklyn, where Matt recorded a solo album while living in a shitty apartment with “mold the size of my hands,” he returned to Los Angeles and began making music with Chramosta, a session drummer and lifetime musician. The old friends recorded prolifically together, despite the fact that they had two very different approaches to sound and style.
“In the beginning Eric tended towards more angular and minimal sound and I was interested in a wash or barrage of sound or noise,” Gangi says. “I feel like on this record you can hear those two things; there's a clash going on.”
“We have a very brotherly relationship,” Chramosta says, “so when we started recording there were kinks we had to work out. Being in a situation as intense as making music collectively, which I think is very personal and emotional for us, we had to kind of figure each other out along with our sensibilities and common ground.”
That common ground is Gesture Is, Gangi's debut LP due out October 2 via their own Office of Analogue and Digital label. The duo selected the album's ten tracks from over 100 pieces of music they recorded together during the last three years. In support of the album, Gangi begins a tour in early October that will bring them around the country and to a fanbase that they say is essentially an extension of their DIT (“do it together”) artistic network. “We usually become friends with the people that are interested in our stuff,” Gangi says.
Throughout the last year they've played every state, in venues as varied as proper theaters to basements to living rooms in rural South Dakota. “We've met so many great people who helped us out and put us up and fed us and helped us book shows and passed around hats to collect donations for gas money,” Gangi says.
And while they're not yet making money from their music (“I came back from our last tour completely broke,” Chramosta says), they do gain the invaluable satisfaction of connecting with likeminded artists. “It's not easy,” Gangi says, “but I don't have a choice. I'm not happy unless I'm playing music.”
“There's no way I could ever quit doing this,” Chramosta agrees. “It's almost frustrating. It's a curse, but a positive curse.”