Big Mean Sound Machine is an instrumental funk group which has been evolving since the summer of 2009. The adjectives in the band’s name are normally used to describe a Godzilla-like monster and this 9-piece out of Ithaca, NY has a sound that is far from gorgeous. While members have come and gone to aid in the experimental efforts, their urge to grow creatively never ceases to amaze their loyal fan base. Known for throwing some of the sweatiest dance parties in the Northeast, Big Mean Sound Machine has been ambitiously touring and working hard to welcome new followers with no plans of slowing down. The new fan-funded album, Runnin’ for the Ghost, is just one example of how relentless experimentation on the road can lead to something positive and fruitful in the studio.
The opening track, “Return of the March” begins with sound effects reminiscent of spaceship maintenance from a galaxy far away. The futuristic afro-beat introduction to the album peppers in the perfect amount of brass giving it a relaxing hookah lounge feel. “Runnin’ for the Ghost” features haunting synthesizer-bass interplay with a worldly drumbeat acting as the powerful nucleus. The title track is the longest on the album, inviting listeners to embark on the meanest, craziest and biggest journey of all and is sure to become a staple of their already bustling live music repertoire. “Hired Guns” takes to the streets of New Orleans for a straight forward funk piece that would mix well with any Mardi Gras influenced cocktail. Extremely danceable and groovy, the track exits on the other side of the Earth with a tribal, West African percussion section.
Big Mean Sound Machine attempts to travel to all parts of the globe in terms of musical influences and in “Burning Van” they cover the slums of Latin America. The tenor sax and trombone combine forces as other band members delicately weave in and out of the track to create a perfect theme song for any 1970’s police detective TV montage. Every band has a song that can attract attention simply based on the name. On their newest release, “Triple Bacon” is that song. While the title may induce hunger for one of our planet’s finest meat products, the gritty jazz will help you get your ass on the floor and burn some calories. The 11 tracks come to an end with “Another Grain of Sand” returning to the afro-beat and Jamaican dancehall influence that has appeared throughout the 44-minute album. An Epcot-like adventure through many different cultures and influences proves that these talented musicians have studied the encyclohpedias of sound. From James Brown to Fela Kuti, the ghosts of artists that have come before them are sure to be dancing wherever they may be.
Key Tracks: Runnin’ for the Ghost, Hired Guns, Triple Bacon