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on 19 December 2008
On Saint Dymphna, Gang Gang Dance does very similar to what Battles did last year, or what bands like This Heat and The Pop Group achieved in the late 80's and early 70's respectively; hint at seemingly every single popular stylistic trend and genre that can be identified in modern underground music, yet craft an end-product that has almost no touchstone on the planet. Also like Battles and The Pop Group, hypnotic exploration of grooves, twitch-jerk unpredictability and the avant garde are the unifying philosophy behind everything here. But listening to Saint Dymphna, there's no telling where it'll be from track to track. shoegaze, post-rock, tribal world music, hip hop, dance punk, psychedellia, vocal samples, spoken word, noise, and all the bloops and beeps of club music are just a fraction of the elements that the band touches upon, often all within the same track, and none of which can even approximate a description of what listening to this album is like.

"Vacuum" sways to trash can drums while some sort of cybernetic wailing melodically mimics a guitar effect from Loveless. Spazzed out dance tracks like "First Communion" and "Desert Storm" are cluttered with spontaneous shrieks and howls, while punchy guitar squalls and constantly shifting percussion alternates with piercing synth effects. "Dust" and "Inners Pace" are the ambient explorations with electronics, samples and third world music that David Byrne and Brian Eno should've been doing this year. Then somehow, somewhere in between all this chaos, there's the song of the year, "House Jam," a club-friendly masterpiece of a song, which really just has to be heard in order to be believed. Timbaland once called M.I.A the "music of the future," but her minimalist meandering sounds like oldies in comparison to the masterful brushstroke of post-modern style and experimentalism that is achieved here. (Aron Fischer)

For fans of: Cut Copy, MIA, The Pop Group, Battles, The Knife
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on 19 December 2008
On Saint Dymphna, Gang Gang Dance does very similar to what Battles did last year, or what bands like This Heat and The Pop Group achieved in the late 80's and early 70's respectively; hint at seemingly every single popular stylistic trend and genre that can be identified in modern underground music, yet craft an end-product that has almost no touchstone on the planet. Also like Battles and The Pop Group, hypnotic exploration of grooves, twitch-jerk unpredictability and the avant garde are the unifying philosophy behind everything here. But listening to Saint Dymphna, there's no telling where it'll be from track to track. shoegaze, post-rock, tribal world music, hip hop, dance punk, psychedellia, vocal samples, spoken word, noise, and all the bloops and beeps of club music are just a fraction of the elements that the band touches upon, often all within the same track, and none of which can even approximate a description of what listening to this album is like.

"Vacuum" sways to trash can drums while some sort of cybernetic wailing melodically mimics a guitar effect from Loveless. Spazzed out dance tracks like "First Communion" and "Desert Storm" are cluttered with spontaneous shrieks and howls, while punchy guitar squalls and constantly shifting percussion alternates with piercing synth effects. "Dust" and "Inners Pace" are the ambient explorations with electronics, samples and third world music that David Byrne and Brian Eno should've been doing this year. Then somehow, somewhere in between all this chaos, there's the song of the year, "House Jam," a club-friendly masterpiece of a song, which really just has to be heard in order to be believed. Timbaland once called M.I.A the "music of the future," but her minimalist meandering sounds like oldies in comparison to the masterful brushstroke of post-modern style and experimentalism that is achieved here. (Aron Fischer)

For fans of: Cut Copy, MIA, The Pop Group, Battles, The Knife
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on 22 March 2009
I first came across GGD at an ATP festival and off the back of this chance live encounter bought the 'God's Money' album which unfortunately left me massively disappointed... loads of idea's going on but no direction.

Since then i stayed well clear until my brother convinced me that this album was worth taking notice off. I pleased to say that progress is massive and GGD seem to have condensed the excitement & variety of their live show into a focused record with a unique sound.

Quality is consistent throughout the album, however 'Saint Dymphna' does have some a few tracks that stand out massively, namely 'Princes' which features Titchy Stryder. Marrying the grimey beats & delivery of Stryder with the etherial vocals of GGD creates a track that is guaranteed to fill any dancefloor.

It's great to see a genuinely unique and talented band given the time develop their sound. As their first release on Warp it once again shows the label's impeccable taste and ability to get the best out of diverse artists.
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on 4 August 2010
Saint Dymphna is the sort of album you will enjoy if bands like SALEM, Yeasayer and Koudlam are your deal. It's not an album you'll enjoy if bands like Snow Patrol are.

Gang Gang Dance explore a real range of ideas on this release, and fundamentally, it's a great record. The tracks are complex and showcase sounds and technical production that is significantly ahead of a lot of other acts out at the moment. For this reason, it's a great album to absorb with repeated listens.

Only occasionally does the experimental approach flag a bit with tracks like Inners Pace and Princes; mixed and mastered well, but just lacking a bit of the energy and drama of the other tracks on the album.

I still highly recommend this album for anyone looking for a bit more individuality from their music. A great act, and a great example of what music can be when your open your mind to new ideas.
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on 9 October 2008
Long-time darlings of New York's ultra-hip, art-conscious underground music scene, Gang Gang Dance look braced to make a wider breakthrough with their new album `Saint Dymphna`, released in the UK on Warp. Like their contemporaries Out Hud, Gang Gang Dance makes a hybrid of post-rock and electro, punk and dance. But while Out Hud and particularly their sister act !!! (chk chk chk) often veer towards house and disco, Saint Dymphna is mostly scary, volatile stuff. While there are certainly parallels with LCD Soundsystem, GGD's take on dance-punk has less cross-over appeal and more in common with the darker acts on the DFA roster such as Black Dice and The Juan McLean. Despite the gorgeous Kate Bush-remixed-on-a ZX-Spectrum (if I may) of `House Jam', Saint Dymphna is surprisingly un-dancefloor-friendly - sonically wild and sometimes abrasive. It combines some of the oblique electro sequencing of (fittingly) early Warp acts like Black Dog with a live-sounding spontaneity and ritualistic insistence on rhythm that recalls the Boredoms and ooioo.

With most its tracks segueing together into one passage, Saint Dymphna is a journey of rushing peaks and noodly valleys. Lizzi Bougatsos's vocals - somewhere between Bjork and Yoshimi Pi We - will not be to everybody's taste, her spontaneous yelps and howls riding the vagaries of the music as if driven by tribal fervours. The trancelike quality also recalls math-rock mavericks Battles but there is less insistence on precision and groove, more on Dionyisan abandon. Like ooioo there is also a new-agey, cod-mystical influence that creeps stealthily into their music. One minute you could be listening to Autechre, the next ('Dust' for instance) it's all tablas and cosmic wonder - the transition is so subtle however, and the music abstract enough, that you don't begrudge the pan-global pick'n'mix.

There is a raw, un-trebly aspect to the production that reminds me of Portishead's Third. They have retained the live aspect of the sound, a concert hall reverb (whether real or artificial) tangible in the same fashion as Pit er Pat's recent `High Time`. `Bebey' begins the album with waves of synths and, er, pitter pattering metallic drums. The melodies at the core are unmistakably oriental and gradually this abstracted, global melodic signature insists itself. I'm very much reminded of Black Dog Productions classic `Bytes', and how very blunt, mechanical textures are layered into pseudo-oriental grooves. `First Communion' bleeds out of the opener with sudden orgasmic yelps from Bougatsos and a thrilling assault of synths built around a punk groove: think Crystal Castles jamming with ooioo. It's an exhilarating hit of high-octane noise that ends abruptly on a thrilling high.

`Blue Nile' is bluesy, a dubby post-rock/house hybrid in the Out Hud school while `Vaccum' is synth-driven prog that reminds me vaguely of Boards of Canada disciples Kelpe. `Princes', with its garage beats and unlikely guest MC spot from UK Grime rapper Tinchy Stryder, seems a bit too zeitgeist grabbing - like those dance hip hop collaborations (Roots Manuva and Leftfield, Prodigy and Method Man) that surfaced in the late 90s. But it works better than it should, a full-on sonic mash-up of cavernous bub bass, insane synths and Stryder's abrasive East London raps. The flight-of-stairs-falling-down-a-flight-of-stairs electro of `Inners Pace' is like a carnival (or just a riot) in a Tokyo amusement arcade, while `Afoot' finds the singer making what sounds like some kind of political diatribe over massive landslides of dubbed out effects, cascading walls of echo chamber. Avant-garde electronic music for fans of psych rock, Saint Dymphna should suit fans of both. Cacophonous, adventurous, OTT, sometimes relentless but never ordinary, fans of all forms of experimental music should look no further.
First Published at The Line of Best Fit
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on 21 December 2015
Masterful, complex, genius. Will leave the listener slightly confused on first listen, but at the same time longing for more. Blaze up people, let's do this.
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on 28 February 2009
Flashes of brilliance but mostly a disappointing unpleasant noise which never lives up to its potential.
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