Gigantic Ant
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Gigantic Ant

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Gigantic Ant"

Gigantic Ant’s music is just as intriguingly eccentric as its name. Their long, multilayered instrumental meanderings are smooth, highly listenable fusion rock with a jazz-funk twinge. The most interesting thing about nascent quartet Gigantic Ant, though, is that in the space of one song, their sound can go from dark and murky to bright and jovial.
“Most of the songs follow this ‘tragic/comedic fugue’ kind of formula, where things change constantly and its funny and sad and foreboding and nonsensical all at once,” said Jared Howell, the band’s keyboardist.
Howell and his drummer brother Donovan Edelstein envisioned forming a band like Gigantic Ant long before meeting the rest of their bandmates. Donovan was introduced to Gigantic Ant’s guitarist Balaji Mani at a party at his apartment while the brothers were still playing as a duo under the name Piano Bastard. Edelstein and Mani bonded over a shared love for bands The Bad Plus and Phish, and arranged to play together. While re-tooling Piano Bastard songs, the three musicians, plus former bassist Jared Ball, realized that they had great musical chemistry. When Ball left the band, they played and practiced as a trio until Zach Colton moved to Boston and replaced him, rendering Gigantic Ant complete.
The group’s first gig was at the Oberon Theatre in Harvard Square, during which Mark Wood form the Trans-Siberian Orchestra opened for them -- quite the coup for a newly formed band. Their repertoire is entirely instrumental, and with song names like “Real Bear Has Bones” (a line from a blooper reef of a Muppet’s movie) and “Good Point, Mr. Wolf” (a reference to quantum physicist Fred Alan Wolf), entirely memorable.
“If you can say everything you need to say without words, then lyrics seem unnecessary. So far, we’re been making our point with just music,” said Mani, who added that if a particular song necessitated it, he could see the band working with lyrics in the future.
Even though their songs are entirely without words, the band’s intent is to tell stories with their music. “We try to have funny song titles, we try to have a good 'hook' at the beginning and keep things moving at a good pace, we try to be unpredictable, and we try to have satisfying, thematic endings. To me, they are similar to film scores without films, so a serious piece of music with an absurd title is ideally something that's just conflicting and interesting enough for listeners to even want to try to make sense of it, and hopefully they interpret it in a meaningful way,” said Howell.
Their sound is very experimental, and dominated by swift melodic turns and odd meter, which Frank Zappa’s music played a part in influencing. "I like how his songs have tightly orchestrated parts but there is still a sense of looseness. I think it helps the music breathe. And I am generally fascinated by things that breathe,” said Edelstein.
Edelstein’s characterization is also largely descriptive of his own band’s music: it seems to surge upward, then gradually slow, conjuring an impression of sound as living, breathing thing. Gigantic Ant describes their songs as including an “element of surprise,” which could not be more true; their sound thrives on the tension of anticipation.
What’s in store for Gigantic Ant in the future? “I hope we can play the Super Bowl Halftime Show when we’re in our fifties,” said Jared, while Donovan’s dreams are a bit more modest: “I’d like to record an album of the songs that we have thus far. And it would be great to tour around so we can see how different people react to our music.”
Check them out live at All Asia this Friday – just in case Super Bowl tickets are difficult to come by. - CNC Music Productions

"The LMC helps out at Bexley Beast Roast, featuring Gigantic Ant 4-24-2010"

The LMC helped out this Saturday with sound for one of the annual concerts on campus, Bexley's Beast Roast. A variety of area bands and many MIT bands played.

A large part of the show was a band by none other Balaji Mani of Hester and the Prynnes who played a number of covers and improvisational modern hip rock/jazz. We were pleased to find more than a few Phish covers, a favorite of the guys, and well, more cowbell. Gigantic Ant kept the crowd that had been there all day engaged and excited. It was a corkscrew slowly twisting open the bottle that is the smooth jam that Phish brought to us, only better.

As members of the group, including Balaji, move on past MIT, we wish them well and hope they'll come back and see us! Beast Roast was quite beastly, and the LMC was glad to help - MIT Live Music Connection


Gigantic Ant, an experimental instrumental band formed at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, has been through quite a few line-up changes. Currently they are down to a trio after their guitarist left the band. He is still at large on their Gigantic Ant LP, a collection of songs highly influenced by their heroes Frank Zappa and the Benevento/Russo Duo.

They hover between early Seventies progressive rock, jazz and fusion. They walk the fine line between noodling that doesn't go anywhere and inspired improvisation. They are more "rock" than Medeski Martin & Wood, and especially the interplay between drummer Donovan Edelstein and his brother Jared Howell make this album a pleasure to listen to. Now that their guitarist is gone this collaboration can expand - being a trio can be a blessing in disguise for their further musical growth. With a bass player like Zach Colton covering their asses, the sky is the limit. - Here Comes The Flood


Gigantic Ant LP
1. Huxley
2. Real Bear Has Bones
3. Timeout, Orlando!
4. Hell of a Nice Guy
5. Mr. Coffee's opus
6. This is Serious
7. Good Point, Mr. Wolf
8. Look at all that Mongoose
9. Schrodinger
10. Has Anybody Seen My Keys?
11. Skull on a Podium

Total Easy Ride EP
1. The Tino
2. Elephant Warfare
3. Everything is Changing
4. Orange You Glad?
5. Careful With That Fax, Machine
6. Total Easy Ride



A piano trio inspired by power trios, Gigantic Ant is pioneering instrumental rock-fusion. At a young age, brothers Jared (keys) and Donovan (drums) started exploring their songwriting abilities. Composing material based on theory instead of technique, they literally had to teach themselves their own songs.

After bringing in Zach Colton to play bass, they began to solidify their vision for a new sound that would be just as fun to listen to as it was to perform. What resulted was a very deep and intense style of music that exploits every human emotion and continues to grow. Within the span of a five minute song, you'll go from Latin America to New Orleans to Detroit, from 1685 to 1969.

Frank Zappa fused humor and aggressive composition. The Bad Plus fused jazz and rock. Keith Emerson pushed the boundaries of synthesis and piano chops, and Rush made odd-meter cool...

...and Gigantic Ant took notes.

Band Members