I love Bobb Bruno. He’s a one man band who plays instrumental music with drum pads and samples, all the while dressed in a crazy Japanese bunny costume and surrounded by stuffed animals (one of them is a penguin disguised as a pig!). He’s played with tons of bands and sat in on shows and tours with Fiona Apple and Carla Bozulich, but I like him best when he’s playing solo.
It’s great music in part because it combines electronic music with live, human-made rhythm, much like some of my favorite bands (Silver Apples, Can, New Collapse, Devo) do. His drumsticks are like knitting needles, crocheting different strands of music together–first trance, then black metal, then modern R&B, none of which are my favorite genres–but somehow he makes it seem dreamlike and wonderful. It’s a bit like the sound of young young childhood, but with a pinch of sadness, a dash of loneliness (makes sense, since he’s alone up there) and a splash of hope. And the transitions are so smooth, you don’t even notice things have changed until suddenly the music drops out, and he’s just tapping on one element or plays a few bars of sample with his drum accompaniment.
Sometimes I feel like I’m part of a very small batch of folks who understand his music and like it, but that’s changing. All of Bobb’s musical friends–from Jon Brion to No Age to Nels Cline–have grown in fame and fortune in the last couple years, and he’s very soon going to be appearing in a documentary about Largo, the amazing comedy and music club on Fairfax. And Bobb has recorded a dozen or so great up-and-coming bands from L.A., such as Silver Daggers and Mika Miko. I think we’ll be hearing about him a lot more in the upcoming year.