Combining drum & bass, R&B, jazz, rock, and dubstep, Jojo Mayer and his bandmates have created a hybrid of all things live and electronic for the past eighteen years, touring relentlessly and along the way delivering their sound to audiences around the world. Currently working towards the completion of their new studio LP, this week the band released their first live album, Live in Europe. Compiled from ten days of touring during their fall 2014 tour, the album is an auditory assassination of bass, snarky drumbeats, glitch, down-tempo, and jungle.
NERVE, the brainchild of legendary drummer Jojo Mayer, got its start in New York City during the last few years of the 20th century, playing improvised electronic music with live instruments in what was a heavily DJ saturated scene. The small rooms provided the perfect backdrop for fans and spectators to see the magic first hand and up close. Live in Europe encapsulates the live experience of a Nerve performance for the first time in the band’s history. The trio has delivered an authentic capturing of their live setting, blending art, music, man, and machine.
“Them,” the longest track on the album clocking in at over twelve minutes is a hypnotic blend industrial house, dub, and angelic synth lines. “Ambient Soup” conjures up Close Encounters of the Third Kind type power with bellowing bass reminiscent to one lying at the bottom of an empty indoor Olympic swimming pool with the subs turned up to 11 ricocheting off the walls and reverberating through your entire body. “Everything Can Change” hints at influences of psy-trance.
The mastery of this album is the sheer talent of the sum of its parts. Mayer’s deadpan replication of electronic drumbeats in the live setting on an acoustic kit is extraordinary. Over the course of the album’s eleven tracks, the first time listener will repeatedly forget that they are hearing a live band and not a MIDI pad and turn tables. That’s the power of this record: three outstanding musicians perfectly duplicating what was once only possible with digital effects.
John Davis on bass exhibits a patience and ferocity expertly complimenting and driving the unique techniques used by Mayer, the two perfectly in synch. Jacob Bergson on keys & synths takes the listener into the land of digital dreams, carrying us along as the group patiently navigates 180bpm.
Mayer, Davis, Bergson, and sound engineer Aaron Nevezie, who is equally as valuable to the group as the other three, have rejuvenated while renewing the genre of glitch and drum’n’bass. As NERVE currently continues booking tours in Europe, Asia, and South America to coincide with the release of their LP release this fall, setting a reminder for yourself to monitor tour dates and pick up Live in Europe would be highly suggested.
You can stream the album in full via Bandcamp.