The Durian, the spiny, stinky fruit, is both famous and infamous in its native home of South-East Asia. Eliciting emotions that range from respect to disgust to adoration, the fruit has earned the nickname, “King of Fruits,” and has been banned in many hotels and public areas due to its smell. No doubt this brash fruit is an appropriate namesake for the Brooklyn-based live Bass Music band, Durians. The trio’s powerful presence and sound are as impressive and unique as the fruit’s funky odor.
Although the group uses recognizable elements from the newest DJ-dominated Electronic Dance Music genres, Durians never sticks to formulas. Wobbly bass lines are played from Nick Kirshnit’s hybrid MIDI/Electric bass, which come out mean, dance-inducing, and compelling. Drum n’ bass and jazz-infused dubstep beats are played by drummer Ryan Ramirez, which further provides the crucial “live” element to their music. Melodies and sounds from Eli Chalmer are provided not just by synths and sounds produced by laptop, but by live trombone, keyboards, and unique original instruments such as MIDI-Theremin.
The band was formed in Summer of 2009 in Burlington Vermont by longtime musical cohorts Kirshnit and Chalmer. The two had been playing in jazz/funk bands together for years, but instead of listening to jazz/funk on their time off they would almost exclusively listen to the new electronic music they heard out of progressive electronica artists like Amon Tobin, Squarepusher, Bonobo, and others. In 2009 they decided to form a band that would somehow play such genres with live instruments. They worked on deconstructing the elements that go into the various Bass music/Electronica genres, and using a combination of Ableton Live and their hybrid electronic/acoustic instruments to play those elements for live audiences. The success of the project eventually compelled them to move to New York City, where they met drummer Ryan Ramirez, a recent transplant from North Carolina. Ramirez, an already accomplished session drummer with Soul/Funk ensembles, had been inspired by Electronica drummers such as Adam Deitch, Jo-Jo Mayer and KJ Sawka.
After releasing two EPs, and a few singles, Durians have been growing in notoriety in the North-East. They find themselves at home in a variety of scenes, from EDM, to IDM, to Jamtronica, even picking up fans of jazz and heavy metal. They will be releasing their first full length album in March 2014 entitled “Synergy For Sadists”.
“…This is live-instrument electronic music on steroids, featuring dance-inducing break-beats and drum and bass amongst a psychedelic swirl of sonic delights.” – Ed Dufresne, Montpelier Times Argus
” …like Aphex twin and Squarepusher but they take it to the next level…” – DJ Lovelace, Brooklyn Radio
“…booming synths, heavy drums and instrumentals reminiscent of alien screeches — so bombastic that the floorboards shake.” – Lauren Harrison, Newsday, Long Island
“an ambitious and highly danceable experiment, recalling STS9 at their most electro, or perhaps Daft Punk at their most organic” – Dan Bolles, 7Days Magazine, Burlington, VT