Saajtak: Spokes EP (self-released, 2017)March 26, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
Easily one of the most original, captivating live bands I’ve seen in a long time, Saajtak are a prog-jazz-glitch ensemble from Ann Arbor but now based in Detroit. Alex Koi’s haunting, operatic vocals float over the complex, twisted backdrop of sounds provided by Simon Alexander-Adams (keyboards, electronics), Jon Taylor (drums, percussion), and Ben Willis (bass guitar, upright bass). Witnessing this group fuse their powers together and lock into their form of magic is nothing short of astounding. I just can’t even imagine how their songs and performances come together. This CD comes as close as possible to capturing their live energy. Songs like “The Keeper” are just pure mysticism. “Spokes” is more jazzy and chaotic, with synths approximating tapes rewinding at hyperspeed, and Koi’s vocals nearly lapsing into spoken word over the tumbling, crashing drums. Best of all is “Underscore [ _ ]”, a truly brilliant piece with haunting vocals and splattery, drum’n’bass-like rhythms. That one grabbed me when I saw them perform for the first time and it hasn’t let go. Too amazing for words. CD and digital available at Bandcamp.