December 6, 2017 | 9:32 marks the beginning of saajtak’s song “Underscore [ _ ]”, a song that rises with the waves of singer Alex Koi’s vocals only to delve into the cacophonous rhythm of what could easily be both a jazz or electronic piece. It’s a genre-defying piece, one that combines the experience of electronic musician Simon Alexander-Adams, drummer Jon Taylor and bassist Ben Willis as they draw from classical and jazz performance backgrounds, as well as their own personal taste.
Their experience and willingness to meet the traditional with the interdisciplinary is what makes the band so hard to pin down. The newsroom became both a basilica and a jazz club the night saajtak graced us with their music, their performance bringing texture and an unpredictable climate to what would otherwise be a typical production night. Koi’s vocals expand and constrict with the pace of the music during their first song, “Asimo’s Epilogue,” and then completely, unrelentingly overpower during “Underscore [ _ ]”. As she raises her voice ever-higher only to bring it back in, witholding it just a bit with a sly smile on her face, the pace of your heart quickens, your breath intensifies. This is a group who in style have mastered the art of pulling a rug out from under your feet, melding punk, electronic, jazz and choral with an innately physiological experience.
Their most recent EP Spokes is currently available on bandcamp and is well worth a listen (preferably in a darkly lit, expansive room so that no element of power or catharsis is lost). Soon, the band will be performing in association with the School of Music, Theatre and Dance for their Excel Career Exposition Day panel on Friday, January 26. More details to come, but if their performance above says anything, it will be a night not to miss. To stay updated on the band, check out their bandcamp here, and also their Facebook and Instagram for where they’re playing and what they’re doing.
“Underscore [ _ ]”
Alex Koi (vocals)
Ben Willis (bass)
Jonathan Taylor (drums)
Simon Alexander-Adams (keyboard/electronics)
Producer: Natalie Zak, Audio Engineers: Johanna Baumann, Ryan McDonald, and Ryan Cox, Mixing: Ryan Cox and Johanna Baumann, Videographers: Benji Trosch, Eli Winer and Sean Moore, Video Editing: Benji Trosch