Artifical Dance collects the recorded work, released (The Neo Realist (At Risk) LP and a single 12″) and unreleased, of K. Leimer`s studio project Savant. A collaborative project with Leimer at the controls, musicians from Seattle`s `80s underground rock scene, including ambient composer Marc Barreca, John Foster (Op Magazine), Alex Petit (Moving Parts), Jim & David Keller (New Flamingos), Charles Bronson, Kevin Hodges, Roy Finch, Dorothy Cross, Bob Rogen and Dennis Rea, were invited to record, under the banner Savant, at Leimer`s home set up, Tactical. Leimer would ask musicians to swap instruments and then provide click tracks for improvisations, which were taped, and subsequently dissected and looped. Leimer was searching for something unique and outside of genre by “looking for flaws, for faults, to act as the stand-out features of the music.”
“Using Words” cuts up vocals and a military break that could have been lifted from Chris Stein`s “Wildstyle” soundtrack or the Hip Hop avant-garde of Bill Laswell`s “Praxis”. There`s the scratchy rhythms of Lizzy Mercier Descloux`s “Mission Impossible 2.0” and a Wobble / P.I.L. like bass, with tape manipulation making a sound like gulls, rather than Lydon, screeching. Obvious comparisons are other high profile pioneers of Revox experimentation, Eno, Byrne & Czukay. Hypnotic edits creating fractured Funk and stop / start Reggae. “Neo-Realist” is Vito Ricci`s performance art with a paranoid psychotic Talking Head up front and backed by Basquiat`s Gray. “Shadow In Deceit”, “The Shining Hour” and “Knowledge & Action” all explore World Music textures. Frantic tribal electronics, hurriedly clanking. Machines and samples in robotic repetition mimicking the noise of big game calling in harmony. African plain ambience. The sun rising on an industrial imagining of the Serengetti. I can hear a whole host of other artists who gained far wider recognition employing similar methods. Apart from those mentioned above, Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel spring to mind and I wonder did any of these artists know of Savant? Were they copping their chops? Conversely were Savant listening to their contemporaries? What did Leimer make of “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” and “Baselines”?
“Heart Of Stillness” has mechanisms within mechanisms, clicking and rotating, rocking back and forth, keeping the intricate time of a Swiss watchmaker. “Sensible Music” is a half speed precursor to DJ Shadow`s “Midnight”. “Deceit In Passion” tumbles like proto-Drum & Bass.
Savant’s “Artificial Dance” will be released by RVNGIntl. on September 4th.