There’s this feeling like some kind of aural vertigo in Brooklyn/Detroit art rock quartet saajtak’s “There’s a Leak in the Shielding” as though two separate songs are happening simultaneously, magically aligned and ethereally potent. Divergent sounds collide at surprising angles, melting together to create verdant sonic architecture.
The band’s approach has often centered around improvisation, but COVID-19 forced a changed approach where they would work on new music in eight-day increments, trading songs every two days and sculpting them into their final form. The result is a beguiling combination of spiraling moods and transitive sonorous spaces that connect new universes to one another. There’s so much happening that it should be overwhelming, but saajtak conjures a kind of controlled aural chaos that while maximal and over the top, also has a fine-edged focus.
“‘There’s A Leak In the Shielding’ began with me reciting from a book called The World Encyclopedia of Flags and over time evolved into a very emotional, personal story,” explains vocalist and lyricist Alex Koi (who also plays synths on the track). Alex continues, “I’m interested in history and psychology, and my musical inclinations are often maximalist. Often, my songs are heavy in symbolism and steeped in referentialism (and often devilishly difficult to finish).”
Koi describes her lyrical style as ‘polyphonic narrative’ and the countless instrumental layers buoy her approach. Electronics mix with varied percussive elements and spectral vibraphone resonance like a billowing neon sea spitting out parasitic tendrils that become their own hallucinatory islands. A solid rhythm pulses at the core with a hypnotic bassline pressing the ride forward, but all throughout a wash of synth timbres are a guiding constellation. “There’s a Leak in the Shielding” is a massive slice of pure magic.
saajtak’s For the Makers will be released on June 3 by American Dreams. Pre-order below.