Saajtak doesn't just make songs. It’s more like world-building. The Detroit-based quartet of musicians would defy you from placing them in the “experimental” category (which is usually a sugar-coated code for "weird" or "unconventional"); instead, Saajtak makes mini-rock operas for the theater in your mind, inclined most of all toward the sensory-stretching excitement and nuanced energy found only in the sometimes forceful art of absolute boundary-pushing.
The groove they set is a slow burn, but it gets deep. It’s a mixture of patience and entrancement, it seems, the way each of the four respective artists mine their individual expressive quarries, spreading out the terrain with each of their meticulously arranged patterns and melodies — be it the time signatures of the percussion; the interweaving ambient latticework of the guitar and keyboards counterbalanced spacey-buzz and brooding fuzz; or the uncontainable arc, flutter, and soaring quality of the lead vocals. The spell the band casts on songs like “Hectic” is such that it would almost seem like they’re finding a four-way harmony by chance, that otherwise, they’re almost in their own lucid dream.
Meanwhile, the Sterling Remix of “Hectic” gets a bit jazzy and new-wave at the same time; the saxophone is isolated and coils near the top, while a new sheen reminiscent of videogame soundtracks is added to the keyboard and guitar. As the chorus hits, with the trilling winds and swooning timbres, it might feel as though you’re drifting right out past the stratosphere. Finally, there’s the Polyhop Remix of “Hectic” that features Kadence, an emcee from Ann Arbor’s hip-hop scene. The beat is slowed down to a pensive stride, while the instrumental elements curtain around the raps like a quiet storm. “Hectic/ What could you be your want if the form was formless” raps Kadence, over a James Bond-esque draw of orchestral strings.
What if the form was formless… It sums up the allure of what Saajtak do so well. When they’re not tied to conventions, they can become veritable musical acrobats: the melodic equivalent of aerial ballet that is not tethered, but instead, reaching toward the next trapeze.
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