K. Leimer :: Savant

In the Pacific Northwest of the late ‘70s, electronic composer K. Leimer dedicated himself to enveloping, minimal soundscapes, but in the early ‘80s, he launched Savant, an ambitious studio project involving a large cast of players – including Marc Barreca, Op Magazine publisher John Foster, and members of Seattle power pop band the New Flamingos – to explore a new jittery, stitched-together sound featuring elements of post-punk, industrial, progressive rock, and funk. “Some guys I knew, some I didn’t know. [They] seemed to be willing to give some time to it and work in a non-traditional way,” Leimer says, reflecting on the release of Artificial Dance, a newly released collection of music drawing from Savant’s 1983 album The Neo Realist (At Rest), 12” singles, and unreleased tracks.

The compilation is his second archival release for RVNG Intl., following the sublime ambient collection A Period Review: Original Recordings: 1975 — 1983. Leimer has continued making music, running the Palace of Lights imprint, and developing new approaches to art and sound. He discussed the Savant era with Aquarium Drunkard via phone from Hawaii, where he now resides.

Aquarium Drunkard: What inspired you to start working in this unique fashion, bringing in musicians to play and editing those performances together into new things?

K. Leimer: In a way, it was a lot easier. There’s something about sitting in a studio at that time with a click track and a couple of instruments and working your way through things…it can be very tedious and frustrating. The stuff I did for [RVNG Intl. collection] A Period of Review when I was first starting obviously wasn’t interested in rock or any kind of beat [driven] stuff really, but that’s also kind of fun. It’s such a saturated presence in culture, then and now, that it seemed like it would be interesting to take the ideas that I had been exploring on my own and apply them to a different set of circumstances.

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