Savath and Savalas



    Savath and Savalas’s Apropa’t was the worst kind of record for reviewers, the kind that wakes them up in cold sweat in the middle of the night because they know too good or too bad a review might reveal them as fakes. Most reviewers played it safe by cautiously praising Scott Herren, a.k.a. Prefuse 73, and his peerless producing techniques while acknowledging its shortcomings as a showcase for songs. In the end, Apropa’t is immune to any such criticism; it is at once immensely personal and indescribably cold. At the time of its release, it should have been compared to the most unusual aspects of Bjork’s Vespertine, but really it has no peer.


    Landing on Earth just a few months after their initial collaboration, Scott Herren and Eva Puyelo birthed Manana, only a slight evolution from Apropa’t, but notable nonetheless. The two interludes, "Interludio Inconcreto" (which begins the eight-song EP) and "Interludio Humedo" (which leads into the seven-and-a-half minute claustrophobic closer "Equipatge De Flors Seques"), sound as if Herren’s Prefuse alter-ego had gotten a hold of his Savath and Savalas recordings. In fact, Herren uses his knob-twiddling skills much more in the foreground here than anywhere on Apropa’t; the final song is more a sound collage designed to evoke cinematic emotion than anything resembling even the most abstract of Herren and Puyelo’s collaborations.

    The song structure is much more definable on tracks like "Dema Vindra," which uses an acoustic guitar and building drum tracks to give the folk proceedings a decidedly Brazilian feeling. There are some unexpected moments as well, most notably the quick Japanese pop sample at the end of "Ya Estoy De Vuelta," which recalls similar Prefuse moves but seems superfluous here. That the music would evoke Prefuse so often is largely the point. It appears to be the EP’s intention to argue that more is indeed more, whereas the entire appeal of the earlier record was the minimalism that revealed its complexities only after devoted listening.

    Manana is still a worthy companion to Apropa’t. But it is worth noting that despite my mild disappointment with the results, I am still happy that I didn’t receive eight outtakes from Apropa’t to review. That album was a self-contained jewel, and the continual evolution of the Savath and Savalas sound makes its future incarnations worth anticipating just as much as the next Prefuse 73 album is.