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Saajtak, Brennan Connors & Stray Passage, Hope Simulator Pro

  • Art In 1444 East Washington Avenue Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
Photo by Zachary Zweifel.

Photo by Zachary Zweifel.

Detroit band Saajtak plays bizarro avant-rock epics that, for all their length and complexity (three of the four songs on their 2017 EP Spokes run past the eight-minute mark), feel bracingly efficient. Vocalist Alex Koi meanders between fragmented spoken-word and soaringly dramatic melodies that remind me of the New York band Barbez, while Simon Alexander-Adams' electronics and keyboards supply rippling arpeggios and counter-melodies. Drummer Jon Taylor and bassist Ben Willis (a former Madisonian and a member of Lovely Socialite) create an undercurrent of martial rhythm and grim distortion, heightening the suspense in Koi's voice and yielding ambitious music that often sounds like prog with the fat mercilessly stripped away. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: November 12
Bad Education (free)
Later Event: November 15
Spotlight Cinema: White Sun