Sawak - “No Pulse”
Oh - you wanted your music to be well-behaved, predictable, and remaining in the confines of one specific genre or style? Did you not SEE the unsettling over-digitized cover art or read anything into the phrase “No Pulse?” This release by multinational band Sawak meanders through many different territories and zones, amassing a catalog of instrumentation, sounds, and field recordings from which No Pulse is forged.
Right from the lengthy opening number, Tibetan, we hear the sound collage style of Sawak in full effect, blending rock, with more eastern influences, including field recorded city streets of faraway places, and droney meditation sounds. Field and Horses carries on this vibe with droning organ sounds, varied percussion and audio from distant lands. Occasional saxaphone and synth embellishments flesh out the sound even further.
At every turn throughout No Pulse, there is nothing but pulse - the heartbeat of percussion, the rhythm of life, the merging of ideas and sounds into one cohesive melange. This recording is just as much a peek into the tastes and passions that make Sawak tick as it is an exposition of their musical abilities. The track Mirrors switches gears with a driving, groovy analog session full of snappy beats, swirling psych energy and xylophone garnish. Radio Free Apocalypse closes the record with a spoken word transition into a soothing synth composition that ebbs and flows into a distorted field of glitch and mixed signals before blinking out of existence.
For adventurous souls looking for an unusual journey, No Pulse can certainly provide an ever changing natural metronome to one’s steps. The seamless way that Sawak transitions from one musical idea to another provides a continuous listening experience suitable for long periods of aimless self-reflection and creative ideation.