SID SAVANT - Last Stop On Bimini Road
Who says that an artist needs the support of a big record label to create a masterpiece? While 99% of all musicians just do what is supposedly expected of them, you still can find occasionally the odd genius who doesn’t seem to care about stylistic boundaries in order to fabricate their very own sonic universe.
Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Sid Savant is one of the rare and exceptional visionaries that has managed to come up with something quite unique in their own recording studio. Last Stop On Bimini Road is his second album, coming three years after his debut Cripls, and while I am not familiar with that first record, the new one leaves me wanting for words. Sid Savant is playing guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and sharing vocal duties with a lady called Camara, plus hiring the services of a certain Mads “Madsenjammer” Madsen on violin. I don’t know what musical education he has had, but he’s just great at all of his instruments, and the songwriting doesn’t stand back either.
The nine songs feel like they are all a part of a bigger concept, starting with two long tracks that make up already one third of the album’s length. First up is the nearly seven minute long opener Industrial Indian Death Rattle, followed by the even longer Baby Xibalba. Sid Savant is packing so many influences into this quarter hour that it’s hard for any reviewer to know where to start. The Mike Patton influence is strong, and Last Stop On Bimini sounds like one of the better albums released on Ipecac Records or Web Of Mimicry. But he never uses his experimental avant-garde approach as a means in itself, but takes care to never neglect coherent structures, even if he happens to put more ideas into one track than most other artists into an entire album.
His female sidekick is another asset that shouldn’t be dismissed. Her performance reminds me a little of Joanna Newsom, although Camara has a less shrill and smoother voice. The remaining tracks are all between two and six minutes long, but don’t expect them to be any more easy listening. Sid Savant has created a true rollercoaster through every kind of music imaginable: indie, folk rock, progressive rock, avant-garde, jazz,… At times there is a certain Zappaesque craziness, to be succeeded by incredibly beautiful melodies that might turn at any moment into incredible sadness. Then there are nods to the lesser known prog bands of the Seventies like Slapp Happy and Art Bears, but also more contemporary unclassifiable acts like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and The Shining have left their traces.
I like a lot of different musical styles, but only two or three times a year I am able to encounter an artist who really does his very own thing without regards to anything else. And is it only chance that they are never signed to big record labels? If you feel that you are up to something completely different but still entirely enjoyable, with the benefit of revealing new details every time you listen to it, then do yourself a favour and immediately get your hands on a copy of Last Stop On Bimini Road. Some may call it goth pop or cabaret rock, but in the end this is just purely unadulterated genius art by Sid Savant!