The new-as-they-come duo quietly cut against the grain by building a fluid and open musical conversation.
When writing about Against Interpretation earlier this week, Dummy’s Sel Bulut spoke about sensing in Saa something greater than another “boy-girl electronic duo”, looking squarely at the all-too-common power dynamic that we see so often between male producers and female vocalists. It’s a point that has the potential to open a can of gender-based worms: casting the male producer as some kind of puppet master, with the laptop-crafted production dominating the track’s shape, the female voice serving as the cherry on top. It’s also a formula that, if an act like AlunaGeorge can build on the broadsheet hype and really break it big this year, could easily lead to a future flurry of more calculated, characterless imitations.
Beyond all of that, it simply seems that the notion of rigidly dividing instrumental and voice in electronic production is a totally outdated prospect in 2013. From the get go, though, Against Interpretation moves complexly and undefinably in opposition to such ideas. Things thump into action with driving bass that stays steady against crumbling layers of vox, before finger snaps direct us into Linn Carin Dirdal’s central refrain, “waking up to another interpretation of you”.
At this point, Against Interpretation appears to solidify into more hook-led pop, albeit one surrounded by tumbling percussion and obnoxious synth melodies. But akin to Linn’s partner – whose day-to-day existence, the song suggests, is built around reinvention – things keep spiralling into more deconstructed territory. And what really makes it soar is the manner in which Linn’s vocal moves around and inside of Asher Levitas’ production – making it fluid and unpredictable, forcing the listener into a second guess until the end.
With only three tracks up on Soundcloud – all posted earlier this week – Saa are as fresh a proposition as they come. Their two additional cuts also show promise: The Coming and Going of Delight makes excellent use of those sweetly hushed sections of Kate Bush’s All The Love, and Untitled (Dooper) elegantly drifts off into Cocteau Twins-like dreaming space. But with Against Interpretation in particular, Saa have crafted a pop-abstracted space rich in dialogue and communication – and one that crafts an enticing blueprint to build upon.