The electronic trio, QuasiMojo, has had a reluctance to stay together due mainly to their success.
As solo artists the group’s trio of Dean Williams, Locksley Taylor andinger Maureen Spillan have received their share of acclaim. Working together as a group could sometimes be difficult.
As the band’s front man, Williams had long ago left the group for the solitude of electronic music. Spillane moved away from the trio’s signature bleeps and cranks and Taylor went back to playing with space rockers Sianspheric.
The three wildly unique artists have recently regrouped to produce the powerfully eclectic and undeniably soulful CD Savant Garde.
From the opening “Contact Cement” to the equally soulful “Horse-Faced Woman,” the album supplies a dreaminess that’s hard to find in electronic music.
Self categorized as “uneasy listening,” the album can be more aptly described as something that might be playing in your head as background music to your life – if you enjoy moving fast.
As the main splicer and dicer of the electronic bits that form the whole of QuasiMojo’s sound, Williams struggled with his decision to return to the band.
“I’d been in and out of guitar/drums/bass-type bands and ultimately found that I loved playing that kind of music, but being in a band is like being married to three people. It’s always a power struggle rife with politics.”
While the record consists mostly of instrumental and electronic mixing by Williams and Taylor, the songs that give the group the soul exposure it needs are those on which Spillane bares all in her sweet sighs and belted highs.
That fact is never more present than in “Horse-Faced Woman,” a track on which Spillane sings about her two-year estrangement from Williams. With vocals complementing the soothing guitar, Williams mixes in a variety of drums, kranks and booms, “Horse-Faced Woman” brings it as the deepest track on the album.
Spillane says she became predisposed to music as a youngster through, “bedtime lullabies and cliff side bagpipe recitals.”
Her collaboration with Williams began during high school in 1997, with their acoustic foibles eventually morphing into electronic musings.
QuasiMojo was originally a Williams solo venture, with Spillane contributing occasionally. Williams opened for Sianspheric by himself on a few occasions, at which point Taylor asked if he was into writing music.
“We messed around for a year or so before we actually got down to it seriously,” says Williams. “But when we did, the songs started pouring out. Every time we sit down it seems like something new gets started.”
With Taylor on board (“hopefully permanently,” says Williams) and Spillane stepping into a full-time role, the threesome have formed a creative process that can only loosely be described as a collaborative effort.
“It’s not uncommon for us to shoot material back and forth developing parts on top of older parts and continuing on where the other left off but never actually working at the same time,” says Taylor.
According to Williams, QuasiMojo’s process is nothing short of chaos. “It generally starts as a progression that’s played live in a couple of takes, and invariably ends by being thrown into the blender, hacked to manageable pieces, track by track, and reassembled…It’s mad science for sure. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the results are surprisingly natural,” says Williams.
As any good scientist knows the best inventions often come through serendipity. Williams remarked, “The thing that never fails to surprise me is that a lot of the time the mistakes that occur in the process end up making a main hook; or even the bulk of the song.”
QuasiMojo will be performing Saturday night at Caf