B-Sides: Sacha Sacket

The word B-Sides in black and red lowercase

I first heard Sacha Sacket's exquisite voice in 2004, when he performed on my university campus to promote his then-new album, Shadowed. Mid-walk, I sat down, stunned, until the end of the simple, voice-and-keyboard show... then hastened to introduce myself, gush, and fork over a few dollars for my own Shadowed CD. I fell asleep night after night plugged into "Kite High!"; dorm clamor could not touch me. While I have never considered myself a musically sophisticated person, I knew it was one of the most beautiful sounds I had ever heard.

Seven years later, it still is.

Sacha Sacket singing "Stuck in the Sunset" while playing the keyboard. Lyrics here.

Prior to the "harrowing" melancholy of Shadowed, Sacha entered the scene with Alabaster Flesh, a complex and intellectual exploration of mythology, queerness, and constructs of gender. Now ten years old, I still count it amongst my favorite records. 2007's love-and-loss-focused Lovers and Leaders, which is Sacha's most recent album in a traditional sense, produced more of the gorgeous melodies and lyrics that his fans crave. For example, take the following from my favorite L&L track, "How Low?":

Such an easy fall
When there was love and that was all
Days of legs and sheets and lips and come-what-mays
But there were words to say
She could watch herself complain
'Til the kiss goodnights were ruining her face
But there was never right or wrong
There were no lessons to learn
There was just the life she didn't live today
And now there's nothing left to lose
Just some love she'll never use
And a last goodbye she'll never get to say

Since then, Sacha has released an EP called Hermitage, but his most recent project, the song-a-week Viscera, might be the most impressive of all. The idea of putting together (and releasing!) new products so rapidly seems overwhelming, but in Echelon Magazine, Sacket described Viscera as a way to triumph over perfectionism and put more creativity in action than he had previously allowed. To date, 35 new songs have gone up on Sacket's Bandcamp page.

As I've said, though, there's nothing like catching the artist in person, and I've been lucky enough to see numerous live shows by Sacket since my fateful first sighting. Some were similarly stripped down; in others, he jammed hard with his awesome all-female band, The Ladykillers: Anna Rosales, Alexa Brinkschulte, and Jennifer Trani.

Sacha and The Ladykillers energetically perform "Desire" and "Cockatoo." Sacket sings and intermittently plays keyboard; Rosales plays bass guitar and sings backup; Trani plays guitar; and Brinkschulte drums. Lyrics here.

More of their brilliant sound is captured in Live at the Zone.

I can hardly guess at what Sacket may have in store next, but I expect it to have his distinct mix of smarts, emotional honesty, and haunting vocals. Here's to another seven years of fandom.

Previously:  Björk's Crystalline, Biophilia, Autry!

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