No, this is not your grandmother’s moombahton – but then Savant is no stranger to wildly ambitious concept albums exploring visionary topics.
Zion, the 10th full-length themed album from Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Aleksander Vinter, aka Savant, is one of the most unique albums of the year, diving into completely uncharted territory through its use of Middle Eastern influences. You’ll hear everything from Bulgarian chanting to Hebrew and Arabic instrumentation emerging from this funkdafied digital stew, alongside melodic breakdowns inspired by Black Sabbath (due to his rock/metal upbringing). Splitting the difference between Skrillex and Steve Reich, Fela Kuti and Daft Punk, Zion further cements Savant’s status as dance-music culture’s most unpredictable, impossible-to-pigeonhole artist.
While Savant's flagship 2012 release Alchemist topped the Beatport charts in 7 separate categories, and his previous LP release Protos, an ‘80s space-rock opera, debuted at #25 on the extremely competitive iTunes Dance chart and reached #1 on Bandcamp’s Overall, Pop, and Electronic charts, Zion, which has landed at #2 on the iTunes Dance chart, is set to surpass all of Savant’s previous successes.
Molded by Aleks’ unique mind, Zion manages to fulfill one’s expectations and defy them simultaneously; it is a complex meditation on the interminable conflicts of the Middle East, but also reflects the sound of contemporary bass music culture, with speaker-shredding dancefloor killers that you can rave out to.
The title track ‘Zion,' for example, mixes reggae and dubstep styles, all infused with a frantic ‘90s rave feeling. Similarly, ‘Apocalypse’ is a genre-bending tour de force that really showcases Savant's unique ability to synthesize disparate influences and styles into a cohesive piece of art. As Rob Swire of Pendulum and Knife Party says in the interview Savant sampled for this track, "Sometimes music is not meant to be nice. Sometimes you just want to have things sound like the apocalypse."
While Zion's theme is a complicated real-world topic that’s not typical for today’s largely apolitical, escapist dance music/club culture, it's also a metaphor for a lot of stuff at once; even the LP artwork, designed by Simon Stafnes, portrays many nations combined as a symbol of peace.
"Writing about the Middle East has been in my mind a long time,” Savant says. “It's all about how you interpret it. If you're Jewish you hopefully hear Zion as a bar mitzvah party record; if you're a conspiracy theorist, you'll see it as an Illuminati thing; and if you're a kid, you'll just perceive it as a bunch of cool dubstep and electronic music to download."
Listen to Zion HERE
MORE ABOUT SAVANT
Multi-instrumentalist singer, songwriter, performer, and producer Savant has established a status as dance-music culture’s most unpredictable, impossible-to-pigeonhole icon. That status has remained constant throughout Savant’s madly prolific career, spanning numerous singles, remixes, nominations for Norwegian Grammys, and 11 (!) full-length albums in just a few short years. Savant’s diverse appeal was made crystal clear in the instant breakthrough success of his flagship 2012 release, Alchemist. Alchemist would go on to reach the #1 spot on seven separate Beatport charts: Dubstep, Drum and Bass, Electro-House, Glitch Hop, Drumstep, Indie Dance/Nu Disco and Overall.
During grade school he was diagnosed with a series of mental conditions - primarily Aspergers Syndrome, but with some autism and ADHD sprinkled in there. Vinter’s treatment revealed a silver lining: he also had a condition known as “savant syndrome, which allowed for a remarkable focus and aptitude in a particular talent – in Vinter’s case, music. “They told me as long as I kept doing music, I would succeed.” His most recent album Protos was an electro-pop space opera that hit the #25 spot on the extremely competitive iTunes Pop chart and #1 on Bandcamp for Overall, Pop and Electronic.