Savoir Adore’s musical imagination and pop-song craftsmanship conjure a seductive sonic blend. The Nettwerk Music Group, a Vancouver-headquartered company that launched Sarah McLachlan, Skinny Puppy and Coldplay, re-released the dreamy, Brooklyn-based Savoir Adore’s originally self-released 2012 album, Our Nature, June 4.
Paul Hammer and Deidre Muro are the principals of Savoir Adore. Our Nature follows their 2007 EP, The Adventures of Mr. Pumpernickel and the Girl with Animals in Her Throat, and their 2009 album, In The Wooded Forest.
Hammer and Muro’s first recording was born of frustration. They were college students then, separately pursing conventional singer-songwriter paths.
“Deidre and I met playing those kind of shows in New York City,” Hammer said during the three-hour drive from Brooklyn to a show in Albany. “We wanted to break out of that and see what could happen if we wrote songs together.”
The two of them found sanctuary in Hammer’s father’s recording studio in upstate New York. Jan Hammer, incidentally, was a member of jazz-rock-fusion band the Mahavishnu Orchestra, collaborator with Jeff Beck, Al Di Meola, Mick Jagger, Carlos Santana and many others, and a film and TV music composer whose soundtracks include 90 episodes of Miami Vice.
In his father’s studio, Hammer and Muro set an edict for themselves, one intended to help them transcend singer-songwriter limitations: No acoustic guitars.
“We picked up little synthesizers,” Hammer recalled. “Or Deidre played bass and I played drums. It brought out different songwriting elements.”
The Adventures of Mr. Pumpernickel and the Girl with Animals in Her Throat is a 19-minute, low-fi, ambient musical-fantasy about unrequited love.
“That was how the band formed, through that EP,” Hammer said. “It just happened and it took on a life of its own, which was really fun. Then we could follow that path and see what happened.
“And then as things progressed, we took more time with our compositions and developed them more like traditional pop songs. Now we try to bridge the gap. We still push ourselves to experiment but we also love the pop songwriting form.”
The duo allowed guitars back into their music, albeit acoustic guitars remain a rarity.
Savoir Adore toured and appeared at the South By Southwest Music and Media Conference and CMJ Music Marathon. The New York Times noted the duo’s “two sounds of optimism: surging folk-rock chords and the solid foundation of an electronic beat.” NPR praised the pair’s “dreamy dialogues with wiry, earthy hooks and defiant dance beat.”
Nettwerk came knocking after the October release of Our Nature.
“The way they approach the industry, they work with artists, develop artists and actually care about them,” Hammer said. “They were like, ‘Hold on. We really want to do this now. We want to re-release the record.’ We were thrilled.”
Savoir Adore’s career accelerated in the months after its Nettwerk deal.
“It’s not a coincidence that in March we sold out our first show in New York and we’re on the radio in Italy and Germany,” Hammer said. “And this is our first national U.S. tour. It’s all part of working with people who you really click with. Everyone is on the same page, pushing the band and the project. It’s pretty amazing.”
Hammer has found the sound of his and Muro’s once solo voices singing together to be an especially rewarding part of their collaboration.
“It works in a way that we couldn’t describe,” he said. “For this new record, we sing a lot of things in unison. There’s a level of mystery as to whose voice it is. That creates a kind of magical tension, really pulling your ears in to listen.”