Dublin, County Dublin
Although relatively unknown in their home country, Saso are one of the most critically acclaimed bands to come out of Ireland in recent years, establishing a dedicated fanbase in the UK, Europe and the USA. Their debut album ‘Big Group Hug’ was named Album of the Week in The Sunday Times, and received 4 out of 5 star reviews in Q Magazine, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and Hot Press.
Warmed Up EP (2000)
In 2000, after pressing up 500 copies of their debut ep ‘Warmed Up’, Saso sent a few copies to music ezines for review and as the weeks passed, many kind words and favourable reviews were written in appreciation of Saso's "gloriously minimal, thick, glacial sound" (Epitonic.com). In the UK, Dotmusic remarked that "Saso's debut release really shouldn't be this fully formed or this good. ignore at your peril".
Big Group Hug (2001)
In January 2002, they released their debut album ‘Big Group Hug’ on their own label, Melted Snow and sat back while The Sunday Times, Q Magazine, NME, Muzik and others got rather excited about the whole thing. "You could be listening to talk talk or possibly radiohead’s next album” stated The Sunday Times (Record of the Week Jan 2001), while others drew favourable comparisons to Sigur Ros and Mogwai. Big Group Hug received serious critical acclaim on many ezine sites and Saso established a dedicated fanbase in the USA and Europe. “The songs are wonderful and unique...the sound quality is superb...and the graphics are absolutely fantastic. what more could any listener want?” (Babysue USA)
I Can Do Nice LP (2004)
October 2004 saw the release of Saso's second full length album ‘I Can Do Nice’ which elaborated on the sounds and themes of its predecessor, with richer production and more developed instrumentation. “The music is as beautiful as the aching drift of Talk Talk's last incarnation." 4/5 Q Magazine. Warm acoustics and delicate electronics underpin the fragile vocals evoking the later work of Talk Talk and Sigur Ros in quieter moments, to reveal a beautiful, shimmering musical core. Following the critical acclaim of I Can Do Nice and Big Group Hug, Saso took the decision to leave the comfort zone of the studio to promote the music live. This involved putting a live band together and headlining the Temple Bar MC and perform as guests to Bell X1 in the Olympia Theatre in April 2005. They also opened the third series of RTE2’s Other Voices music show and the album was on heavy rotation on such radio shows as Jenny Huston and Dan Hegarty 2FM and Donal Dineen and Tom Dunne (Today FM). On 28th May 2007, Saso's song 'Type A Jitters' was used for a Coors Light commercial in Ireland. The ad campaign ran for one year.
The Middle Ages (2006)
In winter 2006, Saso released their eagerly anticipated 3rd album titled 'The Middle Ages' again to much critical acclaim. “The Middle Ages is as unnerving and dark as it beautiful and a must for fans of Radiohead and Sigur Ros”. (Hot Press). Having utilised orchestration for the previous album, Saso returned to their more familiar sound palette of analog synths, drums and piano, resulting in a darker and more atmospheric album. As part of the promo campaign, the band headlined the Crawdaddy venue twice and closed the ‘Month of Sundays’ art/music series curated by Donal Dineen at the Nihland Model Arts gallery in Sligo.
Following a five year gap since their last release, Saso returned with a new album, titled 'Exitudes', released in November 2011 on the Melted Snow label with exquisite album artwork by Gaz Jones. The album marked a new chapter for the Dublin-based band, its distinctive atmosphere and textures reflecting the creative uncertainty that preceded the disc’s recording, not to mention the wider drama unfolding around them in Ireland. The band spent a considerable time in the studio, but became increasingly disillusioned with their more populist direction. Creatively frustrated, they decided to abandon a year’s worth of recorded material, start again and re-assess the reasons for making music and to achieve meaning in what they do. At the same time the country was experiencing the slow death of its economy and Saso felt compelled to document this decline and create a body of work that reflected on this theme.
"Exitudes continues with the core thread of simplicity and calm across 11 tracks, which virtually redefine the words mellow and downbeat. As winter kicks in with a vengence you just know that snow-covered hills will look all the more beautiful if the music playing along in your head is a Saso number." THE IRISH TIMES
The band return after a 5 year hiatus with the release on their 5th studio album titled Mysterium.
Where the duo’s previous albums centred around guitar and vocals, Mysterium is primarily a collection of piano based instrumentals occasionally lit by Lawler’s fragile vocals. The band abandoned formal structure letting the music unfold naturally, using silence and room ambience as instruments in themselves.
Replacing guitars with the more pastoral sounds of an upright piano and acoustic organ, the album was recorded in one room and the duo invited musicians from diverse musical backgrounds to perform certain parts and improvise around sounds and melodies. The compositions are sprinkled with acoustic drums, double bass, woodwinds, brass and neo-classical vocals adding moments of colour and contrast to the otherwise minimalist sound. Mysterium relishes in its tranquility, nestling through contemplative moments and the spaces in between sounds. The album exists as one complete movement, with soft tones and an unrushed pace which offer a slow-motion perspective on fast-forward culture.