Don’t limit it by calling it music, man. Jazz derangements, electronic debris and heaving melts of guitar are just part of it. What Sabertooth Cavity offers up with its first album, En Lak Ech, is a little more meta. Or a little more Dada. However you want to take it.
“It’s not just music,” says multimedia artist and Sabertooth guitarist Mat Galindo. “It’s art.”
Sheathed in silk-screened burlap, the album is being released on Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Small Engine, an art space Galindo co-owns.
You can think of Sabertooth Cavity’s work as a reflection of the cities it comes from. “It’s about a whole environment,” says Jef Cameron, who plays flute and saxophone. “How it looks, how it smells. ... It’s about the chaos of Albuquerque.”
It’s also a little bit about Carlsbad, where most of the band grew up. Sabertooth didn’t get together until 2006 when Jef Cameron, Mat Galindo, his cousin Henry Galindo (guitar and vocals) and Rene Aguilera (bass) connected in Albuquerque. Kris Kerby, who plays drums and joined the band in 2007, is from southern New Mexico town of Loving (and he’s got love for Loving—the town’s name is tattooed, thug-life style, across his belly).
As heterodox as Sabertooth Cavity is, the band is pure homegrown New Mexico, both in what they produce and who they are.
“The local scene is rife with influences for us,” Mat Galindo says. “It’s more [about] local people producing, the creative community doing it for themselves. “
Among the local influences is the godfather of New Mexico experimental, Raven Chacon (Tenderizor, Death Convention Singers, Black Guys). He’s also a co-owner of Small Engine, and he’s co-releasing En Lak Ech on his own label, Sicksicksick Distro.
“Raven talks about how music from here is sparse, like the desert,” Cameron says. “That’s definitely true in some of our music.”
And the experimental wave has its influence as well.
“There are no rules,” says Henry Galindo, whose surrealistic vocals add melody and sometimes a little abstract poetry, but rarely anything like straight verse.
“We admire anyone out there who is experimenting with new things, opening new doors, creating something completely original and entertaining,” Kerby says.
And, of course, Mat Galindo will barely grant that what Sabertooth Cavity does is music. “It’s our own type of language,” he says.