photo credit: Charlotte Rutterford
Los Angeles-based musician and composer Asy Saavedra is breaking out on her own, building the kind of tonal galaxies that music nerds can only dream of. While she performs with her sister Chloe Saavedra in their band Chaos Chaos (formerly Smoosh), she has been cutting her teeth on a string of new projects that bring home her unique flavor of ethereal, synth-infused sound. For her latest project, Asy scored and produced the music for the video game Trover Saves The Universe, the new video game created by Justin Roiland of Rick and Morty which is available now on all platforms including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Oculus Quest and PC.
Today Asya has revealed “Hanging Out In The Sky” the first song to be lifted from the forthcoming soundtrack. “Hanging Out In The Sky” premiered today at The Talkhouse
along with an essay written by Asy on her creative process, and the song will be available on all streaming platforms this Friday
. The soundtrack will be available on September 25 on vinyl and digitally via Mondo (pre-order).
The vinyl version of the soundtrack will include 20 songs featured in the game and the digital version will include 32 songs.
Inside the game, players confront a world of chaos, exploding bodies, and salty language geared for the gamer sect. It’s a scenario that materializes elegantly overtop Asy’s score, a collection of dreamy, glitch-infused, electro-pop science fiction. Darker scenes are delineated through Asy’s eerie, mutating vocal range; her piano adds to the feeling of despair, a wrong turn taken. Her writing process involved daily dives into the game itself, experimenting with what sounds fit the scene. Her customary mix of organic and digital equipment are showcased in their full range within the score; her recording “control room” included a digital piano, a Juno 60, a korg prologue, a roland xp30, a theremin, and plugins like synplant, permut, TAl-U-NO-60, and bitspeek.
On writing the music for Trover Saves The Universe
Asy says, “As much as it threw me out of my comfort zone it also felt super natural for me to write.” She adds, “I’m horrible at games, and probably because of that, I’m fascinated by them. Challenges are a huge part of my creativity – that’s what makes me the most creative – like a creative adrenaline rush. I watched hours of game footage on YouTube and I loved studying the relationship between the game ‘worlds’ and the music in them. I had in mind an Ennio Morricone / Pierro Picionni
meets modern K Pop
sound because that’s how the game felt to me: organic and also artificial.” Read the full essay on her process and gear used for the project HERE.
Raised in Seattle, WA, and Stockholm, Asy was drawn to her family’s piano from the start; her mother would place children’s books on the music rack and Asy would compose music to accompany the pictures. The sisters Saavedra stumbled into Jason McGerr, the drummer for Death Cab for Cutie, at their local music store. He became their music teacher and mentor, helping them craft the initial sound of Smoosh. After signing with local label Pattern25, the tween duo jettisoned onto the music scene with their 2004 debut album, She Like Electric; even in the band’s earliest incarnation, Asy wrote tightly constructed lyrics, layering them over the electric bounce of Chloe’s beat.
In 2006, they were signed to Seattle-based indie label Barsuk Records and released their second LP, 2006’s critically acclaimed Free To Stay. During the years that followed, they opened for Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie, Sleater-Kinney, Jimmy Eat World, Cat Power, Nada Surf, and Sufjan Stevens, to name just a few. Their music was covered on NPR’s All Songs Considered, they were interviewed on The Today Show, and were eventually named “Band of the Year” by SPIN in 2005.
Smoosh’s final album came in 2010, with the self-released Withershins, a record that showed maturescence at work. Asy and Chloe experimented with both pace and genre, the tone of the album was notably darker than previous records, echoing the malaise of the record’s initial title The World’s Not Bad. The sisters seemed poised for their next creative leap, yet a shift seemed necessary. Chaos Chaos was both a name change and shedding of their child-prodigy background. The name was pulled from jargon their scientist dad bandied around the house; it’s the scientific classification for a species of amoeba that can alter its shape. They drew parallels between their band and the organism: “simple but always changing.”
As the sisters continue their metamorphosis, they both have branched out with solo efforts. Asy’s work as composer for Trover Saves The Universe, finds her at the helm of a new frontier, building the sonic reality in which the characters live (and die). Asy says, “I hope the listener can enjoy this record on it’s own as well as in the game and be absorbed by the world of the music.” She further explains, “The intention was to attempt to give the listener an abstract view of the world, and to deepen the imagination of the game. I want the listener to step into a world where rules of the normal world no longer apply, and maybe after that they will see the normal world as a little otherworldly, or at the very least feel like Mumintrollen on a pink cloud in the sky.”