Saraswati was a noisy, melodic rock combo of the two-guitars, bass and drums variety. The music was moody and winding, with brooding melodies and bursts of dissonance. Many have noted that the same may be said of the members themselves. Comparisons were made to Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Drive Like Jehu, XTC and Hoover with some degree of accuracy.
Saraswati formed in March of 1998 following the breakups of a number of other groups. Todd Bracik (guitar), was a founding member of emo-rockers In Ano, as well as the performance project Poot Eye. Andrew Greenburg (guitar/vocals) co-founded the abrasive yet dreamy Feedback Loop, and pulled double-duty, playing guitar for the tribute band Semi-Circle Jerks. Matt Chandler (bass/trumpet/vocals) was an alumnus of the noise deconstructionist trio Sohcahtoa, and spent two years in the jazzy improv collective Airplane Lady.
Not much is known about original drummer Dave Clark other than he is not the same Dave Clark of The Dave Clark Five fame. He was a member of the band for only a few months. He left of his own volition and was replaced by Ben Adrian, former drummer of Sohcahtoa, guitarist for Lockstep and Feedback Loop, and currently bassist/keyboardist/vocalist for Replicator. Upon his move to San Francisco, his seat was filled by Koven Smith. Smith returned to his native state of Indiana by way of Boston and New York City, where he was a member of the astounding rock outfit Blinder, and he wrote/arranged/conducted the Monster Zero Orchestra.
Saraswati toured in a limited fashion due to the necessity of day jobs. However, they played a number of shows in the Midwest, and shared the stage with the likes of Unwound, Skeleton Key, The Dismemberment Plan, The Poster Children, Sweep the Leg Johnny, Pleasure Forever, Red Monkey, Metroschifter, Turing Machine, Swearing at Motorists, and The Panoply Academy Corps of Legionnaires.
Their debut CD-EP “I Decided to Move to 30 Years Ago” (Analog Marketing Group / Factory Boy) was released in March, 1999. Two compilation appearances on Silent Film Soundtracks (Peoria, IL) and Pencil Neck Records (San Francisco, CA) followed in the spring of 2000. A third compliation appearance was released with the June 2000 issue of Spin Magazine by the now-defunct Riffage.com. Following a period of inactivity, December of 2001 brought about a compilation appearance on Urinine Records and the release of the self-titled three-song CD-EP (Temporary Structures / Analog Marketing Group).
After 80 shows in five years, Saraswati played their final show on December 12, 2003.
Nuvo Newsweekly, October 2, 2002
… they’ve developed into a sophisticated act whose songs are deceptively complicated and full of wit.
Indianapolis Star, December 14, 2001
… Saraswati specializes in complex guitar rock, and the swift yet sprawling “Say, You’re Beautiful In Your Wrath” reflects that gift.
Too Much Rock, December 2000
… interesting arrangements and technical deftness make them stand out in the noisy indie world … a noisy giant, sometimes lumbering, sometimes slashing but always momentous.
Cosmic, January 24, 2000
Coming up with a “new” sound in the world of so-called “indie rock” is a tricky proposition … Saraswati does just that and avoids mimicking their influences.
Nuvo Newsweekly, September 2, 1999
Experienced live, Saraswati is loud in a way that few bands are these days. They craft the dynamics and the spaces between the notes so that their music practically grabs you by the throat. The variety of influences and personalities help make the band’s music unique. But the band is also strong on riffs and melodies, differentiating them from many noise-pop bands.
Nuvo Newsweekly, March 17, 1999
… they’ve somehow broken down the furiously relentless noise that a front-loader makes and play it on guitars, bass and drums. An affected minimalism is their trademark, but their arrangements are well thought out and their songs well-crafted.