Ken Leighton 6 p.m., Oct. 18
Sound description: Metallic Muzak for melancholy mods.
RIYL: Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Falco, Depeche Mode
- "Jamuel Fire" · March 12, 2014
- Jam Session: "Jamuel Saxon: New Year, New Video, New Album" · Dec. 12, 2011
- Blurt: "Nice Reminder" · June 23, 2010
Influences: Kraftwerk, Cymande, Aphex Twin, Talking Heads, Hot Chip, Red Paper, Treasure Mammal, Back-Ted-N-Ted, Her Space Holiday, Thievery Corporation, Megashira, Novi Split, Imogen Heap, James Brown, Jackson Brown, Can
Jamuel Saxon is an electro-pop trio originally comprising Keith Milgaten (the Vision of a Dying World), Spencer Rabin (Charles Musket), Aimee Sanchez (Black Mamba), and a vocoder. The trio’s music was created by beat programming, two korgs, one guitar, and vocoder.
Milgaten expanded Jamuel Saxon from a solo effort to the aforementioned trio, and then to full-band affair with live guitar, drums, bass and even projections. This was thanks, in large part, to Jayson Ehm. Ehm was a longtime fan of the band whom Milgaten asked to join in on drums for a one-off gig. The two got along so well together, and Ehm's skill and vision were so in sync with Milgaten's, that he made Ehm a permanent fixture as both drummer for Jamuel Saxon and designer of their visual element.
“Don’t let the name fool you,” says their website. “Jamuel Saxon isn't a jam-rock frat band. It's one dude in San Diego [and friends] making scratchy laptop beats with soulful vocoder vocals and Casio keyboard effects that sound like the hold music at the Emotionally Abused Robot Hotline.”
“Dancey music will always be coveted by people...it’s this inevitable thing about the human heartbeat and how we relate to rhythms,” says Milgaten, whose brother Jackson is in Cuckoo Chaos. “I’m not really into dance music, but I’ve found it’s a way to connect with people, so I’ve tried to maintain that while adding the elements of a live band...I’m trying to please everybody by having both [electronic and live] worlds there.”
Milgaten's performing bandmates in Jamuel Saxon have included Writer brothers Jayme Ralph (drums) and Andy Ralph (bass). “[The Writer brothers] and I have been crossing paths for the past five years or so,” says Milgaten. “We jammed in December  and it sounded awesome...I’d been feeling lazy with my music, but these guys really showed me the level of professionalism-slash-having-fun-with-it that they’re at. They reminded me that practicing music is a lot of fun.”
The extra hands are essential for performing. “There are certain people who just don’t like to see a guy with a laptop, and there are some people who love that,” says Milgaten, who was nominated for Best Electronic at the 2009 San Diego Music Awards. “If you can please both those people, you’re much better off.”
Milgaten describes his sound as being somewhere between pre-Utopian-core and intelligent dance music. The Jamuel Saxon EP The Prolly Shores, recorded at Jayme Ralph’s North Park home studio, was released in 2010. Around the same time, Milgaten has released a ten-song solo album, Landmines & Chandeliers. He teamed up with Writer brothers Jayme and James Ralph again for a tour.
The band recorded a full-length called Pre-Madonna in late spring 2011, co-produced by Jimmy Lavalle (the Album Leaf, Tristeza) at a cabin in Boulder Creek, California, though its release was put off until the band could find a suitable label (it ended up on local Single Screen Records). At the August 2011 San Diego Music Awards, they took home the trophy for Best Electronic.
In October 2011, they released an EP (CD and digital download) of songs that didn’t make the Pre-Madonna album cut. The EP features a club version of the Vision of a Dying World tune “Awoken By a Scene From the End Times,” as well as covering a song by Cuckoo Chaos.
In early 2012, a new video for “Planetarium,” directed by Mike Brown and Anthony Levas, began streaming online. That summer, frontman Milgaten announced his plans to relocate to NYC in early 2013.
In early 2013, Keith Milgaten disbanded the group in order to develop his solo Keith Sweaty persona, whose album Spaceface includes guest vocals on “Preyonce” by Adam Shapiro and on “Black Bay” by Dominic Bogart (with lyrics for both songs by Joel P. West). A reunion show was staged in March 2014, while Milgaten was visiting from NYC.