Kerry Leimer was born in Winnipeg, Canada. He was raised in Chicago before his family permanently settled in Seattle in 1967. Leimer’s teenage interests and artistic experiments blossomed from the seductively strange tendrils of Dadaism and Surrealism. In the early 70s, Leimer found musical parallels to these visual movements by studying copies of NME and Melody Maker and inquiring with local record store clerks about the exotic descriptions he read of Can, Neu! and Faust – innovators who were bringing the wild dictates of 60s art-discourse into music.
The tape-manipulated serenity Leimer experienced with Cluster’s II was a key revelation. Leimer realized the potential to compose with minimal training and scoured pawnshops for cheap instruments and recording equipment to transpose his wayward musical instincts. Leimer’s sound palette and composition soon refined and heightened with the accessibility of dynamic equipment such as the Micromoog and TEAC multi-track tape machines.
Leimer’s solo explorations beyond the limit of loop-based composition (surveyed on RVNG Intl.’s A Period of Review (1975-1983)) found a collaborative counterpart through his auteurist studio project, Savant. Enlisting musicians from various experimental and post-punk groups of early 80s Seattle, Leimer conducted loose “jam” sessions which he recorded to tape to later manipulate into ambient / angular dance tracks. RVNG Intl. compiled the group’s 1983 album, The Neo Realist (At Risk), with Savant’s debut 12” and a grip of compilation and unreleased tracks as Artificial Dance released in September 2015.
The underground music scene of Seattle-Olympia in late 70s and early 80s was small but seeded. The vestiges of prog rock pompously pummeled the few clubs and record shops before punk and New Wave became the rage. Leimer sought to support a growing community of experimental composers by launching the Palace of Lights record label in 1979 with his wife Dorothy Cross (this was years prior to the birth of regional titans K Records and Sub Pop).