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Sarah Davachi’s career has long been characterised by the interplay of organic and synthetic instrumentation. On LPs like The Untuning Of The Sky and Gave In Rest we found the machines taking the lead - droning analog synths providing beds of sound upon which the acoustic instruments could make their entrance.

However, the tables have turned on Davachi’s latest album. Pale Bloom sees her refocusing her attention on the piano, the first instrument she was drawn to as a youth. From a seat at the keyboard Davachi invites other tones into play, carefully constructing her drones to forge eerie combinations of the classical, the baroque and the avant-garde.

The ‘Perfumes’ suite that makes up Pale Bloom’s first half is particularly notable for its use of the piano. Album opener ‘Perfumes 1’ consists almost totally of slow, mournful keyboard lines. When augmented by some techniques from Davachi’s book of sound-art tricks - reversed samples, suspended harmony - the effect is akin to something from J. S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier as reimagined by Jonny Greenwood.

While still rooted in the piano, ‘Perfumes 2’ and ‘Perfumes 3’ have a little more going on in their texture - in particular ‘2’, a piece whose warped-record choir sounds cast an unsettling spell similar to The Caretaker. Pale Bloom’s second half is taken up by ‘If It Pleased Me To Appear To You Wrapped In This Drapery’, a La Monte Young-esque organ exercise that has plenty in common with Davachi’s other recorded output.

By going back to her roots Sarah Davachi has managed to take her practice to the next level on Pale Bloom.

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  1. 1 Perfumes I 8:27 Sarah Davachi Buy
  2. 2 Perfumes II 6:58 Sarah Davachi Buy
  3. 3 Perfumes III 6:04 Sarah Davachi Buy
  4. 4 If It Pleased Me To Appear To You Wrapped In This Drapery 21:45 Sarah Davachi

Sarah Davachi

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