- The Canadian minimalist channels solitude and reverence on her latest LP.
- Sarah Davachi's music often hovers in a world between wake and sleep. Since the Canadian minimalist's first tape, The Untuning Of The Sky, she's spent the last five years exploring extended dronescapes, where soporific tones emerge over time as the listener's heart rate slows and their ear adjusts to the dragged-out textures that unfold. Davachi's music is a patient exercise in resonance and calm, and maybe the longform, focussed approach that she takes represents a blissful antidote to hyper, multi-platformed, always-morphing modern life. Her music is temporary medicine for phone addiction, apocalyptic news updates and the glare of a computer screen with 15 open tabs.
The slow-motion throbs of Davachi's warm, uncluttered electronic pieces achieve something intensely serene. On her new album, Gave In Rest, the music occupies the peaceful spaces she found lying between religious and secular realms. The LP was inspired by trips to religious buildings Davachi visited while on tour in Europe last summer. The cavernous cold of the cathedrals and lapidariums she sat in comes across on "Auster," which she says is "slowed down and opened up so you can hear the innards of the sound." Breaking down strings, song, piano and organ music to their barest form, the spaces she leaves around the notes were her way of getting over the loneliness she felt during her six months on the road.
"Evensong," "Matins" and "Waking" reflect the quiet moments she forced into her daily routine, "almost like a ritual" as she looked for "ecclesiastic environments" to sit in, saying she was compelled by "the quietude, the air of reverence, the openness of the physical space, the stillness of the altars." There's something chilling, too, about her sombre melodies, often inspired by mourning rites or religious ceremonies designed to manipulate collective emotions, and played on instruments supposed to inspire awe in their congregation.
Gave In Rest uses modern techniques to blur the lines between medieval and Renaissance music. "Evensong" takes faraway choir song to an opaque place, using smudgy reverb over the vocal, as if This Mortal Coil or Julee Cruise records were being played in someone else's dream at the wrong speed. She plays baroque harmonies on "Waking," but rather than finish the record on a climactic note, her Hammond organ takes on a creepy, otherworldly tone and fades out gently. It's as if the music is evaporating into the mist.
02. Third Hour