Sarah Davachi - Two Sisters Music Album Reviews

Sarah Davachi - Two Sisters Music Album Reviews
On her new album, the Canadian artist collages 18th-century pipe organs and cavernous drone music. It is a dark encounter between the past and present, revealing the full range of her gifts as a composer.

Sarah Davachi is a master at making otherworldly music that coalesces the past and present. When she was in her 20s, Davachi held a job at the National Music Centre in Canada, a gig that introduced her to tinkering with quaint old synths and harpsichords. On albums like 2020’s Cantus, Descant, Mellotrons swirled around 15th-century pipe organs, sculpting drawn-out vibrations. On 2021’s Antiphonals, vintage synths, organs, and string instruments weaved into meandering meditations. Davachi often draws inspiration from experimental icons like La Monte Young and Pauline Oliveros, and her selection of instruments gives the music a cavernous quality, as if it could fill an empty cathedral. On her new album Two Sisters, Davachi once again explores this resonant mix of old and new, but this time around, she takes on more sinister hues and foreboding melodies. It’s a gripping transformation, one that illustrates the full range of her gifts as a composer, and reveals a darker side of her era-blending music.

Though this is new territory for Davachi, the creepier, hollower atmospheres of Two Sisters feel fitting, especially because her music has always conjured a sense of interiority. Where her past works would soar, this album lurks, like intrusive thoughts bubbling up to the surface. The album’s uncanny sound could be due to one of her influences, Andrzej Żuławski’s 1981 cult horror film Possession, a psychological thriller that inspired the music’s portentous spirit. Throughout Two Sisters, Davachi explores the quirks of alternate tunings, often using just intonation; she employs instruments like strings, carillon bells, and pipe organs—including one from the 18th century—to fuel the project's eerie undercurrent. She also leans into her earlier musical interests, shifting between drone music and Renaissance polyphony.

Even in the tracks that feel more contemporary, Davachi still finds a way to effectively tie her music back to the past. Songs like “Alas, Departing,” which is reminiscent of chant music by 12th century composers Hildegard von Bingen or Pérotin, feel the most medieval. “Vanity of Ages” lands like a standard drone piece, driven by a gently quivering organ that unfolds over almost 10 minutes. Yet the central instrument here is a historical pipe organ from 1742, known as a “tracker” organ; it has a valve that can be pushed in to adjust the amount of air entering the pipes, affecting the pitch and volume of its tones. In execution, its sound is luminous and full, colored with a bit of crunch from Davachi’s tunings.

Two Sisters’ vision feels its clearest when Davachi mixes sounds from each era together, rather than focusing solely on the music’s mechanics. “Icon Studies I” and “Icon Studies II,” both climactic moments on this album, exemplify this cross-pollination by pairing radiant string instruments that rise and fall with hymnal resonance. These tracks tremble like drone music, yet evoke a sense of nostalgia, blending sleek and grainy textures. Here, Davachi builds a bridge between generations, illustrating how well both styles fit together, despite the centuries that separate them.

Davachi’s music is often known for its solemnity, as though it is designed for moments of great solitude. Two Sisters is certainly all of those things, but instead of exploring the comfort of alone time, it presents us with moments of disquiet and uncertainty, reflecting darkness and warmth in equal measure. “O World and the Clear Song” particularly hangs in this balance, radiating in soft waves that are gradually swallowed by jangling bells. Davachi has long shown us that she can write music that celebrates the joy of quietude—now, she shows us she can embrace the fear of it, too.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Sarah Davachi - Two Sisters Music Album Reviews Sarah Davachi - Two Sisters Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on September 16, 2022 Rating: 5


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