Canadian-in-LA electroacoustic composer Sarah Davachi has rediscovered her muse since releasing work on her own label, Late Music. Having explored hitherto unheard realms of enchanting melodic organ and electronics drones on her 2020 album Cactus, Descant, Antiphonals further explores these ideas using a sound palette of Mellotron, electric organ, piano, and synthesizer.
Referring to church music sung or recited alternately by two groups in its title — Antiphonal is a studied solo affair in which Davachi weaves seemingly embattled tones to create an unearthly whole by combining two approaches to her production. The tonal characteristics and sound-on-sound tape delay processes used for live performances over the years as well as studio practices. The record’s first piece, ‘Magdalena’, a limitless 10-minute exhalation of organ murmurations which could just as easily be sourced from an entire brass ensemble, slowed to a titanic glacial movement. ‘First Cadence’ and ‘Gradual Of Image’ follow at a similarly frosty pace, echoing the subtle microtonal adjustments of La Monte Young and Harry Partch transposed into an uncannily spiritual atmosphere.
This is a collection of studies that began as a way of giving reverence to repetition and modality within a harmonic space. It is a minimalist music that is as much concerned with the vertical experience of texture as it is with the elongation of intervallic progressions across the horizontal realm – an occurrence that we might typically refer to as ‘melody’, but which becomes obscured here in the continual undoing of its staying power. Over time these somewhat generative articulations offered to me a meaningful expression of negative space and pervasive absence, a feeling of objects slowly being thrown into relief. - Sarah Davachi
Another transcendental release from Sarah Davachi on her Late Music label.