Sarah Davachi – Let Night Come On Bells End The Day

From her first release “The Untuning of the Sky” in 2013, Sarah Davachi has been gathering fans among a wide variety of listeners by combining a relatively simple approach to melody and harmony with experiments in duration, resonance, intonation, and instrumentation. As well as her musical output, Davachi is also a respected scholar of organology, and it’s the organ (specifically, an electric organ recorded in the artist’s own home) that features front-and-centre in her most recent album, the wonderfully-titled “Let Night Come On Bells End The Day”.

That title tells you pretty much all you need to know about the album: this is a paean to the evening, to dusk, to the lingering moment in between day and night, to weariness, and above all to the desire, the longing for sleep, for closure. Just listen to the drowsy, lulling organ chords of opening track “Garlands”, the simple two-chord pattern foregrounding the flutter and wave of resonances and overtones. Or to the final melodic ostinato of ‘Mordents’, which fights and fights to keep up, to keep awake, as it is gently buried by layers of glowing warm continuous tones. The quiet high pitches in ‘At Hand’ hover at the edge of consciousness, suggesting a departure into the distance, before resolving into soothing slumbering chords.

The atmosphere forged by ‘Buhrstone’ is darker, perhaps even sinister; steady low minor-key piano is slowly wrapped in organ drone and fluttering tones, the skittishness of the latter suggestive of urgency or even desperation. Things remain under control however, the piano chords plodding on steadily until finally arriving at a big major chord, like sunrise breaking over the mountains. The last piece, ‘Hours in the Evening’, remains my favourite: layers and layers of continuous tones, the interactions between them causing subtle oscillations and phasing effects, a real wealth of subtlety, nuance, and blissful calm. There are no bells heard on “Let Night Come On Bells End The Day”, and for good reason: it’s in the waiting for the bells to ring in the change from exhausted day to the welcome oblivion of night that this music finds its moment.

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Sarah Davachi
Recital Program

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