Sarah Davachi – Gathers

Documenting Sound is a new tape and digital series from Boomkat Editions. Over time, they will release a number of recordings from a selection of artists, all from different parts of the globe and a wide range of musical disciplines. These pieces, made during the last couple of pandemic-hit months, offer a personal and intimate glimpse into the artist and their music. The only condition was that the music should be recorded at home or in its own surroundings, without too much in the way of pre-planning or thoughts surrounding its composition. As a result, the music is open and unexpected, going outside the box and wandering far, making this a series perfect for artistic exploration. Instead of presenting an impoverished viewpoint of lockdown, the pandemic has resulted in a creative explosion as artists and musicians livestream and record from home. Field recordings, found sounds, improvisation, spoken word, and song-writing were all encouraged, and this edition, entitled Gathers, features an hour of new music from Sarah Davachi, recorded at her home in Los Angeles in Spring 2020.

‘I’ve been going through various stages of movement – some days I can’t be motivated to do anything and other days I can spend long hours working on music and going deep into it. When I’ve been able to sit with making music, it’s been incredibly meaningful and reconfiguring for me at this moment.  I’m thankful to have the time in my studio, a room that is calm and quiet and feels quite distant from the outside world, and this cassette is essentially a reflection of that interiorized state of being.’

‘Gathers’ has grown out of two separate ideas and albums – one completed but as-yet-unreleased, and another currently in development. The improvised and unedited cassette can take the listener somewhere else even while they stay at home, becoming lost in the music, and Gathers feels both meditative and focused. The A side brings together harpsichord, harmonium, and piano. Sarah describes her harpsichord as being ‘my main instrument these past few weeks…these Renaissance tunings have such depth, a house of endless hallways, and it’s been great solace to disappear into them temporarily.’

These past few months have also disappeared, the strangely shaped and hazy afternoons erasing, time spooling as spring turns into summer, but they’ve also allowed connections to grow once again – connections and roots that have been severed or at least cut back by the demands of everyday life. The downtime has, perhaps, resulted in greater flexibility, opening introverted thoughts as people adjust to a more sedate way of life. In this recording, time is slipping; the quarantined music is the sound of a lie-in and a day that drags, but it also sounds focused, running deep. A session can become a deep-dive, and one can remain immersed for hours at a time.

My synthesizers are like old friends. They were my first passion when I started collecting instruments, and this period of time has been a nice excuse to revisit some of them.

Side B collects three electronic studies for Mellotron, electric organ, and synthesizer, which is combined with tape echo. Sarah describes them as her…’chosen electronic instruments, and the ones through which I’ve always found the highest degrees of stillness and transformation’. And that’s what this lockdown has done: not only a pause, but a cocoon in which a transformation has taken place, and from which the music has finally emerged, taking its first flight into a new and changed world.

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