WHAT is a drone? Over the last decade it’s become a word associated with surveillance, voyeurism, secrecy, stealth and those tired sweeping aerial shots that plague every other film that blasts onto our screens. So maybe we need our sonic explorers and sound adventurers to remind us of the drone’s real roots, the powerful hypnotic throb that has sustained music through time, from Byzantine chants to Celtic tradition, ragas and rituals to hip Sixties’ minimalism.
Enter Sarah Davachi, the Canadian composer and performer who, like fellow keyboardists Ana Roxanne and Anna Von Hausswollf, relentlessly pursues all the possibilities of dronology and more. She is an artist who has serious credentials, having played and collaborated with such luminaries as Basinski, Grouper, Donald Buchla and Loren Connors, but from 2018 Davachi has focused more vividly on telling her own story. By working through the swelling tide of releases that she has gifted us on her own Late Music label, you begin to sense that her creative momentum is continually building. each time she dives deeper into the ambient and the atmospheric.
Now, following her revered double album Cantus, Descant in 2020, she has announced that a new record, Antiphonals, will be available via Late music from September 10TH. Promising a close connection to the layered sound blends of 2018’s Let The Night Come On Bells End The Day, Davachi has returned to her trusted instrumental compadres, the Mellotron, electric organ, piano and synthesiser, to further unravel the melodic and harmonic in her own unique way.
Such intricacy and delicacy reaches out from ‘Rushes Recede’, the preview track from Antiphonals that’s ready and waiting on the usual digital platforms, and which you can hear below. It’s a composition which eases in on a surface whisper, circles around the deepening current of single note modulations and then disappears to the sombre pacing of a lone ,processional organ.
This is spacious and spell-binding ‘still’ music but within its calm repetition, as Davachi says, objects can be “slowly thrown into relief”. As we emerge from bewildering times, desperate for answers maybe the restorative powers of Antiphonals needs to be on repeat prescription?
Sarah Davachi’s Antiphonals will be released digitally, on CD, on vinyl and on limited vinyl with silk-screen printed sleeve on September 10th; you can order your copy right now over at Bandcamp.