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Pale Bloom finds Sarah Davachi coming full circle. After abandoning the piano studies of her youth for a series of albums utilizing everything from pipe and reed organs to analog synthesizers, this prolific Los Angeles-based composer returns to her first instrument for a radiant work of quiet minimalism and poetic rumination. Recorded at Berkeley, California’s famed Fantasy Studios, Pale Bloom is comprised of two delicatelyarranged sides. The first—a three-part suite where Davachi’s piano acts as conjurer, beckoning Hammond organ and stirring countertenor into a patiently unfolding congress—recalls Eduard Artemiev’s majestic soundtrack for Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris.
“Perfumes I-III” employs the harmonically rich music of Bach as a springboard for abstract, solemn pieces that sound as haunted as they are dreamlike. While the first half of Pale Bloom showcases Davachi’s latent Romanticism, the sidelong “If It Pleased Me To Appear To You Wrapped In This Drapery” reveals the Mills College graduate’s affinity for the work of avantgarde composers La Monte Young and Eliane Radigue. Softly vibrating strings rise and fall like complementary exhalations of breath. As the fluctuating pitches create overtones that pitter and pulse, the piece slowly and subtly evolves—suggesting a well-tempered stillness, yet without stasis.
Barry says: It's properly beautiful stuff this, shining with modern classical delicacy but bolstered by a dark undercurrent of neo-gothic organs and infrequent echoic piano stabs. Tentative and minimalistic, but sonically moving, Davachi makes it clear she is here to stay. Thoroughly gorgeous stuff.
1. Perfumes I
2. Perfumes II
3. Perfumes III
4. If It Pleased Me To Appear To You Wrapped In This Drapery