Sarah Davachi
Cantus, Descant
Late Music
Calgary, AB / Los Angeles, CA
RIYL: Kali Malone; Grouper; sailing through endless skies

On the first release for her Late Music imprint, Sarah Davachi holds a mesmerizing pipe organ séance. Cantus, Descant was recorded in various sacred spaces throughout Vancouver, Los Angeles, Chicago, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. There has been an influx of similar projects in the past decade, with keyboardists recording in churches until only the cleaning staff are there to keep them company. Yet the prolific Calgarian composer has always done things a bit differently than her peers, adding ghostly pop elements to contrast the divine stillness. 

In an interview for Tone Glow, Davachi explains how the pipe organ in Amsterdam that’s most prominently featured on Cantus, Descant was recorded over several hours of playing and experimenting, then later edited into short snippets. After returning to her home in Los Angeles, she added electronic touches such as the melodramatic sound of a Mellotron’s orchestral samples. The album’s most stunning moments occur when Dacachi weaves her own voice into this haunting tapestry, such as “Play The Ghost,” where she borrows a watery effect from Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan.” She has hinted at a future release of all vocal songs in this vein, yet no matter where she brings listeners next, it’s sure to be spellbinding.

– Jesse Locke