Here, in place of the variety of church organs dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century that featured on last year's Cantus, Descant, she uses some of the sounds of the Mellotron, such as clarinet, French and English horns. It's an ingenious project, taking that characteristic piece of hardware from the progressive rock era of the 1960s and 1970s and using it to construct Minimalist pieces in a contrasting style that was nevertheless contemporaneous with the age of prog, so reminding us that true talent can work from the most diverse of inspirations. The slow drone effects focus on the varied textures of sound, with gentle modulations, such as on "Border of Mind", six minutes of subtle sonic shape-shifting.
Sarah Davachi builds temples out of tone. Throughout the past decade, the prolific Canadian minimalist composer has used repetition, silence, and duration to create secular drone music imbued with feelings of religious reverence. Antiphonals' soft instrumental palette of Mellotron, synthesizer, organs, piano, and harpsichord offers a restrained counterpart to Davachi's previous release, the towering 80-minute Cantus, Descant, recorded on ancient church organs during her international travels.
Photo by Sean McCann Antiphonals by Sarah Davachi Sarah Davachi's music has an intense, focused, devotional quality. The sound of the instruments and the considered manner in which they're played is as important as what is being played. You could probably transcribe it fairly easily; there aren't many notes, and they're held for a long time. But the timbre — you can get lost in the timbre of Davachi's playing as she explores the tonal possibilities of Mellotron, organ, piano, synth, guitar, violin, tape echo and reel-to-reel tape recorders.