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sarah davachi – cantus, descant [late music]

Sarah Davachi will be releasing a double album called Cantus, Descant on September 18, through her own newly-formed label Late Music. The record is 80 minutes across 17 tracks, and Davachi says this:

“The title of the record – ‘Cantus, Descant’ – has both literal and metaphorical meaning and, in a way, this is something like a concept album that addresses the relationship between the two.  In medieval music, the Latin ‘cantus’ was used as a general term for unadorned singing or chant and by the end of the Middle Ages it came to represent the highest voice of a polyphonic choral texture, often improvised. 

‘Descant’, at that time, was used in part to denote the structures of polyphony and counterpoint, the harmonious play of two or more voices against one another.  Harmony is a musical device that is particularly meaningful to the material on this album, especially in the ‘Stations I-V’ series and its use of a sixteenth-century meantone temperament, but the inherent dialogue that persists between the individual (the cantus) and the larger time and space that it occupies (the descant) came to inhabit a more significant presence in the ideas and feelings that inform the album as well. In this way, the album takes solace in a suspension of the private within the collective, and the moment within the mythic.

All tracks composed, recorded, and performed by Sarah Davachi

Electric organ, piano, Mellotron, voice, synthesizer, and strings recorded October and November 2019 at Alms Vert in Los Angeles, California, USA

Van Straten pipe organ (1479), set to quarter-comma meantone; recorded August 2019 at Orgelpark in Amsterdam, Netherlands, bellows by Hans Fidom

E.M. Skinner pipe organ (1928); recorded June 2019 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Casavant Frères pipe organ (1964); recorded August 2017 at Pacific Spirit United Church in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Poul-Gerhard Andersen pipe organ (1975); recorded March 2019 at Sankt Johannes Kirke in Copenhagen, Denmark

Story & Clark reed organ (ca 1890); recorded February 2019 at The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, California, USA

Releases September 18, 2020

Mixed and produced by Sarah Davachi
Mastered by Sean McCann
Lacquer by Noel Summerville

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