August Harp is Davachi’s second release, and is reflective of her ongoing exploration into the topography of spectrally immersive textures and aural environments. The compositions on this album consider notions of sustenance, shifting harmonic spectra, psychoacoustic derivation of artificial resultant tones, and interior movement within a semblance of stasis. Over the past five years, Davachi’s compositional projects have been primarily concerned with disclosing the antiquated instruments and forgotten sonics of a bygone era in analog synthesis; her work on August Harp puts forth offerings from Buchla & Associates, Sequential Circuits, and EMS (London), subsuming transitions that took place between 1968 and 1981. Informed by the lush electronic tapestries of experimentalist-era synthesis pioneers, her music often exudes the sorts of wandering transformations inherent in real-time performance with analog equipment. August Harp exploits the innate instabilities of these instruments, constructing layers of texture that seem to pull each other apart as the discrepancies in frequency of the merged sound gradually swell and wane. Coupled with acoustic instruments such as cello and organ, Davachi seeks to direct the experience of timbral coalescence: mutual acoustic identities are brought together; cocooning the listener into a space that is at once physical, yet invariably out of reach.
As a composer of electronic and electroacoustic music, Sarah Davachi engages in practices of analog and modular synthesis and psychoacoustic manipulations. Her compositions focus on the experience of enveloped sonic dwelling, often utilizing extended durations and drones, gradual transformations in texture, fluctuating and spectrally-rich timbres, and simple harmonic structures that emphasize variations in overtone complexity and natural phasing patterns in order to approach distanced and altered landscapes. Davachi holds an MFA in electronic music and recording media from Mills College in Oakland, California and, since 2007, has worked for the National Music Centre in Calgary as an interpreter and archivist of their collection of acoustic and electronic keyboard instruments. Her writings on experimental music and phenomenology have been presented and published within Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and she has held artist residencies at The Banff Centre for the Arts, STEIM, WORM (Rotterdam), and EMS (Stockholm).
All tracks composed, performed, and recorded by Sarah Davachi
Buchla 100, Buchla 200, Buchla Music Easel, EMS VCS3, and Sequential Circuits Pro-One synthesizers / cello, flute, harmonium, vocals
November 2012 to November 2013 / Vancouver, BC, Canada / Banff, AB, Canada