Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Album Review: Dakota Suite with David Darling and Quentin Sirjacq - Vallisa


This is rapidly becoming the year of the live album. Bill Callahan, Mogwai and now Dakota Suite! Actually it would be hard to find 3 more different artists. This is actually a recording of concert Chris Hooson from Dakota Suite played with cellist David Darling and pianist Quentin Sirjacq in a chapel in Bari.

It’s essentially classical music and sees Chris Hooson sharpening his craft, with some of his strongest attempts at this present on this album. Some of the tracks come from his last album The End of Trying, and are enhanced by Darling and Sirjacq’s contributions. The music in the main is quite minimalist. Very Early One Morning is a gorgeous piece for piano and cello and is a good indication of the rest of the album. North Green Down has a lovely piano melody, full of regret, while later on A Worn Out Life sees Chris playing a sparse, jazz-tinged guitar with some great piano touches and plucked cello.

Both collaborators get an opportunity to play one of their own tracks. Quentin Sirjacq plays a fine piano on Des Etres Disparus, which sounds like it could be a soundtrack from a French movie. David Darling goes one better on Remember, not only deftly plucking his cello but also singing a wordless vocal, sounding all worn and weary, like wise old sage-like figure. After listening to the rest of the album, the presence of a vocal is arresting and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

It’s a tranquil and relaxing concert recording, worth checking out if you enjoy classical music. Best to do nothing while listening to it, and just absorb it.