Pale Bloom finds Sarah Davachi coming full circle. After abandoning the piano studies of her youth for a series of albums utilizing everything from pipe and reed organs to analog synthesizers, this prolific Los Angeles-based composer returns to her first instrument for a radiant work of quiet minimalism and poetic rumination.
Recorded at Berkeley, California's famed Fantasy Studios, Pale Bloom is comprised of two delicately-arranged sides. The first – a three-part suite where Davachi's piano acts as conjurer, beckoning Hammond organ and stirring countertenor into a patiently unfolding congress – recalls Eduard Artemiev's majestic soundtrack for Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris. "Perfumes I-III" employs the harmonically rich music of Bach as a springboard for abstract, solemn pieces that sound as haunted as they are dreamlike.
While the first half of Pale Bloom showcases Davachi's latent Romanticism, the sidelong "If It Pleased Me To Appear To You Wrapped In This Drapery" reveals the Mills College graduate's affinity for the work of avant-garde composers La Monte Young and Eliane Radigue. Softly vibrating strings rise and fall like complementary exhalations of breath. As the fluctuating pitches create overtones that pitter and pulse, the piece slowly and subtly evolves – suggesting a well-tempered stillness, yet without stasis.
“Davachi returns to her hometown without luggage and pays a heartfelt homage to the revered teacher who enlightened her. She doesn’t do it with an ambitious postmodern masterpiece nor a grand symphonic tribute, but alone on the vast emptiness of the stage. Just a soul and a piano.” – The Quietus