Sarah Davachi releases track 'Midlands'

Last single for upcoming album 'Cantus, Descant' out September 18th

'Midlands' is the last track being released before album 'Cantus, Descant' sees the light on September 18th 2020. The new album is an 80 minute, 17 track double album meditation on impermanence and endings, framed by minimalistic organ études and careful harmonic layering, with two tracks featuring the artist’s own vocals for the first time.

This is the first release on the artist’s own label, Late Music, which has been set up with the partner labels division of Warp Records, who also work with Duophonic UHF Disks (Stereolab), Ndeya (Jon Hassell), All Saints Records (Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Laraaji) and more.

Sarah Davachi on the track: "Midlands" is part of a series on Cantus, Descant that references the stillness and expanse of natural landscapes and emotional environs, and it is indeed the midlands that you're probably thinking of. Along with "Badlands" and "Oldgrowth", these three works are an attempt to manipulate the intimacy of the organ, to create harmony between presence and negative space. The instrument here is a large reed organ made by Story & Clark in the late nineteenth century, housed at The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles.  I began working with this instrument in the early months of 2018, which was an especially rainy and beautiful winter here. The organ lives in a small dark room surrounded by painted portraits of dogs that have been into space, and there was a spider living in the music stand that would pop in and out from time to time. It's a very nice impression from this time that I still hear in these pieces.

Filmmaker Dicky Bahto on the video:

When I listened to Cantus, Descant the first time, with the idea that I would make a pair of films for it, I immediately knew I wanted to make a film for “Midlands”. The length of the track, and its slow and longer second section full of dramatic shifts in tone, felt exciting to try and accompany with images. When I made the film for Stations ii, it was early in the pandemic and I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house to film, so I used footage from mostly home movie rolls of Super 8 I’d filmed over the past 10 years. One roll I discovered that I had never before transferred turned out to be a series of long stationary shots of the moon reflected on the surface of a lagoon over the course of a night that began very windy, and gradually calmed down. Earlier this year I was in Phoenix visiting my parents. While I was there I saw an exhibition of lithographs by June Wayne, an artist I worked for as her archivist for a little over a year near the end of her life, but hadn’t seen more than a handful of her works in person. The show had a collection of prints from her Solar Flares and Stellar Winds series, and I was drawn to the way she used layers of different colors to print what appear to be images of water to such different effect in each of the works. For “Midlands”, I wanted to use water again, to connect the two films for the album. With Wayne’s prints in my mind, I thought for this second film to use different types of film stocks—for a variety of textures—and to film at different times of day, with different amounts of cloud/fog/full sun—to get a range of colors. I can never film water without thinking of Paul Clipson, one of whose last films he completed was for Sarah’s work At Hand, and who through watching his work and our many conversations about making films, I learned how to let the texture of an image speak emotions. I’m also very grateful to my partner, Patrick Londen, for allowing me to finally film him on a beautiful, cold, foggy day at Stinson Beach.

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