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Davachi: All My Circles Run (Students of Decay)

Canadian artist Sarah Davachi’s fourth album is about as minimal as
they come. Hushed and stark, each of its five tracks is centered
around a particular instrument, exploring its timbre, textures, and
nuances on a very focused, minimal level. I’m a big fan of this under
the microscope approach to exploration, taking an instrument or
device or idea and really doing deep within its possibilities and
inherent qualities. Most of Circles’ tracks are meditative,
characterized by a steady drone that propels it forward with glacial
patience. The most active track is the closer, “For Piano,” which
pairs a busier but muddled piano with a persistent open-fifth string
drone. But the real essence of Circles is in its minimal intent, the
pronouncement of each arrangement’s focal point in its title denoting a
means to an end, despite the music evoking something far more human, haunting
and inspired.

All My Circles Run by Sarah Davachi

My personal favorite is “For voice,” featuring
achingly beautiful singing courtesy of Camille Hesketh; it’s an a
capella stunner wherein Davachi’s eschewing of electronics and synths
for the album is most starkly evident. Similarly immersive is “For
organ,” a slow, prolonged building of drones played by Davachi
herself, complementing the starkness of “For voice” with the
organ’s inherent abilities to sustain notes indefinitely. Between its
plaintive titles and minimal arrangements, it may be tempting to pass over All My Circles Run without giving it the proper due attention, but it’s
definitely one of the strongest of its sort for the year, one of my
very favorites.

Buy it: Bandcamp