The slow and deliberate unwinding of the mind
Schloe Records have a habit of discovering slow, peaceful and delicate modern classical albums. I’ve seen the style referred to as slowcore. French Pianist Quentin Sirjacq and English singer and guitarist Dakota Suite (Chris Hooson) collaborate here to create a slow-moving but utterly beautiful collection of music. It literally slows your mind down and distils it to a peaceful silence.
Quentin Sirjacq operates a prepared piano throughout. The lightest of tweaks can send a single note into an echo or instead you’ll be hearing the guts of its wires like in ‘Kogarshi’. That track uses some interesting Japanese percussion too which evokes rain tapping on a metal roof. In other tracks such as ‘Kintsugi’, ‘Aiseki’ and the closing track ‘Kyoshu’ other traditional percussion is used ever so gently. Matsumushi chimes, Mokusho wooden blocks, the Tam-Tam and Crotale bells are used to just circle around the pianos and synths. They offer so much for their gentle inclusion.
What elevates the album further is Dakota Suite’s excellent vocal delivery. ‘Safe In Your Arms’ opens the album as a statement of intent. The calm, hushed and warm delivery of his voice soothes you. ‘Away’ is about as mainstream the album gets as gentle piano and rousing watery synths rise up as Dakota Suite’s voice falls away. It reminds me a little of the excellent self-titled album by Lissom in how gracious and delicate a collaboration of classical music and singer/songwriters can be. Also, a huge shout out for using a toy piano in the superb ‘My Thirst for You is Where I Lie’. An underrated instrument if ever there was one!
Under it all sits Quentin Sirjacq’s piano and a curious about of vibraphone. The vibraphone is ever-present and gentle embellishes the piano and occasional acoustic guitar. Along with the often wirey synths that are used, the vibraphone lends a clunky homemade nature vibe to the album. I was really surprised that it didn’t ‘jazz-it-up’ and I am so glad it didn’t. It feels organic and homegrown. It isn’t all gentle warmth though. ‘These Nights Without You’ feels mildly off-kilter while ‘Aiseki’ relies on the reverb of the Japanese percussion to fill in the sound. It is ingenious as their sound feels slightly unnerving but the low piano notes are softly defiant in their warmth.
Fans of the Schole label will adore this and I must say after listening to this album twice after repeated hectic workdays, I now really understand the meaning of the genre slowcore. This is perfect music to unwind to and calm your mind. Quentin Sirjacq and Dakota Suite bounce off of each other naturally and I rank it up there with my favourite ‘flop out’ music I own.
Recommended track: My Thirst for You is Where I Lie
Support Higher Plain Music
Higher Plain Music is part of the Higher Plain Network. If you like what I do, please consider supporting me via Patreon for as little as $1/£1 a month. There are additional perks for supporting me there such as behind the scenes content and downloads. You can also share the website or use the affiliate buy now links on reviews. If they are from Amazon, I get a couple of pence per sale. All your support will enable me to produce better content, more often. Thank you.